Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Interesting recent speech by Rajiv Malhotra on challenges involved in achieving real interfaith harmony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76rzAAdeOFA, around half an hour, published 30th July 2018.

From the youtube video description:

My talk describes my own specific experiences with interfaith meetings where leaders of all faiths show love for each other; and yet the fact is that after hundreds of such events over the past 30 years we don’t have religious peace. I explain that the crux of the problem is politically incorrect to discuss. This has to do with the hatred towards outsiders written in most religious texts. These statements are not allowed to be deactivated, amended, or superseded; the reasons for this absolutist dogma have to do with what I have called “history-centrism” in certain religions.

Unless all religions stop aggressive proselytizing to convert others there cannot be religious harmony.
--- end extract from youtube video description ----

Ravi: I tend to agree with the above extract and large parts of his speech which are on those lines.

For those who don't know who Rajiv Malhotra is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajiv_Malhotra .

[I thank Rajiv Malhotra and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract from his youtube video description, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sathya Sai devotee Advaita lecturers who failed the Muddenahalli great spiritual test; Real experience of Advaita

Sometimes Sathya Sai devotees who are great talkers on Advaita (non-duality) but do not have the very powerful Advaita experiences of oneness with others (where they ***really experience*** that they are in all bodies not just their body alone) tend to be impressive lecturers but fail the great spiritual tests like assessing the claims of deluded/false prophets like Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

And then there are some who claim to be enlightened but have failed to see through the delusions and/or deliberate falsehood of cheap imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu! So these supposedly enlightened persons seem to be in the darkness and not in the light.

And the big tragedy is that these supposedly enlightened person(s) who have been spiritually duped by Madhusudan Rao Naidu and Narasimhamurthy, have endorsed Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claims and thereby contributed to deluding and trapping many innocent Sathya Sai devotees across the world into the false belief of Muddenahalli group.

It is quite easy to lecture on Advaita for a person with some decent intellect and reasonable reading of Advaita scripture and books. The tough part is actually experiencing the Advaita core belief of: I am in all and all are in me; There is only one which projects itself as the many.

From Chapter 9 of Shirdi Sai Satcharitra, http://www.saibaba.org/satcharitra/sai9.html

Once, Mrs. Tarkhad was staying in a certain house in Shirdi. At noon, meals were ready and dishes were being served, when a hungry dog turned up there and began to cry, Mrs. Tarkhad got up at once and threw a piece of bread, which the dog gulped with great relish. In the afternoon, when she went to the Masjid and sat at some distance, Sai Baba said to her, "Mother, you have fed Me sumptuously up to my throat, My afflicted pranas (life-forces) have been satisfied. always act like this, and this will stand you in good stead. Sitting in this Masjid I shall never, never speak untruth. Take pity on Me like this. First give bread to the hungry, and then eat yourself. Note this well." She could not at first understand the meaning of what Baba said. So she replied -- "Baba, how could I feed You? I am myself dependent on others and take my food from them on payment." Then Baba replied -- "Eating that lovely bread I am heartily contended and I am still belching. The dog which you saw before meals and to which you gave the piece of bread is, one with Me, so also other creatures (cats, pigs, flies, cows etc.) are one with Me. I am roaming in their forms. He, who sees Me in all these creatures is My beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction, and serve Me, as you did today." Drinking these nectar-like words, she was moved, her eyes were filled with tears, her throat was choked and her joy knew no bounds.

--- end short extract from Shirdi Sai Satcharitra ---

So Shirdi Sai Baba experienced the hunger of a dog being satiated by his devotee and when the devotee went to him a little later, told his devotee that she had fed him. Now that is what I would term "real experience" of Advaita!

In this context I should also mention a Sathya Sai discourse perhaps in the 2000s where he said that there are some who claim that they are spiritually highly elevated/enlightened but they are not really spiritually highly elevated/enlightened. I think that presuming oneself to be spiritually highly elevated/enlightened when one is not really so, is one of the great and tragic traps of the spiritual path.

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Thanks to Lisa De Witt for service to Sathya Sai fraternity in 2000s through her blog refuting unproven allegations of anti-Sai crusaders

Warning: This post refers to a blog that, in the process of critically analyzing and refuting nasty and vicious unproven allegations of anti-Sai crusaders, has had to refer to some of their allegations. Those readers who get put off by reading such nasty and unproven allegations should skip reading the rest of this post. end-Warning

Recently I was having a public comment exchange with Lisa De Witt on my Facebook post here:  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2227521714131060?comment_id=2227618410788057. That's when I came to know of her blog - https://persecutorsofsathyasaibaba.blogspot.com/. It is titled, "Persecutors of Sathya Sai Baba", and sub-titled, "Addresses the suspicious accusations regarding Sathya Sai Baba." There are around 8 posts which are dated from the years 2004 to 2009.

I have given below some of the comments (slightly edited) I made on that exchange as I had a quick look at her blog:

Hey Lisa, just had a quick look at your blog. Great service done by you for the Sathya Sai fraternity. Thanks a ton!
...
Lisa, While I was with the Sai university (Jan 2003 to Mar. 2012 - free service), the unwritten policy was to ignore the criticism on the Internet. I did come across some such anti-Sai stuff but never commented as that was the unwritten policy.

But later (after I had parted ways with the Sai university in March 2012), especially in 2013 when I assisted Prof. Haraldsson with the update to his book, I experienced the power of the anti-Sai propaganda to spread a false view among the public at large.

So the work that you, Joe Moreno and others have done in the past to counter this anti-Sai propaganda on the Internet has been really a great and much required service. I am sure quite a few people would have benefited from your writings and been able to escape from the anti-Sai propaganda trap laid by the anti-Sai guys.
...
[In response to Lisa's comment that people are still looking at her blog everyday, I wrote:]
Wow! So the benefit is an ongoing one.
----
--- end some of my comments from comment exchange ---

Ravi: I later had a somewhat closer look at Lisa's blog - https://persecutorsofsathyasaibaba.blogspot.com/. I think Lisa has done a great job in refuting false allegations by anti-Sai crusaders and sharing published views of people like parapsychology scientist and academic Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson.

Lisa commented that she was attacked (verbally, I guess) for her writings on her blog. As a blogger who exposed Muddenahalli group Asathya & Adharma, I too have been viciously (verbally) attacked mainly in 2016 and 2017, with false and malicious allegations made against me by some Muddenahalli group supporters and promoters, some of which created problems for me in my (outside ashram) Puttaparthi life. So I can appreciate what Lisa would have gone through then (2000s) when she critically analyzed the allegations of the anti-Sai crusaders and exposed them, and so came under attack from them and/or other anti-Sai people.

I am sure that this blog of Lisa De Witt would have significantly contributed to saving some, especially newbie, Sathya Sai devotees in the 2000s particularly, from coming under the sway of the anti-Sai crusaders and so losing faith in the divinity of Sathya Sai.

I thank Lisa for this great contribution she has made to the Sathya Sai fraternity. Jai Sai Ram!

Friday, July 27, 2018

"Ready to wait" campaign ladies tell Supreme Court that Lord Ayyappa's right to privacy as 'eternal celibate' must be respected

Fascinating! "Women devotees, who ran “Ready to wait” campaign to support the restriction on entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, on Thursday told the Supreme Court that Lord Ayyappa’s right to privacy as an ‘eternal celibate’ must be respected." https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/lord-ayyappa-s-eternal-celibate-status-must-be-respected-women-devotees-tell-sc/627009.html

My late elder brother was a staunch Lord Ayyappa devotee who observed, many times, the stipulated penance during Sabiramala pilgrimage period, sometimes going to Sabiramala on pilgrimage during this period. He also took the lead in organizing Ayyappa congregational worship (puja) in the part of the town that he was living in.

So I am quite well exposed to Lord Ayyappa devotees and the associated traditions, even if I myself have never been to Sabarimala. Of course, I participated in some events of the Ayyappa worship (puja) that my brother took the lead in organizing.

I am quite sure many women Ayyappa devotees would agree with the sentiments expressed by the "Ready to wait" group of ladies. I fully support the "Ready to wait" group of ladies on this matter. Note that, as far as I know, there is no bar on ladies worshiping Lord Ayyappa in their homes.

The article states that the Indian Supreme Court had earlier observed that "the restriction on entry of women of menstruating age into Sabarimala Temple was due to patriarchy and most women were conditioned to obey it."

This was contested in the Supreme Court by a lawyer of the Nair Service Society stating, "Women in Kerala are socially advanced, owing to their education, and most of them are not opposed to the practices followed in Sabarimala…Hindus in Kerala followed matrilineal practices, and hence it was baseless to contend that they are subjugated. Therefore, the issue should not be approached through notions of patriarchy or misogyny".

Lord Ayyappa is viewed as the "eternal celibate" - "Naisthika Brahmachari". Celibacy is a vital aspect of penance associated with many Hindu religious traditions. BTW the penance the (male) Ayyappa devotees undergo when they wear the Lord Ayyappa/Sabarimala Mala (necklace) signifying that they are undergoing penance, includes celibacy.

Now some Hindu women may not be comfortable with such restrictions on entry of women of menstruating age to Sabarimala temple. Then they can choose to worship some other Hindu deity in temples where there are no such restrictions.

I think it is a well established Hindu belief that celibacy along with spiritual practices like Japa (chanting the Holy Name/Mantra) - Brahmacharya - gives some spiritual and mind-control power to the male. I also think there is some truth to it.

Therefore my considered view is that the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India should give due consideration to deeply held beliefs in this matter, before they arrive at any judgement.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Muddenahalli group supporters and promoters should NOT invoke the name of Lord Jesus Christ in a flippant way, related to dancing and laughter, in context of cheap imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu

Last updated on 25th July 2018

Given below is a comment (slightly edited) I put up on https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212812975383862

I just saw this very inspiring interview of Rev. (Pastor) Martin Luther King Jr. by BBC in 1961. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4fycfda10. I am sure that it was faith in Jesus that formed the core of the inspirational leadership that he provided to suppressed and discriminated African-Americans of the USA then. Note that Pastor King's father was also a pastor.

Now in the comment urging us to "lighten up", the word Jesus is also used. "Lighten up. Jesus. Really you're no fun at all."

Update on 25th Jul 2018: The full comment was, "I spend my whole day dancing, all day long - you guys are such sour pusses. Lighten up. Jesus. Really you're no fun at all." end-Update.

Initially I did not want to respond to the invocation of Lord Jesus Christ in that comment. After seeing this inspiring video interview of Rev. (Pastor) Martin Luther King Jr. where I felt that his life and work were inspired by his faith in Jesus and in the divine, I feel an urge to respond to the invocation of Jesus in the comment.

I am a Hindu who loves, adores and worships Lord Jesus Christ, who BTW was an Asian (and not a European).

Would Jesus approve of lightening up when it came to the serious matter of a cheap imitator imitating him and claiming to speak his words and interact with some invisible to others so called subtle body of his? I very much doubt Jesus would approve of it and laugh it away. Why do I say that?

Well, Jesus could have laughed and danced instead of confronting the Jewish establishment in Jerusalem and trying to get them to change their ways - note that Jesus himself was born and raised in the Jewish faith. Pontius Pilate asked Jesus - are you the "King of the Jews" - which was the sedition charge brought against him by the Jerusalem Jewish establishment spiritual leaders, the Sanhedrin. Jesus could have laughed and danced and joked that no, he was not and that he will co-operate with the Sanhedrin and obey them. That would have been a great relief to Pilate who could then have set Jesus free!!!

But did Jesus do that? Of course not. Jesus DID NOT dance and joke about such serious matters. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate

Pilate's main question to Jesus was whether he considered himself to be the King of the Jews in an attempt to assess him as a potential political threat. Mark in the NIV translation states: "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "It is as you say", Jesus replied. However, quite a number of other translations render Jesus' reply as variations of the phrase: "Thou sayest it." (King James Version, Mark 15:2); "So you say". (Good News Bible, Mark 15:2). Whatever degree of confirmation modern interpreters would derive from this answer of Jesus, according to the New Testament, it was not enough for Pilate to view Jesus as a real political threat. The chief priests began hurling accusations toward Jesus, yet he remained silent. Pilate asked him why he did not respond to the many charges, and Jesus remained silent, so Pilate was "astonished".

Pilate appears to have been reluctant to allow the crucifixion of Jesus, finding no fault with him. According to Matthew 27:19, even Pilate's wife spoke to him on Jesus' behalf. According to the gospels, it was the custom of the Roman governor to release one prisoner at Passover, and Pilate brought out Barabbas, identified by Matthew as a "notorious prisoner" and by Mark as a murderer, and told the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus as per the custom, in the hopes of getting them to request the release of Jesus. However, the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas and said of Jesus, "Crucify him!" In Matthew, Pilate responds, "Why? What evil has he done?" The crowd continued shouting, "Crucify him!"

Pilate ordered a sign posted above Jesus on the cross stating "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews" to give public notice of the legal charge against him for his crucifixion. The chief priests protested that the public charge on the sign should read that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Pilate refused to change the posted charge, saying "What I have written, I have written." ("Quod scripsi, scripsi").[26 - Hon. Harry Fogle: The Trial of Jesus Jurisdictionary Foundation.] This may have been to emphasize Rome's supremacy in crucifying a Jewish king; it is likely, though, that Pilate was offended by the Jewish leaders using him as a catspaw and thus compelling him to sentence Jesus to death contrary to his own will.

---- end extract ----

Ravi: Muddenahalli group supporters and promoters, especially those who claim to be spiritually enlightened, should NOT invoke the name of Lord Jesus Christ in such a flippant way, related to dancing and laughter. If they do, they only show their ignorance of the awesome divinity of Lord Jesus Christ and expose their lack of spiritual maturity, even if they claim to be spiritually enlightened. I am sorry if my words hurt some readers. But the name of Lord Jesus Christ should not be flippantly used along with the words of dancing and laughter when dealing with serious spiritual matters about distortion and dilution of legacy and memories of a great spiritual master (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) by a cheap imitator (Madhusudan Rao Naidu) who is misguiding thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world.

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

Muddenahalli group supporter advises us to lighten up and says we are "no fun at all"! My response

Last updated on 28th July 2018

A comment on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212812975383862) aimed at those of us who were opposing Muddenahalli group with our comments on that post, had these sentences in it: "... - you guys are such sour pusses. Lighten up. Jesus. Really you're no fun at all."

I wrote the following comment which I felt appropriate to share as a separate post:

We are advised to lighten up :-). Perhaps the philosophy and outlook advised to us is: "Life is a joke. Laugh at it" :-).

Interesting approach. But I have faced the fury of my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (in physical form before April 2011 Mahasamadhi) when I made some bad mistakes. So I certainly cannot take the view that Bhagavan's publicly given instructions on multiple occasions that we should not follow communicators and mediums wrt Him, are a joke!

Bhagavan loved humour. But Bhagavan did not find Narasimhamurthy's statements to him about some boy's claims (some years back, perhaps sometime around 2000) about being a medium of Sathya Sai, humourous! Bhagavan gave Narasimhamurthy a tongue-lashing (according to publicly shared information from Satyajit Salian) and was furious with Narasimhamurthy.

I am afraid of such fury of Bhagavan. I don't mind being called a 'sour puss' by Muddenhalli group supporters and being told that I am "no fun at all". That can be ignored and will not cause harm to me. But if Bhagavan gets mad at me then I will be in deep trouble.

So, as far as I am concerned, Bhagavan's instructions regarding mediums and communicators (not to follow them) are NOT a joke. Life is a game, yes. But a game with some rules including rules about Karmic cause and effect, and about being faithful to one's spiritual master/ Gurudev and not diluting and distorting memories and legacy of the spiritual master. The game of life is NOT a joke to be laughed at. The legacy of one's Gurudev is NOT a joke to be laughed at.

============================================================

Given below are my comments (slightly edited) from associated Facebook post and comment thread: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2227521714131060?comment_id=2227618410788057. [I have not provided comments of others as I would need to seek permission from them for it. So readers who would like to see the whole conversation should visit the above public post]

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
--Name-snipped--, I have a theory about some supposedly (but not really) enlightened people in Muddenahalli group who promote the FALSE CLAIM about Madhusudan Naidu. This theory is based on my interactions with and understanding of quite a few people of Muddenahalli group who interacted with me on Facebook since early 2015 when I got active on this matter.

But I have some concerns about whether this theory of mine may touch some sensitive spots. Maybe I can try to share it here step-by-step and see the reactions. I can do it right here on this thread. What do you say?
...
[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
I think its time to do it publicly. So here goes ...
...
I think MDH group leaders including Narasimhamurthy, Isaac Tigrett and others think they are following a higher God than Sathya Sai.

I further think that they patronisingly look down upon people like us who revere Sathya Sai as an Avatar and try hard to follow his teachings and instructions at least on key matters (like NOT following mediums & communicators) ... It must also be said that most of us slip up here and there. We are not perfect -for sure, I am NOT perfect.
...
Essentially they think themselves to be superior beings and us folks to be spiritually immature and NOT knowledgeable about great spiritual truths and things that they supposedly know.
...
Now people like Narasimhamurthy had spent a lot of time in close physical proximity to Bhagavan. Now such close physical proximity is spiritually very good but also has some challenges.
...
BTW feel free to add your comments including disagreement, if any.
...
The challenge part is that the human aspects of the human+divine Avatar can lead physically close persons to concentrate on the human aspects and lose out on the divine aspects. Further the human aspects may lead them to *****doubt***** the divine aspects.
...
Am I going too far in these comments of mine?
...
Ok. I am deciding to go on anyway.
...
Narasimhamurthy got caught up in the human aspects of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, due to which outwardly he put on a show of great belief in Sathya Sai, but inwardly he had doubt.
...
So long as Bhagavan was in physical form, Narasimhamurthy did not dare try any stunt like dream-instruction communicator or Madhu Baba communicator, as Sathya Sai would have made chutney (paste) of Narasimhamurthy if he had tried those stunts when Swami was in physical form.
...
But by around three months after Mahasamadhi, Narasimhamurthy found himself to be in a superb position to start doing his dream-instruction communicator stuff.
...
He was clearly going against Sathya Sai instructions as such dream instructions are meant for individuals and perhaps their close family and friends, but not as instructions for the Sathya Sai fraternity to follow.
...
I will even say that Narasimhamurthy would have known that Sathya Sai would not approve of his actions but Narasimhamurthy would have felt that he is getting intuitive instructions from a HIGHER GOD. [Narasimhamurthy seems to have laid great importance on intuition even during Swami physical form days, and would call some students as intuition boys.]
...
Now the dharmic (ethical) thing for Narasimhamurthy to have done is to have publicly said that he is following instructions of his HIGHER GOD (NOT Sathya Sai).
...
But then Narasimhamurthy (BNNM) would not have got donors and followers from the vital Sai educational system alumni group and the larger Sathya Sai fraternity (especially the rich foreign Sathya Sai devotees)!!!
...
So he engaged in ****deceit****, in ****Adharma****, to claim that he is following Sathya Sai, when actually he was following some HIGHER GOD as per his view.
...
I think it is similar in the case of Madhusudan Naidu, Isaac Tigrett and some other leaders of Muddenahalli group.
...
They are ****wilfully**** deceiving Sathya Sai devotees worldwide but think that they are helping them as they view these devotees as spiritually dumb people who will NOT understand their HIGHER GOD concept, and so have to be told that it is Sathya Sai (and not their perceived HIGHER GOD) who is giving them instructions.
...
So this is my theory.
...
And if my theory is correct, then Muddenahalli group leaders have become ****FALSE PROPHETS**** who are misusing the HOLY NAME of Sathya Sai, and are leading Muddenahalli group followers into spiritual wilderness.
...
Oh what a terrible fate it is for a spiritual aspirant, a sadhaka, to become a FALSE PROPHET!
...
I shudder to think of the negative karmic consequences such ****FALSE PROPHETS**** who misuse the HOLY NAME of Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, will have to face.
...
And may Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba protect those of His devotees who have been caught up in the ****TERRIBLE TRAP**** of these Muddenahalli group ****FALSE PROPHETS****.
...
That finishes my main thoughts on this matter.
...
[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
Oh! Madhusudan is good at mimicry, we were told. And people say he was into black magic (calling spirits...) kind of stuff when he was a student itself! Later he seems to have picked up more black magic stuff. But I don't know for sure.

About the malevolent spirit entity - that's what some have said. That could be true. Once again, I don't know for sure.

But the brain behind Muddenahalli group in the key initial years was Narasimhamurthy. He simply used Madhusudan to serve his goals.

Now, however, Madhusudan seems to have acquired a following in his own right and Narasimhamurthy may not have much control over Madhusudan. In fact, perhaps Madhusudan now controls Narasimhamurthy.
---

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
I don't know too much about Isaac Tigrett. But about Narasimhamurthy, I have made a lot of investigations as he is the key man who created Muddenahalli group. Without Narasimhamurthy, Muddenahalli group could not have happened. He is the celibate missionary out on a grandiose mission building exercise. The other senior leaders of Muddenahalli group do not have anything close to the track record that Narasimhamurthy had ****before Swami Mahasamadhi**** as a mission builder.

Now I am NOT saying that Narasimhamurthy did not believe in Swami's divine powers. He surely would have. However, what I am saying is that he had ****doubt**** about Swami being an infallible, perfect Avatar/God. Otherwise how would he dare to go against direct instructions given to him by Swami via a tongue-lashing, wrt mediums & communicators!!!

Most people who have had some level of physical level interaction (even gestures and looks on a regular basis, like in my case) ****knew****/****experienced***** Swami's divine powers like that of knowing what we had done and what we were thinking. Without a doubt, Narasimhamurthy would also have had such experiences and so NOT doubt Swami's divine powers of somehow knowing what we had done and what we were thinking. It was really extraordinary stuff.

But I must also say that most such people (including me) struggled to come to terms with some seeming contradictions with respect to Swami and Swami's statements. I now have the view that some of these things are beyond my limited understanding and that there would be some divine reasons for it. So any such seeming contradictions do not really impact my faith in Swami and my faith in key Swami instructions like that about NOT following mediums and communicators.

Narasimhamurthy seems to have tripped up in a big way there. The 96 years statement that Swami did make on some occasions was used by Narasimhamurthy to create an artificial reality world where falsehood was created so as to give the impression that Swami will continue till 96 but in a so called subtle body. Now there have been reports of Swami having said that though he has said 96 years, he could choose to leave early. So I am of the view that for whatever reason (beyond my comprehension) the 96 years thing did not work out and Swami chose to leave Sathya Sai physical body earlier.

Essentially, Narasimhamurthy lost his discrimination and behaved in a mad way, where he selectively chose Sathya Sai statements that he wanted (e.g. 96 years) and ignored Sathya Sai statements like NOT following mediums and communicators that were a problem for his new mission! And I think he would have justified this in his mind and among his close top circle of Muddenahalli group, by viewing it as acceptable to a HIGHER GOD.
---

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
I have full faith in Sathya Sai prediction and assurance that he will come back as Prema Sai. But what I read is that Prema Sai will start his mission somewhat later than Sathya Sai (age wise). So I don't know whether (or rather, I guess that) Prema Sai will take a decade or more before coming into the public realm.

If you look at the Shirdi Sai example, not only was Sathya Sai born 8 years later, but it took decades before Shirdi Sai Sansthan (key Shirdi Sai orgn.) and Shirdi Sai devotees took notice of Sathya Sai. I wonder whether the same will be the case with Prema Sai.
----

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
About the demon thing wrt Muddenahalli: It certainly is a possibility and some are very convinced about it. I simply don't know as I have typically stayed rather far away from anything to do with demons. [There is a significant amount of Black Magic stuff in India today with blatant advertisements on the Internet.]
---

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
Well, after Sathya Sai Mahasamadhi, I decided to spend some time studying the world situation (earlier I was focused more on my personal spiritual sadhana, and on doing my free Seva work in the university as well as I could).

Undoubtedly there are some great and good things going on, including the good aspects of the Internet which enables you and me to interact so conveniently and quickly though we are almost on opposite sides of the globe!

But there are some major, major challenges and problems the world, including India, faces today. Crime including sex related crimes are a regular occurrence. India, in particular, is facing some horrendous and very shameful sex crimes problems.

Materialism is rampant, even among supposedly 'ceiling on desires' spiritual communities. What we Indians would criticize about the USA in the 1980s is what we see in India itself today! Even Puttaparthi, especially after Mahasamadhi, has quite a lot of materialistic people, with some 'ceiling on desires' folks.

Can the world ecological systems sustain the high degree of material aspirations of billions of people around the world? I wonder whether it can.

How about the massive problem of rural unemployment or underemployment, especially in the context of increasing automation, not only in USA (which seems to have made a big impact in the 2016 presidential elections) but also in India! As a former software technology guy, I can see that the trend towards automation has become very strong. That will help the concerned companies make huge profits and make the share holders wealthy. But how about people employment? Or are they destined to be on welfare and lose their self-dignity and self-worth? These questions are so scary that I try not to get too involved with them, as I am not in a position to contribute to a solution.

I don't know about Sathya Yuga. But Sathya Sai taught eternal values. More and more people knowing about it and practising it, with Prema Sai contributing to further spread it, would be a very positive force for the world. However, the big industry and military guys need to get their act together and switch to a more equal world, a more caring capitalism, for more love, joy and peace in the world.
----

[In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:]
Let us see! We were blessed to experience the Avatar of the age. We should do our bit to spread Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema (and Ahimsa with exception of self-defense scenarios). Once we have done that, we can leave the rest to Him.
----
========================================================
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote over email in response to the above contents (and was OK with public sharing):
Sai Ram,

So engaging a commentary Ravi.  I love it.  Thank you for writing it.
----

I (Ravi) responded:
Glad you liked it, Terry.
----
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[In response to a comment:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Oh! I meant I don't know the details about Moreno. I am certainly familiar with the name of Robert Priddy as he was perhaps the most prominent anti-Sai guy on the Internet. Brian Steele, if I recall correctly, is an academic who supported Priddy. These academics attacked Prof. Haraldsson's book where Haraldsson concluded that though there is no scientific evidence (as Baba would not permit controlled conditions for their scientific testing), going by standards used by courts of law (which give value to reliable eyewitness accounts) at least some of Baba's reported miracles have to be viewed as authentic.
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[In response to a comment:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Hey --name-snipped--, just had a quick look at your blog [Ravi: https://persecutorsofsathyasaibaba.blogspot.com/ ]. Great service done by you for the Sathya Sai fraternity. Thanks a ton!
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[In response to a comment:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
While I was with the Sai university (Jan 2003 to Mar. 2012 - free service), the unwritten policy was to ignore the criticism on the Internet. I did come across some such anti-Sai stuff but never commented as that was the unwritten policy.

But later, especially in 2013 when I assisted Prof. Haraldsson with the update to his book, I experienced the power of the anti-Sai propaganda to spread a false view among the public at large.

So the work that you, --name-snipped-- and others have done in the past to counter this anti-Sai propaganda on the Internet has been really a great and much required service. I am sure quite a few people would have benefited from your writings and been able to escape from the anti-Sai propaganda trap by the anti-Sai guys.
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[In response to a comment:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Wow! So the benefit is an ongoing one.
...
Do you know about a radio interview perhaps in 2013 in the UK where Prof. Haraldsson corrected the interviewers who joked about Swami's miracles to be fake?
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[In response to a comment:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Prof. Haraldsson Politely Asserts Genuineness of Sai Baba miracles in UK Radio Talk Show in 2012, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2013/08/prof-haraldsson-politely-asserts.html.
...
This transcript extract from my post shows how the tone of the interviewers had changed towards the end of this part of the interview (dealing with Sai Baba):

Around 1:22:30
Talk show host - "You were there and you saw him. What was your feeling about the whole thing, about him? How do you feel yourself about him? The man. Do you think he actually had paranormal powers?"

EH says, "Well, when I look at the cases I studied and also some of the things I observed it is hard not to think that he had some paranormal abilities.... And there really hasn't been anyone like him."

Talk show host, "No. And I have known of nuclear scientists and all kinds of people who were devotees of Sai Baba. ... Most impressive type of people."
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[In response to a comment about a youtube video by Robert Priddy bashing Haraldsson:] Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
I may have in the past. I read quite a bit of the Haraldsson bashing text articles from academics. That was very disappointing.
...
Tragically, as Haraldsson is himself an academic he had to give some value to fellow academics bashing him. That's how academia is.
...
I think that's what led him to introduce (without giving me any hint that he was going to do so) a new chapter on Western Critics, in his updated book.
...
I got very upset with the new chapter and have publicly criticized it strongly.
...
It spoiled the whole updated book for me as now I could not recommend it to anybody.
...
My impression is that Haraldsson would have been under great academic and other pressure to include that chapter, which had nothing really to do with his parapsychology investigations of Sai Baba miracles.
...
I think the BBC program and some European TV channel(s) program against Swami had significant impact in Europe. Perhaps that forced Haraldsson to include that chapter.
...
Such is life! And such is the power of big media!
...
In the context of this discussion, I felt it appropriate to share a previous blog post of mine: How should we social media writers about Sathya Sai Baba deal with queries based on Western media promoted negative allegations of the past?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/11/how-should-we-social-media-writers.html, dated Nov. 2017.

Any comments from you are welcome.
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Have created EPUB version of iami1 blog book for download for smartphone and other ebook reading devices & apps

Last updated on 20th July 2018

Today (19th July 2018) I faced a case of a USA based Facebook friend being interested in reading my "Who am I? I am I – Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" iami1.wordpress.com blogbook on her smartphone device. The PDF file download was not suitable.

That prompted me to work on providing an epub format file generated using an online converter. Of course, besides her there may be others who would like to read my ebook on their smartphone and so it was a generic issue and not specific to her alone.

So I have now got an epub format file available for download which I was able to read using Lithium free ebook reader on my inexpensive (cheap) Android smartphone. BTW I am somewhat new to smartphones and so am far from being an expert on smartphones (my comfort zone is the PC/computer).

The reading experience of the epub file using Lithium app on my smartphone is far superior to reading the PDF file on my smartphone as the Lithium app reflows the text of the epub file. It does have some blank pages and the pics in the first two pages do not get shown very well. But those are minor issues, IMHO, which the online automatic generator process could not resolve on its own. I am reluctant to spend additional time now on exploring whether I can fix these minor problems using an EPUB editor program. Maybe I will do it later sometime.

The key thing is that the main text contents are easily readable on the smartphone Android device. I also used Calibre and Icecream ebook reader applications on the PC (Windows) to read the EPUB file. Both these PC apps rendered the EPUB file well (was easily readable), barring the minor problems mentioned earlier.

I DID NOT FACE any virus warning for the epub file either on my computer or on my smartphone (both of which have anti-virus checking software installed).

I used a free online Word to epub converter website to create the epub: https://www.online-convert.com. I don't know whether it introduces any virus in the converted epub file but I doubt it as it is listed as one of the top online ebook converters in this review: https://www.epubor.com/best-online-epub-converters-review.html. But I cannot guarantee it.

If readers are using an Android smartphone, they may want to check with their local security expert/guru whether they should download and try to read the epub file using an epub reader app (like Lithium free app available for download on Google Play) on their smartphone. If the local security expert/guru gives them the go-ahead here's the epub file download link: https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1KfRZ_hnJylAjDC1RxLMQrPWDzcVfaeR7

On my Android smartphone, simply clicking on the above link, opens the file on the Google drive itself (without seeming to download the file). So I could view the file in Lithium app but was not sure whether the file was downloaded to the device.

To download the file, I had to press on the link (instead of tap) which gave me the option to download the link and on choosing it, the file got downloaded onto my Android device (smartphone). Then I could open the file in my Downloads folder on the smartphone using the Lithium ebook app.

The download page on iami1 blog i.e. https://iami1.wordpress.com/consolidated-blog-content-document/ has been updated to have the EPUB file download link.
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Also used Aldiko ebook reader on my LYF (inexpensive) Android smartphone. That too read the EPUB format file well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Received copy of hopefully stable version of paperback iami1 blogbook with Glossy lamination cover released on 6th July 2018

On 16th July 2018 evening, I received the latest version of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" iami1.wordpress.com blog book, https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

The last changes done were as follows:

1) Border sizes in cover page was modified to remove disproportional border size look in cover front page.
2) Switched back to Glossy lamination for cover page printing in Pothi.com.
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The delivery received incorporated these changes and the border sizes in cover front page look proportional. I hope that this version is now the stable version for the paperback book.

Given below are a few pics of it.

[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.]








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Sunday, July 15, 2018

In India, I doubt that medico with faith in God would keep it aside when he/she enters the hospital; faith would be part of his/her being

The following note is based on my comments made elsewhere.

Those who attribute all to God and none to medical staff in cases of successful critical surgery, I think, are having very unbalanced and wrong views. Medical staff would typically be very deserving of significant credit for such success. But there is nothing wrong in theist patients thanking God too for the success.

I don't know if all persons in a typical medical team in an Indian hospital would be atheists but one should not be surprised if one finds that some in the medical team which includes nurses who tend to have more regular care-giving interactions with the patient, are theists. Medical people see life and death at close quarters and I have read that sometimes some medicos pray to God when they are working on a critical case. Whether such prayers help or not (or worse hurt), I think, is difficult to prove scientifically.

I have read about many medical staff including cardiac surgeons who pray to God and have publicly said (their view NOT scientifically proven fact) that such prayers and their faith in God in general have helped them succeed in critical cases.

I think the key here is to NOT go overboard one way or the other. If a patient and/or a medico does not have faith and works only with scientific medical knowledge - fine. But if a patient and/or a medico has faith in God and prays to God for success in medical treatment, without compromising on scientific medical knowledge, that is fine too.
...
In a typical medical team in a hospital in India, I would not be surprised if theists are the majority! India is a land of deep religious faith.

And serving patients as a way of serving God is a powerful form of devotional offering to God, across religions including Hinduism and Christianity.
...

Faith in God is not a dress that one wears when one is at a place of religious worship and takes it off once one leaves that place. It is part of one's being.

So I doubt if faith in God (and any associated religious leanings) would go out of the door once a medical staff member who is of faith in God, enters a hospital.

But I think it is difficult to prove this scientifically, one way or the other.

Miscellaneous posts & comments on Facebook in July 2018

When author of post or comment is not mentioned, it should be assumed that it is me (Ravi S. Iyer).


My comment dated 31st July 2018 in https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2236133183269913

The Andhra Pradesh govt. has provided vital infrastucture facilities support to Puttaparthi town including SSSCT run Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. These include decent supply of electric power, (very vital) water to Puttaparthi from Hundri Neeva scheme, maintaining a peaceful town using the police etc. at a time when Andhra Pradesh is facing a huge financial crunch situation due to bifurcation in 2014 and loss of the big revenue earning city of Hyderabad.

Some may say that is nothing great! Well, if they visit towns and cities some distance from Puttaparthi, they will come to know about the challenges of life in this drought-prone economically backward district of Anantapur.

I am very grateful to Andhra Pradesh govt. led by Hon'ble CM N.Chandrababu Naidu, for what I have detailed above.

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On Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/videos/10212812966023628/, I wrote on 23rd July:

The big problem is Madhusudan Rao Naidu with his cheap imitation of Sathya Sai, and his misguidance of thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world, using the HOLY NAME of Sathya Sai.

The free educational and medical service work of Muddenahalli group is NOT a problem in general, except for such work being used to promote the FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudan Rao Naidu.
...
[In response to a comment, I wrote:]
Well, I don't know about Swami's name being trademarked in India. From my readings and understanding of the matter, it (Sathya Sai name) is protected from improper use as per a law in India as are other names like Ramakrishna Math and Auroville (for details see https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/THE%20EMBLEMS%20AND%20NAMES%20ACT,%201950.pdf). That is different from a trademark.
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[In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):]
You raise a valid possibility, --name-snipped--. Essentially, if Muddenahalli group provided detailed financial reports which are audited by an authorized auditor, about their trusts to the public then the public will know how much percentage of donated funds are used for the actual service of the advertised beneficiaries, and how much is used to pay salaries and/or perks for the top management of Muddenahalli group including Madhusudan Naidu and Narasimhamurthy.

But Muddenahalli group have NOT done that, as far as I know. So one cannot rule out the possibility that you have raised (con men using service to society as a cover to extract money from people).
...
But it also has to be said that as far as we know, nobody has filed a successful/upheld as valid police complaint against Muddenahalli group for fraudulently extracting money from them. Even the Mr. Ajit Popat case could NOT be treated that way as I believe Muddenahalli group said that the money Mr. Popat had donated was used to build some school building which was used for service to society work. Therefore, I believe Mr. Popat did not have any case.
...
Oh! Madhusudan Rao Naidu was reported to be in desperate financial straits before his (FALSE CLAIM) medium/communicator role brought him money and fame.
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For this comment: https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10212812975383862?comment_id=10212813904327085, I wrote (slightly edited):

Good one --name-snipped--! BTW do you also give Vibhuti and rings? That is very important bro. to create the right impression.
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I am thoroughly enjoying this --name-snipped--. I guess I really love and enjoy satire. While I have not rolled on the floor laughing, your comment has given me lots of joy and laughter. It has made my day! Thanks a ton!
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In case some readers may misunderstand my comments, I would like to clarify that my comments are aimed at the cheap imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu and his Muddenahalli group led by B.N. Narasimhamurthy.

This Madhusudan Naidu is imitating my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and thereby misguiding thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world.
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2218296605053571 dated 17th July

Quantity of free service projects done by Muddenahalli group cannot mask the truth that spiritually they are lost as the fundamental basis of Muddenahalli group - Madhusudan Naidu's communicator claim - is false

Given below is a comment I made elsewhere on Facebook:

Sathya Sai physical form focused on quality and NOT quantity. Sathya Sai physical form was very particular about not commercialising his beloved institutions and organization.

Sathya Sai so called subtle body promoted by MBA Madhusudan Naidu and Narasimhamurthy, seem to be focused on MBA business model and talk about quantity while blatantly going against teachings and instructions of Sathya Sai relating to him never speaking through mediums and communicators.

But what I have realized is that some people ****want**** a diluted and distorted form of Sathya Sai, which they prefer to call Sathya Sai (so Madhusudan Rao Naidu is Swami meaning Sathya Sai for so many now in Muddenahalli group). Essentially, there is a market demand for such communicators espousing a diluted and distorted form of Sathya Sai, with some moneyed people flocking to that group perhaps for the additional importance they get in that group due to their big donations.

As free service to society is provided, I think they get a lot of community support and political support from the communities they serve. So Karnataka and Telangana political leaders and ministers are willing to support Muddenahalli group even if they don't really believe in Madhusudan Rao Naidu's communicator claim. I think it will be similar in other parts of the world too.

But I doubt if any respected spiritual leader will endorse Madhusudan Rao Naidu's weird claim of being able to see and communicate with an invisible and inaudible subtle body of Sathya Sai. In particular, I doubt that the Shankaracharyas of important Maths like Sringeri, or other spiritual leaders like Mata Amritanandamayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev etc. will publicly support Madhusudan Rao Naidu's weird claim.

They have their group and they seem to like what they do and the communities they serve are getting material benefits. But, to be frank, spiritually I think they are quite lost. And that tragedy is mainly due to B.N. Narasimhamurthy. He will NOT ESCAPE the negative karmic consequences of misguiding so many thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world. He went against direct instructions of Sathya Sai to him not to believe in such medium and communicator claims.

As I have said earlier, it would have been spiritually fine if Narasimhamurthy had done his preaching as Narasimhamurthy Baba and Madhusudan Naidu had done it as Madhu Baba. But they have misused the name of their Guru, Sathya Sai, and diluted and distorted His legacy. Time will surely not judge them in a good light irrespective of how many service to society projects they do, because of this dilution and distortion they have done to the memories and legacy of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
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[The above comment was made on this comment in this post: https://www.facebook.com/yaani.drucker/posts/10156507380855477?comment_id=10156507526310477]

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On FB post https://www.facebook.com/yaani.drucker/posts/10156505705120477, I wrote on 16th July:

All the best to you sister Yaani Drucker with your planned efforts to consider serving the folks in Mississippi (Tom Sawyer territory, if I recall correctly :-) ) through Muddenahalli group proposed hospital.

For me though, the big hassle is that the medical service efforts would be done under the umbrella of Muddenahalli group which promotes the FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudan Rao Naidu of being a so called communicator (with the claim now going to the extent of Swami entering his body when he does his Lingodbhavam). I think that would present a distorted view of our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, to the good folks of Mississippi. Their understanding of Bhagavan would get reduced to Madhusudan Rao Naidu which would be a real tragedy.

The great apostles of Lord Jesus Christ, like Peter, Matthew, Thomas and Paul (as you would know, Paul did not have direct interactions with Jesus and initially persecuted the early Christians before having a transformative experience on the road to Damascus) did extraordinary work to share the message of Jesus across not only Palestine but other parts of Asia including India, as well as Europe. [There are very credible articles that say that Thomas came to Kerala, India which had a Jewish trading community then, and started the Indian Syrian Christian group there in the first century AD, which continues to flourish to this day in Kerala and other parts of India.]

But in my limited readings of the work of these great apostles of Lord Jesus Christ, none of them claimed to be a chosen communicator of Jesus Christ who could see some so called subtle body of Jesus and communicate with him. So they were able to spread the message of Jesus without need for such "chosen communicator" stuff.

That Madhusudan Rao Naidu is doing this, and that it is being endorsed by Muddenahalli Group elders including B.N. Narasimhamurthy, is tragic, in my considered opinion.

I shudder to think about how some fiery evangelical preachers of the Bible belt of the USA which includes Mississippi, I believe, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Belt, will react to Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claim if and when his claim gets known there through the proposed free service hospital.

In my view, it would be far more acceptable to the good folks in Mississippi, USA, if Muddenahalli group has a free service hospital there WITHOUT any so called communicator stuff from Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

But that's just my view. You are free to ignore it :-) , as I am quite sure you will :-) .

Anyway, all the best with your plan to serve the good folks in Mississippi, USA.
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[In response to a comment, I wrote:]
About Paul: Yes, I have read about the view that Paul's teachings and instructions varied somewhat from Jesus's teachings and instructions. But it is a sensitive topic as Paul is revered as one of great apostles of Christianity.

I don't know enough to agree to your point that Paul is the one responsible for church teaching that "only those who believe Jesus died for their sins will go to heaven" and that all others (including Hindus like me :-) ) will go to hell. Perhaps a lot of those details are buried in the early history of Christianity. Perhaps as Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity a lot was introduced into the New Testament and other sacred books of the Church which were attributed to big figures like Paul, to have more sanctity among the followers. I think the combining of state power (Roman empire) with the church, may have had a lot to do with such very aggressive statements.

Anyway, I don't think most Christian preachers in the world today, barring a few fundamentalist ones, would lay stress on this aspect of Christian doctrine that "only those who believe Jesus died for their sins will go to heaven".

BTW Hindu religious scripture also has some rather nasty stuff like this too. But in today's early 21st century Hinduism most Hinduism teachers/preachers ignore such nasty stuff. Essentially, Hinduism seems to have gone through a period of great reform in the past few centuries. Perhaps Christianity too has gone through a lot of reform in the past few centuries.
...
About how Bible Belt fiery evangelical preachers would view Madhusudan Naidu's so called communicator claim: One has to wait and see to know for sure. But having seen quite a few videos about such preachers, I am quite sure that they will be pretty shocked to be told that Madhusudan Naidu is able to see a "subtle form" of an Indian Guru and communicate with that "subtle form" but that that "subtle form" is invisible and inaudible to them!

I wouldn't be surprised if such preachers start viewing the so called "subtle form" as a ghost and I doubt they will view it as a benign one!

I wonder whether you have lived in the Bible Belt heartland in states like Texas and Tennessee. I have never been there. But I have some friends and acquaintances who have lived there. I recall at least one of them telling me that it is very, very different (in terms of their rigid beliefs in the Christian group they belong to) from places like New England and California (where I have lived) or New York, which are more tolerant and liberal about religious pluralism and unconventional religious/spiritual beliefs.
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[In response to a comment, I wrote:]
Oh! Some months ago, somebody else (from Holland) had told me about her father having the same attitude towards her becoming a devotee of Swami. I was pretty shocked to hear that from somebody in person. I mean, it was one thing to read about it in articles and books. But to hear it from a real person whose father strongly felt that way, really shocked me.

Hmm. So you had to go through that experience, sister Yaani Drucker. That would have been rough! Guys like me who were born in India as Hindus had a much more smoother pathway towards becoming a devotee of Swami. No wonder, Swami was so appreciative of the devotion of some non-Indian (foreign) devotees from faiths other than Hinduism.
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BTW I studied for 3 years (8th Std. to 10th Std.) in a Dutch-Indian Catholic order run school in Bombay. From its history page here: https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/page/6/, "Cardinal Gracias High School was founded on 12th June 1961 and has been managed by the Norbertine Fathers since 1964. The Nortbertine Fathers vowed to seek Christ by living in common, sharing all things in holy poverty, and dedicating themselves to ministering to God’s People. The St. Norbertine Priory in Mumbai manages the Cardinal Gracias High School, St. Joseph The Workers Church and a social Service center (Bandra East Community Center) in Bandra East. It also manages a parish and social service center in Nerul, besides a priest home in Mangalore."
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This seems to be the wiki page of the Norbertine order: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premonstratensians
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In India, this order seems to have first set up base in Jabalpur. Here's the associated webpage: http://www.canonryofjamtara.com/index.php/page/details/38/history-of-st.-norbert-abbey.

An extract from it, "The first three Norbertines arrived on Indian soil in 1923 as Missionaries from the Abbey of Berne, the Netherlands."
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[In response to a comment implying that direct experience is superior to study and book knowledge, I wrote:]
I agree based on my direct experience of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba physical form :-)
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2213570712192827 (slightly edited) dated 13th July 2018

[Shared linked article:  Inside the lives of Mongolia's 'millennial monks,' who play basketball, pray for 12 hours a day, and hold the fate of their religion in their hands, https://www.businessinsider.in/Inside-the-lives-of-Mongolias-millennial-monks-who-play-basketball-pray-for-12-hours-a-day-and-hold-the-fate-of-their-religion-in-their-hands/articleshow/64875261.cms, 5th July 2018]

Very interesting!

A small extract from it:

* Thousands of Buddhist monks in Mongolia were killed under Communist leadership in the 1930s.
* Today's millennial generation is the first to come of age since democracy was introduced, and young monks are finding a new set of challenges to keep their religion alive.
* The leaders of one revered monastery are in their 20s and 30s, and are struggling to attract new students.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: Hmm. So the anti-religion murderous fanaticism of the forms of communism in China & Russia in the 1930s were NOT able to root out Buddhist religion in Mongolia. But it severely dented it. Now it is getting revived. Wonderful to know that. My prayers to God to shower His Grace in reviving Buddhism in Mongolia.
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From my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2209385882611310, dated 9th July:

[Shared Terry Reis Kennedy post:  https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10217067662382528 titled, "THE SOUL IS NOT LOCATED INSIDE YOUR BODY :Realise Atma Thathwa By Constant Practice" "Sri Sathya Sai Baba Prasanthi Nilayam 20 July 2009"]

High-Level spirituality discourse of Bhagavan but explained in simple terms. That was the spiritual genius of Bhagavan as a spiritual teacher. Enjoyed reading (or rather re-reading) this.
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My comments in a non-public FB post of somebody else (slightly edited):

My personal experience with Sathya Sai (physical form), my beloved and revered Gurudev, is that his teachings, his discourses many of them heard live by me at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, and his personal guidance via gestures at Darshan were of tremendous help to me in my spiritual journey. Approval of what I was doing that was good for me and disapproval of what I was getting drawn to but was bad for me, was conveyed via the look and facial/body gesture typically (he spoke to me only once - approvingly), sometimes backed by a discourse on that day or within the next few days.

It was truly extraordinary to see how he would read my thoughts and know what I had done. Awesome divine power!

It was after he gave up his physical body in April 2011 that I truly understood how much his looks and gestures at Darshan mattered to me for my spiritual journey. Now I had no physical person who I interacted with who had anywhere close to such divine powers backed by divine spiritual knowledge. If I got drawn to something that I knew was taking me away from higher spiritual levels, there was nobody to stop me with one angry look! If I had gained some deep spiritual insight there was nobody to confirm and approve of that insight with one lovely smile and/or Abhaya Hasta (raised open palm which is a combination of blessing and indicating that one should not fear).

I had lost that precious contact with physical form of my beloved and revered Gurudev, and was almost like a spiritual orphan! I had to learn to depend on my own limited spiritual understanding and spiritual writings and videos of Sathya Sai and other spiritual masters/scripture, which surely help but do not come close to that very easy way with which I could get signs of approval & disapproval from my beloved Gurudev during daily Darshan, sometimes backed with a relevant discourse delivered either on the same day or within the next few days.

I am deeply grateful to (physical form) Sathya Sai for having guided me in my spiritual journey. And so I would strongly recommend spiritual aspirants to have an appropriate living (physical form) Guru. But then if they cannot find an appropriate/suitable living Guru it is better to rely on the inner Guru (inner voice) than follow a Guru that one is not comfortable with and that one has serious doubts about.

Bro. --Name-snipped--, regarding your main question, "i am thinking of abandoning sathya sai baba because of all the infighting and be at peace with sri M. what do you think ?": There is no doubt that currently the Sathya Sai movement is facing significant challenges including the challenge of the false claim so called communicator and his big group of supporters. But then such seems to be the history of spiritual movements founded by great charismatic miracle-man figures. In the case of Lord Jesus Christ, it was a far worse situation as the early Christians were being physically persecuted!

Some of us (like me) chose to get into the struggle to resist the dilution and distortion of the legacy and memories of Sathya Sai by the false claim so called communicator. I don't care if I lose all peace. I cannot remain as an idle witness to my beloved Gurudev's legacy being diluted and corrupted in this fashion. I view it as my bounden duty to him for all that I have gained from him, to resist such dilution and corruption. Further, I think my efforts would help at least some Sathya Sai devotees now and in the future (some have already thanked me saying that it helped them), from getting misguided by this cheap imitator's false communicator claims.

In your case bro. --Name-snipped--, if you desire peace then I think you can simply switch off from engaging in discussions related to the cheap imitator. And going to a more peaceful spiritual group may help you. No harm in giving it a shot. But I don't know much about Mr. M to say anything about him or his group/movement.

However, I suggest you don't abandon Sathya Sai due to Sathya Sai movement issues. You can learn to keep them separate. You could stay anchored to Sathya Sai teachings and divinity even if you move away from Sathya Sai movement.
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Good to know that your inner connection to Sai Baba is still strong.
...

No offense meant, bro. --Name-snipped-- but words like "i am thinking of abandoning sathya sai baba ..." usually mean a crisis of faith. I have seen some guys in Puttaparthi face such crisis of faith and it was not pretty. The words you used made me wonder whether you were facing such a crisis of faith in Sathya Sai Baba! That's why I reacted the way I did.
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=====================================================

On public FB post of Terry Reis Kennedy, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10217010417951453, dated 6th July 2018, I made the following comments:

For me the key questions are:

Are they in their public literature promoting the FALSE CLAIM of Muddenahalli group that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is a so called communicator of Sathya Sai? If so, do we have documentary evidence of the same? I would like to share such documentary evidence of it along with my view that Madhusudan Naidu's claim is a FALSE CLAIM on my social media channels.

And then it would be very interesting to know what official USA Sai orgn. is doing/going to do about this.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have visited Boston umpteen times when I was living in the USA in Mass/New Hampshire in the 1980s. I have a lot of happy memories of Boston and Massachusetts. As gratitude for the good times I have had there, I feel obliged to do my bit to inform concerned Massachusetts authorities via the USA Embassy in India, of Madhusudan Naidu's FALSE CLAIM being promoted by the Massachusetts based NGO (PRASHANTHI CENTER FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT), if that is the case and we have related documentary evidence to show concerned USA authorities.
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Terry Reis Kennedy, from what I recall of the incident you mentioned last year, it was a conference event at which a presentation was made. As I understand it, conferences are talk events and networking events. They are given a lot of leeway in terms of freedom of speech and all that, especially when held in an academic campus (even if the event itself was not an academic event).

I think that establishing an NGO in Massachusetts which promotes Muddenahalli subtle body and/or Madhusudan Naidu is a much more concrete and serious matter. I think then the organization founders and heads are answerable to Massachusetts government authorities, and are also answerable via the media, to the people of Mass.
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And thanks for your response and all the great work you are doing in this regard Terry Reis Kennedy. Jai Sai Ram!
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=====================================

On public Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10217005789915755, dated 5th July 2018, I wrote:
Well said Terry with appropriate quotes of Bhagavan on the sickness of mad pursuit of money.
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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Released e-book with ISBN version of "Who am I? I am I ..." iami1 blog book; Changed metadata of some ebook website entries to mention ISBN

Last updated on 18th July 2018

Released an e-book version with ISBN today (13th July 2018) which is available for download on iami1.wordpress.com at this link: https://iami1.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/20180713-final-withisbn-ebook-notprint-colourcover-bw-a5-who-am-i-i-am-i-n-god-n-science.pdf. I have also updated the blog's download page (https://iami1.wordpress.com/consolidated-blog-content-document/) to have a link to this file (with ISBN).

As discussed earlier I have uploaded this with-ISBN e-book to ebook websites that I use for upload and that DO NOT automatically generate new formats. These websites are:

1) Pothi.com
2) Project Gutenberg

Both the above websites have yet to process the upload and update their webpages corresponding to this e-book. I expect both to get updated on or before Monday, 16th July 2018.

It was also discussed earlier that ebook websites like archive.org that automatically generate different ebook formats should have (continue to have) a version of the ebook WITHOUT ISBN but should have ISBN number in the metadata. I changed the description in these ebook websites to mention the following or something on similar lines:

I (author & self-publisher Ravi S. Iyer) am using the ISBN number allotted by isbn.gov.in for this e-book - ISBN: 978-93-5311-652-1 - for PDF format only as my understanding of their guidelines is that each e-book format must have a separate ISBN. I applied for and got only one ISBN number for my e-book. As this website may be auto-generating other e-book formats like EPUB, MOBI and TXT, I felt it appropriate to upload an e-book version without ISBN number (in Verso page) which is the only difference between it and the e-book with ISBN number.

The e-book version with ISBN number (in Verso page) can be freely downloaded from:
https://iami1.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/20180713-final-withisbn-ebook-notprint-colourcover-bw-a5-who-am-i-i-am-i-n-god-n-science.pdf

--- end of description change---

The two such websites which I use and which have been updated in this manner are:

3) archive.org:   https://archive.org/details/20180424EbookNotPrintColourCoverBWContentsA5WhoAmIIAmINGodNScience

4) Open Library:   https://openlibrary.org/books/OL26445400M/Who_am_I_I_am_I_-_Ultimate_Existential_Reality_Answer_Vedanta_God_and_Science_conversation

=============================================

18th July 2018 Update

Pothi.com has updated the e-book a few days ago. Here's the link:  https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-ravi-s-iyer-who-am-i-i-am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science-c.

Project Gutenberg seems to have not yet updated it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

ISBN issue with submitting my "Who am I? I am I ..." Word/PDF ebook to free ebook websites like archive.org that automatically generate other ebook formats like EPUB and Kindle

Last updated on 13th July 2018

As posted earlier my ebook titled "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" has been allotted an (one) ISBN (for E-book book type/book version).

The application form does not ask whether the e-book format is PDF or EPUB or Word or any other such e-book format. It has one book version called e-book which I think covers all these formats, as the only other book versions mentioned in the ISBN application (web) form are paperback and hardback.

But the User Manual of isbn.gov.in (website of Indian ISBN allotting agency - RRNA) at http://isbn.gov.in/usermanual.pdf on Page 19 states the following:

End users need to know a) whether the e-book that they are purchasing will work on their device or software and b) what they will be able to do with it (e.g., copy, print, lend, text to speech etc.). This is normally defined by a combination of file format (e.g., EPUB, .pdf) and software known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) which controls, by technical means, the use that can be made of the e-book. Separate ISBNs will facilitate management, dissemination and discovery of that information as well as delivery of the appropriate version of an e-book.

• Where a specific qualifying e-book is available in different underlying file formats such as EPUB, .pdf etc., each different format that is published and made separately available should be given a separate ISBN. If the publication is migrating to a new version of the file format (e.g., EPUB2 to EPUB3), then a separate ISBN is essential if both versions are available simultaneously or if retailers and customers need to distinguish the versions.

--- end extract from page 19 of User Manual of isbn.gov.in ---

Going by the letter of above section of User Manual of isbn.gov.in, I should have different ISBN for Word and PDF versions of my ebook. Further my submission to archive.org (previous submission of this ebook without ISBN can be viewed here: https://archive.org/details/20180424EbookNotPrintColourCoverBWContentsA5WhoAmIIAmINGodNScience) gets automatically converted to additional formats like txt and epub. That complicates things further.

But my ebook is free and does NOT have DRM. So the problem of a user/customer ordering for a particular format and paying for it, but receiving a different format, is NOT THERE. The user may download for free a format other than what he wants/intended to but he is free to download another available format of the ebook without paying any money.

So can one take the view that it is fine if I use the same allotted ISBN number for both my Word document version and PDF document version of the ebook offered for free download on my blog and some other websites including archive.org? Further, archive.org would automatically convert the submission to additional ebook formats like epub and text, all of which will have the same ISBN. As all the converted books having different formats/book types are available for free download from archive.org, can one say that there would be no problem even if the ISBN number is the same in all the various book formats/types?

Note that the epub and mobi/Kindle versions that are automatically created have different number of pages from the PDF and Word documents (original docs). Further note that in the ISBN application form I specified the number of pages as the number of pages in the PDF document, which is the same as in the Word document.

SAFE APPROACH?
=============

Perhaps the safe path to take is to provide ebook websites like archive.org that automatically generate different ebook formats, a version of the ebook WITHOUT ISBN but specify ISBN number in the metadata. In this case, the verso page of the ebook (or any other page in the ebook) would NOT mention the ISBN number.

Only ebook websites that DO NOT automatically generate new formats should be provided a PDF version of ebook with ISBN in the Verso page.

Further, the Word document with ISBN number should NOT be publicly shared, even if that Word document is the source to create the PDF ebook with ISBN number in Verso page.

The approach described immediately above seems to be a safe approach that will conform to isbn.gov.in User Manual guidelines with respect to ISBN and different ebook formats.

=============

13th July 2018 Update

Please visit my blog post: Released e-book with ISBN version of "Who am I? I am I ..." iami1 blog book; Changed metadata of some ebook website entries to mention ISBN, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/07/release-e-book-with-isbn-version-of-who.html.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Got ISBN 978-93-5311-652-1 for "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; ..." free ebook; Should ISBN number be put on the ebook front cover page?

Last updated on 10th July 2018

Yesterday (6th July 2018) I saw that I had been allotted an ISBN number 978-93-5311-652-1 for my e-book titled "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" which is the iami1.wordpress.com blogbook.

The pic below shows the search result for above ISBN on isbn.gov.in. Note that the book title uses . instead of ? as ? is not allowed in book title field in isbn.gov.in web form for ISBN application.

[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 ISBN number has to be added in the Verso page of the ebook. That's a simple change.

But should the ISBN number also be on the ebook cover (front) page? Note that the paperback version has the ISBN number (different number from ebook ISBN number) and associated barcode image in the bottom right section of the cover back page. The cover back page picture is included in the ebook as its second page (after the front cover page picture as the ebook's first page) but the ISBN barcode image part of the cover back page picture is blanked out.

The User Manual of isbn.gov.in (at http://isbn.gov.in/usermanual.pdf) has a relevant section titled, "13. Location and Display of the ISBN on Publications" starting from Page 22.

It states, "In the case of digital publications, the ISBN must appear on the:
• Title display; the first display (compact discs, online publications); or on the screen that
displays the title or its equivalent (e.g., the initial screen displayed when the content is
first accessed and/or on the screen that carries the copyright notice)".

I think the above indicates that the ISBN number should be on the front cover page (first page) of the ebook. But where exactly should it be placed? And yes, we don't need a barcode image here. We only need to print the ISBN number.

When I checked out some ebook front covers on the Internet, I did not find any ebook with front cover mentioning ISBN number! I may have looked at ten to twenty ebook front covers.

But I do think it is not a bad idea to mention ISBN number on the front cover page of the free ebook. It gives a degree of respectability to the free ebook. Further, the Indian ISBN agency recommends putting it in the "Title display".

However, I do not want to do something that may be viewed as very inappropriate by major free ebook websites like Open Library (and associated archive.org) and Project Gutenberg which list the previous version of my ebook. I don't want them to feel odd or reject my update to the ebook because I did the possibly very inappropriate thing of putting ISBN number on the front cover page!

Here's the Open Library link for the current version of this free ebook: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL26445400M/Who_am_I_I_am_I_-_Ultimate_Existential_Reality_Answer_Vedanta_God_and_Science_conversation which also shows the front cover page (first page) of the ebook.

So I need to do some thinking on this and try to get some views from people in this line. I intend to ask Pothi.com which lists my free ebook too, besides the at-cost paperback version.
=========================================

From the feedback I got coupled with what I checked on the Internet myself, it seems that ISBN is typically not specified in the front cover page of an ebook. So I have decided NOT to specify ISBN on front cover page of this ebook.

Next I had a question:

In verso page, how do ebooks of PDF format, typically specify ISBN? As (example):

ISBN: 978-93-5311-652-1

OR

ISBN: 978-93-5311-652-1 (PDF)
----

The info. I got indicates that the normal style used is the first option but that the second option is acceptable.

I don't want to go against the normal for this ISBN stuff as I am new to self-publishing. So I have decided to go with the first option above.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Latest version of paperback iami1 blogbook with Matte lamination cover looks decent without colour dots splashing problem

On 4th July 2018 evening, I received the latest version of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" iami1.wordpress.com blog book, https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

The changes from earlier version are in the cover page (full page with back + spine + front) which has the following changes:
*) Black coloured title instead of dark red/purple coloured title in front cover page.
*) A large ISBN barcode image in back cover page, to make it more easily readable, (and re-positioned the text to the left of it).

Further, in Pothi.com cover page printing specifications, Matte lamination was specified instead of previous Glossy lamination specification.

Given below are some pics of the latest version book. 

[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.]







The pics below are of the latest version book (right) with the immediately previous version (with colour dots splashing problem) book (left).




Comparing the two shows that the dots splashing problem of the immediately previous version book is NOT seen in the latest version of the book.

The Matte lamination of the cover page for the latest version has slightly reduced the visibility of the cover page text in comparison to the previous version Glossy lamination. But the Matte lamination cover page text is still quite comfortably readable.

---
The pics below are of the latest version book (right) with a prior to immediately previous version book (left).



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