Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sathya Sai's teachings are crystal clear about serving one's parents first as spiritual sadhana instead of neglecting them and becoming a monk

Strange situation! This is one area where Sathya Sai's teachings are crystal clear, in my considered opinion. Serve your parents first - that is your spiritual sadhana. I think there is no question of physical form Sathya Sai having ever supported a son becoming a monk when elderly parents depend on the son to take care of them.

Gujarat monk renounces spiritual life to look after disabled parents,
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/the-monk-returns-to-sansar/articleshow/65926405.cms, 24th Sept. 2018

Good to see that the son has returned to the parents. Let's hope things work out now for him and his parents both at material level and at spiritual level.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Evil and violent white racism in tragic killing of African-American in New York City, USA in March 2017, which case is under trial now, must be called out and condemned unequivocally

Last updated on 24th Sept. 2018

As a social media writer who tries hard to promote the values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Ethics), Shanti (Peace) and Prema (Love) through my writings, I see one of my tasks as writing, at times, about bad and evil which have taken place in the world that is rooted in a bad and evil ideology. Trying to simply ignore such acts rooted in a bad and evil ideology will not make it go away! It has to be exposed for what it is and condemned as bad and evil as a way to counter people getting trapped in that evil ideology and then doing evil acts. Therefore I am putting up this post. Readers who can't handle reading about such things may please skip reading the rest of this post.

Sword Killing Was ‘Practice’ for Racial Terrorism, Man Told Police, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/nyregion/fatal-stabbing-race-attack-police-interview.html, 20th Sept. 2018

The article states that James Harris Jackson of Baltimore, USA is a white Army veteran who had stabbed a poor black 66-year-old man, Mr. Caughman, to death in New York City in March 2017. In the New York Supreme Court, the police played one hour of a two hour interrogation video of Jackson on 22nd March 2017.

According to that video, Jackson intended to "influence the national conversation" by killing blacks in New York City with his killing of Caughman being his first act. Fortunately, he did not carry out further killings and surrendered. Jackson said, "If I just stab another person, what difference does that make? The point’s already been made".

When Jackson was asked whether he felt remorse, Jackson said, "No".."He’s a homeless black guy."

Ravi: My God! This is terrifying level of evil! The article also states that Jackson is a "graduate of a private Quaker high school in Baltimore known for its philosophy of nonviolence"!

So the school must have attempted to teach him good values.

How did he forget the good values taught him by his school and get caught up in such evil! Who are the people who taught him to hate African-Americans in this horrible and evil way? Are they freely teaching this evil ideology even today? These, to me, are the vital questions that New York Supreme Court should try to uncover and share with the public. That will allow the US government as well as US society to consider ways and means to counter such evil racist ideology of killing African-Americans. Note that in this case it involved African-Americans as targets but perhaps it is a more general evil racist ideology of killing or getting rid of non-white people in the USA.

USA must never forget the evil committed against African-Americans as well as Native Americans in the past in USA. USA also must never forget the monstrous things that evil Hitler and his evil Nazis did to Jews and gypsies and others who did not fit in with the Nazi Aryan supremacist view. USA must see to it that it does not go down the slippery slope of white supremacist violent racism as that will eventually but surely, bring it tremendous pain like the pain and stigma that Germany suffered for decades due to Hitler's Nazis and which pain and stigma continues to be a shadow on modern Germany even today.

This horrible and evil violent white racism so clearly shown by Jackson's ideology and his violent killing of an innocent elderly poor African-American in New York City must be combated vigorously.

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

24th Sept. 2018 Update

My descent into America's neo-Nazi movement & how I got out | Christian Picciolini | TEDxMileHigh, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSH5EY-W5oM, 20 min. 30 seconds. published on 20th Dec. 2017.

Main part of description of youtube video:
At 14-years-old, Christian Picciolini went from naive teenager to white supremacist, and soon, the leader of America’s first neo-Nazi skinhead gang. How was he radicalized, and how did he ultimately get out? In this courageous talk, Christian shares a surprising and counterintuitive solution to hate in all forms. After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement that he helped build in the 1980s and 90s, Christian Picciolini co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people disengage from violent extremism. His memoir, White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette), which details his involvement, and eventual disengagement, from the early American white nationalist movement, will be published on December 26, 2017. Christian lives in Chicago.
--- end description extract ---

Here's a transcript of a radio interview of the same guy https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=578745514 [NPR, 18th Jan. 2018]


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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Indian Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested by Kerala police on 21st Sept. 2018 on rape and other charges; Note that charges against Bishop Mulakkal have still to be proven in court of law

Given below are some of my Facebook posts on this matter in reverse chronological order.

From my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2294628180753746, dated 22nd Sept. 2018 :

What the police said in court today about rape allegations against Bishop Mulakkal

This post is based on the following news reports:
1) Former Bishop Franco Mullakal remanded in police custody for two days, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/former-bishop-franco-mullakal-remanded-in-police-custody-for-two-days/story-AMh1nWVon41OP9OlVw30NJ.html, 22nd Sept. 2018.

2) Kerala nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal in police custody till Sept 24, bail plea dismissed, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-nun-rape-case-bishop-franco-mulakkal-court-5369493/, 22nd Sept. 2018

3) Bishop Arrested For Allegedly Raping Kerala Nun Stood Smiling In Court, https://www.ndtv.com/kerala-news/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrested-for-allegedly-raping-kerala-nun-stood-in-pala-court-smiling-1920528, 22nd Sept. 2018

Mulakkal has been charged under Indian Penal Code sections as follows:
* 342 (wrongful confinement)
* 376 (rape)
* 377 (unnatural offence)
* 560 (1) (criminal intimidation)

The police told the court that Mulakkal had confined the (complainant) nun to a room in the convent guest house on 5th May 2014 and raped the nun the next day.

The police said that the nun was subjected to rape and unnatural sex 13 times in the same room between 2014 and 2016.

There are some shocking witness statements in the police report. In a particular period in a month the nuns had to meet Bishop Mulakkal between 9 and 10 PM and share their personal problems with him. That's when he misbehaved with them!

The report also says that Mulakkal (based in North Indian state of Punjab) had multiple places where he could stay in Kerala (South Indian state) but that he "chose to stay at the Kuruvilangad convent, which is located in an isolated location, with minimal facilities and only three young nuns."

Mulakkal is reported to hold a doctorate in moral theology!

The leader of the five nuns who had publicly protested for two weeks for police arrest of the Bishop, Sister Anupama said, "Church was not with us but the Lord never let us down. Our struggle was not against any person but against corrupt practices. We are really grateful people of Kerala stood with us".

She said that the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal will send a strong signal (of police action against them) to those who exploit nuns and use their money and political power to attempt to get away with it.

She also said that if the church authorities take action against them (nuns who publicly protested including her) they will hit the streets again.

Ravi: Hats off to these courageous nuns who, after seeing that the church authorities are not taking action on their complaints, decided to go to the police, and then launch a public protest to gather public support to ensure that proper police action is taken against the Bishop.
---------------------------------------------------

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2294321690784395, dated 22nd Sept. 2018

Bishop Franco Mulakkal arrest by Kerala police seems to have followed due diligence process; However, rape charge against Bishop Mulakkal has still to be proven in court of law

I think the Kerala police deserve praise for the due diligence process they followed before arresting Bishop Franco Mulakkal on rape and other charges.

Some points from 'Police arrest bishop Franco Mulakkal on rape charge', https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrest/article25009225.ece, 21st Sept. 2018 :

The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Kottayam, Kerala said that Bishop Mulakkal was arrested after police established that the charges against him were "reasonably true".

Bishop Mulakkal has been charged under four counts which include:
 * rape
 * illegal confinement
 * criminal intimidation

The article states, "The contention of the accused [Bishop Franco Mulakkal] that the allegation against him was the outcome of a conspiracy had collapsed in the face of the evidence collected by the police and the information gathered after questioning.

He was given reasonable time to have his say and arrested after the contradictions in the evidence given by the nun, the bishop and others were ironed out, the SP said."

The article states that the five nuns who had launched an unprecedented (never before in Catholic church history in India, or at least in modern India (after 1947)) public protest which created a huge public outcry, have called off the protest now that the Bishop has been arrested.

Bishop Mulakkal has been admitted to a hospital (after his arrest) due to high blood pressure.

Bishop Mulakkal had been temporarily relieved of his duties as Bishop.

Now the battle shifts to the court of law. I wonder how long it will take for the court case to get decided. Indian courts of law are heavily overburdened due to which cases can take years, if not decades, to get resolved. And then there are appeals that can be made. But perhaps as this is a sexual assault case, it may get some priority and be speeded up.

The state of the matter now is that Bishop Mulakkal's conspiracy story has ****NOT**** been bought by Kerala police, and so he has got arrested. But Bishop Mulakkal is still not convicted of the crime. So it cannot be stated that he has committed the crime as that can be stated only by a court of law and ****not**** by the police alone. However, the image of Bishop Franco Mulakkal as well as the Catholic church he is associated with, has been severely dented with this arrest.

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

Franco Mulakkal is an Indian former prelate of the Latin Catholic Church. He is the first bishop in Indian Catholic history to be arrested for a rape case.
...
He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi on 17 January 2009. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Chullu on 17 January 2009 and Ordained a Bishop on 21 February 2009. He was appointed Bishop of Jalandhar on 13 June 2013 by Pope Francis. He also serves as the Secretary of Regional Bishops Conference of North, India and Consultor for Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Rome.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal wrote a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis expressing his desire to step aside temporarily and requested to be relieved from the administration of the Diocese on September 15 2018.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: Let the truth be revealed. In the long run, I think revelation of truth about the matter will heal the  Catholic church in India. If Bishop Mulakkal has indulged in these criminal offences under the Indian Penal Code, the right path for him is to confess his sins, repent for them and seek forgiveness from the nun that he hurt and harmed. Of course, he will have to undergo the jail sentence he would get then. But if he has not committed these criminal acts (note that any consensual sex he may have indulged in with an adult nun, is not a criminal act under Indian law, as per my understanding), then I pray to Almighty God to help Bishop Mulakkal establish his innocence in Indian court of law.

Note that even if he has only indulged in consensual sex with ladies, he will have broken his vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest. In which case I think the right path for him is that he himself should give up the Catholic priesthood and become a lay person. I am of the very firm view, based partly on my significant amount of reading on spirituality and religion, that non-hypocritical indulgence in sex does not come in the way of spiritual progress of any person. It is sexual hypocrisy that is the big stumbling block in the spiritual path.

[I thank thehindu.com and wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this post deals with a matter of serious concern to Indian society.]
----

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2293886764161221, dated 21st Sept. 2018 :

First Indian Catholic Bishop (Bishop Franco Mulakkal) arrested on rape charge!

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrested-in-kerala-nun-rape-case-1345584-2018-09-21

Key points about his arrest:

Police found inconsistencies in his defensive statements.

Mulakkal claimed that he did not stay the night in Kuravilangad convent on May 5th 2014, the day the nun said she was raped/forced to have unnatural sex, by him (at night) for the first time. He said that he had stayed the night in another convernt

But another nun and driver confirmed that Bishop Mulakkal has stayed in Kuravilangad convent during the night on May 5th 2014.

Also a nun of the other convent where he said he had spent the night, denied that he spent that night in that convent.

Further the location data of Bishop Mulakkal's mobile phone confirmed that he had spent the night in Kuravilangad convent on May 5th 2014.

That seems to have been clinching evidence that Bishop Mulakkal was not saying the truth to the police. Perhaps that was the main reason for his arrest.
---------------------

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289240284625869, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Bishop Mulakkal letter to his church today mentioning that his juniors will handle the church in his absence

While major Indian news channels are reporting this letter as Bishop Mulakkal stepping down from his post, I am not sure that is the case.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bishop-franco-mulakkal-accused-of-raping-a-kerala-nun-steps-down-1916881 reports that Bishop Mulakkal wrote in his letter:

"I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and prayers for me at this time continued problems affecting my Episcopal ministry. As you have probably come to know from the media the investigation into the allegations raised against me there are several contradictions in the evidences collected against me as per the report of the police. It is reported I am likely to be called for further clarifications by the investigating officer in Kerala."

"I leave everything into the hand of God as I await the result of the findings of the team probing the allegation. In my absence Msgr. Mathew Kokkandam will administer the Diocese as is the normal practice when I am away from the Diocese".

Note that Bishop Mulakkal has been ordered to appear before Kerala Police for (further) investigation of the matter on Sept. 19th. Mulakkal has said that he will fully co-operate with Indian police.

---------------------

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289229284626969, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Bishop Mulakkal in India Today interview says he is innocent and that the nun who made the rape allegations is indulging in cover-up and blackmail as the nun had some complaints against her (of some sexual affair with a congregant's husband) in the congregation she was associated with.

Mulakkal says that only 3 persons know the truth about the rape allegations - the complainant (nun), Mulakkal and God.

Mulakkal says that he wants the truth to come out.

The complainant seems to have been a Mother Superior earlier when she won an election in her spiritual establishment (don't know what it is called). But she lost the next election. Mulakkal suggests (either in this video or some other video I saw) that after her losing power as Mother Superior, there was a power struggle in her spiritual establishment.

Hmm. This is a really messy case. But Mulakkal does speak well in this interview. Either he has been framed OR he is putting on a great dramatic act.

Around 25 mins but with the interview repeated (interview itself would be around 10 minutes or so, I think):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySBjbPYs_I

---------


From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289171484632749, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Good to see that the Kerala High Court was apprised of the matter by the govt. officials and that, "A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that prima facie investigation into the alleged rape of a nun by Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal was being conducted in a fair and professional manner, and it would be inappropriate to issue any specific direction on the conduct of the probe."

In particular, "The court observed that the usual way of immediate arrest of an accused may not be applicable in this case, as two years had elapsed since the alleged crime. The court also said the arrest was the discretion of the police."

So let the case proceed as per law. The bishop is fully entitled to presumed innocence until it is proved in a court of law that he is guilty of the serious allegations made against him. This is how law works.

My understanding of how these things work is that even if the nun's charges are true, but that truth cannot be established in an Indian court of law, nothing can be done against the bishop. But, of course, if that is the case, then the Bishop, I am sure, will have to pay a severe price as negative Karmic consequences that he will have to eventually suffer.

Kerala High Court on nun rape case: Prima facie, probe has been fair, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-high-court-on-nun-rape-case-prima-facie-probe-has-been-fair-5355445/, 14th Sept. 2018
-----

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2286096364940261, dated 11th Sept. 2018
Article giving view of both sides in the Kerala nun rape allegation case: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/people-against-the-church-are-using-these-sisters-says-jalandhar-bishop-accused-of-rape-5351112/
-----

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2284301035119794, dated 9th Sept. 2018

"In a first in the history of the Catholic church in India, a group of five nuns wearing their habits staged a sit-in protest in Kochi, demanding the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakal against whom a nun raised allegations of sexual abuse."

Ravi: I am not saying that Bishop Mulakal should be declared guilty without a proper trial. Who knows, he may be innocent. So he is entitled to due process of the legal system of India. But I think that the police should release a detailed statement explaining why they have not arrested the Bishop. Perhaps they do not have sufficient evidence. Whatever. But they should release a detailed statement.

Nuns demand arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakal, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/nuns-demand-arrest-of-jalandhar-bishop-franco-mulakal/articleshow/65731797.cms, 8th Sept. 2018
-----

[I thank thehindu.com, indiatimes.com, indianexpress.com, ndtv.com, indiatoday.in, hindustantimes.com and wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this post deals with a matter of serious concern to Indian society.]

USA should have enough number of ashram systems/religious centres where people who are desperate can survive on very little money; That may reduce mad mass shootings in USA

I wanted to use the grief that I felt today, as expressed in this post of mine: 26 year old woman joins ranks of mass shooter-killers in the USA; This mass shooting madness in the USA has to stop! http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2018/09/26-year-old-woman-joins-ranks-of-mass.html, to stir me to think of some suggestions to improve the situation.

Now I don't want to get into USA gun politics. Note that the killer-lady used a handgun and not an assault rifle. So even an assault rifle ban would not have prevented this tragedy.

The impression I have is that USA today has a lot of poor and lower middle class people who are very worried about their livelihood and their lives. Some of these persons, very unfortunately, tend to lose it, and get into these mad mass shootings. Sometimes even rich people face some deep insecurities which seems to be leading them to do these same mad mass shootings.

India has orders of magnitude more poverty than the USA, and life in India can be horrendously challenging for the poor. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India, India has around 170 to 180 million poor people.

The Indian union/federal and state governments have lots of programs aimed at helping the poor get subsidized food, health care and even shelter and education. However, the quality and comprehensiveness of some of these programs like health care, shelter and education are not great, as of now.

But India also has spiritual ashram communities and religious institutions where the poor get some basic material sustenance. Note that the associated religion can be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain etc. So if some individual person has become desperate, he/she can try to lead a simple life in an ashram town or spiritual congregation. Some food, basic medical care and some shelter get provided at low cost. The person can survive somehow unless he/she has some major medical problems. Of course, habits like drinking, drugs and getting into violent fights, leads to persons losing such options.

But if a person behaves decently then he/she can survive on very little money in rural Indian ashram systems/townships.

Does the USA have such ashram systems/religious centres where people who are desperate can survive on very little money, provided they behave in a proper way without getting into alcohol, drugs, violence etc. problems? If yes, are there enough of such places in the USA? Perhaps not.

I think philanthropists in the USA should step forward and join people who are willing to build and run such ashram systems/religious centres/communes in the USA, focused on allowing people to lead simple lives with little money. Note that people who get used to leading such lives, have quite a lot of happiness and peace in their lives. Yes, medical care provided would be basic. But that may be fine for desperate people.

I think if there are many such ashram systems/ religious centres/communes in the USA, catering to the poor, then it would provide a sanctuary, a refuge to desperate people, including some who otherwise may freak out and commit some mad mass shooting. So I think that would help to reduce the number of people who get into this mass shooting madness in the USA.
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Given below are comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2294019270814637, associated with above blog post contents:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Inside Off-the-Grid Virginia Commune Where Everything From Housing to Child Care Is Shared, https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/inside-off-grid-virginia-commune-housing-child-care/story?id=33190577, 19th Aug. 2015

Why don't more poor people join communes?, https://www.quora.com/Why-dont-more-poor-people-join-communes, 11th Feb. 2016

Living On—And Leaving—America’s Biggest Commune, https://www.thedailybeast.com/living-onand-leavingamericas-biggest-commune, 22nd Nov. 2012

Murari's Kirtan Valley, ISKCON of Tennessee, http://www.murarisevaka.com/
----

In response to Terry Reis Kennedy's long and informative comment, Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Terry Reis Kennedy, I carefully went through your comment and visited some of the links. Thanks for your valuable information.

I found these articles to be relevant for those who are looking for short course/stint at low cost ashrams in USA.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101989171

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/travel/escapes/12ashrams.html

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/6-destination-ashrams

But I am more interested in knowing about low cost ashrams/communes in USA that people can join in and stay.

This one (from your comment) seems to be one of such places: https://truthconsciousness.org/ashrams-retreats/ashrams-programs/

But are there not Christian orgns that provide such low cost of living communes to people in USA?
----

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer There used to be the YMCA and YWCA...they are now short stay (Young Men's Christian Associations and W=Women's. sorry I have NOT heard of any. Here in Bellows Falls we have the Island Ponders or Yellow People....but it is not a permanent situation and the work is very hard. They are regarded as a cult and they are now worldwide .The Twelve Tribes | Community in Bellows Falls
twelvetribes.org/community/bellows-falls
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Interesting Terry Reis Kennedy. Thanks. I wonder if somebody would start a Sathya-Dharma-Shanti-Prema (Truth-Ethics-Peace-Love) Village in the USA which will follow the cardinal principles of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema teachings of Sathya Sai. [Ahimsa (Non-violence) too perhaps but with exclusion of self-defense]

It need not promote Sathya Sai alone. It can be a Sarva Dharma (all religions) institution thereby making it easier for Christians, Muslims, Jews etc. who are willing to follow the cardinal principles, to join the Village. In fact, even atheists who are willing to follow these cardinal principles could join.

What do you think about this thought? I would be glad to know your valuable views on it.
----

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote (slightly edited): That would be possible as there is so much open land available in Vermont. It's a great idea. It would have to be a highly motivated individual with huge investors behind the plan. Once money comes onto the scene in the USA, that becomes the Main Focus. But there are people out there in the wide world who would be interested, I am sure.
...
The immediate problem is that remote locations do not have jobs for people who must work or practice their professions in the outside world.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Noted your valuable input Terry Reis Kennedy. Thanks.
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V V Sarachandran wrote (slightly edited): Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
From what little I can recall from Sociology papers at the university, once a person feels disenfranchised/ alienated/ cut off from what the person considers his peer / reference group, what society terms deviant behavior manifests. The timid may resort to suicide. The bold or those without spiritual background may resort to violence - if I can’t have it why should others have it☹️

In USA the wherewithal for wanton destruction is readily at hand.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: V V Sarachandran, Thanks for your views and your sociology perspective.
----

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feeling very happy that my Alma Mater, Ruia college, Mumbai, has agreed to receive my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation"

Last updated on 24th Sept. 2018

Some days ago, I had sent an email to the Principal, Ramnarian Ruia (autonomous) college, Mumbai.

First some info. about Ruia college from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramnarain_Ruia_College:

Ruia College is located in the central part of Mumbai close to Hindu colony, between the Dadar(Central) and Matunga (Central)railway stations. It is one of the most highly reputed colleges in the country.The University of Mumbai (MU) granted autonomous status to Ramnarain Ruia College in year 2017.
...
Ruia College has become the first college in the country to achieve the 'College of Excellence' status by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
--- end extracts from wiki page ---

Here's Ruia college website: https://www.ruiacollege.edu/

Some extracts from my initial mail to the Principal, Ruia college, are given below.

Dear sir/madam,

I studied in Ruia College, Mumbai for 5 years for my F.Y.J.C to T.Y.B.Sc. education. I passed out with B.Sc. (Physics) in 1983. I take this opportunity to thank Ruia college for having taught me in those years.

I have self-published my first proper book (a blog book) titled, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" which is based on my iami1.wordpress.com blog. It has been self-published on Pothi.com (a Bangalore, India based self-publishing platform company) with the printed (paperback) copy page being: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

I would be very happy to send Ruia college a printed (paperback) complimentary copy as a token of my gratitude and love for the five years that I was taught there.

--- end extracts from my first mail ---

After doing some follow up to ensure that the mail does reach the Principal, today I received a response from the Principal of Ruia college where she congratulated me, on behalf of the college, for having published my book, and asked me to send a copy of it to the college. It was indicated that the book copy may be considered for the college library.

I was overjoyed to receive this mail from the Principal of my Alma Mater, Ruia college. Some extracts from the mail response I sent the Principal, are given below:

Thank you so much for accepting, as I/C Principal of Ramnarian Ruia Autonomous College, my small offering of gratitude and love to my Alma Mater, Ruia college. I am flooded with joy and happiness. I feel really privileged that my Alma Mater college where I learned a lot of science, has given me the go-ahead to send my small offering.

Thank you so much for the congratulations you have given, on behalf of my Alma Mater, Ruia college! It means a lot to me. Memories flood in of Ruia college: attending lectures (Dr. Patel, HOD, Physics, Dr. Namjoshi (Physics) and Dr. A.P. Rao (Chemistry, if I recall correctly) are some of the names that come back so easily to me), doing practicals in the Lab., reading and/or issuing/returning books in the library, associating with National Social Service work (Dr. Shahuraja played a big role then in NSS), attending college functions, being in the students common room, eating food in the hotels outside, sitting on the 'katta' outside the college and watching cricket on one side in the cricket fields, or simply watching life on the other side of the katta.

I am very delighted by the possibility of my small offering book being considered to be added to the same library of Ruia college that I benefited so much from. Of course, appropriate persons would have a look at my book to see whether it merits being kept in the library. If it does pass that test and gets placed in the library of my Alma Mater where I studied most of my science, I will consider it as one of my great achievements in life, as this book captures the essence of my understanding of contemporary (early 21st century) God (spirituality/Divine power) and science conversation, where I have, of course, stood on the shoulders of great spiritual masters (contemporary/near-contemporary masters are typically not named in my book to keep the focus on the teachings/philosophy and avoid controversy about personality) and great scientists (all named with appropriate references).

--- end extracts from my second mail ---

I have organized a paperback copy of the book to be sent to the Principal, Ruia College. It should typically take a week to ten days for the book to be printed and then delivered to them.

The second half of today was a very joyful one for me because of this mail response from the Principal of my Alma Mater, Ruia college, Mumbai.

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

I received a few Congratulations messages on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2293920084157889, associated with this blog post. I thanked each and every one of them. I also got quite a few Facebook 'Likes' for the post.

I have given below one of those comments.

A Ruiaite colleague of my batch, Sudha Vishwanath, wrote:  Ravi S. Iyer congratulations Those lines about our college days, brought back old memories.
Your book will definitely be kept in the library.
Great achievement indeed for having received such an honour from our Alma mater.
----

I (Ravi) responded: Thank you so much, Sudha Vishwanath.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I received a few Congratulations messages over mail in response to my mail having above post contents. I thanked each and every one of them. I have give one of those messages below:

A Ruiaite colleague of my batch, Biren Sanghavi, wrote over email:
Wow Chief...that was really nice and makes me feel very happy n proud too for remembering the alma matter after reaching heights in spiritual journey....

I had also received your book and it was very thought provoking...and wish you all the very best and higher upliftment of soul in your spiritual journey....
-----

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Hey Biren Boss, as I have clear recollections of time spent with you in college, including in college library, I am so happy that I am able to share the joy of receiving the mail from the Principal with you.

About heights in spiritual journey: By the Grace of God and the diligent work of many spiritual masters who I studied in depth, I think I have got a good theoretical understanding of spirituality now, and the view Hinduism and Christianity have of it, with some exposure to the view Islam, Buddhism and Jainism have of it. But, on the practical side, while I know the path to be followed, I have my struggles with my many human weaknesses.

Thanks for the feedback on the book.
----

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Karma accelerators and Karma cancellers!

Karma accelerator and Karma canceller are two of quite a few terms I learned over the years in spiritual discussions.

One view is that spiritual master/messiah X is a Karma accelerator and not a Karma canceller whereas spiritual master/messiah Y is a Karma canceller and not just a Karma accelerator! X and Y vary depending on the person expressing the view😊.

What does that mean?

My understanding of 'Karma accelerator' is a spiritual master/messiah who speeds up the Karma that a person has to endure so that all the Karma to be endured is finished quickly, say in that lifetime itself, so that the person then attains Moksha/liberation/and is not forced to be born again. Such karma gone through including endurance of negative karma, in the presence of the master/messiah is easier to go through and endure because of the master/messiah's grace.

My understanding of 'Karma canceller' is a spiritual master/messiah who cancels out Karmic suffering that a person would have otherwise endured.

Now for guys like me who don't even know what karma they themselves have done in previous births, these discussions are very hypothetical without any factual basis. So which master is viewed as Karma canceller or Karma accelerator or a judicious mix of both, is largely dependent on the person expressing the view, including any positive/negative biases the person may have.

Just some Time-Pass spiritual discussions 😊! But then the world is Maha Maya (Grand Illusion) - when viewed from a spiritual mountain top perspective, just some Time-Pass of the Lord 😊!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My view: Part of Indian Sathya Sai orgn. state president job is to raise money required to meet Sai orgn. needs through donors but individual devotees should not be pressurised for donations

Given below are details of a recent conversation I had with a few others. It started with this post put up by Mr. V.R. Ganti (of Singapore): https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10213200128822456, dated 15th Sept. 2018.

Mr. Ganti wrote:
WHILE ALL INDIA DICTATOR (PRESIDENT) OF SATHYA SAI SEVA ORGANISATION IS OUSTING THE STATE PRESIDENTS, HIS WIFE IS SEEKING DONATIONS FROM SEVADALS GOING TO PARTHI FROM VARIOUS STATES.

The attached letter by KAMALA PANDYA GARU is self explanatory. The tone of the letter as also the rate of donations or contributions suggest that it is more of a DEMAND. If the Mahila wings are desirous of making contributions they may but a general circular of this kind to all States is not what BHAGAWAN would approve in my considered opinion. Also this appears to be MHALLI (Muddenahalli group) way of functioning.

WILL SWAMI APPROVE SUCH ACTIONS SEEKING DONATIONS IN KIND?

THE APPROVAL OF SSSCT DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN SOUGHT.

[The pic below was also attached. 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.]


--- end (slightly edited) contents of Mr. Ganti post ---

Note that Mrs. Kamala Pandya is the wife of All India President of Sathya Sai orgn. Mr. Nimish Pandya. Mrs Pandya, I believe, heads the Ladies (Mahila) side of the Indian Sathya Sai orgn.

Given below are some comments on the above post:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I don't know whether it is a request for Seva Dals themselves to contribute. I think it is more of an effort to provide support to EWWT from Indian state organizations.

I think it is no secret that Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system depends on financial and other support including Seva Dal manpower from state organizations of India.

And the letter also has the sentence about any state that finds it difficult to meet the request could discuss it with Mrs. Pandya.

So I think this is not that unusual. Earlier when Bhagavan was in living form, I think money for such things could get organized far more easily.

Now I think it may be tougher.

I have learned one big thing about Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi. In this post-Mahasamadhi period, if the ashram institutions have to run, they need money. If decent salaries are not paid, salaried people who form the core of the ashram institutions, will just quit and go!

PN ashram system now is not like sannyasi or sannyasini run system where many people offer services at very low salary or for free.

Being Indian Sai orgn. state president, even when Bhagavan was in physical form, needed the ability to muster required financial and other resources, some of which were used for supporting PN ashram system.

But this burden must NOT be passed on to Mahila Seva Dal. During my (Maharashtra state) Prasanthi Seva days (1990s) I saw that many of Seva Dal were coming from lower middle class background and sometimes were poor. Food coupons used to get offered free, at times (not on all occasions) for those doing Seva Dal duty, and that was a significant benefit to the lower middle class and poor Seva Dal from rural parts of Maharashtra. So if such burden is passed on to Seva Dal then it would be a significant disincentive for them to volunteer for Prasanthi Seva, which they offer free of charge.
----

Vr Ganti wrote: Seeking donations is not at all desirable leave alone from Seva Dals but from anyone. If you cannot afford don’t do that Seva or undertake that project- is the recommendation from Bhagawan I think
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Vr Ganti sir, At the end of the day, the state president has to foot the bill and organize the manpower needed. That's how it was even when Bhagavan was in physical form, as per the impression I got from my years in Maharashtra Sai orgn..

But perhaps such things were done discreetly, with moneyed devotees being tapped for money.

Now, especially with Muddenahalli poaching lots of moneyed donors, perhaps things are tougher for Sai orgn.

Closing down Seva activities is easy sir. Re-starting them may take a long time. I understand the pressure that leaders will have to try to keep the show going on.
----

Barbara Joy Plattner-Mullen wrote: Demanding payment in any form does not ring true with Swami's teachings. End of story.
----

Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer sir, I am already seeing some whatsapp msgs amongst mdh groups (unofficially, not endorsed by their vahini or their trust) citing this letter as an example of how the official Sai org is attempting to solicit while blaming mdh for solicitations.Their stand is that : money is necessary, but discreetness that Bhagawan showed is more evident in methods of mdh than ptp...

Be that as it may, my personal view is that the general image of ptp is that money is accepted if donated voluntarily but never solicit ed directly or indirectly... This image is definitely a tad bit tarnished in the above circular unfortunately
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:  Barbara Joy Plattner-Mullen, Alok Dara Shikoh - Let's know the realities on the ground.

1) This leaked letter of Mrs. Pandya (which I presume is genuine) seems to be for top office bearers of Sai orgn state units/orgns in India and is NOT aimed at individual Sai devotees at all. The principle of Sai orgn. and PN ashram system of NOT soliciting money from individual Sai devotees/visitors is NOT broken, in my considered view.

2) Running PN ashram institutions as well as state Sai orgn. institutions needs money! Otherwise you cannot run the show. Period. I have fairly intimate knowledge of the financial challenges that were involved in meeting Sathya Sai Samithi Dombivli related such issues in the 1990s and early 2000s when I was associated with it. Discreetly and sometimes not-so-discreetly information about the finance needs would be mentioned which would stir up people to contribute with the few moneyed people contributing significant chunks of the money required.

You may be surprised but for the water project in the 1990s (if I recall correctly), Swami had taken a loan from an Indian bank. An announcement was made about it after Thursday bhajan and devotees were encouraged to contribute to PN ashram so as to help repay the loan.

3) I am under the impression that expenses towards major functions in PN ashram system is, to a significant extent at least, borne by Indian state Sai organizations. I don't know how exactly it is handled. But, as an example, the Ashadi Ekadasi program (a few days before Guru Purnima) in PN is Maharashtra state function. That means Maharashtra state has to organize everything about the function, which involves managing the people and money needs. Without moneyed people coming forward and contributing significant money to handle these expenses, that Ashadi Ekadashi program cannot be held by Maharashtra state in PN! As simple as that.

When Swami was in physical form, Maharashtra state would have the privilege of seating a group of its people right next to Swami while the drama and other programmes of Ashadi Ekadashi would be held in Swami's physical presence. The impression I had is that major financial contributors would be included in this group. And I felt that was fine.

These are the practical realities.

Note that at no point in such matters were devotees forced to pay up. At times, devotees would be informed of the money needs. But the impression I have is that within the top office bearers of the state Sai orgn. in India, the money needs would be openly discussed and it was the responsibility of these top office bearers to meet those needs.

Perhaps you folks have not dealt with these practical realities of being part of Sai orgn. and having the burden of managing Sai orgn. events. I have, to some extent, in my nearly ten years in Sai orgn. Maharashtra (around 1993 to 2002). This includes one Prasanthi Seva stint where I was the leader of the Mandir Seva Dal group and so got direct exposure to the immense pressure on the Mandir (Kulwant Hall in PN) discipline Seva Dal group leader. He was partly responsible for physical security of Bhagavan while Bhagavan was in Sai Kulwant Hall. Note that I also was part of this Mandir discipline Seva Dal group for the other 5 stints of Prasanthi Seva I did. For a software technical consultant like me, it was a huge responsibility and a big eye opener about the challenges involved in providing security to physical form of Swami and ensuring discipline among the devotees/visitors, while he was giving Darshan in Sai Kulwant Hall and also later when he was in Kulwant Hall but among his staff and students where the protection burden would largely fall on the leaders of the staff and students.

Manpower was the big issue for Mandir discipline Seva Dal work. I later learned that sometimes some wealthy devotees would sponsor the trip of some Maharashtra Seva Dal to PN! So there was a financial need angle to that too.

The big difference between MDH and this case, is that MDH solicits money from devotees openly with Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu openly speaking about it. I have never seen Sathya Sai doing so.

So I don't think Mrs. Pandya's internal letter to Indian state orgn. senior office bearers about this additional financial burden, should be equated with Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu's solicitation of money. I mean, Mrs. Pandya has not said this in a public speech, has she?
----

Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (edited): Ravi S. Iyer sir thanks for the detailed note. Wow, you do have a great background. and i now understandyour position much better.
----

Barbara Joy Plattner-Mullen wrote: Ravi S. Iyer, thank you for your perspective about finances at PN. You have made it clear that it was not the devotees who were being asked for donations.
----

Vr Ganti wrote (edited): Barbara Joy Plattner-Mullen I don’t agree at all. Ultimately it is only devotees who are made to pay and not the leaders.
----

Vr Ganti wrote (AID is reference to AIP): The problem as I see is that AID and his Wife appear to be weakening the Organization. I requested, pleaded, begged and cried with AID for taking action against Mhalli Gang for stopping their game. I did not understand the reason why AID did not move a bit even. Slowly I am coming to know of the possible nexus AID has with MHALLI Gang directly or indirectly. Otherwise by this time AID should have either issued a public statement against and about Mhalli or he should have like a gentleman quit his position.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Vr Ganti sir, my view is that Mr. Nimish Pandya has failed in his Sathya-Dharma duty to make a public statement about his reported visit to have "Darshan" of Madhusudan Naidu in 2014/2015, and to make a public statement condemning Madhusudan Naidu for imitating our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I find it very strange that nobody from current office bearer holding positions in Maharashtra Sai orgn. has forced Mr. Pandya to either make the public statement condemning Madhusudan Naidu or resign from position of All India President of Sathya Sai orgn.

But then I have seen many, many strange things in Parthi after Bhagavan Mahasamadhi in April 2011 till now. So I am not surprised. Fear is the big factor in Sai orgn. when it comes to these matters involving top people, whether it is PN ashram system or Sai orgn. I think people in Maharashtra Sai orgn. may be afraid to directly question Mr. Pandya and force him to publicly respond. That I think is the reality. Sad but such is life..... [In Telugu] Antah Maya, Ganti Garu. Meeka antah telusandi, nenu meeku em cheppalandi? :-)
----

Vr Ganti wrote: Ha ha very funny indeed.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Vr Ganti, Alok Dara Shikoh, Barbara Joy Plattner-Mullen

An update on the matter. I have been given to understand that the below message from Mr. Nimish Pandya, All India President Sai orgn. has been shared with a lot of people:
Loving Sairam, Important message from AIP as follows:-
SAIRAM
This is to inform everyone that due to an unfortunate leak, a draft programme of proposed November Programme is being circulated
Please note that this programme is not final and will go thru a drastic change after a committee which is constituted for it finalises the same on 22nd September 2018
Please this message communicated to all in your states.
Nimish Pandya
AIP
Message ends

Ravi: I think the "proposed November Programme" is what has been shared by Mr. Ganti on his post above. I have no idea of what the "drastic change" will be, when the programme gets finalized on 22nd Sept. 2018.
======================================================

Given below are some comments from my Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2291496844400213, associated with this blog post:

Vr Ganti wrote: You have been factual as usual. SAI BABA has been amply clear without any ambiguity whatsoever that the committee members of organisations should sit in a meeting and discuss about various projects they propose to undertake. Also the estimated expenditures for each project be discussed in detail and then in the corner of the meeting room a small box be kept for the committee members to go individually and contribute. Obviously each committee member knows the project cost and the number of committee members and so it is easy for them to workout each members expected contribution. Hence, after everyone visits the corner where the box for collecting money had been placed the box is brought to the meeting table and opened. Just in case the collection falls short the above procedure is to repeated for meeting the shortfall.

Just in case the shortfall continues the project cost is supposed to be brought down by cutting such items as is possible to be avoided.

So now do you understand why I say Kamala Pandya Garu is absolutely wrong.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Sairam Vr Ganti sir, I think you have great knowledge of Swami words on many matters. That is wonderful!

But sometimes the practical realities on the ground can be somewhat different and that sort of exposure comes only from experience of being in the orgn. and/or ashram system. Note that I was in Sai orgn. for around 9 years and in Sai university for around 9 years, and so I have 18 years experience from within Sai orgn/PN ashram system.

Let me put it this way, sir. I have been able to come to terms with, and understand, material life only when I view it as shades of grey rather than Black or White. I think similarly one can come to terms with, and understand, Sai orgn. functioning when things are viewed as shades of grey rather that just Black or White.

Black or White views in running not only Sai orgn. but perhaps any significant sized spiritual orgn. may lead to dysfunction and the orgn. not being able to meet its basic goals.
----

Vr Ganti wrote: Ravi S. Iyer. For your kind information I was also in the org for about a decade and we put the above direction of SWAMI into practice to the letter and I am sure it is still continuing in Katong Centre.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: This is a sensitive matter. So I do not want to comment further. I think money matters are the most sensitive matters in Sathya Sai movement. .. In PN ashram they are just super, super sensitive. When I was with PN ashram, I saw that my colleagues had to take extra precaution in money matters, including donations, cash/kind provided to the institution we were associated with. As I was a free service guy, I had the liberty to completely avoid getting involved with any donations in kind to the dept. that I was serving with. But paid employee colleagues had to take that responsibility and be very careful with it, so that, on one hand the needs of the dept. are handled, and on the other, no complaints are made about donations being accepted. Of course, my colleagues who were involved in such matters, got the clearance from appropriate authorities. But still it was sensitive.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Just to give readers a sense of perspective of how expensive running some institutions in PN ashram system can be, I would like to share a light-hearted remark made by a person in the know about such matters, sometime before Swami Mahasamadhi, if I recall correctly. He said something on the lines of: Along with his morning cup of tea, the Director of Super hospital (the Super speciality hospital in Puttaparthi) needs tens of lakhs of Rupees to run the show for the day! [A lakh is one hundred thousand]

Of course, this should not be taken literally. It light-heartedly conveys that per day expense for the Super hospital (before Swami Mahasamadhi) ran into tens of lakhs of Rupees. I don't know how accurate this view is. But I think it should be quite accurate.

Running a samithi (Sathya Sai centre) is one thing - one can think of a collection box kept in a corner of a room which would be enough to manage the show. Running a super speciality hospital which offers its services completely free of charge to all its patients OR, for that matter, running a university whose campuses offer free education to all its students, are completely different things. I mean, we are talking of apples and oranges here, or I should say micro-apples and mega-oranges!
----

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pakistani Muslim person's comment that my explanation led to her understanding "what Hinduism actually is", has made my day

Today I am feeling blessed and am feeling ***Mighty Pleased*** too :-)

A short response comment in the early hours today, from an unknown Facebook user whose profile indicates that she is based in Karachi, Pakistan and whose name indicates that she may be a Muslim, has made my day!

Under my comment thread in Dr. Shashi Tharoor's post, https://www.facebook.com/ShashiTharoor/videos/617885205272899/?comment_id=617999435261476, she wrote, "Ravi S. Iyer , your explanation sounds much clearer and better,
now i can understand what Hinduism actually is,"

I guess at least part of my ****inescapable**** destiny is to be at least a part-time teacher. I have taught tuition (Mathematics for school students) to earn some money when I was studying in college in early 1980s. Within slightly over a year of joining a software company, Datamatics Ltd. in SEEPZ, Mumbai (Bombay then), as a trainee programmer in March 1984, I was made in charge of teaching a batch of MBA graduates and at least one Chartered Accountant, COBOL programming over a period of 4 months involving extensive practical programming work. I had gone through that myself just a little over a year earlier. As I had dropped out of my M.Sc. Physics in the first year itself (due to funds crunch), I was younger than most of the trainee programmers in this batch that I was teaching! After the training period got over, I become good friends with some of them and had some good times with them as friends. But recently when I reconnected over phone with one of these guys, a Chartered Accountant in Mumbai, after a gap of around 25 years, I guess, his way of confirming who I was, was by saying something on the lines of: you were our teacher, right? :-).

I continued to play quite a few teaching and mentoring roles during my days in the software industry, including a stint as an independent computer programming instructor associated with a company called Akshay in Mumbai, for Windows programming, C++ programming etc. teaching staff of companies like Union Bank of India, ANZ Grindlays Bank, Larsen & Toubro etc.

After I retired from the software industry and offered Seva (free service) at Prasanthi Nilayam ashram, my main Seva was teaching computer programming courses to students at the Sai university, besides being the technical guide for student project work.

As I got into social media writer role on blog & Facebook over the past 6 to 7 years, I have been posed questions by some on social media which I have attempted to answer when I have some knowledge about the associated topic. In the past 3 to 4 years, bulk of the questions (and bulk of my writing) have been related to spirituality & religion (including about the FALSE CLAIM so called communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu of Muddenahalli group).

Over the years, many have appreciated my teaching and explanations, first on software related matters and lately on spirituality & religion. That has been a source of satisfaction to me, which is another indicator of this at least part-time teacher destiny aspect about me. I mean, I like teaching and explaining about stuff that I know or have decent idea about, and get happy when I am able to convey my knowledge and understanding to an interested person.

But, prior to the comment mentioned at the top of the post, I do not recall a Muslim person telling me that after reading my explanation about Hindu religion they can understand what Hinduism actually is! And this person seems to be from Karachi, Pakistan! Therefore, today is a special day for me.

My gratitude to my many teachers of Hinduism including my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for providing me the knowledge which enabled me to help this Muslim person from Karachi, Pakistan to better understand Hinduism.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Google (Gmail, Blogger, Drive, YouTube), Facebook, WordPress and Twitter mechanisms for heirs or legacy contacts to get some access/control on deceased person's account

As I thought it may be useful for some readers, I have shared below how I recently set up legacy contact mechanisms for my Google and Facebook accounts, and have provided some info. on how WordPress and Twitter handle such situations.

A) Google

Google Account -> Personal info & privacy -> Assign an account trustee (Inactive Account Manager)
Clicking on above leads you to: "Make a plan for your Google Account if you pass away or stop using Google"

I have created an Inactive Account Manager Plan. The plan's details are as follows:

1) Google will consider the account to be inactive after 3 months of inactivity

2) I have chosen 1 email id to be notified if my Google account becomes inactive and have chosen to share all my data with them then. [I used Select All option to share all my Google data: This includes the following key data that I use/have on my Google account: Blogger, Contacts, Drive, Mail, Profile and YouTube.] Note that this access will be provided (only) for 3 months after my account becomes inactive. So the legacy contact will have to pick up all my data within this period. A total of 10 such email ids can be notified. In future, if required, I may add some more email ids.

3) I have chosen that my inactive Google Account should ****NOT**** be deleted after 3 months. So I presume that my Google Blogger, Drive and Youtube public data will continue to be around for others to access indefinitely (till Google company is around and they support these products!).

B) Facebook

Settings -> General -> Manage Account

1) I have chosen a Facebook friend as my Legacy Contact. From https://www.facebook.com/help/1568013990080948: "A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it's memorialized."

2) I have provided Data Archive Permission. That allows my legacy contact to download a copy of what I've shared on Facebook. This may include posts, photos, videos and info from the About section of my Profile. Messages won't be included.

3) I have ****NOT**** chosen 'Request account deletion'. So my Facebook account will continue to be around after ....

4) I have ****NOT**** chosen 'Deactivate your account'

Unlike Google which seems to use a period of inactivity (I have chosen the 3 months default as the period of inactivity) to trigger contact with the Inactive (legacy) contact person, Facebook expects the legacy contact (or somebody else?) to inform them of the account holder having passed away using an online "Memorialisation request" here:  https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/651319028315841

C) WordPress

It seems that WordPress does not have a mechanism for an account holder to set up legacy contact data like Google and Facebook. But heirs can contact WordPress and get access to deceased user's account by giving them appropriate information as per instructions given here: Support -> Policies & Safety -> Deceased User, https://en.support.wordpress.com/deceased-user/

D) Twitter

My twitter data is not important to preserve. But the process of intimating Twitter about an account holder having passed away seems to be through this form: https://help.twitter.com/forms/privacy .

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Inaccurate and confusing view of Hinduism being spread by Shashi Tharoor: "There are simply no binding requirements to being a Hindu, not even a belief in God."

Last updated on 15-Sep-2018

This post is based on an exchange I had on this Facebook post & comment thread of Dr. Shashi Tharoor, https://www.facebook.com/ShashiTharoor/videos/617885205272899/?comment_id=617999435261476&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R4%22%7D. Note that the thread has a comment of mine as the starter comment. This starter comment of mine is provided in my recent post: My comment on Dr. Shashi Tharoor's 'Why I am a Hindu' short promotional video, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-comment-on-dr-shashi-tharoors-why-i.html.

On this comment thread in Dr. Tharoor's FB post, a person commented (I paraphrase) that Hinduism has widely varying and even contradictory thoughts. That (in Hinduism is implied) "One can be an atheist while the other follows religious books and believes in the divine." And that Shashi Tharoor is celebrating this freedom for contradiction in Hinduism while I (Ravi S. Iyer) am talking about others who follow Hindu books and follow a particular system.

I (Ravi S. Iyer) responded as follows (slightly edited):
I think many other religions including Christianity have many sects with widely varying views and even contradictory views on key aspects of their religious doctrine and practice. E.g. Large variety of Protestants and Roman Catholic Christians. Note that even the Mormons - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormons, who consider Joseph Smith as the prophet of their sect, view themselves as Christians.

I don't think an atheist i.e. a person who does not believe in the divine/God, can be viewed as a Hindu. The person may be somebody who follows Hindu rituals including the act of visiting a temple and appearing to pray to the deity there, but without belief in God. Mind you, having some doubts and lack of understanding of these rituals is a different matter from saying that one does not believe in God. Belief in God is the very basis of Hindu rituals.

I think it is inappropriate to view persons who follow Hindu rituals but without belief in God, as Hindu. They are closet atheists who are putting on an appearance of being a Hindu for reasons like having Hindu community support or not displeasing their relatives. The accurate category for such persons is atheists. And I fully support the right for people in India to be atheists. Freedom of religion in India includes freedom to have no religion/no faith in God.

Let me give the exact words of Dr. Tharoor from this video, relevant to this discussion: "There are simply no binding requirements to being a Hindu, not even a belief in God."

Tharoor also refers to this part of the Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta :

"Whence all creation had its origin,
the creator, whether she/he fashioned it or whether she/he did not,
the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
she/he knows - or maybe even she/he does not know." [11]
—Translated by A. L. Basham
...
Ref. 11. Avinash Sathaye, Translation of Nasadiya Sukta
--- end wiki extract ---

Let's examine a hypothetical statement that Christianity includes lack of belief in Christ's divinity, and specifically his divine resurrection (or reappearance). Note that there are many schools of Christianity ranging from Middle Eastern sects which seem to follow practices rooted in ancient Christianity to the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and a large variety of Protestant faiths especially in the USA. As a comparison to what I consider is the inaccurate and confusing view that Dr. Tharoor is propagating that Hinduism includes atheism and is quoting part of the Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda in that context, I would like to quote the New Testament verses related to Saint Thomas the apostle.

John 20:24-29, Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2020%3A24-29&version=NIV

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

--- end John 20:24-29 extracts ---

The resurrection (or reappearance among the apostles and followers) of Lord Jesus Christ is a fundamental belief of the Christian faith. Is it not?

Thomas doubted it and the related verses are part of the New Testament! So then can one say that because Thomas doubting the resurrection/reappearance of Lord Jesus Christ is included in the New Testament, the Christian religion includes all people who doubt the resurrection/reappearence of Jesus Christ? I don't think so.

Similarly, just because there is one shloka (verse) or perhaps there are a few more on these lines, in the vast body of verses that comprise the Vedas, that doubts the omniscience of God/Divine power (e.g. Nasadiya sukta, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta, partially quoted by Dr. Tharoor in the video), jumping to a conclusion that Hinduism includes atheists and promotes atheism is a wrong conclusion, in my view. Note that the Nasadiya Sukta has the verse (English translation): "There was that One then, and there was no other." That reference to the One is to the Divine Power/God. So the Nasadiya Sukta does NOT propagate disbelief in God.

One has to look at the large body of the associated scripture and then arrive at a view about such scripture. I think the Vedas, Hindu Puranas and Ramayana as well as the New Testament are full of belief in Divine power, miracles, worship and adoration of God. I think no reasonable person who has read Hindu scripture or Christian scripture would say that these books include promotion of and support of atheism.
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Given below are comments from my Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2285890538294177, associated with this blog post:

Alok Dara Shikoh wrote: Very well said sir.
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Vr Ganti (who is based in Singapore) wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer and all others.
Interesting observations. My view is very simple. In SINGAPORE many people claim to (be) FREE THINKERS meaning they don’t belong to any religion. These people may believe in GOD/DIVINE POWER. However, my view is that a person may not be an atheist throughout one’s life. Because of ignorance one may not believe in divine/God but eventually will not continue to be an atheist.

Such kind of persons must be in every religion ... I suppose.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Vr Ganti sir, Thanks for your views.

People can move from position of atheism to faith in God or from faith in God to atheism. They may also be in or go to positions in between as agnostics who don't know for sure and do not disbelieve in God but neither believe in God.

And then belief in God also is of various types. In Hinduism, some believe in a non-intervening witness God/Divine Power who/which is observing people's actions and doling out Karmic consequences, but does not respond to prayer and supernaturally intervene in people's lives. This type of Hindu believers in God/Divine Power specifically don't believe in miracles including any miracles attributed to figures like Krishna in Hindu scripture.

And then there are Hindus who believe that God/Divine Power not only is a witness (Sakshi) who/which is observing people's actions and doling out Karmic consequences, but also, at times, responds to prayer and supernaturally intervenes in people's lives. This type of Hindu believers in God/Divine Power specifically believe in miracles including miracles attributed to figures like Krishna in Hindu scripture. I am of this type of Hindu believer now but in my youth I was of the previously mentioned type of Hindu believer where I did not have belief in miracles.

Of course, I fully support the right of a person in India, Singapore and other countries providing freedom of religion, to publicly be an atheist. And like there are good Hindus and bad Hindus, there are good atheists and bad atheists. So I am respectful of atheists so long as they are good people. I know some atheists who are very good people and have contributed significantly to improving the lives of people in the world. I have great respect for such atheists because of the good that they have done.
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In my comment thread on the above mentioned Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ShashiTharoor/videos/617885205272899/?comment_id=617999435261476&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R4%22%7D , I received a comment that the commenter likes my pattern of thought. He wrote that he liked Dr. Tharoor and that he is a well read intellectual. The commenter then wrote, "I doubt he believes in God or the existence thereof, he is a liberal elite and has to be politically correct for his global appeal especially in the West where public renunciation of God is revered." I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited): Thanks for your response --Name-snipped--. I found your phrase, "the West where public renunciation of God is revered" to be interesting :-). But USA still has more believers than atheists and I don't think your phrase would apply :-), in many parts of USA. In some parts, however, they would apply, I guess.
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I wrote:
I also like Dr. Shashi Tharoor. Further please note that I have a PUBLICLY POLITICALLY NEUTRAL role in these social media comments that I have put up. 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. I do find that Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, is an articulate defender of democracy in India and I commend Dr. Tharoor for this spirited defense of democracy in India.
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In my Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2285890538294177, associated with this blog post:

V V Sarachandran (based in Malaysia) wrote: Thank you Ravi Sir for including me in this thought evoking subject of probably what does it mean to a common person when he says ‘I am a Hindu’. You have chosen Sashi’s declaration as the backdrop😀

To me as a Hindu, growing up in a multi-religious and multi-cultural environment, one of the primary features of all my Hindu readings/ learning has been the appreciation of diversity. That all paths lead to a common summit though over different times and places and societies different names are used to refer to this common summit. In this context Hindu is most accepting and not grudgingly accommodating or tolerating. I can accept ST’s Atheists. I will not be judgmental about them and view them as eternally condemned to hell.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks V V Sarachandran sir for your views. Of course, I am not saying anything bad about atheists and that they are going to hell! And I too accept atheists and have some atheist correspondents whom I respect very much for the good they do.

The point is whether you think that an atheist who follows some Hindu traditions but without any belief in God, can be accurately described as a Hindu. My view is that he cannot be described as Hindu and that the accurate description is atheist (without being judgemental about whether his atheism is good or bad).
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V V Sarachandran wrote: My concern is as a Hindu we do not subscribe to any dogma as recorded anywhere that all Hindus can accept as fully authentic and more important - authoritative.
So if an atheist wants to call himself a Hindu so be it. No authority is recognized as having the authority to deny the atheist the right to claim he is Hindu if he so chooses🤔
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Thanks for your view V V Sarachandran sir.
Actually speaking, there are no ***universally*** accepted authorities even in Christianity and Islam, as they have many sects with some sects claiming other sects to be not Christians or not Muslims. E.g Ahmadiyya sect is not considered as Muslim by the main Islamic sects in Pakistan. The Mormons are not considred as Christians by some Christian sects in the USA.

The Pope is NOT the accepted authority for all Christian sects (in fact some Christian sects are very critical of the Pope). Likewise in Islam there is no single figure accepted worldwide by all Islamic sects as an authority.

But I don't think most Christian believers would accurately categorize an atheist as a Christian. Neither would most Muslim believers accurately categorize an atheist as a Muslim. Note that the issue is that of accurate categorization and not being judgemental about whether the person is good or bad.

Similary I as a Hindu believer do not categorize an atheist as a Hindu while not being judgemental about whether the atheist person is good or bad.

But it is interesting for me to note that you are fine with atheists (who may follow some Hindu traditions but without any belief in God) being called Hindus. Thanks for sharing your view which is different from mine.
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Vr Ganti (based in Singapore) wrote (slightly edited): V V Sarachandran, Ravi S. Iyer

The point is if one does not believe in the Gods/Divine, can one be considered or claim to be a Hindu. Yes such person may be forced to perform the rituals as pronounced in HINDUISM. It is not that such person should be outcast and let us all agree that the concept of tolerance level probably is the highest in HINDUISM
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V V Sarachandran wrote (edited): I always stand to be guided by persons of greater wisdom.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Vr Ganti, V V Sarachandran sirs, To me it seems that the issue is actually one of dilution and distortion of Hindu belief. However, I could be wrong.

Now I am not talking about outcast stuff at all. Just correct categorization.

Maybe I am missing out on some emotional issues here. As soon as I say that somebody who follows Hindu traditions but does not have belief in God should be categorized as an atheist who is putting on an appearance of being a Hindu, I see concerns being raised about outcastes and about being consigned to Hell. I never said that at all.

However, perhaps that's how the history of Hindu religion has been.

In my late twenties I myself had stopped wearing the sacred thread that was put on me through the Upanayanam ceremony in my teens. As a Brahmin boy I had assisted as the younger brother to my elder brother for the funeral rites of my father, and later I had done the funeral rites of my father's younger brother who did not have any children. But I lost faith in Brahminical rites (but not faith in Upanishads' formless God) sometime in my twenties, perhaps in my late twenties. So I stopped wearing the sacred thread for some time.

Later I faced some big life challenges which severely tested me. I turned to Bhakti (devotion) with Krishna as my Ishta Devata (favourite divine being/Avatar), for help. A few years later I came to know of Sathya Sai and then got into the Sathya Sai fold.

I then wanted to wear the sacred thread again. Especially after joining Sathya Sai fold, I started developing faith in Hindu rituals including Brahminical rituals. I asked one Vadhyar (Hindu priest who visits homes to conduct Hindu rituals) about what I should do. I was shocked when he said words that implied that I had gone out of my (Brahmin) community and now for returning to the community, I should undergo special rituals!

I later found another Vadhyar was not so strict about such matters and through some simple ritual started wearing the Brahmin sacred thread again. I share the above to let you know that I understand what the term outcast means. But I am not saying that in the main part of this discussion of ours.

But then both you and Sarachandran sirs are elders who may have seen more of life related to such matters and so have the concern about atheist categorization leading to other problems like being viewed as outcastes and being consigned to hell!! Perhaps your views are the more wiser views than my narrow logical view.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): BTW I should add that perhaps a few years after I moved to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002, I decided that as I am in a semi-sannyasi (semi-renunicant) mode, it would be appropriate for me to remove my sacred thread and so I removed it myself. I do not do any Brahmin rituals now and have not done so for over a decade.
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Vr Ganti wrote (extract of his comment):
...
Hence, the Hindus who do not recognise Hindu Gods are still considered as Hindus, unfortunately.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Vr Ganti sir, part of your comment was, "Hence, the Hindus who do not recognise Hindu Gods are still considered as Hindus, unfortunately."

In my youth (late teens and twenties), I steadily lost faith in supernatural powers of Rama and Krishna (the last two big Avatars of Hinduism prior to what we Sai devotees view as the triple Sai Avatar) besides other deities like Ganesha. I even stopped visiting temples. I think my studying Physics in college and then getting into Software development field may have been vital factors in my losing faith in such Hindu deities. But I still had faith in the Nirakara Parabrahman (formless Divine power/God) of the Upanishads/Vedanta. And I very much admired and tried to follow some of the philosophy part taught in Bhagavad Geeta.

So I have never been an atheist.

However, even if I had been an atheist, I would not view that as a bad thing. I am NOT judgemental about atheists and atheism. I know and respect some good atheists. And I have condemned some bad Hindus who have committed atrocious things like rape and murder.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: V V Sarachandran sir, Thanks for our polite exchange of differing views on the matter. It has contributed to improving my understanding of the matter.
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Vr Ganti wrote: Ravi S. Iyer ok.
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Terry Reis Kennedy (currently based in USA) wrote: Religions are many....God is One. Philosophies are many, the Truth is One......Debates are mental exercises.....attachment to the mind. We are NOT the body....Our Beloved says. That is my opinion Ravi S. Iyer Thank you for asking me to comment.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Noted your view Terry Reis Kennedy. Thanks.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: In my comment thread on the related Facebook post of Dr. Shashi Tharoor: https://www.facebook.com/ShashiTharoor/videos/617885205272899/?comment_id=617999435261476&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R4%22%7D , I received a comment:
"Ravi S. Iyer , your explanation sounds much clearer and better,
now i can understand what Hinduism actually is,"

I (Ravi S. Iyer) responded (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, Thank you for your comment. As your profile shows that you are from Pakistan, and your name indicates you may be a Muslim, I am really glad that I have been able to provide you some clarity on Hinduism. I think a better understanding and an early 21st century (our times) interpretation of major religions of the world like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. can go a long way in improving harmony between Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc.

Dilution of Hinduism's core beliefs so as to make it more attractive to people of other religions and atheists, is NOT the truthful (Sathya) and ethical (Dharma) way forward, in my considered opinion. Such approaches, even if they provide some benefits in the short run, eventually will do harm to people of Hinduism as well as relations of Hindus with people from other religions due to the confusion and distortion introduced in the core beliefs of Hinduism.

I would also like to say that as a Hindu, I am very respectful of people of other religions like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism as well as atheists who do good to society, so long as they do not prevent me from believing in and practicing my Hindu religion (with my belief and practices of Hinduism being no threat whatsoever to people of other religions or atheists). One of the saintly figures I revere and whose teachings I try hard to follow is Shirdi Sai Baba. I felt it appropriate to share relevant extracts from his wiki page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi :

Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian spiritual master who is regarded by his devotees as a saint, a fakir, a satguru and an incarnation (avatar) of Lord Shiva and Dattatreya. He is revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees during, as well as after his lifetime. ... [3][4]

According to accounts from his life, he preached the importance of realization of the self, and criticized love towards perishable things. His teachings concentrate on a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to the God and guru. He stressed the importance of surrender to the true Satguru, who, having trod the path to divine consciousness, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.[5]

Sai Baba also condemned distinction based on religion or caste. It remains unclear if he was a Muslim or a Hindu. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba.[6] His teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived,[7] practised both Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and took samadhi in Shirdi. One of his well-known epigrams, Allah Malik (God is King) and Sabka Malik Ek (Everyone's Master is One), is associated with both Hinduism and Islam. He is also known to have said Look to me, and I shall look to you.[5]
...
[References]
3. "Life of Shirdi Saibaba – Life Story of Saibaba of Shirdi – Shirdi Sai Baba Biography". www.shirdi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
4. "Shri Sai Satcharitra in English – Publications". shrisaibabasansthan.org.in. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
5. Sri Sai Satcharitra
6. Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. p. 3. ISBN 0-7914-1268-7.
7. D. Hoiberg; I. Ramchandani (2000). Students' Britannica India. Popular Prakashan. p. 324. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018.

--- end wiki extract ---
--- end my comment ---
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Terry Reis Kennedy wrote: Thank you for your extensive research into this post, Ravi S. Iyer. I appreciate it, immensely.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks Terry.
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[I thank wikipedia and biblegateway.com, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (short extract from biblegateway.com) from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Discussion on passion for perfection in profession in context of spiritual life; Should be balanced with Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Ethics), Shanti (Peace) and Prema (Love) values

In Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10213147132297576, Mr. V.R. Ganti wrote:

"Convert your Passion into your Profession to gain Perfection."

Passion and Profession are both different aspects. But if you take your Passion Professionally, the game is all yours.

Remember, "When Passion meets Profession, it creates history." So do what your heart says and not what people.!
--- end V.R. Ganti post ---

Mr. Alok Dara Shikoh commented on the above post (slightly edited to fix typos, provide some clarification and exclude unrelated parts): But sir, we should not forget the other quote by swami:. "the secret of happiness (success) lies not in doing what you like, but in liking what you have to do"... I have always wondered about this and arrived at the conclusion that ultimately your statement "do what your heart says' is very correct, but the determination of "what your heart says" should come not just from passion but also from other considerations important to the heart (including what is labeled as swadharma (ethical behaviour appropriate for oneself) in Hinduism... Passion is an extremely minor component of swadharma, if I understand it right).

My apologies in case this view is not in conformity with the intent of your post, but wanted to share my age old dilemma and resolution on the matter.
...
Ravi S. Iyer sir, would love to hear your view on the matter.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):  Alok Dara Shikoh sir Sairam! During my days in the very competitive and very innovative international software industry from 1984 to 2002, I saw that such views about passion for perfection in the workplace were viewed as highly desirable by managers and top leaders of software companies. In the initial years of my career, perhaps till I faced a major crisis in my life around 1993, I too came under that influence. I mean, I was in awe of the achievements of some great software professionals as well as great software companies/labs, and the general impression people had was that passion for perfection was the driving force for most of these professionals and/or companies. Their contribution to software world was astonishing and mind-blowing.

As an example, some info. about the then great Bell Labs of AT&T (now it is not so well known and has been taken over by Nokia). From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Labs - note that it has notable telephony and hardware innovations also to its credit, besides software:

Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages C, C++, and S. Eight Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.
--- end wiki quote ---

For me as a software professional in those days, the big and awesome contributions from Bell Labs were C, C++ and Unix.

But by 1993, I was getting disillusioned with this passion for perfection being a good attitude to life. I had seen quite a few career burnouts which perhaps happened due to this passion for perfection. My own major crisis in life also contributed significantly to this disillusionment.

Today I have the view that passion for perfection may produce great art, great products including technology products etc. I respect that. But many times, the lives of the people who have this deep passion for perfection in their profession/workplace, are not contented, balanced and happy lives. Sometimes such people are very harsh to others around them and hurt them a lot.

An appropriate example could be Steve Jobs. Apple under Steve Jobs produced absolutely wonderful products like the iPod and the iPhone. Steve Jobs was a great man from a worldly achievements perspective. But, unfortunately, Steve Jobs did not do so well as a nice and good human being. In his youth, he abandoned his child and left the child's mother the task of raising the child (for details see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Brennan-Jobs)! I don't want to dwell much on these negative aspects of Steve Jobs.

Perhaps passion for perfection in his profession led Steve Jobs to produce these absolutely wonderful products. But it also made him a not so nice guy. I don't think he would have done well on Sathya (truth), Dharma (ethics and ethical behaviour), Shanti (peace) & Prema (love) values scale.

I think passion and quest for perfection should be balanced with Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema values. At times if one's passion for perfection is conflicting with these values, I think it is better to slow down on the passion for perfection in favour of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema. Such an approach may not help in making a person great. But I think it will go a long way in the person being good. And goodness is better than greatness in the spiritual path.
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): Superb examples and conclusions Ravi Sir. Yes this is exactly what I meant... happiness+success does not come just from ensuring passion meets profession. A lot of other things (especially human value inculcation) have to be worked out also.
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Note that both Mr. V.R. Ganti and Mr. Alok Dara Shikoh approved public sharing of their comments by me.
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A comment: "I have heard that many Bell Labs researchers were very nice people; for example people have said very nice things about Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan."