Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Famous singer from Muslim majority Indonesia sings song with line of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram at banquet hosted by Indonesian President Jokowi for PM Modi

At the outset I would like to say that I know very little of Indonesia. I recall reading school history book(s) on President Sukarno of Indonesia and Prime Minister Nehru of India being founder leaders of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM). And during my youth and most of my software industry days, it was Suharto who was President of Indonesia. Bali and Jakarta are famous places of Indonesia (and Aceh due to the tragic 2004 tsunami). I also knew of some historical influence of Hinduism on Indonesia that can be seen even today even though Indonesia now is a Muslim majority country (87.2 % Muslim and max. number of Muslims in any country - 227 million, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country).

Current President of Indonesia is Joko Widodo. I have read some articles referring to him. President Widodo also had come to India as one of the chief guests (from ASEAN) for this year's Republic Day function in India, if I recall correctly.

As I have been reading up on religion worldwide over the past few years, I had noted that Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims in any country in the world! And that it has a very high percentage of Muslims (high 80s). The percentage of Hindus in Indonesia is very small - 1.7%, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia.

So I was really, really surprised to see this twitter video having a famous Indonesian singer, Fryda Lucyana, singing an old Hindi song, 'Sabarmati ke sant tu ne kar diya kamaal', which extols Mahatma Gandhi, and which has the line 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', a famous phrase extolling Lord Ram of Hindu scripture, Ramayana. Here's the tweet with the video: https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/status/1001830523604357120, 30th May 2018 by PMO India, with the text, "A wonderful rendition of 'Sabarmati Ke Sant Tune Kar Diya Kamal' sung by Fryda Lucyana at the banquet hosted by President @jokowi for PM @narendramodi."

Here's the original (longer version) song from the Hindi 1954 movie Jagriti, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIKLTEtntI8, 4 min. 47 secs.

This Times of India article: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/my-grandson-is-also-named-srinarendra-indonesian-president-widodo-to-pm-modi/articleshow/64388135.cms, reports that President Joko Widodo told Narendra Modi that his grandson is named Srinarendra!

Very interesting! Actually I do recall that Ramayana continued to play a role in Indonesian culture. But somehow I never thought that a Muslim majority country with a Muslim president (Jokowi is a Muslim) would have a singer sing a song with the line 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' to PM Modi during a banquet hosted for PM Modi by him (Indonesian president). This has really won my heart. I admire the openness of the Indonesian president in appreciating Hindu culture and religion in this wonderful way.

And I am still so surprised to know that his grandson is named Srinarendra as I am quite sure his son's family would be Muslim. A person named Srinarendra who is a Muslim is a new thing to me! I know of Buddhist and Jain names having some commonality with Hindu names. But Muslim names in India at least, as far as I know, are pretty distinct from Hindu names. Here's an article about Jokowi's grandson name: Jokowi meets first grandchild, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/11/jokowi-meets-first-grandchild.html, 21st March 2016. The child is named Jan Ethes Srinarendra with the father explaining that Jan meant “most”, Ethes “dexterous” and Srinarendra “intelligent leader”.

Fascinating to see such a blend of Hindu historical background and Islamic faith in Indonesia.

Telugu Christian devotional song I played on request of my apartment watchman's wife

My apartment watchman's wife asked me to play a Telugu Christian devotional song from the Internet, earlier today (30th May).

Here's the song I played for her after browsing around in youtube : Hallelujah by JKChristopher,Philip,Vincent,Sharon Sisters Latest telugu Christian songs 2017 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0x4z96iKAY, 4 min. 43 secs. I raised the speaker volume so that she could get a nice feel about it. Music (and dance) form an important part of their Telugu Christian gatherings, especially their public events. I have attended one of them in nearby Karnatakanagapalli.

She liked the song. I also liked the song even though I could not fully catch the Telugu lyrics.

BTW my apartment buildings' (we have two buildings) watchman family are Telugu Christians. They seem to have converted to Christianity (from Hinduism) a decade ago. I find them to be very decent and pious Christians. She told me that she prays for the well being of all people in the (2) apartment buildings. I thanked her for her prayers. They attend a church in nearly Karnatakanagapalli village.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Miscellaneous posts & comments on Facebook in May 2018

Given below are comments I made on Mr. Ganti's post:  https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212440075261592, dated 29 May 2018

As far as I know, UGC/ACITE rules ensure that nowadays only academics can hold post of vice-chancellor. So perhaps the above news is a hint that BNNM will be made Chancellor of Muddenahalli Group university. There are no restrictions that the Chancellor needs to be an academic. The founder-chancellor of SSSIHL (Sai university with HQ in Puttaparthi/Prasanthi Nilayam) was Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and till His Mahasamadhi he was holding that post of chancellor (as far as I know).
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Vr Ganti sir, About emblems and names blah blah blah (sorry about using those words but I think it is appropriate), I think legally the Sathya Sai name is NOT protected. We had a discussion on this in the past. Inclusion of a clause using legislators support in Lok Sabha is one thing. Whether the clause will stand the test of law in Indian courts of law is quite another.

I would be very, very, very surprised if any High Court in India or the Supreme Court prevents other NGOs like that of Muddenahalli group from using name of Sathya Sai in their orgn. names. Shirdi Sai Baba name is used all over the place.

And Muddenahalli group have the money power to hire top lawyers of the country like former union minister Kapil Sibal! So I think you are beating a dead horse when you are talking about emblems and names blah blah blah as a way to prevent Muddenahalli Group from using the name of Sathya Sai in their NGO names and now in their university name.
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Vr Ganti sir, this is a legal matter. While I am not a lawyer, as some legal issues impact my life I have carefully studied some judgements and follow articles about High Court and Supreme Court views on legislation.

You see, the addition of Sathya Sai name and emblem seems to be, if I recall correctly, an addition to some schedule of some act. It is not a statute by itself. I mean, it is not as if a new act/law was passed in the Lok Sabha to make Sathya Sai name exclusive property of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

We will know for sure only if it is tried in a court of law. I agree there with you. But perhaps the concerned people feel that the chances of winning are very poor. So they don't want to risk the considerable embarrassment of going to court and losing on the matter.

One big danger in trust going to court may be that the court may ask the name Sathya Sai to be removed from the schedule of concerned act! That is a possibility too. So besides embarrassment there could be bigger negative impacts, if a case filed on these grounds fails.

Recently the Supreme Court struck down some law in Uttar Pradesh: http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/may/07/supreme-court-strikes-down-uttar-pradesh-law-allowing-former-cms-to-keep-government-house-1811321.html.

These news reports make it clear to all interested Indians (they need not be lawyers at all) that legislators ability to enact laws are not their sole and arbitrary territory. Their laws could be tested by Supreme Court against constitution and other established laws, and then be struck down if it is found to be inappropriate.

I repeat one does not need to be a lawyer to understand these matters related to power of High Courts and Supreme Court to strike down legislation that is deemed inappropriate.
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Am doing some more reading up on it. Here's a document that gives the act. Note that Sathya Sai name got added to the schedule of the act. https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/THE%20EMBLEMS%20AND%20NAMES%20ACT,%201950.pdf.
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In this article we see a, IMHO, rather frivolous complaint against usage of the word Republic by Arnab Goswami for his channel: http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/News-Analysis/2017-01-27/Is-using-phrase-Republic-a-violation-of-the-law-/276191.
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The complainant may have to write to Ministry of Consumer Affairs or MInistry of Information & Broadcasting. The fine mentioned in the act (statute) is a mere 500 Rupees. But then more than the fine, if the Ministry involved directs some orgn. NOT to use the name Sathya Sai, then they will have to obey the ministry's order UNLESS they get a stay order from some court and then challenge that ministry order in court.
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What are the chances of a ministry in PM Narendra Modi government ruling that Muddenahalli group should NOT use name of Sathya Sai? I think given that PM Modi himself has visited Raipur hospital of Muddenahalli Group (MG) and through video-conference gave a short message for another MG hospital function (inauguration function, I think), the chances are zero, IMHO.
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A 1975 case on usage of name "Chhatrapati Shivaji" by a company for its product (Bidi (tobacco product like cigarette but much cheaper)) which went to Supreme Court in 1975: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1764700/
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Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Emblems & Names act. Related part of judgement:

The scheme disclosed in the provisions of the Act read with the preamble, and the Objects and Reasons make it clear that  there was imperative necessity for regulating the use of  certain emblems and names. The fact that only improper use of the names and emblems is prohibited itself  provides guidance. The original entries in the Schedule would also point to the nature and character of the names, emblems and entities.  It is not possible for the Parliament to envisage the possibility of improper use of all names and emblems as time  goes  on. Nor is it possible to enumerate in the Schedule in exhaustive list of all the names, emblems and entities. Section 8, therefore, makes provision for empowering the Central Government to add to or alter the Schedule. In the nature of things, there is no abdication of legislative function by Parliament in delegating its power under section 8 in favour of the Central Government which will be the appropriate authority to consider from time to time as to the items to be included in or omitted from the Schedule in the light of knowledge and  experience gathered from the nook and corner of the  entire  country. There is, therefore, no excessive delegation of legislative power  by Parliament in favour of the Central Government.
[16A-B]

The petitioners' right to trade in bidis is not at all interfered with by the legislation. Section 3 in terms provides for enabling the affected persons to adjust their business or affairs inasmuch as the Central Government can permit some time to alter their emblems, designs, etc. to carry on with their trade. Indeed in the present case the petitioners on their own application obtained, in extension of time presumably under section 3 of the  Act and, therefore, cannot complain on that score. There is built-in safeguard in section 3 itself for mitigating any hardship to persons or any rigor of the law. The  provisions are accordingly regulatory in nature and even, if at all, they impose only reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the petitioner-,' right under Article 19(1)(f) and (g). Section 4 is a consequential provision and validly co-exists with section 3. [16FG]
(iii)  From  the scheme and machinery of the  Act  there  is nothing to indicate that absence of rules will make the Act unworkable. [16G-H]
(iv) The Notification is not an executive order but is a piece of subordinate legislation made by the Central Government  under section 8 of the Act. It was duly published in the Gazette of India over the signature of the Under Secretary who was authorised for the purpose. 'Therefore, the question of violation of Article 77 does not arise. [17A]
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[Ravi:] So the Emblems and Names act has been tested in Supreme Court and been upheld. That's the good news.
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Now the issue is whether a complaint on these grounds can establish that Sathya Sai name has been used improperly by Muddenahalli Group.
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I think that will be very challenging to establish in any High Court or in the Supreme Court as Muddenahalli Group provides free medical service and free educational service to the poor and needy sections of society in India.

A top-notch lawyer like Kapil Sibal will simply tear apart any complaint that says Muddenahalli group is misusing Sathya Sai name UNLESS significant corruption and diversion of donor funds for personal use by Muddenahalli group is ****proven****. Note that travelling by charter plane, helicopter, business class, using Bentley car etc. may not, on their own, establish misuse of funds. It could be a service provided by a donor. Further, certain percentage of donor funds to meet NGO expenses would be OK.

Over the past few years I have read quite a few Supreme Court judgements in India and relevant bare acts (Indian acts). They are not that difficult to understand. There is clear logic in the way the Supreme Court arrives at its judgement. One ****does not**** need to be a lawyer to read and understand judgements of Supreme court on such matters like Emblems and Names Act.
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On the other hand, if Muddenahalli group attempts to open a casino in India using the HOLY NAME of our beloved Lord, then that can be shown quite easily in an Indian court of law, as improper use of name in schedule of Names & Emblems Act. I don't think even Kapil Sibal would be able, or perhaps would show any interest, to defend such a usage in the Indian Supreme Court.

I made this comment as we know about some statements made in the past about some casino by some Muddenahalli group person. But the country involved then was USA NOT India.
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Vr Ganti sir, After a good night's sleep, it struck me that while the "THE EMBLEMS AND NAMES (PREVENTION OF IMPROPER USE) ACT, 1950" (of India) having Sathya Sai name in its schedule may not help in preventing Muddenahalli group in general from using Sathya Sai name for their NGO organization names, their educational institution names etc. (as covered in my earlier comments), it may help in challenging Madhusudan Rao Naidu's use of the name of Sathya Sai for his (Madhusudan's) discourses, darshan, signatures and interviews, and imitation of Sathya Sai in general.

To rephrase it more precisely: As Sathya Sai name is a protected name under "THE EMBLEMS AND NAMES (PREVENTION OF IMPROPER USE) ACT, 1950" (of India) as Sathya Sai name got added to the schedule of the Act (in 2004, if I recall correctly), I think that improper use of name of Sathya Sai by Madhusudan Naidu can be established in an Indian court of law by capable lawyer(s). I think capable lawyer(s) will be able to show in an Indian court of law that this improper use results in misguidance of Sathya Sai devotees worldwide, including Indian Sathya Sai devotees, by Madhusudan Naidu. And further that this improper use dilutes and distorts the legacy and memories of Sathya Sai.

I think that such a charge of improper use of name of Sathya Sai under "THE EMBLEMS AND NAMES (PREVENTION OF IMPROPER USE) ACT, 1950" can be coupled with a general PIL against Madhusudan Rao Naidu for misusing name of Sathya Sai. My Facebook posts related to my PIL recommendation made over two and a half years ago, are as follows:

1) Satyajit opens up on Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu; I (Ravi) recommend PIL against Madhusudhan Naidu, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1667942820088955, dated 2nd October 2015

2) Recommending PIL to stop Sri Madhusudhan Rao Naidu from using HOLY NAME of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for his communications is an ACT OF TRUE LOVE towards both Muddenahalli group and Sri Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, and NOT AN ACT OF WAR!, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1668210083395562, dated 3rd October 2015.
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Given below is a comment I made on Mr. Ganti's post: https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212426415480106?comment_id=10212428196324626&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D, FB post dated 27 May 2018 :

Well, I don't want to comment in detail on this matter as it is a sensitive matter. But I would say that the Sathya Sai fraternity should not put a big burden of expectation on Sai students/alumni. I think that sometimes creates problems for Sai alumni.

My experience of the boys/men alumni is that they too have regular lives with regular responsibilities to be met. They too want to have a good career and enjoy financial success and some material comforts of life. And they have their responsibilities to care for their parents, and in case of married men, provide for their families.

Sathya Sai fraternity putting too much expectation on them would make them avoid visiting Sathya Sai centres which do that.

I think Sathya Sai fraternity should allow Sai educational institution alumni as well as non-alumni devotees to grow in such matters in an organic and natural way. Some people get inspired and Bhagavan puts them in a position where they are able to take on more Sathya Sai orgn. responsibility. Those people naturally grow into these roles.

If one tries to cajole alumni into taking on heavy responsibility roles in Sathya Sai movement when they do not feel ready or comfortable with taking on the responsibility and the financial and/or time commitment involved, then I think that may not work out very well.

But this is my personal view. I am no longer associated with either the Sathya Sai orgn. or Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. So maybe my views on such matters should be taken with generous pinches of salt :-).
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Given below are comments I made on FB post: https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/videos/10160027186905538/, dated 24 May 2018 :

I think it is high time the All India President (AIP) makes a public statement giving his views on Muddenhalli group. BTW they had done a Bhoomi Pooja function for their upcoming hospital in Navi Mumbai in Nov last year, if I recall correctly. So this Nov. Madhu Baba may be opening the hospital in the presence of Maharashtra CM and some Mumbai cricket stars. That is going to add to confusion in Mumbai and surrounding areas about Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi Sathya Sai movement and Muddenahalli group. If AIP who is based in Mumbai, makes a public statement on this matter giving his stand, then at least we Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi Sathya Sai movement people will know where he stands. Is he neutral and leaving the matter to Swami's will to get resolved, or is he critical of them? And if he is critical, how critical is he of them?

My public stand is that I have no objection to the service to society medical service Muddenahalli group does and wish them all the best for it. But I have serious issues with them for supporting and endorsing the FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudan Rao Naidu of being a so called communicator of a so called subtle body of Bhagavan based in Muddenahalli.
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I should add that as a former Bombayite/Mumbaikar (born and bred in Bombay and surrounding areas) I am quite concerned that Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis may be getting misguided by Mahdusudan Rao Naidu and his supporters/promoters, and be given a FALSE IMPRESSION about our beloved and revered Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. CM Fadnavis shared the stage with Madhusudan Naidu at the Bhoomi Puja event and referred to him as Madhusudanji.

So I would love to see some public statements of AIP that are critical of this FALSE BELIEF of Muddenahalli group. I think that would help in preventing CM Fadnavis of Maharashtra from being misguided by Madhusudan Rao Naidu.
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Given below is are comments I made on Mr. Ganti's post: https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/one-more-wicket-falls-vasudeven-ostensibly-an-office-bearer-from-chennai-shifted/10212365345753401/, dated 18 May 2018 :

Vr Ganti sir: On paranormal powers of Sathya Sai, I view Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson and his book on Sathya Sai miracles to be an authoritative source, documenting work of a noted parapsychology academic (Haraldsson). Here is my blog post having Notes on his book: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2013/08/notes-on-prof-haraldssons-modern.html.

I have reproduced below an extract from my post about the final chapter in Haraldsson's book where he provides a summary (including conclusions of his):

Chapter 40 - HOW TO EXPLAIN: A FINAL LOOK - Notes

Haraldsson attempts to give some explanations about Swami and Swami's miraculous phenomena. He quotes Kasturi on Swami, "divine he is but also very human". Haraldsson states that Swami had the spiritual uplift side and the miraculous phenomena side.

Haraldsson gives some details about the service rendered by Swami's two super speciality hospitals, the two general hospitals, educational institutions, Sri Sathya Sai central trust, drinking water project, huge Seva Dal organization and Easwaramma women's welfare trust. He also writes about huge donations made by many wealthy people to Sai Baba's organization and says that such donors would have been deeply impressed by their meetings with Sai Baba. Some donors experienced miraculous phenomena of Sai Baba.

Haraldsson writes that Swami had a "strong ruler/disciplinarian nature" and that Haraldsson was reminded of what he thought Napoleon would have been, when he saw Swami. He notes that there was "something herculean about him" due to which he (Swami) was considered as an Avatar by many followers.

Haraldsson puts forward a "a few speculative hypotheses regarding the causes and nature of the mysterious phenomena around Sai Baba" and examines their validity. Haraldsson writes that some of the phenomena could have a "normal explanation" but not the bulk of them. Haraldsson states that the hypothesis that Baba had psychic powers which allowed him to "produce various phenomena when he wants to" is supported by an "endless number of observations and experiences" and so has to be accepted for bulk of the phenomena.

One of the hypotheses is that psychic powers may be induced in devotees of Sai Baba by their faith in him and his (Sai Baba's) power to produce vibhuti which may result in vibhuti being produced on photographs of Sai Baba (in the devotees' houses/places).

Haraldsson concludes the chapter and book (regular text part) by stating that Sai Baba gave millions of people new ideals or restored their faith in old ideals. He then states that Sai Baba "left behind, particularly in India, a great legacy and large institutions which will serve its people for generations to come".
---- end extract from my blog post on Haraldsson's book ---
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Vr Ganti sir, Regarding paranormal power claims of Madhusudan Rao Naidu: One of Haraldsson's hypotheses (and is given in extract above) is that psychic powers may be induced in devotees of Sai Baba by their faith in him. I think that is a very thoughtful and knowledgeable view. I tend to agree with it.

It is certainly possible that Madhusudan Rao Naidu's faith in Sathya Sai, which perhaps got raised to high levels due to his extreme financial distress (there are unconfirmed, I repeat unconfirmed, reports that he was in huge debt (huge, given his essentially middle class background) due to failures in his business and had to file an Insolvency Petition in Chhattisgarh state of India, which I believe is like filing for bankruptcy in the USA). So I personally would not be surprised if Madhusudan Rao Naidu has acquired some paranormal powers, some siddhis.

However, I think he lies and exaggerates to project a far bigger spiritual persona than the reality. And these lies and exaggerations are supported and promoted by Narasimhamurthy and C. Srinivas and other leaders of Muddenahalli group. That support and promotion, I think, are because Madhusudan Rao Naidu's lies and exaggeration are able to attract wealthy donors and bring donation money to them, for their project work and to meet any other expenses they may have (including personal expenses, I guess).

After careful study and investigation, I have found and which findings have been documented in my public social media writings, that Madhusudan Rao Naidu's wild claim that he sees and interacts with a so-called subtle body of Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli, and that he is the chosen communicator of that so called subtle body, is a FALSE CLAIM.

To provide a summary conclusion for this comment: Madhusudan Rao Naidu may have acquired some paranormal powers but his claim of being the so-called communicator of so called subtle body of Sathya Sai is a FALSE CLAIM!
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Vr Ganti sir, I believe it was acute financial distress, not just some financial problem. I think it is such desperate situations that propel somebody to try anything and risk everything for survival. In his case, not only did he survive, but got more money that he himself would have dreamed that he could make by becoming a medium/communicator of Sathya Sai and teaming up with C. Srinivas and Narasimhamurthy!!! I am told his initial medium work got the support of C. Srinivas. At that time, Narasimhamurthy was on his own dream-instruction medium spiritual trip, and so he probably was not so interested in Madhusudan Naidu. Later Narasimhamurthy seems to have got off his own spiritual trip (at least he was silent on it publicly) and put his full weight, reputation, goodwill and contacts behind Madhusudan Naidu.
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I think that may have been a single real estate deal in A.P. The impression I have is that the ***big loss*** happened in Chhattisgarh.
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Given below is a comment I made on Mr. Ganti's post: https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/well-known-supporter-of-mudennahalli-drama-trying-to-convince-me-to-accept-madhu/10212358951673553/, dated 17 May 2018 :

I very much appreciate this stand of Vr Ganti sir, "EVEN IF BHAGAWAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA COMES IN BLOOD AND FLESH AND TELL(S) ME THAT HE IS NOW TALKING THROUGH MADHU, I WILL TELL HIM TO GO AWAY AS I WOULD NOT LIKE TO LISTEN ANYMORE. FURTHER, I WILL TELL HIM THAT I KNOW THAT BHAGAWAN WHO SAID TIME AND AGAIN THAT HE WILL NEVER TALK THROUGH ANY MEDIUM AND HAS AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE DIRECT CONTACT WITH HIS DEVOTEES. FURTHER MORE, I WILL TELL HIM THAT MY LORD IS SATHYA SAI BABA AND WHATEVER HE SAID ANYTIME & ANYWHERE IS TRUTH THEN AND TRUTH FOREVER. That is my answer to you now also.

Even BNNM (B.N. Narasimhamurthy) has personally asked me to read some books he had written and I said I will not. Please note that BNNM started this cult organization primarily to take revenge on certain institutions and people. There is no involvement of SAI in this Mhalli Drama at all and it is all a story made up to suit them. PLEASE DON’T TRY TO CONVINCE ME THAT MADHU IS NOT FAKE AS YOU WILL BE WASTING YOUR TIME AND ENERGY."

Ravi: My own stand is that Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claim of being a so called communicator of a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli, is a FALSE CLAIM. And the earlier less publicized claim of B. N. Narasimhamurty that he is getting dream instructions as a kind of successor of Bhagavan, was also a FALSE CLAIM. Note that dream instructions of Swami for personal matters is different - that could very well be Sathya Sai. But dream instructions of Swami meant to be conveyed to others makes it a dream-instruction medium kind of matter, and that is a FALSE CLAIM.

Any person who has sincerely studied Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words in this matter know that Bhagavan has unequivocally, unambiguously and publicly stated, many times, that he never uses mediums (or communicators) to interact with his devotees and that his communication with his devotee is direct and heart-to-heart.

See this around 1 minute video where Swami says that his connection to his students/devotees is direct connection, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp-4N2W3S8c. Swami is always with us - that feeling is what Swami asks us to strengthen. Now after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi this is what we must strengthen and not run after FALSE CLAIM mediums and communicators and impersonators/imitators of Sathya Sai.
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Given below is a comment I made on FB post: https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/posts/10159997767505538, dated 15 May 2018 :
Wonderful and truthful words! The really extraordinary thing about the Avatar Sathya Sai was how he would teach such Vedanta type truths to family people, and also tell them that it is up to them to pray for the right thing! As he says he will give what the devotee earnestly prays for! The boon-giver is also the highest Vedanta type truth teacher! What an extraordinary combination of spiritual facets and genius, Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had while in physical form, which I am sure continues now in the formless aspect!
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Given below is a comment (slightly edited) I made on FB post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10159990758300538&set=a.10150229148135538.460763.780480537&type=3&theater, dated 13 May 2018 :

The great tragedy is that the celebrity status of cricketers like Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, one of the greatest Indian cricketers who brought a lot of glory to India, is used/misused to promote FALSE BELIEF of Muddenahalli Group and its so called chosen communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu. I feel very sad to see this post as Gavaskar was one of my sports heroes during my youth, and so I could not bring myself to Like or share this post.

But neither can I find fault with sister --name-snipped-- for putting up the post. Somebody has to do the harsh job of being critical of such icons who are contributing to FALSE BELIEF of Muddenahalli group being spread in Sathya Sai fraternity and beyond. [I have had to do such critical posts of some other people and had to force myself to do those unpleasant tasks.] I thank sister --name-snipped-- for taking up this particular unpleasant task which contributes to upholding and protecting Sathya & Dharma in Sathya Sai fraternity.
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Given below is a comment I made on Terry Reis Kennedy's post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216534796581216&set=a.1627496606106.2082337.1197289954&type=3&theater, dated 9 May 2018 :

I am no longer part of Sai orgn. nor a part of Parthi ashram system, though I am a well wisher of both Sai orgn. and Parthi ashram system. As far as I know, the official orgn. stand is that office-bearers cannot visit or support Muddenahalli group in any way. And I have publicly written that I support such a stand of the Sai orgn.

But I think non office-bearer devotees/members of Sai orgn. do not have such a restriction. Of course, if they solicit funds in MDH name or try to poach on devotees in Sai orgn., then it is a different matter. I think then they should be kept at a safe distance from the Sai orgn. centres/events.

Regarding efforts of MDH trolls to silence their critics on social media: I think people should publicize any such efforts they make. That will help in creating a proper documented case of cyber-bullying (using Facebook fake IDs for example) and related offences, if and when the situation warrants police complaints in appropriate countries e.g. Muddenahalli, Karnataka, India and Melbourne, Australia where the MDH trolls seem to have a safe haven to operate from.
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Given below is a comment I made on Mr. Ganti's post: https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212294005329935?comment_id=10212305337893242, dated 7 May 2018 :
 I think it is very good of Mr. Vr Ganti and others to clearly and unambiguously share the divine words and instructions of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the matter of communicators and mediums (to never entertain their claims). Those who choose to follow these divine instructions of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba will stay away from the imitator and FALSE-CLAIM so called communicator of so called subtle body based in Muddenhalli.

Some however seem to want to create another group with a diluted and distorted view of Sathya Sai teachings and misuse the name of Sathya Sai. The big hassle for me is that they are using the name of my beloved and revered Gurudev Sathya Sai, and disseminating diluted and distorted teachings in His Holy Name.

I would NOT have any issue if they did it on ***their own name(s)*** - Madhu Baba (or Madhu Sai Baba) and Narasimhamurthy Baba - and worship photographs of Madhu Baba and Narasimhamurthy Baba. Then it would be a Madhu Baba - Narasimhamurthy Baba spiritual group and NOT associated with Sathya Sai. That would resolve my main issues with them. People then would no longer get misguided and fooled by Madhu Baba's and Narasimhamurthy Baba's FALSE CLAIM that they are speaking the words of Sathya Sai.

I have said publicly earlier and I repeat that now: In my considered view, Madhu Baba has emerged as a spiritual leader in his own right. So let him now follow Kurnool Bala Sai Baba and Nepal Sanjay Sai Baba and start preaching in the name of Madhu Baba (or Madhu Sai Baba) but NOT Sathya Sai Baba.

Like I don't have any major issues with Bala Sai Baba or Sanjay Sai Baba, I will not have any major issues then with people doing Padanamaskar to Madhu Baba, Madhu Baba imitating Sathya Sai and singing bhajans of Sathya Sai. We then can call his devotees as Madhu Baba devotees (instead of Sathya Sai devotees), and there will be less or very limited confusion.

Once again, I would like to say that I appreciate the work of Mr. Ganti and others in sharing with the Sathya Sai fraternity on Facebook (and elsewhere), the words of Sathya Sai to never accept claims of communicators and mediums (wrt to Sathya Sai). I think that contributes to less number of people getting misguided by Madhu Baba who is misusing the Holy Name of Sathya Sai Baba.
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Monday, May 28, 2018

My view about PM Narendra Modi not having visited Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi as PM

Given below is a recent comment I made elsewhere on Facebook:

My view and observations are that PM Modi has publicly spoken about Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi, showering praises on it. When one of his ministers came to PN as the chief guest (I think it was Piyush Goyal), the minister spoke about PM Modi conveying his best wishes and regards to Prasanthi Nilayam. And we have also seen pics of trustees and leaders of official (Prasanthi Nilayam based) Sai orgn. being received by PM Modi in his Delhi office.

PM Modi while speaking about Bhagavan in Muddenahalli Group's Raipur hospital referenced Puttaparthi! So I think PM Modi has publicly evinced support for Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi.

Top ministers of the current NDA government like Piyush Goyal, then minister Venkaiah Naidu (later as vice-president too he visited PN) and Ravi Shankar Prasad have been chief guests at PN functions and have given speeches where they have shown great appreciation for Bhagavan's teachings and work, and the Sathya Sai orgn. continuing that work. Current HRD minister Prakash Javadekar also has visited PN but when he was having some other ministry.

Why it has so happened that PM Modi did not visit Prasanthi Nilayam yet (as PM) - I don't know. But I personally have no doubt whatsoever that PM Modi has great respect towards Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi. I believe when he was invited once as proposed chief guest for Sai university convocation/Bhagavan birthday function, PM Modi could not accept the invitation due to him having to visit UK (or some other foreign country).

The BJP party has stood by Puttaparthi and Prasanthi Nilayam in the difficult period that we went through after Mahasamadhi. As a Sathya Sai devotee and Puttaparthi resident, I am grateful to them for their support. This includes top leaders of BJP like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Narendra Modi etc. Of course, then UPA govt leaders including then PM Manmohan Singh, then Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil, then vice-president and now president of Congress Rahul Gandhi, former CM of Maharashtra Shri Ashok Chavan etc. have also extended great support to Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi during that difficult period, and I am grateful to them too.

Both the top national political parties of India, namely the BJP and the Congress, have been very supportive of Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi in this post-Mahasamadhi period.

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 am an Indian citizen and resident of India. I do vote in Indian elections but I keep who I vote for as a private matter. I should also say that I am a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy in India.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Disappointing quality of latest delivery of 12 spiral bound copies of iami1 blogbook from Delhi online printer

Last updated on 28th May 2018

I think it was day-before-yesterday (25th May 2018) evening that I received the latest delivery of 12 spiral bound copies of iami1 blogbook from Delhi online printer for a total price (including shipping charge) of around Rs. 1008, which comes to around Rs. 84 per copy.

This time around, each book had thick colour front cover page and back cover page as per my provided pics and instructions. That is the good news. I had received a phone call from the Delhi online printer's production guy I think, who confirmed that I wanted it to be this way.

However, inner content print quality is not satisfactory. The problems are as follows:

1) Many pages had a slight dark patch indicating a problem in laser printer drum (if I correctly recall my laser printer usage days in industry and academia).

2) The text content also seems to be slightly compressed as compared to earlier book copies this online printer had provided. But as I do not have the older delivery books to compare physically, I am not sure about this.

3) The left margin size is not consistent. It is less in some pages and more in some pages. This may have to do with imprecise cutting of each A4 size page print output into two A5 size pages print output.

4) A few pages have very visible dark patches & lines.

I have given pics of relevant pages of a few of these book copies below.

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


Above pic shows text which seems to be slightly compressed as compared to earlier delivery from this Delhi online printer. But as I do not have the older delivery books to compare physically, I am not sure about this.


Above pic shows lesser left margin in left hand side page as compared to right hand side page. Note that this is not due to any tabs/indentation of content in the pages (which is the case for a few other pages). I suspect the reason to be incorrect cutting of related A4 pages into two A5 pages.


Above pic shows clearly visible dark patches and lines.


Above pic shows slight dark patches on first inner content page. The problems is that such slight dark patches appear almost throughout two book copies. I have kept those books aside to ensure that whoever I give those copies to, I first tell them about the slight dark patches almost throughout the book.



The above two pics show the good thing about this delivery which is that the colour thick cover pages are provided correctly and look decent.

I am disappointed with this delivery of the Delhi online printer. I will have to explain to each and every person that I provide (for free) one of the these copies, about these problems in the copy. Then I will leave it to them whether they would be interested in having the copy or not. This will be embarrassing and I would like to avoid having to do such explanations in future, while I am providing free copies of the book.

Overall, most people in Puttaparthi understand these price issues. So they know that laser printer output and spiral bound copy will be lesser quality printing than a regular paperback printed book copy that is sold in bookshops. Slight patches here and there, light printing of a few words are understood to be part of the economy price deal. But this delivery of the Delhi online printer goes into poorer quality than that and gets into the range of unacceptable for some people at least.

I think I get better quality than this particular delivery quality, from Puttaparthi laser printer people who provide such A4 size spiral bound book printing services. One Puttaparthi laser printer person charges me Rs. 107 per copy (Rs. 62 for 123 A5 size pages inner content + Rs. 25 for ordinary paper colour printout + Rs. 20 spiral binding & lamination sheet for front and back ordinary paper colour cover protection). The earlier delivery from the Delhi online printer had much better printing quality (superior to Puttaparthi laser printer services shops). Here's my post (with pics) related to that delivery:  http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/05/received-delhi-online-printers-12.html, dated 12th May 2018.

I think in future if I want less expensive spiral bound copies I will use the Puttaparthi laser printer shop services, paying Rs. 107 per copy. It is not worth saving Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 per copy by ordering it from the Delhi online printer as there is more bother involved in both the ordering process and the delivery, and then there is a risk of poor quality output based on my experience with them.

I intend to let the Delhi online printer know about my dissatisfaction (today being Sunday would be a holiday for them and so I plan to call them up tomorrow). But due to the distance involved I don't think my complaint would really make a difference. Whereas if I had received such dark patches and lines from a Puttaparthi laser printer services guy, I could have ensured that future orders get better quality output unless he could not fix his laser printer problem in which case I would stop using his services. I mean, I can get to the root of the problem if I use Puttaparthi laser printer services shop and know whether he can fix it or not.

In contrast, so far at least, all the copies that I have received from Pothi.com, over multiple orders (16 book copies over three separate orders made on 27th April (1 copy), 7th May (9 copies) and 14th May (6 copies)), have consistently been of good quality in terms of cover page printing and thickness, inner page printing, decent inner page paper quality etc. Their packaging of the books too is much better than the Delhi online printer (which is to be expected as the Delhi online printer provides economy price services), though in one Pothi.com order some book copies did get a little bent due to the packaging being rather tight.

So its boiling down to two standard choices for printing iami1 blogbook:
1) Well printed and bound (Soft cover binding): Buy from Pothi.com web store, https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science, paying Rs. 159 per copy + shipping (Rs. 50 for 1 copy shipping to South India). [Total cost at Puttaparthi for 1 copy: Rs. 209]

2) For less expensive copy: Get spiral bound laser printer printed copy from Puttaparthi laser printer services shop at Rs. 107 for 1 copy.
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Update on 28th May 2018: I had a phone discussion today afternoon with a person X (name withheld) of printonweb.in who seems to be a senior person, about the printing quality problems in this delivery. I had earlier sent a mail to them with pics showing the printing quality problems. He explained that the patches problem was not due to laser printer drum problem. They use some sophisticated digital printers which automatically spots repeated errors, he told me. I don't know anything about sophisticated "digital printers" and so I did not get deeper into that matter. He also said that the excess margin for some pages was due to manual cutting of A4 pages into two A5 pages.

I told him that I was very satisfied with the printing quality of earlier orders that I had placed with printonweb.in. But this delivery had shaken my confidence. I asked him whether he could resolve my shaken confidence problem.

He said that for future orders I should speak to him or if somebody else answers the phone, ask the person to refer the order to him (X). X said that he will see to it that the order will be done properly.

So I intend to place one more order in future, when required, with printonweb.in and contact X when making the order. If that delivery comes out well then I intend to continue using printonweb.in so long as I get decent quality printouts at economy prices.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wild Wild Country - Great documentary capturing good and bad of Rajneesh movement; My view: Colossal blunder of Rajneeshpuram commune was sophisticated guns related aggression and threat to govt. agencies

Last updated on 6th June 2018

I just finished watching the last part (part six) of the Wild Wild Country documentary video-series,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Wild_Country, on the Rajneesh movement, especially their commune in Rajneeshpuram in Wasco County, Oregon, USA.

As somebody who is deeply interested in spirituality, religion and contemporary spiritual & religious movements, I found the documentary to be compelling viewing. In the recent past I have done a fair bit of reading up on Rajneeshpuram with my comments on it being captured in this blog post: On being asked about Osho Rajneesh, Sathya Sai told a devotee, Rajneesh's path is dangerous, Sathya Sai path is safe - A related conversation, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/03/on-being-asked-about-osho-rajneesh.html, 19th March 2018.

The documentary brought this whole lot of readings and video interviews to life in a way that only good documentary videos can. It shows clips of videos of Rajneeshpuram featuring some notable people, and follows it up with interviews done recently with the same people! This includes Ma Anand Sheela.

It seems that the documentary makers tried hard to provide a balanced view by sharing views and events that showed the good of the Rajneesh movement and not only bad but evil aspects of some leaders & their assistants in the Rajneesh movement.

Ma Anand Sheela is a vital figure in this documentary. Ma Anand Sheela's book, 'Don't Kill Him', gives her view of the matter where she does not confess to or show remorse for any of the heinous crimes (bioterror, plot to murder) she was accused of being involved in, in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA. But the documentary video shows an interview of one (Australian origin, I think) lady who says on camera about the heinous crimes (attempt to murder) Ma Anand Sheela asked or commanded her to do! I mean, this is some documentary video.

The video series also clearly shows how much love and devotion many of Osho Rajneesh's followers had for him. There was clearly something great about Osho Rajneesh that he could attract such level of devotion. However, it is inescapable that a lot of bad and evil too happened in his ashram, and that some of his teachings/views are a threat to traditional family values of almost all, if not all, religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam etc.).

I think spiritual commune leaders, members and even those who plan to join a spiritual commune, should see this great documentary video to learn about the good and bad of the Osho Rajneesh communes, especially the Oregon one.

One clear learning for me is that if a spiritual commune cannot, over time (say a few years), have a peaceful and at least tolerant, if not good, relationship with the larger community in which the commune is based then it is just a matter of time before the larger community, through its political leaders and community leaders, forces the spiritual commune's closure. And any threats of violence towards the state from the spiritual commune leaders, even in the name of self-defence, will only attract harsh measures from vastly more powerful state and union/federal government agencies.

The aggression displayed by the Rajneeshpuram commune towards the local, state and federal agencies in the USA, by the Rajneeshees having significant level of sophisticated guns and ammunition, is something that went way beyond plain self-defense and protection from some arsonists. They were clearly perceived as a threat to Wasco County and Oregon state. That, I think, sealed their fate. How could a spiritual commune ever be a match to the might of state and federal security agencies of the USA! That was a colossal blunder they made and I think spiritual commune administrators should learn from this blunder the Rajneeshpuram commune leaders made, by never allowing their commune security force to be viewed as a security threat by local, state and union/federal government agencies of the country the commune is in. It does not matter whether the country is USA or India. The reaction from the government will be similar.
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An interesting related article: The Scot who was the sex guru's bodyguard, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-44300915, 4th June 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Conveying why my Existential reality; Vedanta; God & Science conversation iami1 blog book may be of some interest to open-minded (hard science) scientists and social science researchers

As I am doing a small bit of promotion of my Existential reality; Vedanta; God & Science conversation blog book (based on my iami1 blog), over email and word-of-mouth, I am exploring which parts of the book would be interesting to different types of people.

This is how I attempted that when corresponding recently with an eminent Indian researcher and author in the field of social sciences:

I would like to add that the big questions of humanity like:
* Who am I? Who are we?
* What really is our existential truth?
* Did we have a past life before we were born (this birth)?
* What happens to us after death?
* Is there a just divine power (law of Karma in Hindu traditions)? etc.,

as of now at least, are beyond the pale of mainstream science (parapsychology is not accepted as a regular science by mainstream science).

It is wonderful to see scientist truth-tellers like Dr. Francis Collins, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins, clearly spelling out the limits of science in our current early 21st century times, and exposing the weaknesses of arguments put forward by some scientists like Dr. Richard Dawkins, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins, who try to disingenuously (using rather crooked logic and crooked phrases e.g. 'The God Delusion') spread the view that there is no God and that all claims of paranormal powers (including miracles) are fake. The truth is that Dr. Dawkins cannot be 100 percent sure of it. He may simply not have been exposed to paranormal powers, and therefore, going by his life experience, he generalizes that nobody has experienced paranormal powers, and that any such accounts are fake! That is science fanaticism. That attitude is not worthy of a genuine truth-seeker and a genuine truth-teller.

Dr. Collins lays out the case brilliantly for being a rigorous scientist who has high standards of data/evidence while working in the realm of science, but who knows that the big questions are not answered by science today. That's where belief in God as well as belief in divine revelations by divine beings who visited planet earth over the ages, can play an important role in a scientist's life without diluting or weakening the scientist's high standards of data/evidence for conclusions arrived at, in the realm of science.
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I added that the free ebook (pdf) can always be easily accessed at the (global) Internet Archive here: https://archive.org/details/20180424EbookNotPrintColourCoverBWContentsA5WhoAmIIAmINGodNScience.

How I was, and continue to be, obliged to make my iami1 wordpress blog book front pages content to be somewhat more in line with regular books

As my initial intent was to essentially provide ebook and print-on-demand versions of my iami1 wordpress blog as a blog book, my front cover page had a lot of description of content of the book, as compared to regular books. Further, I had initially intended the title to be simply 'iami1.wordpress.com blog book' with the extended description on the cover page telling potential book readers what the book contains. I felt that by using this approach, I was being upfront and fair towards the potential book reader. If the book reader was not interested with the main book contents as described in the cover front page itself, he/she could simply move on to exploring another book or doing something else, without having to spend time on opening the book and looking at its Table of Contents.

But somewhere down the line, as I submitted the ebook version to some major ebook sites like archive.org and free-ebooks.net, I saw that I had to provide title information which reflected the book contents in a better way than 'iami1.wordpress.com blog book'. As it was still a blog book and not a regular book, I felt that I could take some liberty and have a long book title, and a sub-title.

That's how the archive.org ebook submission, https://archive.org/details/20180424EbookNotPrintColourCoverBWContentsA5WhoAmIIAmINGodNScience, had the following (Metadata):
Title: Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation

In the Open Library submission, https://openlibrary.org/books/OL26445400M/Who_am_I_I_am_I_-_Ultimate_Existential_Reality_Answer_Vedanta_God_and_Science_conversation, as I pointed it to above archive.org submission, it picked up (or I specified) the same free ebook title. But in the Open Library submission, I think I added a sub-title of 'iami1.wordpress.com blog book'.

And this is how the book is now listed in the National Library of Australia (the first national library of any country to list my free ebook), https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/253998922, as it has picked up the info. from the Open Library entry of the ebook.

Now the changes that I intend to make, are as follows:

1) I will be applying for an ISBN, from http://isbn.gov.in/, both for the free ebook (published by Pothi.com as well as others including being put up on my blog) and the printed (Print-On-Demand/POD) book published with Pothi.com's help. The ISBN applications will be separate for the free ebook version and the POD version. I need to check if I can use same ISBN for the same free ebook published by Pothi.com, and others like archive.org and Open Library, and put up on my blog as a free download.

2) Once I get the ISBNs then I plan to add the ISBN information in the 'Title Verso' page (which in my book's case is the first inner content page) and also put up the ISBN bar code in the cover back page. Note that as this is the first time I will be applying for an ISBN, I do not know the exact process and so the earlier statements are based on my rough expectation of how I will be getting the ISBNs (from http://isbn.gov.in/).

3) Now I feel that I need to standardize on the title of both my free ebook as well as my POD (print-on-demand) book. So I would like to change (after I get the ISBN number) the Pothi.com POD book title (and Pothi.com ebook title) to:

Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation

[instead of 'The Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science']

The subtitle will remain the same:

iami1.wordpress.com blog book

I will use this title and subtitle with http://isbn.gov.in/ in my ISBN application for the POD book as well as ebook. [I know it is a very long title for a book. But this is a blog book and not a regular book. So I think I am being fair to readers/potential readers by using a long title which conveys what the book contains. I do not know whether isbn.gov.in will force me to truncate the title. If so, then I need to do some more thinking on the matter.]

The ISBN application needs a cover front page picture. So I created a modified cover front page picture having this title and sub-title. I have given that pic below.

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



I have chosen to remove part of the text of the earlier (actually current, as of now) front cover page whose pic I have given below for comparison purposes.



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Monday, May 14, 2018

Received first somewhat-largish order delivery of 9 well printed & bound copies of iami1.wordpress.com blog book from Pothi.com

Today (14th May 2018) I received 9 well printed and bound book copies of iami1.wordpress.com blog book from Pothi.com. I had placed the order on their web order page, https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science, on 7th May, which is one week ago. Given below is a pic of those copies.

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


This was delivered by India Post's Speed Post service. I was not informed of the tracking number by Pothi.com. Pothi.com's status for this order just shows 'Processing' (even now). I expect they will update the status on Pothi.com tomorrow, to delivered and also provide the tracking number.

Going by the tracking number on the parcel and using  https://www.indiapost.gov.in/VAS/Pages/TrackConsignment.aspx, I found that the item was booked at Dandekarwadi S.O. on 12th May at 10:48 (AM), and delivered (to me) by Prasanthinilayam (Puttaparthi) S.O. on 14th May at 14:22 (it was delivered slightly earlier than that but perhaps the record got updated a little later). Note that Dandekarwadi S.O. seems to be in Bhiwandi, Thane district (near Mumbai) which is where the big Mumbai printer that Pothi.com uses, has one of their printing units (offices/factories - I am not getting the right word).

With this delivery of 9 copies, after the first single (sample) copy delivery on 5th May (ordered on 27th April), I now have confidence in the ordering, printing and shipping processes of Pothi.com and their printing partner. I had also ordered one or two copies to be delivered to few close friends/relatives of mine in India. The initial three such orders have been delivered. That too has helped in strengthening my confidence level with Pothi.com and its printing partner. This seems to be a professionally run business.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

National Library of Australia has listed my free ebook: Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation iami1.wordpress.com blog book

Interesting to see that the National Library of Australia has listed my free ebook, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation iami1.wordpress.com blog book" here: https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/253998922. It essentially links to the Open Library free ebook (I had added it there a few days ago).

I think this is the first national library of any country to list my first proper (well formatted and organized with colour cover front and back pages, table of contents etc.) free ebook. Very interesting that it turned out to be Australia, given some Muddenahalli group Facebook fake ID vicious, malicious and false allegation Facebook attacks I have faced from some people who seem to be based, at least partly, in Melbourne, Australia. Note that some of these Facebook fake ID attacks put a lot of stress on me and negatively impacted my real life in Puttaparthi as it sought to create enmity between some powerful person(s) in Puttaparthi and me.

As I had got the first proper version of this ebook ready, around 24th April or so, I sought to first upload it to any Indian (union/federal) government run national library on the Internet. So I Google-searched for terms like 'India free ebooks' (without quotes).

If I recall correctly I landed up on sites like these:

1) Public Library of India, https://archive.org/details/digitallibraryindia. This was part of the well known archive.org website. I uploaded my ebook on archive.org and it got put up there. I need to check out whether I need to do something additional to mark it as relevant to  https://archive.org/details/digitallibraryindia.

2) NATIONAL MISSION ON LIBRARIES,Ministry of Culture, Government of India, http://www.nmlindia.nic.in/pages/display/51-ebooks.

Its Free e-books library link took me to http://ebooksgo.org/, which was a new website to me. I did not spend too much time on it.

Its Free e-books link took me to Free ebooks - Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/, which is a famous site which I had visited many times in the past. To upload books here, one has to visit Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press,  http://self.gutenberg.org/ and register there, which I did.  I did upload this e-book of mine (an earlier version dated around 24th April 2018, if I recall correctly) to this website but I got no response. I intend to now apply for an ISBN number for the ebook. Once I get that, I plan to update the ebook back cover page to have the ISBN barcode and update the initial page in the book having the no copyright notice for my content, to have the ISBN number. After that, I think I will try to upload the ebook again to Project Gutenberg.
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Essentially, I did not get any Govt. of India fully managed and operated website holding repositories of free ebooks when I had checked a few days ago. [The archive.org one mentioned above is not fully managed by Govt. of India though it may contribute to managing the India digital library part of archive.org.]

But today I saw that there is the National Library, Ministry of Culture, Government of India website here: http://www.nationallibrary.gov.in/. As of now, the user registration link on this website does not work. It gives a message, "This facility will be made available soon". This seems to be its wikipedia page:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Library_of_India.

And then I came across: National Digital Library of India: https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/. It is sponsored by the Union (Federal) Ministry of Human Resource Development and coordinated by IIT Kharagpur. Its registration page opens up. So I intend to register here. After I finish the aforementioned ISBN related update to the ebook, I will try to upload it here.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Received Delhi online printer's 12 spiral bound copies and 1 Soft Cover bound copy of iami1 blogbook; Spiral bound copies don't have specified cover front and back pages!

Last updated on 20th May 2018

On 30th April 2018, I had placed an order for 12 spiral-bound copies and 1 Soft Cover bound copy with printonweb.in, a Delhi based online printer, at a total charge of Rs. 1119.80.

Shipping problems and delays

Today (11th May 2018), I received delivery of the order. There was a frantic period I went through yesterday evening for this delivery. Yesterday (10th May), according to the DTDC courier company tracking info., they reported that the package from the Delhi printer addressed to me was NOT DELIVERED yesterday due to "(RECEIVER NOT AVAILABLE)"!!! But I was at home for most of the time, and did not receive any call or SMS from DTDC! I raised a complaint with DTDC customer support and perhaps due to that the status today morning changed to "Out For Delivery" from "Ananthpur Super Franchisee(PUTTAPARTHY)".

For my first order with another Delhi based printer, I faced an alleged package return problem. I had made the order over email (as their web ordering system was not working properly) and did not receive any courier consignment number or any status of the order. After I called them up a week or perhaps even ten days down the line, they told me that the package got returned to them!

So this time around with a different Delhi printer (printonweb.in), since I had a tracking number, I was regularly tracking the progress of the package. Yesterday evening/night when I saw that the status was NOT DELIVERED due to RECEIVER NOT AVAILABLE, I got very worried and became frantic. I thought that this package may get sent back to Delhi. So I checked out DTDC website about how to raise a complaint and eventually managed to get my complaint for this package's consignment number registered in their system. Perhaps that played a role in the package status today morning changing to 'Out for delivery' with no mention of 'NOT DELIVERED' status. It was a great relief for me to see that.

But I did not want to leave any stone unturned in this courier delivery matter. So I tried rather frantically to contact the DTDC Puttaparthi people - both the boss and the delivery man. Eventually I got through and was informed that no such package had been given to them yesterday and that the package was expected today afternoon. I was told to call up again around 4 PM (if I did not receive the package by then). I called up a little after 4 PM and was told that the package had arrived at their office and that I should receive it by 6 PM.

I eventually got delivery of the package perhaps around 5 PM. I did not check the time. It was a great relief to get the package. The delivery man also confirmed that they had not received the package yesterday. The delivery man and his boss's view was that some mistake (by DTDC Ananthpur office) was made in reporting the tracking information due to which my package had got the wrong status yesterday evening as NOT DELIVERED due to RECEIVER NOT AVAILABLE.

I have clearly understood now that shipping of such printed books to Puttaparthi can turn out to be cumbersome affair. I don't think I have ever faced such a delivery issue with amazon.in orders which gets sent via various couriers. I think perhaps courier companies go out of their way to ensure good quality service to top companies like amazon.in but may not be so particular about service quality to smaller companies like printonweb.in.

All 12 spiral bound copies don't have specified cover front and back pages!

After opening the package, I received an unpleasant surprise. The specified cover front and back pages were missing in all the 12 spiral bound copies. The one Soft Cover bound copy had it. See pics below. Note that these pics were taken in the late afternoon with the light starting to fade. So the pics are not so sharp. I may take additional pics tomorrow late morning or early afternoon and add to or replace the pics in this post.

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


Above pic: 12 spiral-bound book copies and 1 Soft Cover binding book copy sent in the package.



Above pics: Front view of spiral-bound book; 1st one was taken in fading light on 11th May and second (immediately above) one was taken in afternoon (around 1.30 to 2.15 PM) under good daylight on 12th May.


Above pic: Back view of spiral-bound book

I called up printonweb.in. They were co-operative. They checked and said that their operator had made the mistake of not using my specified cover front and back pages. They said they would credit the cost of cover (colour on thick glossy paper) pages that I had paid, to my account at printonweb.in (which, I presume, would get used/adjusted for any future orders I make with them).

I was polite with them and wanted to be a co-operative customer looking for a solution to this problem. I asked them whether they could send me the cover page prints and whether it would be possible for some Puttaparthi (local) spiral binding person to attach the cover pages to each of the 12 copies. After some discussions on their side, they agreed to send the cover page prints, and told me that the local spiral binding person could attach those cover page prints to the 12 spiral bound books. Within an hour or two they had printed the Cover pages and dispatched them. This time they used Professional Courier and provided me with the consignment number - they had asked me earlier whether they could use Professional Courier to which I had said it is worth trying out even though I do not know how good their service quality is today.

Later I checked with a Puttaparthi spiral binding person. He said that the holes punched in the copies provided by the Delhi printer will not match the holes (distance between  holes, I guess, was what he was implying) his binding/punching instrument makes, and so there will be a problem in attaching the cover pages sent by the Delhi printer to the spiral bound books! Anyway, he is willing to try it out when the cover pages do arrive. I am happy to see this gentleman's willingness to help me out.

As I thought about it, I realized that I should have asked the Delhi printer to print and punch holes in the Cover pages using their spiral binding/punching instrument, so that the problem mentioned above can be avoided. But the Delhi printer had already dispatched the cover print package! I wonder whether they thought about this issue and punched the cover print pages. I will find out when I get the package.

The print quality of inner pages content is good. I showed it to one of the two main persons of the Puttaparthi bookshop which has agreed to put the (final) book(s) for sale. He agreed that the inner pages content print is good. Please see pic below. 1st one (immediately below) was taken in fading light on 11th May and second one was taken in afternoon (around 1.30 to 2.15 PM) under good daylight on 12th May.




Soft Cover binding book from Delhi printer

The Soft Cover binding quality of the Delhi printer is decent but not close to the professional finish of the book provided by Pothi.com. It is better than the other Delhi printer's Soft Cover binding quality (covered in an earlier post). As the binding cost is Rs. 90 (besides printing) taking the production cost of the book to around Rs. 150 per copy (shipping extra), I feel that for Soft Cover binding I should use only Pothi.com (or other equivalent) professional book publishers/printers. Note that Pothi.com book sells for Rs. 159 per copy (shipping extra).

Given below are some additional pics of the Soft Cover binding book copy:
1st one (immediately below) and third one, was taken in fading light on 11th May and second one was taken in afternoon (around 1.30 to 2.15 PM) under good daylight on 12th May.





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A pic of various iami1 book types I have now (12th May):


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Around 3 days ago (around 17th May), I received the Delhi printer's package of 12 thick colour front cover pages and 12 thick colour back cover pages. I requested the help of one of the Puttaparthi local shops that provide spiral book binding services (whom I had approached in the past). Though there was a mismatch in distance for some of the holes punched by this shop's binding-punching machine, he used a pointed instrument to manually create additional holes where required and got a patch-up job done. A new spiral binding cord (white colour instead of original black) had to be used as the removal process (before new spiral binding inclusive of cover pages) spoiled the original black colour spiral binding cord.

He charged me only Rs. 100 for this patch-up job for 12 spiral-bound copies. I offered him more but he declined. He is the person I had paid Rs. 100 in the past for his advice and consultancy services in earlier attempts I had made in Puttaparthi for book binding, and so he said that since I had already paid him in the past for that, now the charges were only Rs. 100. That was kind of him. I thanked him profusely.

Given below is a pic of some of these spiral-bound book copies with front cover page (and back cover page).


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Sunday, May 6, 2018

The good quality printed book copy that I got yesterday (5th May 2018) evening seems to be my Pothi.com order!

Last updated on 7th May 2018

This post follows up on my recent post: Got two separate Soft Cover binding iami1 blog book copies from Mumbai based big printer and Delhi online printer, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/05/got-two-separate-soft-cover-binding.html.

The package that I received yesterday evening had a 'CHALLAN' (invoice or kind of invoice) from the Mumbai based big printer company [I prefer not to mention their name as of now] that I had directly contacted some days earlier to inquire about printing 25 copies with them. I got the impression that those direct printing discussions fell through as their minimum order was 50 copies. I still asked them for a quote for 50 copies but perhaps the marketing person felt it was not worth the bother of providing me a quote.

I did not find the name 'Pothi.com' in the 'CHALLAN' or anywhere else in the package. And as I saw the name of the Mumbai based big printer company I had contacted earlier as the source/issuer of the CHALLAN, I naturally jumped to the conclusion that this Mumbai printer company had decided to send me a complimentary copy! As of now at least, I can't find fault with me for jumping to that conclusion!

Now I had had a quick glance at a name in the CHALLAN - Mudranik Technologies Pvt. Ltd. with a Bangalore address. I thought that must be a branch office/printer that the Mumbai based big printer had used to print and bind the book and dispatch it to me. My name and address came under the 'To be delivered at' column.

Today I browsed the Net on Mudranik Bangalore and came across an article or two which linked Mudranik company to Pothi.com! From https://www.prlog.org/10141726-print-on-demand-titles-come-to-bangalore-book-festival.html, Nov. 15th 2008, "Pothi.com is owned and operated by Mudranik Technologies Private Limited, a Bangalore based start-up by two IIT Kanpur alumni. It provides print-on-demand, short run printing, pre-publication services and e-commerce store for self publishing authors."

So I looked more closely at the 'CHALLAN'. Mudranik Bangalore company was listed as the "Client"! The Mumbai based big printer company was the printer for Mudranik OR Pothi.com with my name and address being the delivery point! Initially I had thought it was the other way around as the name Mudranik was new to me.

The order number on the 'CHALLAN' is not my order number at Pothi.com. But part of the title of the book printed on 'CHALLAN' - 'The Ultimate Existential Reality Answer: Ve' (truncated title is printed) - matches my order at Pothi.com. I did wonder yesterday itself, about this part of the book title on the CHALLAN as I was not sure whether I had mentioned this title to the Mumbai big printer in my communications with them. But I did not pay much attention to it as I could not see the name, 'Pothi.com' anywhere on the 'CHALLAN'!

The Pothi.com order tracking system shows my order as under 'Processing'. As today is Sunday, perhaps there was no update. Tomorrow if they update the order as delivered then it will confirm that it was Pothi.com through its parent company, Mudranik, that got the Mumbai based big printer company to print, bind and deliver my single copy order.

If I have understood the arrangement correctly then I think that it is a good one for me. Pothi.com allows me to order smaller number of copies as per my need. As Pothi.com may be providing the Mumbai based big printer a lot of business volume for printing the various books they publish, the printer is willing to print small number of copies for Pothi.com (but not for other unknown customers like me when I contacted them directly earlier on).
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7th May 2018 Update: This book copy was printed by the large Mumbai based printer company as an order from  Pothi.com! Pothi.com confirmed to me today that this book copy was delivery of my Pothi.com order.

Got two separate Soft Cover binding iami1 blog book copies from Mumbai based big printer and Delhi online printer

Last updated on 7th May 2018

Today (5th May) I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an iami1 blog book copy with excellent cover page quality, soft cover binding as well as clear printing of black & white inner content pages, from a large Mumbai based printer company (as of now, I am not sure whether this large printer company would want me to mention their name publicly). I had explored the option of printing 25 copies of good Soft Cover binding copies with them but was informed that minimum order is 50 copies. I was still interested to know how much 50 copies will cost but I did not hear from them for some time. I had presumed that they had lost interest in me as a customer prospect.

So today when I received a very well packaged delivery from a courier company, I thought it might be a book that I had recently ordered from amazon.in. It turned out to be 1 copy of iami1 blog book whose file details I had shared with this big printer company. Note that this company has branches/offices in South India. This book copy seems to have been printed and bound in its Bangalore branch/printing facility and then shipped to me from there.

I was so pleased to see this book copy! It had an excellent look and feel! The quality was significantly better than both local (Puttaparthi) printing services for few copies of iami1 blog book that I had tried (may be much better quality for printing order of 100 or more copies, which I was not willing to order from them or from anybody else), and even one Delhi based online printing service provider's printing & binding.

7th May Update: This book copy was printed by the large Mumbai based printer company as an order from  Pothi.com! Pothi.com confirmed to me today that this book copy was delivery of my Pothi.com order. End-7th May Update.

6th May, around 4 PM Update: Given below are pics taken today around afternoon under sunlight (as against electric tubelight used for pics taken yesterday night/today early morning):

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


















I have also put up a small around 1 minute video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_UTPdFtnAI.

----- end 4PM, 6th May Update -----

Given below are some pics I took late at night today (5th May late night) of this book. I plan to take additional pics in the daytime tomorrow and if they come out better, I will replace some of the pics.









In above pic the binding seems to be uniform without any particular points/areas in the inner border being seen as stitching areas/points.

7th May 2018 Update: The above book pics are Pothi.com's Soft Cover binding copy (Price Rs. 159 + shipping) order fulfilled by the Mumbai big printer company.

I also have yet to receive printonweb.in's (another Delhi based online printer) Soft Cover binding copy (it has been dispatched by courier and is in transit now).

This printed book is my first book-baby! I am so glad to see that through Pothi.com I am able to get few copies (even one copy) of such good quality.

The less expensive copies would be ideal for Puttaparthi bookshop(s) as they may find it easier to sell and re-order in small quantities of around 3 copies. There is no way that they will want to pay a big amount up front to order 50 copies at one go and be stuck with that many copies that may either not sell at all, or sell very few copies.

I showed the above book copy to three to four people in Puttaparthi all of whom immediately liked the book cover (some of these people have seen the other book copies too). They found the inner content to also be printed well and be easily readable (big font). I had a concern about whether print was light but most, if not all, brushed that concern away, with some saying that on the particular white paper (background) used, this print is good enough and appropriate. So the feedback for this book copy has been very, very positive from those that I showed it to.

One Delhi online printing service provider Soft Cover binding book copy
Note that I have found another Delhi online printing service provider - printonweb.in - to be providing good quality printing so far. I have yet to receive a Spiral binding as well as Soft Cover binding copy(ies) order that I had placed with them recently. So I don't know how good their quality will be for the binding part. However, on ordering, printing and delivery I find printonweb.in's services to be of good quality.
I have chosen not to name this Delhi online printer (whose Soft Cover binding copy is discussed below) out of not wanting to harm them with a named negative review.
Two or three days ago (if I recall correctly), I got one Soft Cover binding iami1 blog book from a Delhi online printing service provider with whom I had placed an order perhaps over two weeks ago! They had said that the courier company returned their package and so it was taking time. Anyway, I got it eventually. I had also ordered one stapled copy. Instead of a stapled copy I got only the inner content of the book (NOT cover pages) unbound! And no explanation why it was not stapled and why the colour cover pages were not provided for that copy.

I also saw that the some of the pages had dark patches (maybe patches is not the right word for it). Overall, I found this Delhi online printing service provider to be problematic in ordering (their web based order facility did not work due to which I had to email them the order after co-ordination over phone), delivery (took very long due to courier problems according to them), and quality of printing (dark shades/patches).

Given below are some pics of this book copy.




In the above pic, the three places where the stitching has been done are visible.



Above pic shows the spine with printed title and other info. This was the earlier version. Later I decided to drop printed text on the spine as it is too thin.




Above two pics has shows pages with slight dark patches/shades. Below two pics show the same slight dark patches/shades in above pages, but in a magnified form.




Their Soft Cover binding was interesting. The finish as seen from the cover page is not great as one sees a border line on the front and back covers close to the spine of the book, which seems to the binding area. On opening the book, one can see three points at which stitching has been done. But it is more flexible than the stapled book that the local Puttaparthi printer had given me.

However, as the Soft Cover binding charge was Rs. 90 for one copy, I expected it to be like (almost as good as) what one sees in regular paperback books that one buys in regular bookshops. That, unfortunately, is not the case.
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6th May, around 5:20 PM Update: I requested one of the local Puttaparthi printers, who had done earlier printing and spiral binding work for me, to do Spiral binding for the unbound black & white inner content pages that this Delhi printer had sent me. The local person who had the colour cover images from my earlier print orders given to him, printed a black & white cover front and cover back page (of his own volition). The Spiral bound copy he prepared also has a lamination (protection) sheet on the front and back. I have given below pics of the front and back cover of this book copy with the lamination sheet opened (which reflects some coloured patches in the pics).



While there is no doubt that colour cover pages are significantly more attractive than black-and-white cover pages, for Puttaparthi local printing and spiral binding option, colour printing involves more hassles as they may need to go to a different shop, and involves more cost (for example, one such person charged Rs. 25 for colour A5 normal paper printout for front and back cover).

Black-and-white cover, in contrast, can be printed at the local printer's laser printer itself. This local printer asked me only Rs. 2 for printing Black-and-White front and back page covers! I paid him Rs. 5 for it.

So in case of quick, inexpensive and no-frills prints of iami1 blog book done using any laser printer (cum zerox machine in some cases) + spiral binding capability shop (there are many such shops in Puttaparthi itself, and I think it would be similar for many towns and cities in India), this is an option that may be appropriate. The Puttaparthi local printer cost per copy would be around Rs. 65 for Black-and-White printing (123 A5 pages inner content + front cover page + back cover page) plus Rs. 20 for Spiral binding along with lamination sheet on front and back for protection. That is, the total cost would be around Rs. 85 per copy. And I think one could order for 10 copies in the morning around the time the shop opens, say at 10 AM, and collect the 10 copies, same day in the evening around 6 PM, if the laser printer & binding shop is not too busy with other orders.