Friday, May 31, 2019

Hope to get back to divine awareness meditation on a regular basis now; Meditation affirmation-and-helper statements that I use now

Last updated on 1st June 2019

Prior to Sathya Sai mahasamadhi in April 2011, I was a regular divine awareness meditator. The trauma, chaos and confusion that the mahasamadhi brought in its wake, forced a lot of changes in my life.

I think I have done my fair bit to help stabilize the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system over these past eight years.

Now in mid 2019, I hope to get back to divine awareness meditation on a regular basis.

Just in case this might be of assistance to some readers, here are the meditation affirmation-and-helper statements that I am currently using in my pure-awareness meditation sessions, which is based on my understanding of Vedanta (Upanishads) and which understanding has been clarified and reinforced in me by my beloved & revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:

[Update on 1st Jun. 19: At times, I also bring in the truth aspect. I have slightly modified the statements below to reflect that.]
I am the unchanging, eternal and divine awareness-I in me.
This divine awareness-I is my truth and reality. All else is passing show.
Stay centered in this divine awareness-I.
Note: I use the term awareness-I (which is unchanging over time) to distinguish it from the mind-and-body-complex-I which is the I that we refer to in worldly life and which changes with time.
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I created a pic of the above:



[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]
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Update on 1st June 2019

During my meditation sessions, I usually shorten the above to:
I am the unchanging, eternal and divine awareness.
Stay centered in this divine awareness.
But I do use parts of the earlier fuller affirmation-and-helper statements at times to reinforce aspects like my unchanging awareness is my eternal truth and reality whereas the material world is a changing and passing show.

I created a pic of the above:


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In some part of 2009 and initial few weeks of 2010, I would additionally use these affirmation-and-helper statements in my meditation:
I am in all. All are in me.
I am divine love.
But as I was not spiritually mature to handle that sort of (intense) meditation, I landed into some trouble. So I stopped using those affirmation-and-helper statements.

As I get, once again, into regular practice of divine awareness meditation, I do not plan to use the above additional statements for the near future at least, as I don't think I am ready for that, and I am afraid I might land into trouble again if I get into that practice.
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Given below are comment(s) from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2502993289917233, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment asking about my meditation experience and any associated success, I wrote (slightly edited):
I am still very much in the sadhaka stage. But I have gained some insights from my meditation in combination with readings on Vedanta including Sathya Sai's comments/teachings on Vedanta.

I don't think I have directly written about these insights. But some of my public writings on Vedanta, almost all of which have been published on Internet after Swami Mahasamadhi but which includes some private writings of mine before Mahasamadhi, are informed by those insights. These are captured in my Who am I? I am I ... book, https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07K7M2963, and my iami1.wordpress.com blog.
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):

I have had the good fortune to live a "Vanaprastha" (person who moves from family life, (ideally) after finishing family duties, to ashram life (forest in the past) to focus on spiritual pursuit) like life right from Oct. 2002 even though I was also providing free service in the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system from Oct. 2002 till March 2012. That has enabled me to rather comfortably explore meditation in divine awareness and contemplation of Vedanta and Sathya Sai explanations & teachings on Vedanta (as well as some other great spiritual masters' comments/interpretation of Vedanta). Regular darshans and hearing sambhashans of Sathya Sai live in Sai Kulwant Hall were vital factors helping me in these explorations.

I think bro. --name-snipped--, you are currently in Grihastashrama (householder/family) life. I too was in somewhat-Grihastashrama life till my mother passed away in Feb. 1999, even though I was not married as, say from early 1990s, I had the responsibility of taking care of mother. While I have done some amount of meditation and contemplation in those days too, it was nowhere near as in-depth as I have been able to do after settling down in Puttaparthi from Oct. 2002, and especially after I moved into a small ownership flat in Puttaparthi in mid 2006.

What worked for me in my somewhat-Grihastashrama life (till Feb. 1999), in handling the challenges of that life, with some level of peace, joy and fortitude, were Namasmarna and other prayer on a regular basis and satsang with Sathya Sai samithi, Dombivli, Maharashtra persons. Dombivli then was a working-class town. The samithi members had their own share of financial and other problems. But many of them had this fortitude, this Shraddha and Saburi which Shirdi Sai advised his devotees to have, which I then lacked. Association with them in samithi activities like Bhajan, Study Circle and Seva (Medical camp Seva in a hutment colony, Narayan Seva mainly in a leper colony in Vithalwadi (if I recall correctly) etc.) activities helped me to acquire some of their fortitude and, Shraddha and Saburi qualities. This went a long, long way in giving me the mindset to handle challenges of my family life then (earning money to keep the family show going, taking care of mother, many doctor and hospital visits for mother, handling my own health issues etc.) with some level of equanimity, peace and even joy. Meditation (into awareness) was ***not*** a significant part of my life then (till Feb. 1999) even though I was very attracted to it. I just did not have the time and mental space to really get into meditation as a regular activity.

I don't know whether what worked for me then (till Feb. 1999), or even a modified version of that, may work for you now. But I thought I should share what worked for me then with you.
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
All the best --name-snipped--! It has been my experience that there is a lot of wisdom in the saying, "Seek and you shall find". India is a very holy land, a Punya Bhoomi, a Tyaaga Bhoomi. I am confident that if you search, you will find some satsang that jells with you. ... I did explore quite a few satsangs before I got settled with Sathya Sai sangham. The other satsangs were also good and had some extraordinary positive aspects but what suited me most was Sathya Sai sangham. .... So you too may have to explore a few such satsangs in and around where you live before you feel really comfy with one of them. Note that by comfy I don't mean perfect. Just some spiritual group which despite some issues it may have (which group does not have issues?), jells with you.
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped-- - I too was plagued by doubts during my somewhat-Grihastashrama years. What I looked for then was some belief, practices and satsang-group that would work for me and which I may not comprehend fully and still have some doubts about, but not something major. Dombivli Sathya Sai samithi along with Sathya Sai literature and larger Indian Sathya Sai orgn. gave me that base and I was able to get some mental strength & balance. All my philosophical doubts were not resolved. But they were not so critical for me then, and I was able to be patient that they may get resolved some day in the future. ... Shraddha and Saburi are not easy to get. Perhaps for intellectuals and those with some reading exposure to philosophical parts of scripture, such Shraddha and Saburi are even more difficult to get than for others. ... In my case, association with beliefs, practices and satsang of the Dombivli Sathya Sai samithi gave me a lot of Shraddha & Saburi. But I went with an open mind and with a willingness to learn about Shraddha and Saburi and other spiritual virtues from others who perhaps were not as well-read as me. I think that's when I was able to see and appreciate and later imbibe some spiritual virtues that this satsang had, which I though perhaps more well read on some scripture and philosophy in general than them, was then lacking.

So I think you should not feel so negatively about this --snip-- thing. The six shadaripus of Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Maatsarya are part of the being of most, if not all, of us. Hindu scripture interpretation nowadays does not emphasize the negative aspects as --snip--ish (though I would not be surprised if in the past centuries, it did, using terms like asura, rakshasa and chandala instead of --snip--).

Satsang with the pious (sadhujana) is the great cure for combating our negative impulses, though we need to go in with humility and be willing to learn and imbibe positive spiritual virtues from those who may be intellectually less capable than us.
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
All the best bro. --name-snipped--. I will pray for you.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Got the part autobio paperback (with some scanned pics replacing camera pics) delivery today evening; The good, the slightly problematic and the somewhat unsatisfactory

Last updated on 30th May 2019

I got the part autobio paperback (with some scanned pics replacing camera pics) delivery today evening.

I will upload pics tomorrow after taking pics of book in sunlight. Meanwhile I thought I will give a text description update.

The good: The scanned letters (appreciation, experience etc.) pics have come out very well solving the dark patches problem that the prints of camera pics of them had. Very happy with this quality of printing at first look.

The slightly problematic: Some pics, both camera and scanned pics, have printed with some white streaks in it. It is not too bad. I wonder whether this is a 'print run' issue and whether a subsequent print will not have this problem. I need to check with Pothi.com on this. But this is not a big problem. I am willing to live with some printed copies having these white streaks in some pics.

The somewhat unsatisfactory: The front cover page looks better than previous paperback copy. But, like in the earlier paperback print case, the cover page has printed with darker shades of grey and brown than what appears in the pic on LCD monitor.

I realized that I need to factor in darker shades of grey and brown in printed copy as compared to how they look on LCD monitor (and so in ebook).

Therefore I decided to try out a more brighter image as the background of the cover page than earlier. Also I decided to use that image for the whole cover page.

I have submitted the new cover page to Pothi.com. The change is currently under review and hopefully should get approved tomorrow.

Meanwhile here are the front page, spine and back page pics of the new paperback cover page.

[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]





I will need to order a copy with this new cover page to see how it prints. Will I face a similar dark cover print as I see in the paperback prints with old cover page? Or will it print in a bright way? These are the big questions for which I will get answers only after ordering a paperback print with this new cover page.

Also added the full cover page pic (after cropping border edges) so readers can get a whole book cover perspective.

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30th May 2019 update

Took the pics of the new paperback copy and also some of the old paperback copy for comparison.

The good:


The top book is the old paperback copy with camera pics of the appreciation letters while the bottom book is the new paperback copy with scanned pics of the same letters. These scanned pics have printed very well. This applies to almost all appreciation and experience letter pics in the new paperback book copy. I am very happy with this quality of printing of these letters as they have solved the dark patches problem that the prints of the camera pics have.

Scanned pics of passports have printed slightly better than camera pics. The first pic below is camera pic in old paperback copy and the second pic is scanned pic in new paperback copy.



The slightly problematic: The first pic below is of a camera pic (300 DPI original image possibly compressed automatically by Microsoft Word to 220 DPI due to default settings) in old paperback copy. The second pic below is the same camera pic (300 DPI as default setting of Microsoft Word 2007 was set to No compression and the pic was ***re-inserted** in main Word document used to create PDF submission for paperback book) in new paperback book. Note the white streak short segments appearing in new paperback copy print of the pic in the top centre portion.



The pic below shows longer white streak segments in a scanned document pic printed in the new paperback book copy.


The pic below shows camera pic of same document in old paperback copy on the left and scanned pic in new paperback copy on right.


Besides these two pics in new paperback copy, there are some other pics with these white streak segments. But not all pics have this problem. Note that the above pics show the white streak segment problem for one camera pic (300 DPI grayscale) as well as for a scanned pic (300 DPI grayscale) in the new paperback copy. So it is not a problem associated with scanned pics alone.

Further, the PDF document used for printing this new paperback copy does not show these white streak segments in these pics when the PDF is viewed on LCD monitor on the PC.

I need to check with Pothi.com on this. But this is not a big problem.

The somewhat unsatisfactory: The pic below shows the old paperback copy on the left and the new paperback copy on the right.


The front cover page looks better than previous paperback copy. But, like in the earlier paperback print case, the cover page has printed with darker shades of grey and brown than what appears in the pic on LCD monitor.

So I have changed the front cover page (and spine and back cover page) to have a more brighter background pic as shared in first part of this post. I have to see how it will appear in printed copy.

There is only one law - the law of Karma; Quote of Sathya Sai Baba

Last updated on 31st May 2019

There is only one law - the law of Karma. This is a quote of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. [Sources: http://www.saibaba.ws/quotes/religion.htm , https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/sathya-sai-aug-1998-interview-with.html]

Ravi: I think if just this sentence is internalized by people, there will be less injustice and horrors in the world.

Now this law is a ***divine*** law and not a 'court of law' law. One may escape from a court of law by using smart and fancy lawyers (if one is wealthy enough to afford them), or by fleeing the country where one is being pursued by law enforcement. But how can one escape from the divine law of Karma?

One has to suffer in this life or a next life for bad deeds done, unless one becomes exceptionally devoted to God and God cancels the Karma - rare cases.

It is by reading Sathya Sai literature and listening to his discourses live in Sai Kulwant Hall (the latter in 2000s mainly) that I developed strong faith in Karma. Earlier I used to have some belief in Karma but I used to also wonder whether it was really true. Sathya Sai banished those doubts for me and instilled a deep faith in me in the divine law of Karma.

So I very much fear hurting and harming others unless I am exposing or opposing grave Adharma or I am acting in self-defense. Even in those cases, I know that I may face some negative Karmic consequences for some of my harsh words and deeds. But in the interests of fighting for Sathya & Dharma and against Asathya and Adharma, I was and still am willing to face some negative Karmic consequences, if any.

But so many people do not really believe in the law of Karma or do not have fear of the negative karmic consequences of their bad actions!  I think that may be one of the main reasons why there is so much of harsh and horrible things going on in this world.
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In https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10219885341102735, a share of my Facebook post associated with this blog post, Terry Reis Kennedy wrote as a share-intro, "THE LAW OF KARMA IS DIVINE JUSTICE; ONLY GOD CAN MITIGATE IT."

I responded to it in a comment as follows:
Yes, Terry Reis Kennedy, divine justice it is. .... In the final analysis, when one factors in reincarnation and karma as well as Avatars who come in to re-establish faith in God and in the divine law of karma, I think we live in a divinely just creation/world.
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Monday, May 27, 2019

Released updated part autobio free ebook with some camera pics being replaced by better quality scanned pics, as "First edition, revised"

Last updated on 30th May 2019

I have updated the free ebook version of my book titled: Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1, with better quality scanned pics replacing some camera pics. I have also used scanned pics instead of some camera pics in the front cover page.

I have released it as: "First edition, revised" and it does not have an ISBN number. The date of release is 26th May 2019.

The new cover page pic is given below:

[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]



The updated ebook is now available for free download from the following:

1) My blog: https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/p/autobiography-of-indian-software-techie.html . PDF, Word, EPUB, AZW3 (Kindle Format 8) and MOBI formats of the book are available here for free download from Google Drive public share links.

2) archive.org: https://archive.org/details/AutobioOfIndianSoftwareTechiePart1 - mainly PDF

3) Open Library (uses above archive.org entry): https://openlibrary.org/books/OL26970795M/Autobiography_of_an_Indian_Software_Techie_and_Spiritual_Aspirant_%E2%80%93_Part_1 - mainly PDF

4)  Pothi.com: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-ravi-s-iyer-autobiography-indian-software-techie-and-spiritual-aspirant-%E2%80%93-part-1 - PDF and EPUB

5) Project Gutenberg (self.gutenberg.org) [Please note that downloads may be slow on this site]: http://self.gutenberg.org/eBooks/WPLBN0100301881-Autobiography-of-an-Indian-Software-Techie-and-Spiritual-Aspirant--Part-1-Covers-Mumbai--Dom-by-Iyer-Ravi-S-.aspx - PDF
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Given below are some comments from associated Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2499616863588209 :

I wrote (slightly edited): Thought I could share a nice joke/comparison about the effort/labour involved in coming out with (self-publishing, in my case) a book. An author said that it is like getting pregnant and having to labour on till the delivery is made :-). So I am relieved of ebook labour pains as that delivery is over. And I am hopefully at the fag end of the paperback delivery labour pains :-).
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In response to question on why I have used 2 passport stamped photoes on the cover page, I wrote (slightly edited):

Sairam --name-snipped--ji, These were the only photographs of those days that I have with me. After retirement from commercial work in Aug. 2002, I got rid of a lot of my belongings to fit into a new life of a spiritual sadhaka associated with a spiritual ashram from Oct. 2002 onwards. Being important documents, I preserved my passports (and educational and work related documents) and so I have only these pics of that period.

I could have chosen to use only the perhaps mid 1990s photo in the cover. But I felt I should use these three pics to show how the face changed over time.

The first two pics being passport pics with the passport authority red lettering visible and with a stamp on one of them, I think, adds to the story told by the cover pic alone. Note that I have used the words, 'foreign stints' in the sub-title. So these two passport pics provide documentation to back those words in the cover pic itself.

I try to use cover pics in my books to convey a lot of information. Therefore my titles and sub-titles are usually long.

With all that info. conveyed via the cover page itself to the potential/prospective reader, I feel that I have done my duty as a writer to adequately inform him/her. Now if that information leads to interest in the person and so he/she decides to browse through the book or look more closely at its description - great. But if that information/story of the cover page itself is something that does NOT interest the person leading to him/her ignoring the rest of the book - no problem. I am fine with that decision too. Perhaps that's because I am doing this with a largely Nishkaama attitude.
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In response to comment about less luggage being speedier progress and that a person will try to follow my practice, I wrote (slightly edited):

--Name-snipped-- sir - A longish response to provide you the full truthful picture on this matter.

For most of the initial 3 to 4 years of my Parthi life, I was living in a small rented room perhaps around 130 square feet (including tiny kitchen corner & tiny bathroom-toilet) which was on the top floor of a G+3 floor building (no lift) on Samadhi First Cross Road. Later I found that I was facing health problems which made it unwise for me to continue living in that small rented room. The heat in summer in the top floor flat was a big Tapasya to endure. Further, as I was getting into breathing problems (I have some history of some level of breathing problems and allergies related to that), climbing 3 floors multiple times in a day - I was doing free service full time in Sai university then - was something that my somewhat frail physical body could not handle well.

I then bought a small apartment flat (around 420 sq. feet carpet area; 500 sq. feet super-built-up area) on the 3rd floor of a G+6 building with lift. I made the initial payment in Aug. 2005 at which time the interior of the flat including walls were not done. So I had the great benefit of designing almost all of the interior part of the small flat to suit my needs as a single spiritual aspirant with some health issues. A small front room, a small kitchnette, a decent size bedroom-cum-living-room (biggest room in the flat), decent size bathroom-cum-toilet and a sit-out (balcony). I moved into that flat sometime in mid 2006, if I recall correctly, and I continue to live in that same flat now (I am typing this comment in that flat).

Once I moved into this flat, I slowly acquired creature comforts: some furniture, TV, microwave, cooking gas, computer etc. I also changed my free service offering in Sai university from full-time to part-time (with some preparatory computer work done at home on home computer) from Jan. 2008 onwards (5 years full-time free service in Sai university from Jan. 2003 to Jan. 2008).

This flat with its creature comforts and decent facilities, has been of great benefit to me in my spiritual exploration. It has been my main Sadhana sthal (place) from mid 2006 till around mid 2011. I think those 5 years have been absolutely vital in my spiritual exploration as for most of this period Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was in physical form and I would be having the great benefit of his Darshan and listening to his discourses live in Sai Kulwant Hall.

This flat with its creature comforts and decent facilities, has enabled me from September 2011 onwards to offer my free service of social media writing on spirituality, religion, improvement in teaching of software development in Indian academia, (sharing) my teaching material on software development, and miscellaenous topics. Of course, this includes my whistle-blowing role on social media exposing the history of hijack of SSSIHL by Muddenahalli group from Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014, and my contribution to reversing the hijack of parts of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system (including SSSIHL) and to informing the Sathya Sai fraternity at large about false claims of Muddenahalli group.

But I lived the bare-bones type sadhaka-and-free-service-worker life in Puttaparthi from Oct. 2002 to mid 2006 - an over three and a half years period. That period taught me a lot about bare-bones type sadhaka life, and about survival. It contributed significantly to hardening me to handle physical-level challenges of Puttaparthi life (which would be similar to life in other spiritual centres in India) and I was able to lead a spartan life in that period. I have great respect for people who lead such bare-bones sadhaka lives anywhere in India and other places in the world, and I can relate to their lives as I have lived that life for over three and a half years (not a small period).

But I have to say that if I had continued to lead that bare-bones sadhaka spartan life, I would not have become a social media writer on spirituality & religion nor a whistle-blower on Muddenahalli group false-claims. If I was leading that spartan life then I would have shied away from these roles as that would need some level of facilities and also ability to face the cyber attacks and other opposition that whistle-blowers normally face.

It is the currently happy and quite comfortable flat that I have lived in from mid 2006 onwards (nearly 13 years now), with fair level of creature comforts and facilities that has enabled me to play the above mentioned roles over the past few years (after Mahasamadhi).

I view my flat as my small ashram where I try very hard to follow Swami's teaching and the Sanathana Dharma dictum of: Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara. But I have my fair share of human flaws which I am engaged in a struggle to overcome. I continue to be just a spiritual aspirant as I was when I settled down in Puttaparthi from Oct. 2002 onwards but perhaps a somewhat wiser spiritual aspirant now :-).
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
It is our beloved Lord Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Grace that I was able to make the spiritual efforts in the Punya Bhoomi (Divine Land) of Puttaparthi that He personally developed and steered towards holiness. Of course, I repeat that I still have many human flaws that I am working on to overcome - so I am just a spiritual aspirant. But I should also say here that I am a law-abiding citizen of Andhra Pradesh and of India.
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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Will be replacing some camera pics with scanned pics in part autobio ebook; Does edition change? Does ISBN change?

I have updated the paperback version of my book titled: Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1, with scanned pics instead of some camera pics to improve quality of printing of these pics. I have also used scanned pics instead of camera pics in the front cover page. I uploaded the book on Pothi.com on 22nd May and it got approved the next day, 23rd May. I placed an order for it on the same day. I expect to receive the delivery in around 10 days from order date.

Now that I have some better quality scanned pics for some documents, I felt it is appropriate to update the ebook too with these scanned pics instead of camera pics. This includes updating the front cover page of the ebook to use scanned pics. I plan to start working on that shortly.

As some of the book's pics, including cover page pic, will change with underlying matter being the same but pics being better quality, and without any text change in inner content (except minimal change in Title-Verso page), these two questions crop up:

1) Does the edition (in Title-Verso page) change?
2) Does the ISBN number (in Title-Verso page) change?

Edition

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edition_(book)#Revised_edition states:

Publishers sometimes denominate a new iteration of a work a "revised edition" or the "(N)th edition, revised" when the previous iteration has been editorially revised or updated yet the author or publisher does not want to denominate it the "(N+1)th edition" ("N" being the number of the previous edition) for some subjective reason. Conversely, a new iteration of a work that is not substantially different may be denominated a "new edition" or the "(N+1)th edition".

The qualitative difference between a "revised edition" and a "new edition" is subjective. This is analogous to the way that software publishers may denominate an iteration "version 3.7" and the subsequent updated iteration "version 4" instead of "version 3.8". The subjective judgment of the degree of the significance of the change made with the new iteration or the perceived marketing advantage of designating the new iteration as a specific number determines how the new iteration is numbered.

--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: I find the the software publishing version example to be very useful as I can relate to it. I view the proposed ebook change as a minor version change. So from 1.0, I would change the version to 1.1, if it were software.

But here I have to go with book publication world norms, and so I think "First edition, revised" is the suitable term I should use. This differentiates it from "First edition" but also indicates that the difference is not that much so as to make it a new edition ("Second edition").

ISBN

Here I need to follow the norms given by isbn.gov.in which is the Indian government agency that allotted me the ISBN number.

In its user manual document, http://isbn.gov.in/usermanual.pdf, on page 12 under section "6.2 Changes to publications", it states:

"A separate ISBN is assigned if there have been significant changes to any part or parts of a publication in relation to former editions of the publication, or if there are significant changes in the physical or digital characteristics of the publication in the new edition."

It does not give a pictures quality change as an example of change requiring new ISBN. But it does say that change to "product form features (e.g., from ‘normal’ text font to dyslexic text font; from EPUB version 2 to EPUB version 3)" requires a separate ISBN.

I think some scanned pictures (better quality) replacing camera pictures in the ebook would qualify as "product form features" change. So I am reluctant to use the same ISBN number for this "First edition, revised" book as for the "First edition". Note that the edition being a revised first edition may itself be viewed as requiring a new ISBN.

But I do not want to apply for an ISBN now, in the same month in which I was allotted ISBN for the "First edition"! So I think I will go without an ISBN for this "First edition, revised" ebook. In a future year, if I update the ebook significantly I will change the edition to "Second edition" and then apply for a separate/new ISBN for it.

Any suggestions/dissent from readers are welcome (dissent may please be expressed politely :-) ).

P.S. ISBN for paperback version is a different matter. I will be applying for it after I find the paperback copy printing of pics to be satisfactory.

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

Friday, May 24, 2019

Sathya Sai Aug. 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi): Transcript, pics and corroboration from three participant mediapersons

First, I (Ravi S. Iyer) would like to thank Shri Sudhir Joshi, the transcript author who was present in this meeting, for his valuable contribution to documenting Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons and preserving and sharing that documentation with others in Sathya Sai fraternity.

Source of transcript and pics given below: https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219/ . Note that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is also referred to as Bhagavan and Swami in the transcript below.

SWAMI Met Mumbai Media - 11 August 1998... Photos & Transcription Courtesy - Sudhir Joshi Brother, who was present during interview...

It was the dawn of the morning of Tuesday, August 11, 1998, when Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, out of His Infinite Divine Grace, met Shri Ramesh and Smt. Devi Narayan from Canco Advertising Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, Shri Sudhir Joshi from Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Mumbai, and Editors and Chiefs of Bureaus from the most leading media houses from Mumbai viz. The Times of India, the Indian Express, Blitz, the Observer of Business and Politics, Mumbai Samachar (Gujarati), Loksatta (Marathi), Maharashtra Times (Marathi) and Navbharat Times (Hindi), inside the Interview Room at Prashanti Nilayam.

This was the first private interview given to the press after the September 1976 interview that Bhagavan had granted to Shri Rusi Karanjia. It was so fascinating to note that neither the media officials nor Bhagavan had any specific item in the agenda during the interview session.

The 75 minutes interview session started with Bhagavan asking everyone to introduce oneself and later requesting them to ask any question, they wished to ask.

Each and every individual was fortunate to have a photograph with Bhagavan besides Vibhuti Prasadam from His Divine Hands.

Transcript of Conversations at the Interview Session:

[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]


Above: Sri Sathya Sai Baba with Sri N K Raja Rao (Indian Express Group) and Sri Dinkar Raikar (Loksatta), inside interview room.

Questioner: Have you seen Sai Baba of Shirdi?

Swami: This body has not seen him.

Questioner: Indians are increasingly turning to god men and god women. Is this a sign of growing insecurity within them? Or is it something else?

Swami: This is basically a search for God. The Divine is there within each person. The search is for this divinity. God realisation cannot be seen as a sign of insecurity. It is a positive aspiration to be one with God. It is a good sign.

Questioner: Even as mankind is relentlessly searching for God, he finds himself engulfed by more and more misery. What is the reason for this state of affairs?

Swami: Attachment to the body is the root cause of all suffering and misery. Once this attachment ends, then one can experience divine Bliss. There is no doubt about that. Since God does not have any bodily attachment, he does not attach any importance to the suffering of His body.


Above: Sri Sathya Sai Baba with Sri Vishwanath Sachdev (Navbharat Times) and Sri Ashok Jain (Maharashtra Times) inside interview room.

Questioner: What is the best way to serve God?

Swami: Serve the poor, the weak, the downtrodden and the underprivileged. There is divinity in each of us, hence love and serve fellow human beings selflessly. Give those around you pure love. Religion can be best pursued through the axiom,
"Dil mein Ram, Haath mein Kaam."
There is only one Religion - The Religion of Love;
There is only one Caste - The Caste of Humanity;
There is only one Language - The Language of the Heart;
There is only one Law - The Law of Karma; and
There is only one God - He is omnipresent.
All of us should remember these simple yet profound truths. These truths lead us to God.

Questioner: Is there no escape from human misery?

Swami: It is all Karma. The need is to adopt the path of righteousness. One should surrender oneself to the Almighty.

Questioner: Why do you perform miracles like materializing a ring, a medallion, a necklace, Vibhuti and other objects? What are you trying to prove by performing these miracles?

Swami: Chamatkar or miracle is a cheap word for what I do. A magician performs his tricks to earn a livelihood and worldly fame. But, I materialize these talismans as my visiting cards, as evidence that divinity can transform earth into the sky and vice versa. To doubt this is to betray an inability to grasp the grandeur of the universe. I get lot of satisfaction while gifting these talismans to my devotees.


Above: Sri Sathya Sai Baba with  Sri Sarosh Bana (Blitz),  Sri S Balakrishnan (Times of India) and Sri Vishwanath Sachdev  (Navbharat Times)  inside interview room.

Questioner: The suffering millions flock to you. They want to pass on their problems and suffering to you. How much of these (this) suffering can you take on?

Swami: I am only performing a Divine mission.

Questioner: How do you spend your day?

Swami: My day begins with granting Darshan to my devotees, interviews to people, bhajans, attending to all projects taken up for human welfare. Same cycle is repeated from post noon till evening. Although I know the contents of all letters which I receive, I read all of them for the Trupti or satisfaction of my devotees.

I avoid milk, green fruits, dry fruits, sweets, ghee, butter, tea, coffee, etc. I take a skimpy meal of ragi and green grams. For the past 60 years my weight has remained unchanged at 108 pounds. When the world sleeps, I go to my devotees, give them my vision, comfort them, console them and solve their problems. I willingly take on the sufferings of my devotees on myself.


Above: Sri Sathya Sai Baba with Smt. Devi and Sri Ramesh Narayan (Canco Advertising, Mumbai), Smt. Pinki Dalal (Mumbai Samachar) and Ms. Shalini Sharma (The Observer of Business & Politics)),  inside interview room.

Questioner: Have you gone abroad any time?

Swami: Yes, only once - to East Africa, that too because of the pure love of a devotee, who is no more now. I did not go at the invitation of the government.

Questioner: Do you have any plans to visit foreign nations and spread your message?

Swami: No. Where there is sugar, the ants come there; the sugar does not go chasing after the ants. My first task is to clean up our own country first, then go to other countries.


Above: Sri Sathya Sai Baba with  Sri Sudhir Joshi (SSSO, Mumbai, Bharat) and Sri N K Raja Rao  (Indian Express Group) inside the interview room.

Questioner: You wield enormous influence over the top politicians of the country. Why don't you impress on them the need to inculcate values in public life? If this is done, India will be a much better place.

Swami: Politicians have a choice to pursue good or bad governance; they do covet power with frenzy. But I tell them that:

Politics without Principles,
Science without Humanity,
Education without Character, and
Commerce without Morality,
are not only useless, but can prove to be positively dangerous,
and harm people at large.

Questioner: Do you read newspapers?

Swami: I never read them. Even though I do not read any newspaper, I am aware about everything that is happening round the globe. What is necessary today is that the newspapers should be more careful and responsible in their reporting. Publishing of sensational and baseless news must be avoided. No negative and baseless reporting, especially of those at the helm of affairs of the country, should be done since it has lot of repercussions abroad. If there are any doubts, then they should be cleared after free and frank discussions with the persons concerned. Truth should not be compromised under any circumstance.

Questioner: You are the chancellor of the Sathya Sai University and you attach tremendous importance to education. Why do you think that education in India has now become a mechanical exercise?

Swami: This is because [that] education has been divorced from values. Education bereft of values is meaningless. The need is to restore values to education.

Questioner: What are your views on different political parties in India?

Swami: All parties do good work as well as bad; the problem lies with us. We should insist on principles.

Questioner: Who will lead the Sathya Sai movement after you?

Swami: My devotees. God will continue to guide them.

Questioner: There are so many in India, who sully the image of God(.) (W)hat is your view?

Swami: It is their choice what they do or say; I do not think about this. Freedom of speech exists.

Questioner: What is future of India?

Swami: The time is good from the year 2000.

Questioner: How do you generate funds for [a] multi crore rupees projects that various trusts of yours take up from time to time?

Swami: Whenever intentions are pure, determination (Sankalp) is strong the money comes on its own. I've never thought of money in my Life. Money comes & goes, Morality comes & grows.

Questioner: How to eliminate desire?

Swami: It is rather most difficult to develop the desire. It is very easy to cut down the desire, just decide - if you have two pens - what is the necessity of a third?

Questioner: How to get rid of ego?

Swami: Earth is a small planet in the universe. Countries are rooms in the earth. City is one of the rooms in the country. Locality is one room in the city; building is one room in the locality. Floor is one room in the Building. Flat is a room in the floor. Drawing Room is one of the rooms in the flat & in that you are. Just think this. In this vast universe, how small you are? This is the way to get rid of ego.

Questioner: What is your role on earth?

Swami: You will witness this Puttaparti becoming Mathura Nagari and a time will come when whole world will stand converted into Sathya Sai Organisation. No one can stop this development or delay it(.) I will not give you up nor can any of you give me up.
Even if you lose faith you will repent and come to this refuge very soon, clamouring for admission... your lives are intervened with my earthly career. Act always in accordance with that great privilege.

--- seems to be end of transcript ---

LOVE ALL..! SERVE ALL...!!
HELP EVER..! HURT NEVER…!

Photos & Transcription Courtesy - Sudhir Joshi Brother, who was present during interview.

--- end contents of Facebook post ---

Corroboration of interview transcript by few mediapersons present then

Ravi: I find this article based on 1998 interview of Swami to leading media persons from Mumbai, to have the potential to be an important historical event in the career of Sathya Sai Avatar. Top media persons from Mumbai are very powerful and influential people. The pics that are put up on this event are evidence that the interview did take place. But I felt that the transcript of the interview needs to be corroborated by some of the media persons who were present then (the pics give their names), for it to be accepted as historical fact by current and future historians of Sathya Sai. So I attempted to contact some of them whose contact information I was able to find on the Internet.

Two of the Mumbai media persons who were part of the media team then, responded to me confirming the authenticity of the transcript. I have copy-pasted the screenshots and some text in them, below. A third Mumbai media person spoke to me over telephone about it. I have provided the key input he gave on the phone in this post. This becomes clear corroboration of the interview transcript by some participant media persons and therefore becomes historical evidence.

Ms. Shalini Sharma, now Editor of Hi! BLITZ magazine (as per her Twitter profile), who was one of the media persons in the 1998 media interaction with Sathya Sai, confirmed the authenticity of the transcript of the interaction, on Twitter. See https://twitter.com/ShaliniSharma_/status/1129843274024284161, dated 19th May 2019. I have given below a pic of the Tweet exchange.



The text of my Tweet on 18th May 2019 to her was: "@ShaliniSharma_ I believe u r mentioned in this transcript of Mumbai media interview of Sathya Sai in 1998, put up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219/ …

Can u confirm authenticity of transcript to make it more acceptable to current and future historians of Sathya Sai? Thnks"

Ms. Shalini Sharma responded by tweet on 19th May 2019 (early morning): "Yes. Almost two decades back".

I thanked Ms. Shalini Sharma for her response by a tweet response.

Pics below capture my email interaction with Ms. Pinki Dalal.



The key text of my mail sent to her on 20th May 2019 (as shown in above pic) is:

Dear Smt. Pinki Dalal,

I believe you, madam, are mentioned in this transcript of Mumbai media interview of Sathya Sai in 1998, put up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219/ . If you are not able to access this public Facebook post for any reason, please let me know. I will provide the transcript via a PDF printout of that post.

I wonder whether you can confirm authenticity of the transcript thereby contributing to making it more acceptable to current and future historians of Sathya Sai as historical fact (transcript). Please note that Shalini Sharma who was one of persons attending the interview/interaction, and who is now Editor of Hi! BLITZ magazine, confirmed it via a Twitter response, https://twitter.com/ShaliniSharma_/status/1129843274024284161, to my tweet query to her a few days ago.

Please note, madam, that I try to contribute to truthful, and where possible verifiable, recording/chronicling of life and events in life of my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

BTW I had also sent a similar Direct Message on Twitter to your twitter account @pinkidalal on 18th May 2019 which you perhaps may not have read.

Thanks & Regards

Ravi S. Iyer
Social media writer on spirituality, religion and miscellaneous topics
Retired international software consultant
Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India
----

Ms. Pinki Dalal confirmed authenticity of transcript in her email response on 20th May 2019 (above pic), saying, "Dear Mr. Iyer
I ve visited with other editors and disciple. It is absolutely verbatim interview taken by the team of the editors.
Best Regards
Pinki Dalal
Director ,
ORIOR IT CONSULTING PVT LTD,
127, Parekh Market,
Opera House
Mumbai
India "
----

I thanked Smt. Pinki Dalal in an email response to her.
-----

I was able to speak to Shri Vishwanath Sachdev who was with Navbharat Times in 1998, as per the transcript-note, and is now Editor of Navneet, http://www.navneethindi.com/, on the phone on 24th May 2019. I had earlier sent him a mail about my request to confirm authenticity of transcript which Mr. Sachdev had kindly read. Mr Sachdev kindly spoke to me on phone.

He said that as the interview was long ago, he does not recall all the interview details. But he said that most of the transcript seems to be correct (as per his recollection). [Note that he did not point out anything that he felt to be inaccurate in the transcript - it is just that he was not able to recall all the interview details as it was quite long back.] He also said that there were some other matters touched upon in the interview - it was a long one, he said - which does not seem to be mentioned in the transcript.

He said it was a frank conversation with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and that he himself asked some frank questions to Bhagavan which Bhagavan responded to (and he referred to the chamatkar/miracle question that is mentioned in the transcript).

I thanked Shri Vishwanath Sachdev for spending his valuable time on reading my mail and then speaking with me on phone on this matter.
-----

[Note that this post is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Setting no compression of images on Word 2007; Comparison of test print of all inner content images on Laser Printer with Paperback book copy; Next step for Paperback book

Last updated on 24th May 2019

I created a test PDF file of 35 pages of A5 size which has all the inner content images.

To do that, I first created a copy of the paperback Word document file which was used to generate PDF submitted to Pothi.com as paperback book inner contents, and which was used by Pothi.com & its printer-partner to print paperback book copy.

How to change Word 2007 default setting of compressing images to 220 ppi, to no compression of images

How to turn off image compression in Word, https://blogs.mtu.edu/gradschool/2011/04/06/turn-off-image-compression-in-word/ explains how to turn image compression off in Word 2007 but the particular options descirbed were not available in my Word 2007 program (installation).

But the way to access this compression of images setting dialog described in the following link worked in my Word 2007 program (installation): Word: Reduce large image sizes with picture compression, https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/word-reduce-large-image-sizes-with-picture-compression/.

Essentially when one either inserts an image or clicks on an image in Word (2007), Picture Tools -> Format command gets added to the Menu Commands just below the Title bar. Clicking Picture Tools->Format shows a list of toolbar command-icons. Clicking 'Compress Pictures' in the Adjust group of command-icons, opens up a Compress Pictures dialog box. Clicking Options on it, leads to another dialog box, where by default, "Automatically perform basic compression on save" is checked! And for this checked state, by default the compression is set to option of Print (220 ppi).

This has to be changed. Uncheck the "Automatically perform basic compression on save". Press OK to return to higher level dialog. By default there, the "Apply to selected pictures only" checkbox is unchecked (meaning that it should apply to all pictures in document that are newly inserted, I guess). Leave that option as unchecked and click OK on that dialog box.

Now Word will NOT compress pictures to 220 ppi for any newly inserted pics. But old pics may have already been compressed! So all old pics should be deleted and then replaced again with pics from disk/other storage type where it is in 300 DPI or above format. Now these new pics will not get compressed when the document is saved.

Deletion and re-insertion of images

Word 2007 default compression of 220 ppi was avoided. All images were re-inserted with no compression setting being made, to ensure that 300 DPI images do not get compressed to 220 ppi. The Word document size increased as compared to earlier version where Word default setting of compression to 220 ppi was on.

Pages with images in this TestPrint Word document (TestPrint-AllInnerContentPics-NoCompr-OfPaperbackBook.docx) have been retained with some text being deleted (and little text commenting about image being scanned or not ... being added). All other pages were deleted. So from 297 pages of inner content, the test document file eventually got reduced to only 35 pages.

Some of the grayscale images in this TestPrint document are from camera (e.g. Thuravoor Narayana prinicpal name board, Krishna, Sathya Sai, japamala), some are jpgs that I got (mother-father pics), and some are scanned images using HP scanner with Gray and 300 DPI settings (passport pics, appreciation letters, experience letters, California driving license, one passport size pic - perhaps mid 1990s one, BSc passing cert, school leaving cert, birth card (Suchak hospital)).

Finally the laser printer TestPrint pdf file (TestPrint-AllInnerContentPics-NoCompr-OfPaperbackBook.pdf) was generated from this TestPrint Word document using Print To PDF command. Note that all images in the Word document are non-compressed 300 DPI Grayscale images and so I expect that the PDF TestPrint document too will have the same 300 DPI Grayscale images in suitable form.

In the evening on 21st May 19, I got this 35 page TestPrint PDF file printed in A5 size on A4 pages. Laser printer (of Puttaparthi shop) used was the same Canon PCL5e mentioned in previous related post, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/letter-pics-taken-by-low-cost-phone.html.

Observations on comparison of this TestPrint Laser Printer printout with Paperback book copy

1. Mother-Father pics (got as jpgs from elsewhere) print badly on Laser Printer (lots of dark shades). Paperback book print is much better.

2. Camera pics (e.g. Thuravoor Narayana prinicpal name board, BSc degree, Krishna, Sathya Sai, japamala) print badly on Laser printer (lots of dark shades). Paperback book print is much better.

3. Scanned pics of passport, school leaving cert, birth card and California driving license print with some amount or sometimes lot of dark shades on laser printer. Paperback book print for these pics are that of camera pics and my quick impression is that they are better than the laser printer printed pics. But one cannot make a proper comparison as of now. After the next paperback copy is printed with these scanned grayscale images of passport pages and other pics mentioned earlier, a comparison can be made. I think that as the scanned image display on LCD monitor significantly improves upon quality of camera taken image, the modified paperback book with scanned images of passport pages and other pics mentioned earlier, replacing the camera images, will print these images better than in current paperback print copy.

4. Scanned grayscale pics of appreciation letters, experience letters and B.Sc. passing certificate print with much better quality on Laser printer than camera pics of them in paperback book. I am quite sure that paperback book printing of these scanned grayscale pics will be as good if not better than laser printer output quality.

5. All passport pics have got printed with dark edge or edges. I plan to crop the dark edge(s) out of scanned passport pics before inserting them into modified paperback inner contents book Word document. [Update: Later I felt I should not remove the dark edge(s) and so did not change these pics.]

6. After seeing the dark shades in some pics on printout, the Puttaparthi shop guy told me that his Laser Printer prints in darker print (than normal, I presume).

Next step for paperback book

In the paperback book Word 2007 document (after making a copy of it, of course) that I had used to create the PDF that I submitted to Pothi.com for generating paperback book inner content, I plan to change settings in Word to not compress images on save. Then I will delete and re-insert all the pics in the Word document. Whenever I have a scanned grayscale 300 DPI pic, I will use that instead of the earlier camera pic. But if only camera pic is available for some pics, I will re-insert the same camera grayscale 300 DPI pic from disk.

I have the option of getting high quality pics using a professional photo studio guy for B.Sc. degree, Krishna, Sathya Sai and Japamala pics, instead of my low-cost smartphone pics. Note that I cannot use the Puttaparthi shop scanner for these pics (the B.Sc. degree pic is too big for his scanner). But I think the quality of the print in the paperback book copy for these pics is decent. So I plan to avoid spending time on engaging the professional photo studio guy.

Then I will generate a PDF file from the Word document using Print To PDF option. I will re-submit this PDF to Pothi.com as my modified paperback inner contents document (book).

I have slightly better color images of the pics of me used in the cover page, as I took color scanned images of all the documents (at 300 DPI). I will explore the possibility of redoing the cover page with these pics.

Also, I think I will explore GIMP software's ability to remove some patches in my "Around 1989" pic used in the cover page.
-----

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote over email: Great! Keep up the diligent work. I admire what you are doing. Really. Sai Ram. Terry
---

I (Ravi) responded:
Thanks Terry for your encouraging words

I am putting up these public log-posts of how I am handling issues faced in printing this book, as I think that may benefit others in future. It will also serve as a record for me to refer back in case I face similar printing problems in future and have forgotten how I handled them in the past.
----

Terry responded (in part):
I appreciate that....the saving.
============================================

24th May 2019 Update: I did all the above mentioned steps and uploaded the book and cover page on 22nd evening. On 23rd it got accepted and on that day itself I placed an order for 1 paperback copy.

Should I share the transcript of Sathya Sai interview with Mumbai media persons in 1998 on my blog?

Last updated on 5th June 2019

5th June 2019 Update: Readers may want to visit my later post: Sathya Sai Aug. 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi): Transcript, pics and corroboration from three participant mediapersons, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/sathya-sai-aug-1998-interview-with.html, 24th May 2019. end-Update

The concerned interview transcript is provided on this Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219/, dated 31st March 2016.

As I had mentioned in my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2491490177734211, "I find this article based on 1998 interview of Swami to leading media persons from Mumbai, to have the potential to be an important historical event in the career of Sathya Sai Avatar. Top media persons from Mumbai are very powerful and influential people. The pics that are put up on this event are evidence that the interview did take place. But the transcript of the interview needs to be corroborated by some of the media persons who were present then (the pics give their names)."

Two of the Mumbai media persons who were part of the media team then, responded to me confirming the authenticity of the transcript.  I have copy-pasted the screenshots and some text in them, below. This becomes clear corroboration of the interview transcript by some participant media persons and therefore becomes historical evidence.

5th June 2019 update: The screenshots and text can now be seen here: https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/sathya-sai-aug-1998-interview-with.html. I deleted it from this post to prevent this post from being mistakenly viewed as the media corroboration post. end-update.

--- Snipped large part of post (corroboration from two Mumbai mediapersons) which is now available in above mentioned link ---

Now the person who prepared the transcript got offended by my efforts to get this corroboration and does not seem to understand that such corroboration is vital before any current or future historian will accept the transcript as factual. Of course, if the interview transcript was published in any of the Mumbai media outlets in 1998, and that publication is available now, then that itself is enough to establish the transcript as historical fact. But I don't know whether any Mumbai media outlet published it and even if they published it, whether that publication is available to examine now.

Now if any regular Prasanthi Nilayam media organization like Sanathana Sarathi/SSS Book Trust or Radio Sai publish it and keep it freely accessible on the Internet, then it will be great. But it seems that they have not put up this interview so far as when I Google searched for this interview I did not get results from Sanathana Sarathi/SSS Book Trust or Radio Sai. Perhaps they may put it up in future - I certainly hope so.

Meanwhile, I thought of putting up a post where I will share this authentication of the interview transcript by these two media persons and also share the interview transcript. I can simply point to the above mentioned (first) Facebook post having the transcript but I think if the content is replicated on my blog, the longevity may be better, and may appear as a Google search top ten result link for suitable search terms.

But I am running against a --snip-- block! The person who made the interview transcript does not like the idea of me sharing the transcript on my blog.

Now my view is that it is Bhagavan who called the Mumbai media for the interview. Therefore, in my view, the interview transcript and pics are Bhagavan's property which should be shared freely with Sathya Sai fraternity. But this gentleman seems to feel possessive about the transcript and is trying to tell me not to put it on my blog!

Now I don't want to get into avoidable arguments with such people. So to avoid an argument, I think I should not put up the transcript on my blog but simply share the (first) Facebook post link mentioned above along with the corroboration screenshots from two Mumbai mediapersons, which I have already provided on this post.

I would like to have the advice of readers on this matter. Please let me know what you think I should do. Thanks.
===============================================================

Given below are some comment exchanges on this matter:

An elder statesman of Sathya Sai fraternity (based in USA) wrote me over email (and was OK with public sharing; slightly edited):

Sai Ram, Ravi,

Seems to me that that interview is in “public domain”.
As far as I can see, there is no copyright statement on it.
The words of Swami and the interviewers don’t belong to --name-snipped--.

In my view, as long as a copy of the interview gives a link back to the original on facebook, it should be OK.

It’s good that you got corroboration from others about the interview.
That was important.
----

I (Ravi) responded (edited):

Thank you so much sir for your response.
----

A long-time devotee (based in USA) wrote:

"Please go ahead.

Sai Ram, Ravi.

It will be appreciated by all who read it."
----

I (Ravi) thanked the above devotee for the valuable response.
----

An India-based Sai devotee wrote:
"Dear Iyer sir,
  Sairam.

  It is well known that Bhagwan gave audience to people of His own choosing and so I do believe that no one has a copyright on the content. Of course, the original source may be credited since the effort is his/hers. If there is nothing incriminating to either the author of the transcript or someone in the general public, then I believe Bhagwans words contain wisdom that cannot be limited to only a select few. Of course, any content that is strictly and only of personal nature can/should be excluded."
----

I (Ravi) responded (edited):

Sai Ram --name-snipped--,
Thanks for your valuable view.
----
--- end comment exchanges ---

Ravi: Based on the above responses, I have decided to go ahead and put up the transcript. I will also be thanking the transcript author for his valuable contribution to documenting Swami's 1998 interview with Mumbai mediapersons and preserving and sharing that documentation with others in Sathya Sai fraternity.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Great 16th century martyr for holy Bible English version - William Tyndale

Last updated on 21st May 2019

"In 1536, William Tyndale was tried and convicted of heresy and treason. He was strangled and put to death, then burned at the stake. And the apparent reason? His English translation of the Bible.", https://twitter.com/museumofBible/status/1130280986221129730

Ravi: Hmm. That's the price some religious scholars who shared the word of scripture in local/vernacular language, had to pay in the past. This was in England in the 16th century and the religion involved was Christianity.

His wiki page gives additional details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

I have given some extracts from it below:

William Tyndale (/ˈtɪndəl/;[1] sometimes spelled Tynsdale, Tindall, Tindill, Tyndall; c. 1494 – c. 6 October 1536) was an English scholar who became a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his (incomplete) translation of the Bible into English.

Tyndale was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther.[2] A number of partial translations had been made from the seventh century onward, but the spread of Wycliffe's Bible in the late 14th century led to the death penalty for anyone found in unlicensed possession of Scripture in English, although translations were available in all other major European languages.[3]

Tyndale's translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English translation to use Jehovah ("Iehouah") as God's name as preferred by English Protestant Reformers,[4] the first English translation to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation. It was taken to be a direct challenge to the hegemony of both the Catholic Church and the laws of England maintaining the church's position. In 1530, Tyndale also wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII's annulment of his own marriage on the grounds that it contravened Scripture.[5]

Reuchlin's Hebrew grammar was published in 1506. Tyndale worked in an age in which Greek was available to the European scholarly community for the first time in centuries. Erasmus compiled and edited Greek Scriptures following the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Constantinople's fall helped to fuel the Renaissance and led to the dispersion of Greek-speaking intellectuals and texts into a Europe which previously had no access to them.

A copy of Tyndale's The Obedience of a Christian Man fell into the hands of Henry VIII, providing the king with the rationale to break the Church in England from the Catholic Church in 1534.[6][7] In 1535, Tyndale was arrested and jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde (Filford) outside Brussels for over a year. In 1536, he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. His dying prayer was that the King of England's eyes would be opened; this seemed to find its fulfillment just one year later with Henry's authorization of the Matthew Bible, which was largely Tyndale's own work - missing sections supplemented with translations by John Rogers and Miles Coverdale. Following this came the Great Bible and then the Bishop's Bible, authorized by the church of England. Hence, the work of Tyndale continued to play a key role in spreading Reformation ideas across the English-speaking world and, eventually, to the British Empire.

In 1611, the 47 scholars who produced the King James Bible[8] drew significantly from Tyndale's work, the Matthew Bible, as well as from translations that descended from his.[9] One estimate suggests that the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's and the Old Testament 76%.[10][11] His translation of the Bible was the first to be printed in English and to be translated from the original languages to English; it became a model for subsequent English translations. In 2002, Tyndale was placed at number 26 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.[12][13]

Wiki References:

1. "Tyndale". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
2. Partridge 1973, pp. 38–39, 52–52.
3. Marshall 2017, p. 117.
4. In the 7th paragraph of Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible, Sir Godfry Driver wrote, "The early translators generally substituted 'Lord' for [YHWH]. [...] The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles."
5. Bourgoin 1998, p. 373.
6. Daniell & Noah 2004.
7. Daniell 1994, p. [page needed].
8. King James Bible Preface
9. Harding, Nathan (15 January 2019). "Christ Lost in the Word: A history of the Matthew Bible". www.thematthewbible.com/purchase. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
10. Tadmor 2010, p. 16.
11. Nielson & Skousen 1998.
12. Parrill & Robison 2013, p. 93.
13. "William Tyndale", Historical Figures, BBC, retrieved 25 January 2014.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: Hmm. So he has been a vital figure in reformation of Christianity in English speaking world. And his work has strongly influenced or large portions of it have been incorporated in King James Version of the Bible.

Tyndale's dying prayer was that the King of England's eyes would be opened (in part at least, about the need for English version of Bible to be made available freely, I guess)!

What an extraordinary and blessed religious scholar-martyr! Even death did not stop him from his work of letting the English literate people read the Bible directly in English and better understand the holy scripture (Bible). And so, even though he died, his work did not die and laid the foundation for English literate people to be able to directly read and understand the holy Bible!

Wow! What a great religious hero! What an extraordinary contribution to his people!
==================================================

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote over email and was OK with public sharing:
Sai Ram, Ravi.

Thank you,  I really loved learning this.....  Yes!  What a victory Tyndale achieved. In my undergraduate studies at a Catholic college majoring in English, he was briefly mentioned but that was merely a token nod.  I am happy to learn the larger truth.
----

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Sai Ram Terry,

Glad to know the post was useful to you.
----

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

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Letter pics taken by low-cost phone camera print OK directly on Laser Printer but get printed badly through Microsoft Word and generated PDF on Laser Printer; Scanned images in Word print well on Laser Printer

Today, 19th May 2019, was experimentation day for me to figure out how to solve my problem of pics of appreciation and experience letters which show OK on ebook but print with dark shadows on paperback book. See https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/issues-involved-in-using-grayscale-pics.html for those paperback book pics.

For experimentation, I thought I will explore print quality on laser printer as the (digital) printing of paperback book may behave in a similar but improved manner. I will know for sure only when I get a paperback book copy with those prints but I think it may be reasonable to presume that if the pics print OK on laser printer they will print OK or better on (digital) paperback book printer.

The pics below show first the low-cost smartphone (LYF) camera pics of two letters, which were made grayscale and whose DPI was increased to 300. One of the pics is slightly edited to hide a telephone number.

[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]




The ebook has colour versions of these pics and they look somewhat similar on LCD monitor (as there is very little distinctly observable colour other than gray levels, in the letter). So for ebook display this is good enough.

The pics below are of the printouts of these image files on what seems to be a Canon PCL5e printer (as per printer option box). The pics were taken by the low-cost smartphone (LYF) camera under tubelights and so quality of pics may not be very good (in terms of sharpness of image including text in the image) but it is OK.




The above printout pics seem to be quite close to the image pics! This what I had expected in the paperback book! But the paperback book has very dark shadows on these pics.

Next step was to include these pics in a two page A5 sized Word document (I use Word 2007), use Print To PDF to create a PDF file and then print that PDF file on the same Canon Laser Printer as mentioned earlier. I did that and also used Save As PDF option to check that quality too.

The Word document can be viewed here on Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DVDRJsHrNs5vBY5r5RwwJfv0wtCTgf6q, and here are links to view PDF created by Print to PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1O1uwP4eSq83_ZJPbbAr_DMlJkAGIz_hz, and PDF created by Save As PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NtTLYH3yOkaMLDtmftzPRR7Vnm8IXcWY.

The pics below are of the printout of either Print to PDF or Save As PDF (both printed similarly and so it was difficult to distinguish from the printouts which is which). Pics are taken with LYF smartphone under tubelights.




The dark shadows are so much in above pics that one cannot even read the text of the letter! The paperback book pics' dark shadows make it look unpleasant but one can still read the text.

So the same pics that print well on Laser Printer when printed directly from some image viewer application (on Microsoft Windows), get horribly covered with dark shadows once they go into Word and then PDF (Print to PDF) and finally printed on Laser Printer. Note that the PDF document shows the images quite well. The Print to PDF quality is better than Save As PDF as the latter adds some dark shadows visible in the PDF on viewing on LCD monitor itself.

I think there is a good possibility that something goes wrong once the pics go into Word! Perhaps there is some compression that is done which does not impact display on LCD monitor but creates these horrible dark shadows when it is printed.

I tried to print the related 2 pages (page 105 and 106 in ebook) directly from the ebook PDF (Google Drive link: http://drive.google.com/open?id=1XA8-3cVNZKpK18kiTWk4pw_eMfiS2CFq) to the Canon Laser Printer using Grayscale option in printing so that the printer will automatically translate any colour to grayscale. The same images that look quite OK on pages 105 and 106 of the ebook, print horribly with dark shadows making the letter content undecipherable as shown below! Note the pages are printed in A5 size (or slightly lesser than that) on A4 page.




Now the Puttaparthi shopkeeper had told me that scanning the letters and using those images may solve the problem. He repeated that today on seeing these printouts. Of course, scanning would provide much better quality that low-cost smartphone camera. But would scanning be able to avoid the dark shadows problem that Word seems to introduce for these letter pics taken by camera?

He scanned the two letters (as colour by default). I think it was an HP scanner. I told him to scan at 300 DPI. The scanned images are given below (with one image being edited slightly to hide a telephone number).



The scanned images are beautiful! Clean and crisp! If you look closely one does see a speck or two but that's insignificant for my needs.

Next step was to make a two page Word document of A5 size (using Word 2007) having these two images. And then create a PDF of it using Print to PDF, and then print the PDF on the Canon Laser Printer (with grayscale option to convert colour to grayscale). As one of the images used in the document have a residence telephone number (which may map to somebody else now), I have not shared the documents on Google Drive.

The pics given below are of the two page printout with A5 size print (compressed to slightly lesser than A5 size) on A4 paper, with the pics being taken by low-cost smartphone under tubelights (poorer quality pics than in good natural light and so text appears less sharp than in the actual printout). The second page pic is slightly edited to hide a telephone number.




Some black dots get introduced in this printout of the images which are not visible in the Word document or PDF file (note that the scanned images are pretty clean). But that is minor stuff as compared to the horrible dark patches in earlier printouts mentioned above!

I seem to have got the solution to the dark shadows in these letter pics in paperback book. Just use scanned images of these letters instead of my low-cost camera pics.

To be on the safe side, I plan to scan these documents again as grayscale (and not colour) 300 DPI pics using the shopkeeper's scanner, and then use those grayscale 300 DPI pics in the Word paperback book document, and generate PDF from it using Print to PDF. I plan to test printing of these pages from this PDF file on the Canon Laser printer. If that comes out well, as I expect it to, then I will go ahead and submit the PDF file to Pothi.com, and order a paperback printed book copy. Hopefully that printed paperback book copy will print the letter pics decently.