Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Have initiated process to put up my "Who am I? I am I ... " book on amazon.in & flipkart; That has bumped up price to Rs.199 + shipping

Yesterday I paid Rs.1500 as "Standard Distribution" charge to Pothi.com to make my book available on amazon.in and flipkart. As part of this process, I needed to raise the price of my book to minimum price for "Standard Distribution" as now margin for the distributors (amazon.in and flipkart) will also have to be factored into the price.  The minimum price for my book (123 pages, A5 size) for Pothi.com's "Standard Distribution" is Rs.199 and so I have raised the price of the book to that. Anybody can check the minimum price calculation by using Pothi.com's Price & Royalty Calculator page: https://publish.pothi.com/tools/price-royalty-calculator/?nav=distribution.

The new price of Rs.199 is now shown on the sale page on Pothi.com web store: "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

There was no possibility of selling the book at Pothi.com at lower price of Rs.159 and at amazon.in and flipkart at Rs.199. The price had to be the same for all these outlets.

The process of putting up the book on amazon.in and flipkart is expected to take around a week, if I recall correctly. So sometime next week I hope to see the book listed on amazon.in and flipkart at Rs.199 + shipping.

The royalty from sales at amazon.in and flipkart will be ZERO for me as I have chosen the minimum price for Standard Distribution. However, sales at Pothi.com web store will give me a royalty of Rs.35. If at all I get some such royalty money, I will use it first to offset the Rs.1500 I paid Pothi.com for "Standard Distribution". If it goes beyond that then I will ensure that the additional money is used in a NOT-FOR-PROFIT way. For example, I may use that money to buy copies of the book and provide it free of charge to some interested persons.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

First Puttaparthi shop sale of paperback copy of my book "Who am I? I am I ..."; Three Puttaparthi shops where it can be bought on advance payment

Last updated on 10th Dec. 2018

Shri Venkitachalam Iyer of Puttaparthi is the first person to have bought paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", from a Puttaparthi book shop for Rs. 240. Thank you Venkitachalam Iyer sir. I hope you find the book worth the money you spent purchasing it. Note that I have chosen not to get any royalty money or any sales commission money - so I don't get any money from such sales. But the seller, the self-publishing platform (Pothi.com) and the printer profit from such sales and I am perfectly fine with that.

He picked up his copy from Music Mandir shop around two days back. I had helped set up the transaction which involved Music Mandir shop first placing an order with Pothi.com here: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science and paying Rs. 159 + shipping cost to Puttaparthi of Rs. 50. If I recall correctly, it took around a week to 10 days for Music Mandir to get the book.

I similarly helped another shopkeeper in Puttaparthi, G. Sainath of Sri Sai Xerox, to go through a similar process of ordering the book.

Note that this book was later put up on amazon.in and flipkart.com [see https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/11/my-who-am-i-i-am-i-paperback-book-gets.html for details]. That necessitated a price increase to Rs.199 from Rs.159.

The lowest price of Rs.250 for the book purchase from a shop in Puttaparthi using advance payment is at the amazon.in shop whose details are given later on in the post.

The book can also be ordered in advance at the following two Puttaparthi shops which are nearer to Ganesh Gate. But buyers will have to pay Rs. 280 for the book. Typically buyers will need to make an advance payment of the full Rs. 280 to one of these shops. A week to ten days later they will be able to pick up their copy of the book from the shop where they made the advance payment.

At times, the shop may have a ready copy to sell to them right away. But that would be an exception rather than the norm.

Given below is the contact information for two such Puttaparthi shops close to Ganesh Gate:

1) Music Mandir, Opp. Ganesh Gate, Contact person: Sayiraj, Mobile: 9440221476

[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.]





2) Sri Sai Zerox, #6 Chitravathi Road, Contact person - G. Sainath (also known as Russian Sai), Mobile: 9700878729. The shop is inside one of the buildings on Chitravathi road. The entry to the passage way to the shop is just before Sathya Jyothi Medical shop on Chitravathi road.



Above pic shows the book in Sainath's shop. [Please excuse the quality of this pic. It could be better :-) but I could not get a better pic with my mobile camera. ]

As mentioned earlier the lowest price for the book purchase is at Puttaparthi amazon.in shop. This Amazon.in shop in Puttaparthi is bang opposite Sai Super Bazaar near Hanuman mandir/temple. Given below are recent pics of the amazon.in shop and Sai Super Bazaar shop.





You have to tell the shopkeeper to search for the book title and/or author name in amazon.in, then identify the book as the product to be bought. [Alternatively, you can share this link for the book on amazon.in: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07K7M2963 .] You can pay him the total charge/price of Rs. 250 which is the rounded figure for Rs.199 for the book and Rs.49 for shipping to Puttaparthi, in advance or pay a lesser amount, say Rs.100, in advance and pay the reminder at delivery time, which will typically be a week to 10 days later. When the book gets delivered to the shop, he will call you up to go collect it.

I made, what I am quite sure must be, the first purchase of my book from amazon.in through this shop on 10th Nov. 2018. I paid the shopkeeper Rs.250 for it (full amount in advance). He is supposed to call me when he gets the book.
-----

Note that alternatively, interested persons could opt to download for ***free*** the ebook version of the same book here: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-ravi-s-iyer-who-am-i-i-am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science-c.
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Given below are some comments on one of the associated Facebook posts,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2320123138204250,

Shri Sai Nellore wrote on 24th Oct. 2018 that he had ordered it online and received the copy within 4 days, and that he is reading it now.

My comments in response is given below:
Sai Nellore - Oh! Thank you very much for ordering it. I do hope you too will find the book worth the money you spent on it. Thanks for letting me know. ... Sometimes it gets printed and shipped quickly.

I would be glad to have your frank view of the book after you read it.
----

Sai Nellore responded, in part, that he likes the book being small and that the formatting is very readable.
----

I responded:
Sai Nellore - It is a compilation of posts on my core understanding of Vedanta based on writings & discourses of Sathya Sai, Ramana Maharishi and others, and some contemplation and intuitive experience of mine, and on God & Science conversation. If some post does not interest you, you can skip that post and move on to the next post without losing any continuity kind-of information as the posts are separate and independent.

The God and Science conversation stuff can be somewhat intense. But I think it gets to the core issues of the day and tackles 'The God Delusion' arguments of atheist preachers like Richard Dawkins, using wise and balanced views of top scientists of 20th century and current day, notably Dr. Francis Collins, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins.
----

Sai Nellore responded, in part, that he liked my writing style and did not expect any problems with any part of the book.
----------------

Shri Vr Ganti wrote: Venkitachalam Iyer Sir. Will you ever get the kind of expression of gratitude from author of the book you buy? The greatness goes to Ravi S. Iyer Garu
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thank you Vr Ganti sir for your kind encouragement.
----

Venkitachalam Iyer wrote: Ravi enakku migavum piditha nanban

Vr Ganti wrote: Venkitachalam Iyer Appadiya

Venkitachalam Iyer wrote a big smiley icon.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Venkitachalam Iyer sir, My Tamil is not all that great. I could not make out what you said sir.

Venkitachalam Iyer wrote: I said that you are a lovable friend

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Venkitachalam Iyer sir - Thank you very much!

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Venkitachalam Iyer - I also offer you my love and gratitude.

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

In response to a comment on one of the associated Facebook posts, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2338117033071527, I wrote (slightly edited):

I am exploring and learning a lot about how to create sales channels for a self-published book (paperback copy) with limited sales potential. These posts share my experience of this exploration and learning. I think it may help others who would like to take the self-publishing route to share their spiritual and religious writings. ... Book promotion and creation of sales channels are absolutely vital. Only self-publishing the book and stopping there may not be doing justice to the hard work done in self-publishing the book.
==========================================================

An Indian correspondent who has self-published book(s) in India wrote me over email in response to some of the above content of this post (and was OK with public sharing):
Marketing and selling your book is usually the most difficult thing for an author (they certainly were for me!). Publication of your book shows you have skills in writing and the endurance and determination to get it completed -- not to be belittled. But those skills are quite different from what is needed to market your book.

Despite this, you seem to be doing remarkably well! Good luck with your book.
---

I (Ravi S. Iyer) wrote back (slightly edited):
Well said --name-snipped-- and thanks for your encouragement.

To be honest, I don't expect much sales of my book as it is on philosophy and God & Science which topics attract only limited number of readers. And me being a kind-of nobody reduces the probability of sales quite drastically.

However, I want to satisfy myself that I have done what I reasonably can to promote the book and to set up sales channels for the book, even if it is largely an advance-payment sort-of sales channel. I also need to put up easily available information for any person who comes to know of my book and wants to know about sales channels for it in Puttaparthi through Google search.

Once that is done then even if there are no sales, I will not feel bad as I would have done what I reasonably could. In particular, I would not have any feeling that I neglected promotion and setting up of sales channels in Puttaparthi for my book.

BTW Google search (from incognito Chrome browser window) for: Puttaparthi shop for Ravi Iyer Who am I? book

lists two of my posts given below as the top two results:

1) First Puttaparthi shop sale of paperback copy of my book "Who am I? I am I ..."; Three Puttaparthi shops where it can be bought on advance payment, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/10/first-puttaparthi-shop-sale-of.html [- this post].

2) Where to buy paperback copy of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; ..." book for delivery in India, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/10/where-to-buy-paperback-copy-of-who-am-i.html

These posts provide up-to-date information of sales channels and mode of payment. So I am satisfied that I have made it easy for interested persons to Google search for such info. and get it.
----

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Swami student and now faculty at SSSIHL (Sai university) melodiously and joyfully sings Bhagavan's Telugu poems declaring his Avatarhood and declaring his mission

Last updated on 1st Nov. 2018

The two poems are as follows (I have given below the transcript of his English translation of these poems):

1) Swami's declaration as Sai Avatar when he was 14 years old

Know that I am indeed Sai.
I am free from all the ties and bodily attachments.
None can fathom or understand my nature.

2) Swami's explaining his Avataric mission (in a letter to his elder brother Seshama Raju Garu, if I am not mistaken).

I have a task, a task to foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of bliss.
I have a vow, a vow to lead all who stray from the straight path again into goodness and save them.
I am committed to the work that I love - to remove suffering of the poor and grant them what they lack.
My glory lies in protecting all those who worship and adore me with good conduct and steadfastness.
The hallmark of true devotion according to Swami is to treat the dualities like joy and grief, gain and loss with equanimity.
----

[Update: I have put up a clip of 3 min. 23 secs having only the above part on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6zxqeMW--Q. Video Courtesy: Radio Sai Global Harmony.]

This is part of the video: "Prasanthi Vidwan Maha Sabha (Day 6) & Kavana Vijayam (Kavi Sammelan) Prasanthi Nilayam - 18 Oct 2018", https://youtu.be/uuTbjehl51o?t=1134 . I have set the starting time to 18 min. 54 secs which is when the Swami student and now faculty starts speaking about Bhagavan being the poet of poets. Then he speaks about these two Telugu poems of Swami and sings them with deep devotion and joy, and very melodiously. He also provides a translation in English. I thoroughly enjoyed the palpable devotion and joy, and the melodious singing of Bhagavan's powerful Avatar declaration and mission related Telugu poems (though I did not understand some of the Telugu) by Bhagavan's own student and now faculty.

He finishes this part at 22 min. 18 secs - i.e. a duration of 3 mins 24 secs. You may manually stop viewing the video here or watch other parts of his talk and later program involving notable Telugu poets.

[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.]



Please note that this Swami student and now faculty does not want his name to be shared. So I request those who recognize him to not mention his name in any comments they may put up on this post.

[I thank Radio Sai Global Harmony and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me putting up the above short video clip extracted from their video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tragic to see Sabarimala become a place for women journalists and activists to indulge in celebratory activism rather than approach it as pious devotees of Lord Ayyappa

I wonder whether the Honourable Supreme Court bench judges who wrote the majority verdict on the Sabarimala case (one judge, a lady, dissented) knew that their order would be used as a weapon by some women journalists and activists who don't seem to have any history of devotion to Lord Ayyappa, to attempt to celebrate breaking of tradition rather than approach Lord Ayyappa deity with piety.

A journalist is supposed to cover events. Here some women journalists are trying to become the events!

Tragic to see this tamasha (circus spectacle) at a place of worship and piety.

My personal view is that Lord Ayyappa is a celibate deity. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati! As is the feeling so it happens! When devotees have worshipped the deity with the feelings and belief that the deity is a celibate deity who does not want young and middle aged women to come before him, then that belief must be respected and adhered to.

It seems that the vast majority of women devotees of Lord Ayyappa are "ready to wait" and do not want to break these traditions.

So the Supreme Court order is not benefiting the vast majority of women devotees of Lord Ayyappa and has instead created great discomfort amongst them.

I felt it appropriate to transcribe two small parts of what Smt. Deepa Easwar said in this TV debate video clip, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPDQG7Xa7a4, published by India Today on 18th Oct. 2018 :

[Around 1 min. 42 secs.]
If you look at it, it gives a very ordinary Hindu the feeling that what was the necessity of all this. Are you seeing a huge queue of young women devotees lined up there and appealing to the police constables to please get us up there at Sabarimala? There are countable number of women and they were sent back.

[Around 2 min. 14 secs]
It is extremely unfair and an absolute injustice on the devotees like me, like Rahul Easwar, like all of them who are fighting there, because they just see people like Liby C.S. who has openly on Facebook proclaimed that I am an atheist and I am going to Sabarimala. And if Ayyappa has a problem with celibacy let me give him a (Kadakya) which is sort of a fruit which can be given in ... Let him maintain his celibacy. So she is mocking it ... And we see this sight ... of police providing her hundred percent security ...

---- end transcript segments ---

Ravi: I condemn the mockery of devotion to celibate deity Lord Ayyappa that has been indulged in by allegedly atheist activist Liby C.S. I condemn those young women journalists who are not devotees of Lord Ayyappa but are simply using the court order to attempt to make a spectacle of them being the first women to break the tradition of Sabarimala.

While I am not a regular worshipper of Lord Ayyappa, I am familiar with the deity and its worship traditions as my late elder brother was a devout worshipper of Lord Ayyappa and had been to Sabarimala many times, after observing the traditional vows during the period he wore the 'mala'. I also know many other devotees of Lord Ayyappa. So I am very pained to see this spectacle of mockery of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala done by some women who are under police protection!

I respectfully disagree with the majority verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court on the matter. I earnestly pray to Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala that the appeal against this verdict be heard by the Supreme Court at the earliest and that the verdict gets reversed.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Great poster at junction of Puttaparthi and Muddenahalli roads guiding Sathya Sai devotees to right path of Puttaparthi

The pic below seems to have been put at a junction kind of place with one road leading to Muddenahalli and another road leading to Puttaparthi.

[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.]


Wonderful to see this! Great caption about ***right path*** to Puttaparthi! Muddenahalli has the Cheap Imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu ****falsely claiming**** that he is a so called communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The path going to Madhusudan Rao Naidu of Muddenahalli is the ***wrong path***.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Where to buy paperback copy of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; ..." book for delivery in India

Last updated on 13th Nov. 2018

This post focuses on where and how to buy paperback copy of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" book. Alternatively, readers could opt to download for ***free*** the ebook version of the same book here: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-ravi-s-iyer-who-am-i-i-am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science-c.

Where to buy paperback copy for delivery in India

1) You can buy paperback copy (A5 size book with 123 pages) of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" for delivery anywhere in India at the following web stores:
a) Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07K7M2963
b) Flipkart (India): https://www.flipkart.com/am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-science-conversation/p/itmfazakubzrhhru?pid=9789353115210
Both the above sites sell the book at Rs.199 + shipping. Amazon shipping is Rs.45 for Bengaluru (Bangalore) 560001 pincode, whereas Flipkart shipping is lower at Rs.30 for the same pincode. Shipping to Puttaparthi 515134 pincode is higher: Rs.49 for amazon.in and Rs.45 for Flipkart.
c) Pothi.com: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science. The price is Rs. 199 + shipping (Rs. 50 to South India; Rs. 70 to other places). "Payment options available are Credit Card, Indian Debit Card, Indian Internet Banking, Electronic Transfer to Bank Account, Check/Demand Draft. The details are available" here: https://pothi.com/faq/107/what-are-the-payment-options-available-on-pothicom/.
2) If you want to buy it from an outside ashram Puttaparthi shop then if you pay the shopkeeper in advance, he will order it and keep it for you to collect from him. The price for you then would be in the range of Rs. 280 to Rs. 290 for shops near Ganesh Gate, and Rs. 250 for amazon.in shop further away, and it will take a week to ten days for the shopkeeper to get the book. In rare cases, the shopkeeper may have a ready copy for sale at Rs. 280 to Rs. 290.

This post: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/10/first-puttaparthi-shop-sale-of.html last updated 13th Nov. 2018 lists three Puttaparthi shops where the book can be bought for advance payment (and in rare cases, readily available for immediate purchase). If anybody faces any problem in procuring the book from these shops, they may please send a Facebook message / email to me at ravi@raviiyer.org .

Please note that the royalty from sales at amazon.in and flipkart will be ZERO for me (Ravi S. Iyer) as I have chosen the minimum price for Standard Distribution. However, sales at Pothi.com web store will give me a royalty of Rs.35. If at all I get some such royalty money, I will use it first to offset the Rs.1500 I paid Pothi.com for "Standard Distribution" to make the book available on amazon.in and flipkart.com. If it goes beyond that then I will ensure that the additional money is used in a NOT-FOR-PROFIT way. For example, I may use that money to buy copies of the book and provide it free of charge to some interested persons.

Also please note that I do not get any commission from shopkeeper/person who may assist in procuring/sending the book for/to you.

My book was prepared by me as free spiritual service (free Seva) and I am doing this promotion of my book also as free Seva. The intent is to:

1) Spread teachings/philosophy of Vedanta which were reinforced and very well explained by my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and which are reflected in Vedanta related content of the book.

2) To help people from any religious tradition - Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, etc. - to courageously counter ridicule of their belief in God from some atheism-preachers which includes some top scientists and technologists in the world.

Note that I did not use Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's name in the book, except in one or two places in passing, to keep the focus on the teachings/philosophy and avoid any prejudice the book reader may have. I am quite sure that Bhagavan will approve of this approach as Bhagavan has publicly said on multiple occasions that he is interested in spreading Sanathana Dharma teachings/philosophy and values, and that it does not matter to him which Divine being (Ishta Devata) a person may worship. In other words, Bhagavan was happy if a person worshiped Krishna, or Rama or Jesus Christ or formless God (Brahman), even if that person did not worship Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Bhagavan has also publicly said that not only is he a Divine being (God), but that all of us are Divine beings (God), with the difference being that he is aware of his Divinity whereas we, or most of us, are not aware of our Divinity. Further, Bhagavan's endeavour was, and in his formless aspect is, to teach us and to guide us to become aware of, and experience, our Divinity.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Should I put up my "Who am I? I am I ... " book on Amazon and Flipkart for more visibility and impact, even if it means hike in list price from Rs.159 to Rs.199?

Last updated on 14th Oct. 2018

As I am working on promoting my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science, it is becoming clear that listing on amazon.in may be a significant thing from visibility and impact point of view.

I guess that most book buyers in India know of amazon.in. Pothi.com is not so well known. So listing the book on amazon.in would help raise the profile of the book somewhat.

For doing that I need to pay a one-time charge of Rs.1500 to Pothi.com with no annual fee as of now, as it is currently waived.

But the hassle is that the price of the book will increase from Rs.159 (the production cost of book with ZERO ROYALTY to me, as per my choice) to Rs.199! Not only will amazon.in list price be Rs.199 (with perhaps some discounts coming into play, at times), but even Pothi.com price will have to match that price and so be bumped up to Rs.199!

In such a scenario, if I personally order copies from Pothi.com, as the author I will get the discounted production cost price of Rs.159 (+ shipping). But other users will have to pay Rs.199 (+ shipping).

As it is, Rs.159 is considered a stiff price for an A5 sized, 123 page book. And that's because I have used zero-money-investment Print-On-Demand method where one can print even just 1 single copy of the book. Offset printing of a minimum of 500 copies of the book may result in a production cost of around Rs.50 per book copy, but then I would have to cough up Rs.25,000 and worry about sales of the books, storing hundreds of book copies, recovery of investment, and essentially get into a businessman kind of situation, which I certainly don't want to get into. I have led a pensioner/retiree life with a straight forward Income Tax return without any hassles over the past 15 to 16 years, and I do not want to disturb that in any way.

But amazon.in listing will surely increase visibility and impact of the book. That is important for promoting the book.

So I am quite seriously tempted now to explore listing the book on amazon.in (and flipkart) even though the list price will increase to Rs.199 from Rs.159.

If readers have any suggestions/thoughts about this, I would be glad to know of them.

BTW Google search for the terms (using incognito Chrome window to remove bias towards my work):
* God and science conversation books
* existential reality books

shows my Pothi.com paperback book in the 3rd set of results (21st to 30th result hits).

If instead of Pothi.com result link, it were to be an amazon.in result link, I think it would be viewed more seriously.
====================================================

An Indian author whose books are available on amazon.in and amazon.com wrote over email (and was OK with public sharing):

Dear Ravi

Making your book available on Amazon and Flipkart will make it more easily available to people, wherever they may be. Neither of these websites will do any publicity or make your book more widely known.

In my experience, people don't usually browse through online lists to see what kinds of new books are available: online book retailers are not like bookshops where people will look through the shelves to see if there is anything that interests them. So it will be people who have already heard about your book who may become interested enough to want to find out more and can then go to Amazon or Flipkart for longer descriptions, and to read reader feedback (if any). And for people in far flung places, these websites will make it easier for them to get a copy.

This is my experience.
----

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Dear --Name-snipped--,

Thanks for your valuable input based on your experience.

Noted that people may not browse through lists and get to know about my book, if it is put up on amazon.in.

What I was thinking about was scenarios where people come to know of the book through my promotion efforts. At that time, if I provide an amazon.in paperback sale page link, they may be more willing to visit it (and maybe, just maybe :-), buy it) than if I provide a Pothi.com sale page link.

I now think that amazon.in listing is a kind of standard for a book to meet, in the eyes of many book buyers in India. There is tremendous name recognition for amazon.in. Among the people that I interacted with as part of promoting the book including local shopkeepers in Puttaparthi, very few had heard of Pothi.com but almost everyone, if not everyone, knew of amazon (amazon.in).
----

The Indian author correspondent wrote:

Another advantage of an Amazon listing is that people anywhere in the world can choose how to pay for your book (e.g. Indian or foreign credit card or net banking, for example, or even cash on delivery). Not sure how pothi.com handles payments.
----

I (Ravi) responded:

From Pothi.com website:
"Payment options available are Credit Card, Indian Debit Card, Indian Internet Banking, Electronic Transfer to Bank Account, Check/Demand Draft. The details are available" here: https://pothi.com/faq/107/what-are-the-payment-options-available-on-pothicom/.
----

I (Ravi) should add that as of now, due to concerns related to indemnity clause with Pothi.com that I had to agree to (check box selection, if I recall correctly) as part of the process of using Pothi.com for self-publishing my book, I have limited shipment of the book from Pothi.com web sale page to India only. This way I am exposed to Pothi.com indemnity related legal risks only in India, which I think is something that I can somehow manage, as I am sure that my book content is well within freedom of speech laws in India.

The ebook (free download) page on  Pothi.com does not allow me to restrict downloads to India. So I think that download is possible for all. Does that expose me to Pothi.com indemnity legal risk outside India too? Perhaps. Maybe I should discuss this with them.

Note that the indemnity clause states that I have to bear Pothi.com's legal expenses if any legal suit is filed against my book!!! That is scary for me. I am OK with me bearing legal costs if anybody files a legal suit against me directly for the book. But paying Pothi.com's lawyers is something that would make me very uncomfortable. Anyway, I don't have a choice. Unless I agree to the indemnity clause I cannot self-publish the book using Pothi.com self-publishing platform (or any other Indian self-publishing platform as this indemnity clause seems to be a standard practice). So I have crossed my fingers and have hoped for the best. But I want to play somewhat safe by limiting my Pothi.com indemnity risks for the book to India only.
----

Friday, October 12, 2018

Miscellaneous posts & comments on Facebook in October 2018

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

On FB post, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/any-amount-of-good-actions-karma-will-not-offset-the-bad-actions-karma-of-mudden/10213464794918943/,
Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 27th Oct. 2018: I get no happiness in criticizing Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy. But it has to be done for the benefit of Sathya Sai devotees. Narasimhamurthy has done, and continues to do, one of the biggest spiritual disservices any devotee of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba can do, by misguiding young students and others into accepting that Cheap Imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu is saying the words of Sathya Sai and that Sathya Sai so-called subtle body has become one (or becomes one, when Madhusudan is giving Darshan) with Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

Narasimhamurthy has exposed his spiritual ignorance about Sathya Sai Baba's divinity by this very sad endorsement and promotion of the Cheap Imitator.

That one of the cricketing heroes of my cricket fan days, Shri Sunil Gavaskar, has got misguided by Narasimhamurthy into following the Cheap Imitator, is very tragic.

I have no objection to, and do appreciate, the very impressive social service done by Muddenahalli group led by Narasimhamurthy and others. But that social service does not justify or cancel out the great spiritual disservice of misguiding so many, including young students, into accepting Cheap Imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu as Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Madhusudan Rao Naidu may be good at giving spiritual discourses, interviews and darshan but he should do that as Madhu Baba or some name other than Sathya Sai. Madhusudan Rao Naidu is NOT Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba but only a pale and cheap imitator of him.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And I should add that I am sorry if my words hurt Shri B.N. Narasimahamurthy but I have to do my duty towards my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Saithra Leilani has done very courageous work in Kuala Lumpur to highlight the false claims of Muddenahalli group which would have helped some persons in KL and Malaysia escape from getting trapped by false claims of MDH group. So I am very appreciative of Saithra's work in this respect. All the best, Saithra, for your good work to prevent more people from being trapped by MDH group.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer Aww thank you so much..we'll continue to work as a team to stop Adharma and Asathyam to some (extent) from raising it's hood. Cheers!!! ๐Ÿ˜Š
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 28th Oct. 2018: Muddenahalli group including some based in Melbourne, Australia, have used fabrication and misrepresentation against me using Facebook fake IDs. They threatened me and tried all sorts of tricks to attempt to silence me. I know that they have done that with some others too. Saithra Leilani wrote about how she was targeted by them.

Terry Reis Kennedy was very viciously targeted by the Muddenahalli group trolls.

This is the truth. So while I do not know enough about harmful supernatural beings to know whether the power behind Muddenahalli group is demonic, I do not think that viewing the power that promotes such vicious behaviour using Facebook fake IDs as demonic, seems to be wrong.

Muddenhalli group is essentially a cult revolving around two personalities - Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu. The history of cults is that sometime cults can get into very dangerous behaviour, along with a lot of good social service. In the past few years, a couple of ashram leaders in India, whose groups also did social service, were convicted and jailed on heinous crimes of rape and murder.

How ruthlessly Muddenahalli group tried to evict the venerable Gangadhar Bhat sir of Alike school and former chairman of Loka Seva Trust, after he broke away from false belief of Muddenahalli group, is known to those who have followed such matters. It was support from the community in Alike that prevented Muddenahalli group from succeeding in this demonic objective of theirs.

Some who opposed Muddenhalli group in the past, may prefer to say nothing against Muddenahalli group now. That is their choice. But they should not attempt to stop the good work that others have done, and continue to do, to resist the Asathya and Adharma of Muddenahalli group.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Social media, in particular Facebook, has become a vital medium for sharing the truth about Muddenahalli group's continuing Asathya and Adharma. Mocking people as Facebook warriors may be something that appeals to some people - that is their choice. I don't want to comment on that.

But I would urge all who are active on Facebook in exposing and opposing the Asathya and Adharma of Muddenahalli group to not get discouraged by those who are trying to mock them - like I will not be discouraged by being mocked as "act(ing) like the big man from your Facebook account".

The power of sharing of truthful information to defeat Asathya-Adharma of Muddenahalli group should not be underestimated. And Facebook has emerged as a vital platform for sharing of this truthful information with the Sathya Sai fraternity. Jai Sai Ram!
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In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/madhu-is-made-a-hero-by-sai-alumnus-who-was-prashanthi-nilayam-staff-hitherto/10211271398565405/ ,
Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 25th Oct. 2018:
I deleted my previous comment, which resulted in deletion of comments within it, as I found that the conversation was moving onto another person. I did not want to get involved in conversations about this other person.

I recognized that my comment seems to have provoked somebody into making that comment. In fact, I myself made my previous and now deleted comment as I got provoked by another comment referencing me.

I wanted to break this cycle of provocation as it was unnecessarily bringing in reference to another person.

Let me now provide a response to the original comment which provoked me, in a way that will hopefully not provoke others into bringing third parties into the conversation.

I saw a comment here that said, "Ravi respected what you was doing but wanted to keep away from you as he feared his own life in parthi".

The only times where I have feared physical assault on me was when I was exposing Muddenhalli group (largely from 2015 to 2017, if I recall correctly) at which time some then supporters of Muddenhalli group in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system (now they will act as if they were never Muddenahalli group supporters but that's another story of hypocrisy) gave me dirty looks and worse. Despite my poor health I gave them back the dirty looks letting them know that I will fight them back (like Jatayu fought Ravana even though Ravana was much more powerful physically). They backed down when they saw that I was willing to fight back and that I was not going to get cowered down in exposing Muddenahalli group, by their threats to me.

I should add that at that time some local outside-ashram Puttaparthi bosses wondered about my aggressive posture and reacted aggressively to me. I made some efforts to clear up the misunderstanding that I was being aggressive towards them. Once they saw that I was not encroaching onto their affairs, the bosses stopped their aggression towards me.

I did not fear for my life in Parthi for any matter at all. However, I did fear and still fear social media comments that may drag me into personal matters involving some important and powerful persons in Parthi. I view such public social media comments about personal matters of people as something that I prefer to avoid.

As V.R. Ganti sir has been consistently opposed to Muddenahalli group, after some time had passed, I decided that it would be appropriate for me, in the larger interest of Sathya & Dharma, to associate again with Ganti sir. Ganti sir was kindly willing to engage again with me and I thank him for that.

In general, do I have fear? Yes, I do. There are a lot of very dangerous things going on in the world, including horrible warfare, and I fear getting involved in them. For example, I want to stay away from the battlefields of Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Those who say that they have no fear may want to go there and get involved in the battles there, to show the world that they really have no fear. But I think that would be unwise of them.

But I would like to clearly state that at no time did I fear for my life in Puttaparthi. I think people who say such things are creating a wrong image of Puttaparthi as if it is some mafia ruled place. No, Puttaparthi is a generally safe town. Of course, if one attacks the powerful people in the town they will react aggressively. That goes not only for Puttaparthi but for most places in the world including Mumbai, Brussels, Boston and New York City - cities where I have lived or have frequently visited.

Today in Oct. 2018, Muddenahalli group hijack of some part of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system has been completely reversed, and I can humbly claim to have made some contribution there, along with others like Ganti sir. So life in Puttaparthi for a Prasanthi Nilayam supporter devotee of Sathya Sai is very safe so long as the person does not target Prasanthi Nilayam ashram administrators or leaders of outside ashram Puttaparthi town. I lead a very safe life now in Puttaparthi as I am a well wisher of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, and I do not involve myself in outside ashram Puttaparthi town leaders' political and business affairs.

And, very importantly, I ****do not**** want to get involved with or engage in any social media conversation related to personal life of important persons (or even unimportant persons) of Puttaparthi.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And regarding my reputation :-). People are free to have any negative opinion about me. I am not a candidate in a popularity or reputation contest :-). In fact, I have publicly said quite often and I repeat now that I have more than my fair share of human flaws. So I do not claim to be some spotless reputation guy.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (on 26th October): Good to see that the third person related personal matter comment has been deleted.

I presume that Mr. --name-snipped-- (using FB name of --name-snipped--) did that. If so, I thank Mr. --name-snipped-- for that.

Mr. --name-snipped-- was a supporter of Prasanthi Nilayam system and was actively opposing Muddenahalli group on social media. That's how I got to know him on social media, sometime in 2015 if I recall correctly. We did work together on opposing Muddenahalli group's false claims wrt to our beloved and revered Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I thank Mr. --name-snipped-- for that work that he did in opposing Muddenahalli group's false claims.

It was my destiny, I guess, to become a whistle-blower on social media, in conjunction with courageous persons like Vr Ganti sir, about some sad matters related to Muddenahalli group having hijacked some parts of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system in the immediate post Mahasamadhi years. I had to do that as elders were keeping quiet over a number of years - My whistle-blowing started sometime in 2015, whereas the hijack had started in July 2011!

As a whistle-blower I have made my enemies - perhaps some of that enmity will last this lifetime. That is sad. But I had to do what I felt had to be done to ensure that Sathya & Dharma prevail in Prasanthi Nilayam system and the Asathya-Adharma influence of Muddenahalli group, in particular B.N. Narasimhamurthy's and Madhusudan Rao Naidu's Asathya-Adharma influence, got removed from Prasanthi Nilayam system. Along with the work of many others including V.R.Ganti sir and Mr. --name-snipped--, I think that goal has been largely achieved. I am very happy with this goal having been largely achieved!

Mr. --name-snipped-- is free to entertain whatever negative opinion of me that he would like to. I am not disturbed by him having such negative opinions of me. I have more than my fair share of human flaws.

I wish Mr. --name-snipped-- all the best in his spiritual journey.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks to Mr. --name-snipped-- about the nice things he has said about me.

Regarding the reputation stuff: Well, actually I think I am very conscious about what I perceive to be the truth, which at times could turn out to be false. I have a thing about truth. And that creates problems for me at times. This is not to say that I never knowingly lie. I try hard not to knowingly lie. What I mean by that is that I try hard to say what I perceive to be the truth. But sometimes my perception turns out to be wrong. Usually, I then correct myself.

But I have said some white lies in the past. Perhaps I may say some white lies in the future too.

However, when it comes to deep spiritual matters including the current big dispute about Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claims and Narasimhamurthy's earlier dream-instruction claims, I view it as my bounden duty to my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to be truthful in whatever I say. I did not desire to be a noted social media writer on this Muddenahalli false claim matter. But destiny seems to have thrust that duty upon me and my deep gratitude to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai fraternity for all the spiritual love and wisdom that I received from them over the years, does not permit me to dodge that duty, so long as Bhagavan gives me the strength to do it.

I have shared this earlier at times but I think it is appropriate for me to mention it again. In 2010, I was told by a reliable source that Bhagavan had referred to me as Sathya Swarupudu. I try very hard when it comes to spiritual matters to live up to that.

I am not really so bothered about my reputation except that I try to keep accounts about me truthful, whenever I can. Some people may think that I am trying to create some big name for myself. Actually, I prefer to keep a low-profile. But circumstances demanded that I get out of my low-profile role via social media and so I, quite reluctantly, have accepted that.

And if I have hurt Mr. --name-snipped-- by my statements I am sorry for the hurt caused. I mean, I do not get any happiness by hurting Mr. --name-snipped--. And I am not saying this because of some thing I ****allegedly**** said about some third person. It is just the truth that I get no happiness in hurting Mr. --name-snipped--.

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On Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2304844753065422, Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 6th Oct. 2018:

"Honesty is the glue that holds together a society of laws. Lies are the solvent that dissolves those bonds." - From a recent article in the Washington Post.

I love the above two sentences. Simple but profound. Even a kid can understand it. However the tough thing is practising it when in trouble. But then that's why a great spiritual master said (I paraphrase) that it is enough to stick to just the spiritual value of the truth (Sathya) through thick and thin and that will (eventually but surely) lead to the person's realization and direct experience of divine reality/truth.

In response to comment, "As swami says " Sathyam brooyaath,Priyam brooyaath, Na brooyaath Sathyam Apriyam", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Sometimes though Sathyam Apriyam has to be said, for reversing Asathya-Adharma that may have got established in a community.
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In response to comment, "Young blood!", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Swami himself has advised that being silent witness to Asathya Adharma is incorrect, if one has the ability to respond to it and try to correct it. It is not 'young blood' but, IMHO, a more fuller appreciation of Swami's teachings and not limited to one statement alone which can be interpreted in a way to justify one's inaction when Asathya-Adharma happens in front of one.
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The Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10213340277126076, dated 7th Oct. 2018, had the following text:

WHEN A BURGLAR COMES HOME TO ROB, ONE SHOULD NOT INVOKE FOOLISHLY SWAMI’s DICTUM “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL” BUT IT IS ONE’s DHARMA TO CALL POLICE
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In response to a comment, Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh, Vr Ganti sirs, I had commented but then deleted it as I felt it would be misunderstood by people.
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V.R. Ganti wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh this what he said

I was aware of this possible background sir. But I have a tendency to try to help improve accuracy and prevent possible misinterpretation in some cases, when it comes to spiritual stuff. At least, that's my intent. Hope I did not irritate you by my comment ๐Ÿ™‚.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Prior to that, if I recall correctly (as there does not seem to be a way for me to get that deleted comment in FB), I wrote something on the lines that, worldly people including unmarried people may follow that and it may be appropriate for them (calling the police when a robber tries to rob them) .... But great saints and Avatars follow a different Dharma (they really follow Love All Serve All to a very high degree if not to a complete degree) and will never call the police when a robber tries to rob them. Either they will allow the robber to take what he/she wants at times OR at other times, choose to chastise the robber for his bad acts. In any case, they will not call the police. Alok Dara Shikoh, Vr Ganti
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Ravi S. Iyer Vr Ganti, Alok Dara Shikoh Given below is an example of Ramana Maharshi (referred in the extract below as Bhagavan) showing Love All Serve All practice to a complete degree which is NOT possible for worldly people (including me). From https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/ashram/history/ :

To start with, there was only one hut at the samadhi but in 1924 two huts, one opposite the samadhi and the other to the north of that got erected. For bathing, the waters of Paliteertham and for pooja the waters of Ramanateertham were used. As for food, several devotees from the town came with offerings; in addition, some vessels were also donated to enable the Ashram to have a kitchen. People also donated money. Books like Ramana Geeta were sold at a book shop called Ramaneeya Granthalaya and the proceeds were given to the Ashram. Dandapani and others utilized that money for buying vessels and food articles. No money could be saved.

With all this, the Ashram did face difficulties. On any given day at least ten persons dined there. This practice gave ideas to a group of robbers. They thought that the Ashram was affluent; so on the night of June 26, 1924 they came for a robbery. Earlier also some robbers had entered the pooja room and decamped with whatever they could lay their hands on. But the present gang was made of sterner stuff. They threatened to burn the place down and struck Bhagavan on his thigh with a stick. Bhagavan’s conduct during that robbery will for all time remain a teaching for those who wish to walk the Lord’s way. Bhagavan firmly negotiated with them to refrain from hurting the dog but asked them to hit him again if they so wished. The objective of the robbers was to terrify them. The Maharshi was unmoved and unperturbed.
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Ravi: The article does not seem to give further information on the incident.

I am quite sure that the ashram residents (small number of people then) who were NOT saints (like I am NOT a saint) would have tried to put in some means to prevent robberies and acts of physical violence like that reported above.

I ****know from experience**** that in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system, residents and Seva Dal do make a lot of efforts to protect ashram system (including institutions like university and hospital) from robbery. Robbery ***does happen*** in Puttaparthi, even if such incidents are lesser than in regular world. So, in Puttaparthi too, if one does not put in adequate security in place where one lives or works, it becomes a magnet for some to steal. 

These are the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system that I experienced when I was a part of it, as well as outside ashram Puttaparthi where I have now lived for 16 years.
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In response to a comment, Ravi S. Iyer wrote: It is my experience of Sathya Sai physical form that he was a LASA master. So it was not just preaching for him. He demonstrated it in practice.

But I also realized that I am just nowhere close to be LASA person/follower. So it was, and still is, an ideal for me which I hold in great esteem and try to Love Some and Serve Some :-). LSSS or should I say LASSI :-).
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote: LASSI cheers to you and ganti sir!!!☺️☺️
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh - Sathya Sai has spoken about many different contexts in his discourses. Besides LASA he has also said, "Padi mandiki Seva Cheyi" - Serve few (ten) people. I find that, given my various limitations and flaws, 'serve ten people' teaching suits me very well.
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In response to comment, "DO YOU THINK OTHER THAN 3 OF US ANYONE ELSE WOULD BE FOLOWING THIS?", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: That does not matter to me, sir. Intricate questions about spiritual philosophy usually are not of interest to many. But they do interest me and so I am spending my time on this discussion. I think that's why Alok Dara Shikoh is spending his valuable time on this discussion.

Seekers of such knowledge are few. That's a well known fact of life.
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In response to comment, "Then do you guys think it could be a private discussion. Just a thought to dwell upon.", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Vr Ganti sir, you made your mark as a public writer following Sathya & Dharma in the Sathya Sai fraternity. You have a significant following. So I think such discussions being public is good. Others may not only benefit, some may contribute too.
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): Ganti sir, Ravi sir is right.... For instance if it werent for your Facebook page, I might have never met Ravi S. Iyer sir. 
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And I would not have met you Alok Dara Shikoh sir! So Vr Ganti sir has provided us a Sathya-Dharma platform to virtually meet and interact on spiritual topics. Thank you Vr Ganti sir.
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the following article was shared: Catholic Federation of India threaten to take legal action against Nuns, says ' they are embarrassing Church', https://m.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/catholic-federation-of-india-threaten-to-take-legal-action-against-nuns-says-they-are-embarrassing-church, dated 11th Oct. 2018

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh - This is the reality of spiritual missions, no matter what the religion, when it comes to whistle-blowers, especially those that make a police complaint resulting in a top official being charged and arrested for a serious crime. I am not at all surprised by this reaction. What I was surprised by, was the nuns going back to their convent!

The hatred from some of the people employed by the mission and whose lives are deeply entwined in the mission, towards the whistle-blowers would be intense, especially in the initial months of the whistle-blowing. I know that from direct experience. Note that all people in the mission will not be hateful like this. It will be mainly an aggressive few who are in administrative positions of power, or closely aligned supporters (hatchet men/women) of such persons. The aggressive few will hit out and the rest of the "nice" people in the mission system will be silent witnesses watching what is happening, even feeling bad for the truthful whistle-blower who is being attacked, but will do nothing to help him/her, mainly out of fear that if they help they will be attacked next by the aggressors.

Even if legally the nuns are able to win the right to live in the convent, they will be marginalized, ostracised (shunned) and made to feel like that they are traitors (Judases) to the mission.

I think the supporters of the nuns should collect money and open a separate spiritual mission for them, where the nuns can serve society and manage to survive from support of the community they serve.
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In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216072663824900&set=a.10201966145210751&type=3&theater,

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 11th Oct. 2018: Interesting! I don't think I have eaten a Veg. Spaghetti. Should try it sometime.
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Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer I think (you) can get the vegetarian version of it in Hanuman Cafe or at German Bakery.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Maybe I will try it out from one of the two restaurants you mentioned, one of these days - I will order it as parcel from there.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer hmmm y parcel..appreciate the freshness of food, views, people while eating in there..thts lit!!
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well, I have some peculiarities in this regard. I am comfy about sitting and eating only in a few places where I have a good rapport with the owner/staff of the place. I don't have anything against the staff/owner of these other places you mentioned but I don't know them and as I am a very reclusive type of person, I prefer not to expand my range of interactions in this matter.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer I know it well..a stithapragnya..๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: No, no, no. ... I am just a struggling spiritual aspirant trying to overcome my many human flaws.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer I personally feel you aren't an ordinary soul..something in store for you..Swami is letting you be little flexi now but I know the awakening is otw..๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well, I have lots of theoretical understanding of the spiritual path and some spiritual insights. And Swami has contributed immensely to that theoretical understanding and the spiritual insights. .... But the deeper full blown spiritual self-realization experience is something that I have not had. ..... And after Swami's Mahasamadhi and chaos, confusion and trauma that followed in Sathya Sai movement, I felt that I had to do my duty to Swami and the fraternity by keeping aside my individual personal sadhana (meditation, contemplation, deep study of scripture), and becoming a writer on spirituality & religion, and also about ethics in worldly life.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And, very importantly, doing my bit to oppose the dilution and distortion of the legacy and memories of our beloved and revered Gurudev.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer The one who is born to Suryanarayana...(a lion-a reflection of Sun God) will have to roar like a lion and it's better to do something and be like a lion in facing the Asathyam that is happening right in front you rather than living like a sheep for hundred years..your true weapons are your writing pieces and that tiny little pen that quivers Asathyam and Adharma..I know you ll dazzle wherever you are inspite of challenges!! And your work will be remembered by Sathya Sai Fraternity..๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks for the vital support Saithra Leilani. It really helps.
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In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/alok.sastry/posts/10217493621956897, there was a reference to the article, Evangelical Organisation Calls Christians To Plant Churches Among Hindus During ‘Great Spiritual Darkness’ Of Navratri, https://swarajyamag.com/insta/evangelical-organisation-calls-christians-to-plant-churches-among-hindu-during-great-spiritual-darkness-of-navratri, dated 11th Oct. 2018.

I (Ravi) was tagged in a comment that asked me, "Just curious Ravi S. Iyer sir, how is one (especially a sai devotee) typically supposed to reconcile to praise Vatican when Vatican calls hindu festivals as great spiritual darkness? 

I feel that sarva-dharma-priya is absolutely the right conduct for a sai devotee, but is silence the only refuge when u hear hindu-apriya being openly propagated by Vatican?"
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited) I think the concerned orgn, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christar, https://www.christar.org/explore/about/vision/, seems to be a Protestant Christian orgn. That is not related to the Vatican.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I would say that such missions are fringe Christian missions like there are fringe missions of other religions including Hinduism which make weird claims.
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In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10217999247551575, dated 12th Oct. 2018, a letter was shared which talked about problems foreigners are having with visa and immigration for stay in India.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I think a special request should be made to Indian authorities for foreign Sathya Sai devotees wanting to stay in Puttaparthi for longer than 6 months. 

My past experience (1980s & 1990s) in this regard, as an Indian who was visiting/consulting/working in Western countries, I think may be relevant even now.

What I found was that the visa granting rules and immigration rules controlling how long an Indian visitor can stay in a foreign country, was impacted very much by how that country's citizens were being treated in these matters in India. Note that typically the visa permits entry but the immigration authorities of a country plays a key role in determining how long the foreign visitor can stay in the country.

For example, while I was living in Belgium on a work visa in the mid 1980s, I was denied a visitor visa to France to attend the wedding of a French (white) friend. It was very disappointing as no reason was provided. Later I read about lots of tension between India and France on some sensitive matter. I felt that my visa rejection could have been related to that. 

Coming back to now, over the past few years, especially after Brexit and election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of USA, I have read reports in mainstream media that visa and immigration rules in USA and UK (and perhaps other European countries too) have been tightened for Indians.

Perhaps what Western visitors in India are experiencing now in Indian visa and immigration related matters, is a reaction from Indian authorities to what Western authorities are doing to Indian visitors in these matters.

I think the way for foreign Sathya Sai devotees who are visiting or staying in India to try to avoid such problems, may be to seek some kind of special treatment as they are staying in India for spiritual service and uplift purposes. I think the service done to Indian poor citizens should be highlighted as that may result in positive viewing of their cases by the Indian authorities.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Very happy that my school - Cardinal Gracias High School, Bandra (E), Mumbai - has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I ..."

Last updated on 13th Jan. 2019

Yesterday, 9th Oct. 2018, I was able to confirm that one of the two schools that I studied in, Cardinal Gracias High School in Bandra (East), Mumbai, has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science. I was informed that it would be given to the principal, Rev. Fr. Sabu Thomas, O. Praem. I requested that my covering letter email also be provided to him along with the book. Note that I had organized printing and sending of the book on 28th Sept. 2018.

I am very happy that I could do this small act of gratitude and love towards the school where I studied from 7th standard to 10th standard from June 1974 to March/April 1978. [I had earlier thought it was three years but the School Leaving Certificate photocopy below shows it was 4 years.]

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



I have very fond memories of the years I studied in this school. I had a lot of Christian school friends (most would have been Catholic I guess but I am not sure) and also Hindu and Sikh school friends (currently don't recall Muslim school friends then). There was a church (which probably is still there) next to the school in the same campus. I have visited it a few times out of my own interest but without any coercion whatsoever.

Though it was managed at the top level by Catholic priests and had many Christian teaching staff, I don't recall even one incident where I felt that Catholic or Christian beliefs were being forced on me, in any way. In fact, the school offered Sanskrit as an optional language to study, which I think I studied for 3 years. I still recall the Rama Ramau Ramaha Sanskrit grammar part that I was taught there by a very dedicated Sanskrit lady teacher (a Hindu, if I recall correctly). [For more on the grammar part, see https://sanskritinstitute.wordpress.com/sanskrit/ .]

The morning prayer, if I recall correctly, was the Hindi prayer song: Humko man ki shakti dena, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbchuCfqBls (4 min. 29 secs) from the Hindi film Guddi.

At that time I was not aware of this background but on digging up info. about my school in the somewhat recent past, I came to know that the school is associated with the Norbertine Canonry of Jamtara, near/in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (India). Now this Norbertine mission is associated with Holland (Netherlands). I knew that there is some Holland connection even when I was studying in that school as one of key administrators was reported to be from Holland, as per my recollection of matters which are over forty years old! But I do not recall knowing about the Norbertine Canonry of Jamtara in Jabalpur and its strong connection to the school.

What I do recall is that at least one of the Catholic priests who were school teachers, was well versed in Hindi, and actually taught us Hindi - Fr. Vijay (Anthony Jones), who became principal in the last year of my study there. He was an Indian and perhaps was originally from Madhya Pradesh or surrounding Hindi speaking states.

Some info. from http://www.canonryofjamtara.com/index.php/page/details/47/st.-norbert-abbey-jabalpur :

The first three Norbertines arrived on Indian soil in 1923 as Missionaries from the Abbey of Berne, the Netherlands. Their field of ministry was located in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. In 1929 they took up Jabalpur region for their apostolate. They concentrated mainly on the development of the people of Mandla District (M.P) through parochial, education and health care activities.

--- end small extracts from www.canonryofjamtara.com ---


Some information about my school from its website, https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/

Cardinal Gracias High School was founded on 12th June 1961 and has been managed by the Norbertine Fathers since 1964. The Nortbertine Fathers vowed to seek Christ by living in common, sharing all things in holy poverty, and dedicating themselves to ministering to God’s People.

...

[Vision]

The main purpose and object of the school is to make your child a good, honest, diligent and industrious, self reliant and resourceful, honest and truthful, just and fair in dealing with all, ever keeping the joy, that God gives to sinless hearts, and sharing joy with others, please help us in this great and noble task.

“Children cannot be made good by making them happy, but they can be made happy by making them good”.

--- end small extracts from cardinalgraciashighschool.org ---

Ravi: The motto of the school was, and continues to be, "Truth Expels Darkness". If I recall correctly, this motto was part of school uniform, badge or something else that students would see every day. I am quite sure I would have internalised this motto as part of my value system, at least to some extent.

During my student years, Fr. Samuel was the principal for first 3 years (1974-75 to 1976-77) of my studies there. The last year (1977-78), the principal was Fr. Vijay (Anthony Jones). [https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/principal-speak/principals/]

Another important administrator (manager) was Fr. R.D. Bent, who if I recall correctly, was from Holland and was a white person. My recollection of him was that he had a reputation of being a kind man. But Fr. Bent did not teach, as far I can recall. Fr. Vijay who taught Hindi was feared by us as he could be pretty strict (for our good, I am quite sure). But I don't recall fearing Fr. Bent - perhaps that's because he did not take school periods/classes. Perhaps that made Fr. Bent a more kindly figure to us schoolkids than priest-teachers like Fr. Vijay. Fr. Bent was probably the first white person I saw - just saw and not really interact with - on a rather regular basis. [https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/principals-managers/]

The history of the school is provided here: https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/history/.
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The other school that I studied from K.G./1st standard to, if I recall correctly, 6th standard, was English High School, Dadar (Mumbai). It was located bang opposite the main entrance of Dadar (East) Suburban Central Railway Station. This school got closed down some years/decades ago and it is difficult to get historical information on it from the Internet.

It seems that this school was also known as Jaykar's Dadar English High School. [It seems to have a shell like Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/english-high-school-jaykar-dadar/536420083172546 without any significant activity.] So it may have been founded by a Shri Jaykar. But I am not sure. My attempts to search for this Mr. Jaykar led me to some other Jaykars/Jayakars in Mumbai including one associated with a Santa Cruz Mumbai school called St. Lawrence High School, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Lawrence_High_School_(Santa_Cruz). I tried checking whether Mr. Jayakar of this Santa Cruz school could be the same as the person who founded English High School, Dadar but was not able to get proper info. even though I made quite some Internet based efforts (posting messages). Further note that the IES school (English medium) (formerly known as King George school) in Dadar/Matunga area in Hindu colony, https://www.facebook.com/pg/iesdadar/about/, is a different school to which some of my friends in the Railway Officers' colony that I lived in, went to.

I have some memories, most of which are very faded memories, of my student days in this Dadar school. Perhaps that's due to my much smaller age at that time - I would have studied there from age of 4 or 5 years to nearly age of 12 years. But I still have a few clear memories of my Dadar school student days including the school building and its outside area where hawkers would sell eatable-goodies to students! Tasty food has so much power for a kid that memories of it are very deep and accessible even many decades later!

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

Monday, October 8, 2018

Glad to know that Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor's office has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I ..."

Last updated on 12th Oct. 2018

Today, 8th Oct. 2018, I was able to confirm from staff of University of Mumbai Vice-Chancellor's (VC) office, that they have received the paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

As I requested that my email to the Vice-Chancellor be treated as a covering letter, the staff person said that he will print the email and give the book along with the printed email to the VC.

Given below is the initial part of my covering letter-email to the VC on 29th Sept. 2018:

Dear Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Prof. Suhas Pednekar,

I studied in Ruia College, Mumbai affiliated to Mumbai University, 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 and Mumbai University for having taught me in those years.

I also studied for a few months for M.Sc. (Physics) in Khalsa college and Kalina campus of Mumbai university, before I dropped out after around 6 months or so, due to money problems.

I am glad to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to University of Mumbai by sending you, sir, a copy of my first self-published book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation".

--- end extract from my email ---

Some info. about University of Mumbai from its wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Mumbai

The University of Mumbai, informally known as(MU), is one of the earliest state universities in India and the oldest in Maharashtra.

...

The University of Mumbai is one of the largest universities in the world. In 2011, the total number of enrolled students was 549,432.[2] The University of Mumbai currently has 711 affiliated colleges.[3]
...

History

In accordance with "Wood's despatch", drafted by Sir Charles Wood in 1854, The University of Bombay was established in 1857 after presentation of a petition from the Bombay Association to the British colonial government in India.[4] The University of Mumbai was modeled on similar universities in the United Kingdom, specifically the University of London.[4]:188

...

In 1949, student enrolment was 42,272 with 80 affiliated colleges. By 1975, these numbers had grown to 156,190 and 114 respectively.[4]
...
[Wiki References]
2. "Mumbai University records 60% rise in students" : DNA – Daily News and Analysis newspaper article, Monday, 21 March 2011.
3. With 811 colleges, Pune varsity 2nd largest in country The Times of India newspaper article : 4 November 2013
4. Aroon Tikekar (2006). The Cloister's Pale: A Biography of the University of Mumbai (2nd ed.). Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. ISBN 81-7991-293-0.

--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: In this matter, I now feel that I have done my bit towards my Alma Mater university by offering my book with gratitude and love to the Vice-Chancellor of University of Mumbai, and following up with the office staff to ensure they got it and confirming that they would give it to the Vice-Chancellor along with a printout of my covering letter email.

I don't know how the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Suhas Pednekar, may react to the book. It will be nice if he thinks it may be worth sending it to the main library of the University which, in my days, was and perhaps still is, in its Kalina campus.

Here are some pics of University of Mumbai:

[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.]



Rajabai Clock Tower which is located within Fort campus of University of Mumbai
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rajabai_Clock_Tower,_Mumbai_(31_August_2008).jpg. Pic taken by Nikhil Kulkarni (Nikkul at English Wikipedia). Pic shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.
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The University's administration building with the Bombay Stock Exchange in the background.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mumbai_university,admin_block,Tamil_Nadu490.jpg. Pic taken by (author name is in Tamil language script) เฎคเฎ•เฎตเฎฒுเฎดเฎตเฎฉ், on 17th Nov. 2011. Pic shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.
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Bombay University Garden, circa 1890.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bombay_University_Garden.jpg, Public domain pic.
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A building of the University of Mumbai.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mumbai_03-2016_37_University.jpg, Copyright: «© A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons» [Not to be shared on Facebook]
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My B.Sc. degree photocopy pic
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From my comments (slightly edited) in my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2307329169483647, associated with this post:

I recall sitting in the outer corridors of the building (like in pic above with caption, "A building of the University of Mumbai."), on a few occasions (as it was quite far from my college), to study for my exams. Students were allowed to do so.

I was attracted by its aura and majesty then. The fact that I still remember having sat there to study, shows how much an impact it made on me!
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Well I am just a commoner :-). But Mumbai University, including its majestic aura and great history, and Ruia college have certainly had their powerful influence on me, which surely must be reflected in some parts of my personality even today. Thanks.
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Saithra Leilani wrote (and was OK to share her comments in this blog post): Ravi S. Iyer your degree cert looks classy..when I compare mine it's totally different look.. All printed, embossed..
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Yes, Bombay University then had lot of such classy touches. I think it was the heritage of the British who had set it up in middle of nineteenth century.
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Saithra Leilani Ravi S. Iyer Garu...I thank you for uploading your prestigious degree here that led us to discovery [Ravi: about some name related personal matters which are not provided here]..yo! Cheers๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well B.Sc. is not so prestigious :-). But it has its value, nonetheless.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer of course.. Its your hard earned through your hardship and effort.. It does not matter what qualifications but the very qualifications you have earned should reflect one's character..that obviously I saw in you..your higher spiritual consciousness and sense of detachment..that I treasure most...which has eventually led to the birth of "I'm I"..Isn't that the qualities Swami wants from us! The spiritual progress no matter where we are now..I think thats prestigious enough..not from worldly perspective.. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š❤
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I certainly learned fair amt. of Science in B.Sc. which trained my mind in logical thinking.That training was vital for my software development career. .... I followed paths that many in software industry took, of basic graduate degree and then a jump into software field which allowed them to flourish. I am very happy that I followed that path which enabled me to focus on spirituality from my thirties as part-time, and from my forties as almost full-time. ... Perhaps if I/my family had enough money I may not have dropped out of my M.Sc. Physics but then I think I may have had a career as some scientist in India's science research organizations which may not have permitted me to focus on spirituality almost full-time right from my forties. So all told, I am happy that my academic qualifications stopped at B.Sc. and that I jumped quickly into the flourishing software field after that.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And thanks for the kind words Saithra Leilani.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer certainly the world is our classroom in every point of our lives..Swami planned it all well according to His Sankalpa..that which is the best for unleashing ultimate purpose..nevertheless it would hv been nice if you had had pursued in Science Research Org..as I could hv fondly called you"Hey Scientist Garu..how do you do" kinda stuff..hehehehe๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: But then perhaps I would have been somewhat stiff as a person and not so loose and flexi which is what my software industry career made me :-).
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Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer What makes you think you would hv been stiff had you been a scientist. I don't think so! Infact I believe scientific traits or characters or certain type of intelligence does make men ---..I have seen many men scientists in my country [Ravi: Malaysia] full of emotions, love and care..It all depends with whom you're associating...your company and perhaps the Organization's management style..so long that it would not make you an alpha male...๐Ÿ˜Š
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer ultimately you're where you're supposed to be..had you been elsewhere you would hv missed that special interactions and those direct chides from Bhagavan..๐Ÿ˜Š
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: About scientists and being stiff: Well, today's scientists in India may be easy going. Don't know about your country. But in my college student days (1980s), most scientists in India had to work with government agencies as there were very limited openings for scientists in the private sector.

And, I think, government agencies scientist work meant that you had to be careful about how you present yourself in public. E.g. BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) was an important employer in Bombay then for young scientists. In fact, for my first USA Visa interview (in Bombay) the consulate officer interviewing me asked me how come I am in software field as with a Physics degree I should be in BARC! I did not answer him, if I recall correctly. Anyway, I got that first US Visa then (mid 1980s).

In 1980s I don't think BARC young scientific officers could freak out like Indian software company guys could freak out. Really! Software companies had a work hard, party hard culture. And freaking out after delivering on work was not only tolerated but even encouraged to some extent! As that was the software industry culture in the West, to some extent at least.

I am quite sure that if I had done M.Sc. Physics and joined BARC as a junior scientific officer or something like that in the mid 1980s in Bombay, I would not have loosened up like I did after joining the software industry. The young software developer and young scientist lifestyles then were very different in Bombay. Don't know how it is in BARC now.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Woww I like the name of Bhabha..on BARC..๐Ÿ˜€
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Here scientist works in government agencies and medical line as well. Nowadays data analytics companies calls thier People Data Scientist..๐Ÿ˜Š
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer a.k.a Suryanarayanan.. So did u go to US once you got your Visa in 1980..how long were you there..n what were you doing..you may share personally to me as well if not here..
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Saithra Leilani I prefer to share this info. publicly just in case some others want to know.
My first trip to USA was from March to Sept. 1987. What I was doing there is described in attached letter by the head of dept. that I was assigned to.



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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: The next USA trip was from Sept. 1988 to Sept. 1989. See attached letter from boss of dept. I was assigned to.



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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Last USA trip was for around 2 months in early 1990s.
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Ravi S. Iyer A recommendation I got from a senior team member in the Sept. 88 to Sept 89 USA assignment, is attached.



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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer commendable indeed..❤
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer Woww.. Beautiful recommendation letters. I enjoyed reading it. Now I understood why you were in US. I like when he wrote "he is one hell of a talented and dedicated guy"..well, you have greatly impacted them and the business. Interesting to note.
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Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer well you wrote programs and fixed the bugs in their software. Well done! I know you had been really hardworking to achieve the milestone in some part of your life. I see majority Indian experts in Software industry who comes to Kuala Lumpur will be working tirelessly day and night! I can imagine how it had been to you..and seriously you deserve this accolades! Now I know where your talents, expertise, intelligence comes from..๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks for the kind words, Saithra Leilani.
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): So happy to see this post. This well written masterpiece does deserve this.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh sir. Thank you so much for the very kind words.
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[I thank wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]