Monday, September 30, 2019

Some old Hindi film Devi songs and Mahishasura Mardhini Sanskrit hymn

O Sheronwali Navaratri Devi Mata dandiya song & dance with Amitabh and Rekha as on-screen stars from 1979 Hindi film Suhaag, sung by Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhosle,, 5 min. 18 secs.

Aigiri Nandini also known as Mahishasura mardini stotram (Sanskrit hymn of praise) is wonderful worship of Aadi Parashakti (I think that means ancient great divine power) as Jagadamba (I think that means mother goddess of the world/universe), as the consort of Lord Shiva (Parvati), as the destroyer of demon Mahishasura, and much more. I think in Eastern parts of India, the same goddess (Devi) is known as Durga.

An extract from :

Durga (Sanskrit: दुर्गा, IAST: Durgā), identified as Adi Parashakti, is a principal and popular form of the Hindu Goddess.[3][4][5] She is a goddess of war, the warrior form of Parvati, whose mythology centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace, prosperity, and Dharma the power of good over evil.[4][6]Durga is also a fierce form of the protective mother goddess, who unleashes her divine wrath against the wicked for the liberation of the oppressed, and entails destruction to empower creation.[7]

Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a Goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon,[2] often defeating Mahishasura (lit. buffalo demon).[8][9][10]
[Wiki Refs:]
2. Wendy Doniger 1999, p. 306.
3. Encyclopedia Britannica 2015.
4. David R Kinsley 1989, pp. 3–4.
5. Charles Phillips, Michael Kerrigan & David Gould 2011, pp. 93–94.
6. Paul Reid-Bowen 2012, pp. 212–213.
7. Amazzone 2012, pp. 3–5.
8. David R Kinsley 1989, pp. 3–5.
9. Laura Amazzone 2011, pp. 71–73.
10. Donald J LaRocca 1996, pp. 5–6.
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: Essentially, Aadi Parashakti Devi (Jagadamba, Amba, Durga are many names/forms of her) is a superpower goddess. She can be motherly love but can become a fierce warrior goddess who protects her devotees by even killing those who attempt harm on her devotees. A great warrior goddess protector of her devotees! Utterly fascinating!

Here is a video of nine young girls singing it:, around 14 mins.

Here's an article giving the lyrics and English meaning of the hymn:

Here's a superb rendition of it with the video showing still pics and the lyrics (without meaning): Aigiri Nandini With Lyrics | Mahishasura Mardini | Rajalakshmee Sanjay | महिषासुर मर्दिनी स्तोत्र,, 15 min. 13 secs.

The primal divine force being worshiped as a mother goddess who rides a tiger! In Hindi films, I think the favourite goddess worship is that of the Tiger-riding-goddess. Sherawali in Hindi means the (female) one who rides the tiger. Note that this goddess is equated with Durga who also rides a tiger. But I think most of the Sherawali Hindi film songs I have heard do not use the Durga name. And then there are Mata (mother) songs with the mother reference being to a goddess.

I think I can understand how many folks can easily relate to a tiger-riding-goddess as that name-description itself shows that the goddess is a great power that has subdued even a tiger. Such a goddess will surely protect the devotee from powerful evil persons and beings.

I think Jeetandra and Reena Roy, the on screen stars for this song worshiping and praising the tiger-riding-goddess, as well as the other actors have done a great job portraying the devotion of the common folks towards goddess Sherawali: Tune Mujhe Bulaya Sherawaliye | Mohammed Rafi | Aasha 1980 Songs| Jeetendra| Reena Roy,, 6 min. 46 secs.

This Mata (mother goddess) song has Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi as the on-screen stars, playing roles of devotees who are in deep sorrow for their child and pray for help to the mother goddess. I think the main singer actor-role is played by (on-screen star) Gulshar Grover but I am not sure.

The main singer is Chanchal.

Chalo Bulawa Aaya Hai (HD) | Avtaar (1983) Song | Rajesh Khanna | Shabana Azmi | Hindi Song,, around 8 mins.

Given below are my comments from exchange on my tweet related to this post: :

In response to a tweet, I (Ravi) wrote:
Thanks bro. but I am super-comfortable with my spiritual & religious understanding and life now with a clear, content and easy heart/conscience. So no need for any spiritual/religious rejuvenation for me 😀.

I also wrote:
Would like to add that I have noted the info. you have provided and hope to check out the channel's devotional videos on youtube. Thanks.
Just saw parts of their video streamed online today: Maa Vaishno Devi Aarti LIVE from Katra || Navaratri Special,, published by MH ONE SHRADDHA. Enjoyed it. Thanks.

[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.]

Referral: My thoughts on John Perkins' book: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; Are politicians to blame ...

Readers may want to see my recent post on another blog of mine: My thoughts on John Perkins' book: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; Are politicians to blame for all problems in democracies?; Thoughts about authoritarianism dangers in socialism,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Valmiki Ramayan verses about Lord Rama lifting, stringing and in the process, breaking the bow of Lord Shiva kept with King Janaka

Recently in Kamala Subramaniam's Ramayana (abridged English version), I read the account of Lord Rama lifting, stringing and in the process, breaking the bow of Lord Shiva kept with King Janaka.

I wanted to look up and share the important Sanskrit shokas (verses) from Valmiki Ramayan related to this account.

The Sanskrit verses and English translation have been taken from (IIT Kanpur website). The English translation is slightly edited in a few places. Comments of mine are prefixed with Ravi:

एवमुक्तस्तु जनक: प्रत्युवाच महामुनिम्।

श्रूयतामस्य धनुषो यदर्थमिह तिष्ठति।।1.66.7।।

Thus addressed by the mighty ascetic Janaka replied, "I shall tell you how this bow came to be deposited here".

देवरात इति ख्यातो निमेष्षष्ठो महीपति:।

न्यासोऽयं तस्य भगवन् हस्ते दत्तो महात्मना।।1.66.8।।

"O Adorable one there was a famous king named Devarata, sixth in line from Nimi. This bow was kept with him in trust by the exalted lord (Shiva)."

दक्षयज्ञवधे पूर्वं धनुरायम्य वीर्यवान्।

रुद्रस्तु त्रिदशान् रोषात्सलीलमिदमब्रवीत्।।1.66.9।।

"Earlier at the time of destruction of Daksha's sacrifice, Rudra endowed with great prowess lifted this bow sportively and spoke to the gods."

[Ravi: Rudra is another name for Lord Shiva, and in this context I think it refers to Lord Shiva.]

यस्माद्भागार्थिनो भागान्नाकल्पयत मे सुरा:।

वराङ्गाणि महार्हाणि धनुषा शातयामि व:।।1.66.10।।

"O gods in your anxiety to partake your share of the (sacrifice), you have failed to provide mine in the sacrificial offerings. Therefore, I shall sever your jewelled heads and beautiful limbs with this bow."

ततो विमनसस्सर्वे देवा वै मुनिपुङ्गव।

प्रसादयन्ति देवेशं तेषां प्रीतोऽभवद्भव:।।1.66.11।।

"O Eminent ascetic thereafter all the gods with agitated minds propitiated lord of the gods, Siva and he was pleased with them."

[Ravi: Devesham seems to mean lord of the gods, and seems to be a reference to Lord Shiva (spelled as Siva in above English translation).]

प्रीतियुक्तस्स सर्वेषां ददौ तेषां महात्मनाम्।

तदेतद्देवदेवस्य धनूरत्नं महात्मन:।

न्यासभूतं तदा न्यस्तमस्माकं पूर्व के विभो।।1.66.12।।

"O Lord that gem of a bow belonging to Siva was given to the great gods who in turn got it deposited in trust with our ancestor."

[Ravi: Then there are a few shlokas about Devi Sita and how King Janaka decides to offer her hand in marriage to the one (prince/king) who is able to demonstrate his strength (by lifting and stringing this bow of Lord Shiva).]

ततस्सर्वे नृपतय स्समेत्य मुनिपुंगव।

मिथिलामभ्युपागम्य वीर्यजिज्ञासवस्तदा।।1.66.17।।

"O Preeminent among ascetics thereafter many kings together came to Mithila to test their prowess."

तेषां जिज्ञासमानानां वीर्यं धनुरुपाहृतम्।

न शेकुर्ग्रहणे तस्य धनुषस्तोलनेऽपि वा।।1.66.18।।

"The bow was brought and placed before those who were curious to test their strength but none was able to grasp or lift the bow."

[Ravi: None of these kings could even lift the bow of Lord Shiva! This is the vital point to understand. This bow of Lord Shiva was so heavy! Only a great and powerful man (or god in human form) would be able to lift it and string it.]

[Ravi: Then there are a few shlokas (verses) describing the anger of the rejected kings who got together and laid seige to Janaka's capital Mithila for a year. Janaka performed austerities to please the devas, who then gave him a large army with which Janaka routed the kings who had laid seige. These defeated kings fled away.]

तदेतन्मुनिशार्दूल धनु: परमभास्वरम्।

रामलक्ष्मणयोश्चापि दर्शयिष्यामि सुव्रत।।1.66.25।।

"O Sage you are a tiger among ascetics, you are faithful to your vows, I shall show this effulgent bow to your Rama and Lakshmana."

यद्यस्य धनुषो राम: कुर्यादारोपणं मुने।

सुतामयोनिजां सीतां दद्यां दाशरथेरहम्।।1.66.26।।

"O Sage if Rama could lift and string this bow I shall give my daughter Sita, not born from a woman, to him (son of Dasaratha)".

[Sixtysixth sarga (chapter) ends. Sixtyseventh sarga (chapter) begins.]
[Omitting initial shlokas related to orders to Janaka's ministers to bring the bow]

नृणां शतानि पञ्चाशद्व्यायतानां महात्मनाम्।

मञ्जूषामष्टचक्रां तां समूहुस्ते कथञ्चन।।1.67.4।।

Five thousand mighty stalwarts drew with great difficulty the eightwheeled cart on which the bow was placed in a box.

तामादाय तु मञ्जूषामायसीं यत्र तद्धनु:।

सुरोपमं ते जनकमूचुर्नृपतिमन्त्रिण:।।1.67.5।।

The counsellors of the king, brought the iron casket containing the bow and said these words to Janaka comparable to a celestial:

इदं धनुर्वरं राजन् पूजितं सर्वराजभि:।

मिथिलाधिप राजेन्द्र दर्शनीयं यदिच्छसि।।1.67.6।।

"O Indra among kings O lord of Mithila here is the great bow, worshipped by all kings, which you intend to show (to Rama)."

तेषां नृपो वच: श्रुत्वा कृताञ्जलिरभाषत।

विश्वामित्रं महात्मानं तौ चोभौ रामलक्ष्मणौ।।1.67.7।।

Having heard this, the king with folded hands said to the great soul Viswamitra sitting with the two princes Rama and Lakshmana:

[Ravi: The following words are of King Janaka.]

इदं धनुर्वरं ब्रह्मन् जनकैरभिपूजितम्।

राजभिश्च महावीर्यै: अशक्तै: पूरितुं पुरा।।1.67.8।।

"O Brahman in the olden days, this great bow was worshipped by my forefathers. Powerful kings failed to string this bow."

नैतत्सुरगणास्सर्वे नासुरा न च राक्षसा:।

गन्धर्वयक्षप्रवरा: सकिन्नरमहोरगा:।।1.67.9।।

"Hosts of devatas, asuras, rakhasas, kinnaras and great serpents, the best of gandharvas and yakshas, also failed (to wield this bow)."

क्व गतिर्मानुषाणां च धनुषोऽस्य प्रपूरणे।

आरोपणे समायोगे वेपने तोलनेऽपि वा।।1.67.10।।

"How then can men bend, string, fix the arrow, pull the string and lift it?"

तदेतद्धनुषां श्रेष्ठमानीतं मुनिपुङ्गव।

दर्शयैतन्महाभाग अनयो: राजपुत्रयो:।।1.67.11।।

"O Eminent ascetic such heaviest bow is brought here, O Highly accomplished sage show this to the two princes".

[Ravi: This is the background then to Lord Shiva's bow (Shivdhanush). It is a superhuman bow that cannot be even lifted by mere mortals even if they are kings. Only after knowing this background, we get to be in a position to appreciate the great feat that Lord Rama accomplishes with respect to this bow when he is around 16 years of age.]

विश्वामित्रस्तु धर्मात्मा श्रुत्वा जनकभाषितम्।

वत्स राम धनु: पश्य इति राघवमब्रवीत्।।1.67.12।।

Having heard the words of Janaka, the righteous Viswamitra said: "O Child O Descendant of Raghu look at this bow".

ब्रह्मर्षेर्वचनाद्रामो यत्र तिष्ठति तद्धनु:।

मञ्जूषां तामपावृत्य दृष्ट्वा धनुरथाब्रवीत्।।1.67.13।।

At the words of the great rishi Viswamitra, Rama opened the casket, beheld the bow and said:

इदं धनुर्वरं ब्रह्मन् संस्पृशामीह पाणिना।

यत्नवांश्च भविष्यामि तोलने पूरणेऽपि वा।।1.67.14।।

"O Brahmarshi, shall I touch this great bow with my hands lift and string it".

[Ravi: Lord Rama shows his respect for Sage Vishwamitra by asking permission to touch the great bow, lift it and string it! Note that Sage Vishwamitra earlier had only told him to look at the great bow.]

बाढमित्येव तं राजा मुनिश्च समभाषत।

लीलया स धनुर्मध्ये जग्राह वचनान्मुने:।।1.67.15।

The king as also the rishi said "Be it so". At the words of the sage (Viswamitra), he (Rama) took hold of the bow by its middle with ease.

पश्यतां नृपसहस्राणां बहूनां रघुनन्दन: ।

आरोपयत्स धर्मात्मा सलीलमिव तद्धनु:।।1.67.16।।

Virtuous Rama, the delight of the Raghus, in the presence of several thousands of men fixed the string to the bow and drew it with ease.

[Ravi: This itself shows us how Lord Rama had superhuman/divine (warrior) strength and power. While other kings had struggled to string the great bow, Lord Rama does it with ease. This is how the divinity of Divine beings and Avatars get easily demonstrated to humanity! This is the Mahima (miraculous doings) of the Lord!]

आरोपयित्वा धर्मात्मा पूरयामास तद्धनु:।

तद्बभञ्ज धनुर्मध्ये नरश्रेष्ठो महायशा:।।1.67.17।।

Rama, the best among men, righteous and famous lifted the bow. Stringing it with a twang he drew it. The bow broke into two in the middle.

[Ravi: The great bow of Lord Shiva which other kings could not even lift, was lifted and strung with ease by Rama and in the process, the great bow broke in the middle! Note that the main body of the bow broke and not its string.

This is a big & miraculous event in the career of Avatar Lord Rama. It is Mahadeva Lord Shiva's bow! Avatar Rama born as a human prince is able to easily lift and string the great bow of Lord Shiva, with it breaking in the process. Rama, very clearly, is not an ordinary prince. He is the one with superhuman/divine power!]

तस्य शब्दो महानासीत् निर्घातसमनिस्वन:।

भूमिकम्पश्च सुमहान् पर्वतस्येव दीर्यत:।।1.67.18।।

It generated a loud sound like the clap of thunder, like the trembling of the earth and the splitting of a mountain.

निपेतुश्च नरा स्सर्वे तेन शब्देन मोहिता:।

वर्जयित्वा मुनिवरं राजानं तौ च राघवौ।।1.67.19।।

On hearing the sound, except Janaka, Viswamitra and the two raghavas (Rama and Lakshmana) the rest of the people around fell down and fainted.

प्रत्याश्वस्ते जने तस्मिन्राजा विगतसाध्वस:।

उवाच प्राञ्जलिर्वाक्यं वाक्यज्ञो मुनिपुङ्गवम्।।1.67.20।।

When the people recovered, the king skilful in the use of words addressed the eminent ascetic without apprehension with folded palms in the following words:

भगवन् दृष्टवीर्यो मे रामो दशरथात्मज:।

अत्यद्भुतमचिन्त्यं च न तर्कितमिदं मया।।1.67.21।।

"O Worshipful one I have witnessed the prowess of Rama, son of Dasaratha. I had not imagined that this marvellous feat could be ever accomplished."

जनकानां कुले कीर्तिमाहरिष्यति मे सुता।

सीता भर्तारमासाद्य रामं दशरथात्मजम्।।1.67.22।।

"By receiving Rama, son of Dasaratha, as her husband, my daughter Sita will bring glory to my dynasty."

मम सत्या प्रतिज्ञा च वीर्यशुल्केति कौशिक।

सीता प्राणैर्बहुमता देया रामाय मे सुता।।1.67.23।।

"O Son of Kausika I announce Sita to be the 'Reward of prowess'. My vow has come true. She is more valuable than my life and fit to be given to Rama."

Ravi: Lord Rama, through this great Mahima (miracle), announces to all assembled to watch this feat in King Janaka's capital, Mithila, that a great divine power has come to the world as him (Lord Rama). The earlier great victories of Rama over the rakshasas (demons) were seen by Sage Viswamitra and (later) by Sage Viswamitra's disciples. But this great act (Mahima) was in Mithila, the capital of Janaka's kingdom, which would have been seen by many. This news, one presumes, would spread across neighbouring kingdoms to distant lands in Bharatavarsha (land of Bharat), over time. It has been fascinating for me to study the shlokas (verses) of Valmiki Ramayan related to this great Mahima of Lord Rama easily lifting, stringing and in the process, breaking the great bow of Lord Shiva.

[I thank 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.]

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ramayana account of Sage Viswamitra's warrior power (Kshatriya balam) being easily nullified by Sage Vasishta using his divine radiance power (Brahmateja balam)

Last updated on 17th Sept. 2019

Recently in Kamala Subramaniam's Ramayana (abridged version in English), I read about the great battle between Sage Viswamitra and Sage Vasishta. As per Kamala Subramaniam's account, Viswamitra was a king named Kaushika earlier. As King Kaushika he goes to Sage Vasishta's ashram and eventually has a big fight with him and loses to him. Later Kaushika becomes a Sage, named Viswamitra.

As Sage Viswamitra he has another big battle with Sage Vasishta, where Viswamitra utilizes all the divine astras (weapons) he has gained from his Tapas (austerities) done to please Mahadev.

Sage Vasishta simply uses his baton, called Brahmadanda, to absorb all the divine weapons (astras) including the Brahmastra that Viswamitra attacks him with! Viswamitra is amazed at the power that Vasishta has in nullifying all these divine weapons simply by using his baton!

The power that Viswamitra used was the warrior's power (Kshatriya balam) which was easily nullified by Vasishta using his Brahma (godly/divine) radiance power (Brahmateja balam). Seeing this, Viswamitra is disappointed with warrior power and wants to instead gain Brahma (godly/divine) radiance power.

I looked for the corresponding shloka (verse) in a Valmiki Ramayana version available on the Internet. Here's the shloka from, which are Viswamitra's words:

धिग्बलं क्षत्रियबलं ब्रह्मतेजोबलं बलम् |
एकेन ब्रह्मदण्डेन सर्वास्त्राणि हतानि मे || १-५६-२३

Its English translation is given as:
Fie upon the might of Kshatriya, mightier is the might of Brahman's resplendence, only with one baton of Brahma all of my missiles are defused. [1-56-23]

Then Viswamitra decides to perform tapas (austerities) of the kind that will give such Brahma (godly radiance) power like what Vasishta has, instead of the power of divine weapons.

I am fascinated to see this passage in the Ramayana where the wise Sage Vasishta's power gained through control of senses and mind is victorious over divine weapons power wielded by Viswamitra against Vasishta in the past. Note that all these events are before, perhaps well before, Viswamitra comes to King Dasaratha's court to ask for Rama to go with him to fight the demons who are troubling him, and where (King Dasaratha's court) Vasishta is the royal Sage to Dasaratha.

Given below is an exchange I had on related tweet of mine:

Swagat S
@SwagatS43890072 wrote:
Replying to
Sir there was also another story in which Viswamitra was ashamed of himself when secretly came to attack Vashista & heard d "Lauding" of Viswamitra by Sage Vashista....

Ravi S. Iyer
Yes brother. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba used to say that story. If I recall correctly, I have heard Bhagavan say that in public Kulwant Hall discourse.

Swagat S
Sir der r diff. occasions when Swami narrated 2 diff. stories to teach students lesson on Anger & EGO management from these ancient Sages

[Two pics of Sathya Sai literature text was attached to the tweet: Readers may visit the tweet to see these pics.]

Ravi S. Iyer 'Love'-iconed the above tweet.

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Politico article on Jerry Falwell Jr. led Liberty University (USA) and Falwell's response to it

Firstly, I would like to give Jerry Falwell Jr.'s reported response to the article which is covered at least to some extent here: Falwell won't 'turn the other cheek' on media reports; student protest planned at Liberty University,

The article states that Jerry Falwell said, “If it was me, I’d turn the other cheek but this is not me” ... “This is Liberty University and I have no choice but to do what is in the best interest of the university and that means unfortunately taking action against these people.”

The article also states that in an interview with the article's publishers, "Falwell disputed the allegations in the magazine and said the university’s board of trustees has instructed him to pursue civil litigation against who he believes is responsible for sharing university emails to reporters."

Now I will share the Politico article link. Readers must note that Falwell has not only disputed allegations in it but is also initiating some legal action. So one should not view the Politico article as verified truth. It is a media report with some allegations that are disputed by Falwell, and it is NOT truth verified by a court of law - that I think is the truth-status/truth-quality of the report, as of now.

But I do think that the media report is worth reading to note the allegations made even if they are disputed by Falwell. So I am sharing the link: ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence - More than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials describe a culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world.,, 9th Sept. 2019.

I have given below some general remarks of mine about this Politico article though I have yet to finish reading the long article, and my views of similar institutions in India.

In India, my readings over the past few years shows that ashram systems are typically dictatorial and managed like private companies are managed, in terms of dictatorial system. I am not saying this as a negative comment. Just sharing the reality. The advantages of it are that there is efficiency in running the show, and the negative aspects of political style campaigning and voting for leadership positions with open attacks on candidates, influencing voters with money or other gifts etc., thuggery/intimidation, rigging of the vote etc. in leadership selection process are avoided. The leaders of the ashram are indirectly measured by how efficiently the ashram is run and how it is able to attract visitors. If they fare poorly on that there is usually a groundswell against them and the ashram shrinks in size and influence, with devotees moving to other ashrams. There are also some disadvantages of this dictatorial system in ashram systems in that there is less accountability, less transparency and, consequently, higher levels of abuse of power than in a democratic kind of system.

Some of these ashram systems have educational institutions - schools, colleges and sometimes universities too. The dictatorial style of running the ashram system extends to these educational institutions too, but with some respect shown to norms expected by the accreditation and oversight government educational institution bodies who have the power to withdraw accreditation of the government to these educational institutions if they find them to be unsatisfactory.

The Politico article makes allegations that Liberty University (USA) which seems to be rooted in strong evangelical (Protestant) Christian faith, is run in a dictatorial style. It is reported to be run very successfully from a student enrollment as well as financial point of view. Over 110,000 students are enrolled, most online. The university (also called as school in USA) is a non-profit which, as per the article, had assets just over $259 million in 2007 when Jerry Falwell Jr. took over the leadership role, now is reported to have assets over $3 billion!

The article talks of nondisclosure agreements prohibiting "many university employees or board members from openly discussing what they’ve seen Falwell do".

As far as I can recall, I have never signed a nondisclosure agreement in India. The only one that I recall signing on those lines was in my first foreign assignment in Brussels at Wang International Telecommunications Research Centre in mid 1980s, which I think prohibited me from revealing details of the software project that I was working on (to competitors). I think that nondisclosure agreement was fair. I mean, it was protecting company intellectual property from competitors.

But I do think nondisclosure agreements that completely muzzle you from publicly exposing what's going in the company/organization that you are working in, does not seem to be a good thing. An exception is, if one works in a national/state/local security organization.

How will people expose wrongdoing if nondisclosure agreements muzzle them/silence them? I wonder what USA higher courts think about this matter.

I am glad that such muzzling/silencing of people through nondisclosure agreements does not seem to be common in India. I wonder whether Indian courts of law would entertain such agreements. Once again, protection of intellectual property of a company/organization is different. Here we are talking about a blanket muzzling/silencing of employees in an organization and that too an educational institution.

Some, or all, of the allegations against Jerry Falwell Jr. in the article may be false. But if he is muzzling/silencing employees of his university using nondisclosure agreements, I think that is NOT a good thing. Ex employees must have freedom to talk about their negative experiences in the university. I mean, that should be a fundamental right of ex employees. An employee who does that may lose his/her job - that's expected in a private company/private organization. But even after quitting/losing his/her job if he/she has to stay silent on negative experiences he/she may have had in the organization, then I think that denies a basic kind of freedom to the person.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ahalya being freed from curse by Lord Rama's presence/touch - Ramayana account

Yesterday, in Kamala Subramaniam's Ramayana, I read the part of Ahalya being freed from her curse by Lord Rama. In this book/version, Lord Rama enters the ashram and that releases Ahalya from her husband Sage Gautama's curse. There is no mention of a stone which Rama touches (with his feet) resulting in Ahalya emerging from it. I also looked at Valmiki Ramayan shlokas on the net here: That too does not mention such a stone.

The wiki page,, tells us that some scriptural accounts (Ahalya's story is in Brahmanas, Ramayana, Puranas etc.) have the stone version whereas some don't.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's account in Rama Katha Rasa Vahini, states, 'Until that moment, Ahalya was immersed in austerity; she was far away from the eyes of gods, demons, and men; she had forgotten her name and lost her form; she had no concern with food and sleep; she was merely existing as a piece of rock! She appeared like the moon’s orb, well hidden by clouds, or like the sacrificial fire, covered by thick curtains of smoke. As Rama neared her, his foot touched her.'

So Bhagavan mentions the stone/rock and Rama's foot touching her. Then Bhagavan writes: 'Ahalya raised her head and, seeing Rama’s divinely charming form, held his feet, exclaiming in ecstasy, “Ah! I am saved. O God come to save me from sin! Your heart is moved at last.” She poured out her gratitude in many hymns of praise. She rose, like the moon from behind the clouds, effulgent and fresh. At that moment Gautama, too, who was a master of the mysteries of yoga, appeared before them, for he knew that Rama had come and rescued his wife. He accepted her, purified by rigorous austerity and blessed by Rama. Both husband and wife fell at the feet of Rama and Lakshmana, who were overwhelmed by the spiritual bliss (ananda) they had. Gautama offered reverence and homage to Viswamitra.'

Thought of sharing this info. with readers.

But I think in all accounts, the big spiritual event is her being freed from the curse by Lord Rama (16 year old warrior-prince lad then), and this being foretold by her husband Gautama at the time he curses her for an act of real/perceived infidelity/seduction/trickery by/involving Lord Indra.

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

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Dismayed to see bad printing of pics in some copies of part autobiography; How to handle such scenarios in future

Last updated on 3rd Nov. 2019

Update on 3rd Nov. 2019: I did get the 2 replacement copies which were printed properly (by Manipal printer) in end Sept./early Oct. 2019. So Notion Press resolved the issue to my satisfaction.

Update on 14th Sept. 2019. Notion Press has said it will send me 2 replacement copies for the 2 copies that I found with bad printing of some pics issues. I am satisfied by that commitment from Notion Press. These copies are to be sent to me along with an order of 12 copies (minimum author copy order) that I recently made with Notion Press and which will be printed by the first printer (based in Manipal) who had delivered two sets of good paperback copies in the past, without such bad printing of pics issues.

Update on 9th Sept. 2019: Feedback from some recent recipients of my part autobio book is that their copies do not have the dark patches problem for many pics printed in the book. One said that his copy is fine. Another said that only one pic did not print well. Yet another said that some certificate pics have been printed in blurred way (that could be due to original pic having some parts that are light gray which print in a faint way).

So I am glad to know that the bad printing (with dark patches/bands) of pics I found in 2 paperback copies of the part autobio book which I mentioned in below post contents, seems to be limited to few copies.

Yesterday (7th Sept.), I was dismayed to see that a paperback copy of my book, "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1" that I had ordered from Flipkart,, which was fulfilled (sold) by Notion Press, had dark patches on print of some pics in inner contents of the book, which made those pics look very bad in the book. [Flipkart also lists another seller - 'Repro Books on Demand' besides Notion Press.]

Note that I have received many book copies of the same book from Notion Press where these pics (black & white/grayscale) have been printed well. All inner content pics in the book are black & white/grayscale.

Ensuring good quality of printing, especially of pics in inner content of book, is a problematic thing with the Print-On-Demand style of self-publishing system that I have used. Potentially each single copy may be printed in a separate print run! Further, when I make an order on the publisher's website to be delivered to somebody else, I don't get to see the printed book and so don't know if it has been printed well!

Here's the main message I wrote to Flipkart on its web form for reporting such problems:

The paperback book delivery I got for my Flipkart Order ID OD116386526725524000 for Order placed on Aug 28, 2019, and delivered on or around 5th Sept. 2019, has bad printing problems with some pictures in the inner content of the book.

If you want I can send a picture I took of Page 23 of the book with my mobile camera. As I am the author of the book, I also have the PDF inner contents for the book. I can also provide you a  pic of screenshot of Page 23 from the inner contents PDF file for the printed book. [I do not see any facility to attach pics in this message box and so am not able to attach these pics.]

From the two pics, you can see clearly that the picture of Cardinal Gracias High School Leaving Certificate is printed very badly with lots of dark patches.

Similar dark patches problem is there for pictures printed on pages 73, 90, 92, 93, 94 and 117.

I therefore would like to return this book.

--- end main message to Flipkart ---

I have chosen to get a replacement, and to Flipkart's credit they quickly accepted my request to return and get a replacement. The courier is supposed to come to my flat and pick it up to be returned to vendor (Notion Press) who will be providing me a replacement.

Given below are the pics mentioned above, first is pic of the printed page and second is screenshot of that page in book inner contents PDF file.

[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.]

Here's relevant part of what I wrote to one person for whom I had ordered the book on Notion Press website and which order got fulfilled by the book being sent directly to the person (without me being able to see the book):

But now I wonder whether you too have faced this problem with your book copy! If so, I am sorry about it but please understand that this problem is beyond my control. As some days have passed since you got the copy it may be just too late to explore the possibility of return/refund. All I can say is that if you encounter some pics which are badly printed (say with dark patches), I have typically given a blog link have the same pic (in colour) on the Internet.  You may visit that link to see the proper pic. Alternatively you could see the free download ebook which has the same pic - ebook download links are here: .

--- end part of message I wrote to one person ---

Note that some pics in the inner contents of this book copy have been printed well. So this problem is not for all the pics printed in this book copy but some of them.

Now I also had ordered some "author copies" which come in set of (minimum) 12 copies. The first two such orders I made with Notion Press, were delivered with plastic covers on 2 sets of 5 books and 1 set of 2 books (making up 12 copies). I cut open the plastic covers and checked each book's printing quality quickly by flipping the pages of the book, before I passed on the book to somebody. All these books were printed quite well and I did not face any dark patches in pics printing problem.

The last set of author copies (12) that I got was packed differently (it was from a different printer that Notion Press used to fulfill the order, as the courier delivery time from the first printer was taking too long). Each copy was shrink-wrapped in transparent plastic. I thought the transparent plastic shrink-wrap may be useful in case of any rain while the copy was being passed on to somebody. I was also quite confident that the printing would be good based on my previous deliveries from Notion Press. So I did not cut open the transparent plastic shrink-wrap and check the inner contents printing of the book.

Yesterday (7th Sept.), I first encountered the dark patches printing problem with a single copy delivery from Flipkart. Later yesterday, I opened the last one of the shrinkwrapped book copies in the last author copies set I had ordered from Notion Press, and, to my dismay, found that there is a similar problem of dark patches with pics printed on pages 23, 73, 90, 92, 93, 94 and 117. These pics are printed very badly in that book copy. Note that the problem of dark patches has impacted same pics in both the problem copies I have mentioned. Perhaps they were produced in the same "print run" even if one got dispatched to me as Flipkart order fulfillment (by Notion Press) and another as part of author copies order fulfillment from Notion Press website.

Given below is a pic of bad printing of pics on pages 92 & 93.

Given below are book inner contents PDF file screenshots for the above pages:

I was aghast that there was a possibility that all 12 copies in this set had that problem and that I had passed on 11 copies to others. So today (8th Sept.), I went on a round of telling about the possible problem via messaging/mailing or explaining in person to some of these people. I hope to do that in the near future with the few of the people that I have not yet been able to contact on this matter.

A big learning for me is that for book copies that come to me from Notion Press or from (the two self-publishing companies that I use), I must check each copy before I give it to somebody else. This becomes the personal Q.A. work that I do, as the printers that the self-publishing companies use, do not seem to have good Q.A.

But what about orders where the book copy is sent directly by the self-publishing company's printer to the recipient/buyer? I know how the text and pics should appear in the print but others (recipients/buyers) would not know. They may think that a picture has been printed badly because the original pic itself is of poor quality!

I think a partial solution lies in providing the book inner contents PDF submission I made to the self-publishers, publicly on the Internet and informing readers about it on my blog page having the paperback book sale links. Then informed buyers/recipients can simply check the inner contents PDF file to see whether the original pic is poor quality or only the printing is poor quality. And if they find that only the printing is poor quality (with PDF file pic being good quality), they should demand a good replacement copy or a refund, like I have done with my Flipkart order.

9th Sep. 2019 Update: Added a section titled, "Bad print of paperback copy? How to confirm that print is bad and not original (PDF) book contents, and if so, demand replacement/refund." in my blog page: Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1: Ebook free download and printed copy links, To see the contents of the section, please visit above link.

But some who directly land up on the sale links and make a purchase, may not get to read about the inner contents PDF file being available publicly. So they may not know of a way to find out whether a badly printed pic in the book is due to bad printing quality or due to the original pic itself being bad quality.

I should also mention that some original pics have parts that are in light gray colour. These may print faintly in the book. That is an acceptable matter. What is not acceptable is large dark patches or bands which seem to be ink spread issues while printing some of the pictures.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Pics of Chitravathi Harathi point in Puttaparthi that I took on 5th Sept. 2019 afternoon when it was almost empty

Last updated on 14th Sep. 2019

[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.]

In associated Facebook post of mine,, I made the following comment (slightly edited) in response to a question:

Chitravathi Harathi point is a place where bhajans are held every Thursday. It is at the end of Chitravathi Road at the point it meets the Chitravathi river bed (now usually dry river bed).

The bhajans here was started by a devoted ashram staff (Shopping Centre staff, if I recall correctly), in the immediate period after Mahasamadhi (in 2012 perhaps), when this platform construction was not there, and, if I recall correctly, it was just sand. Initially when he started this event, he made a small altar using low-cost material and after the bhajan was over, they would offer arathi (harathi). That's how I think the place has got named Chitravathi Harathi point.

Over the years, the event started attracting more people. Later, as the state government invested in improving outside ashram Puttaparthi town and promoting it as a spiritual (tourist) destination, the state government decided to put up this platform and also make the small altar a slightly bigger one. They have also made a nice walkway at the side of the road running parallel to Chitravathi river bed, with this platform being roughly halfway in the walkway (you can't see the walkway in these pics).

I believe the state government plans then were much more grand with plans of some statue of Sathya Sai being put up in the Chitravathi River bed for which the platform would be a good viewing point. But, perhaps due to lack of funds, those plans have not fructified so far. What the state government was able to accomplish was this platform (a really nice one) and the walkway (which is also pretty decent though the tiles had given way in a few places and I don't know whether they have fixed that now).

I took additional pics (over 30) on 13th Sep. 2019 which I have put up (along with the above pics) in a public Google Photos album titled, "Chitravathi Harathi Point at Puttaparthi and walkway next to it". Here's the link to it:

I am including just one additional pic from above album here:

Close-up view of the altar/temple in Chitravathi Harathi Point

Monday, September 2, 2019

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in August 2019

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

To save time, I am usually not providing my FB post links but only contents. I am also not hyperlinking links. So readers will have to copy-paste links from this post onto a browser link box and then browse to that link.

The simple and plain truth of the matter about fear of death being there so long as there is (mistaken under influence of Maya) identification of oneself with the body-mind (instead of the accurate/truthful identification with the eternal, indestructible and changeless awareness - Atma/Self)!

Update: Note the body-mind of oneself is an instrument, a device which one's Atma uses. So the instrument has its benefits and has to be maintained well but the crucial mistake under influence of Maya is to identify one's reality/one's being as this mind-body instrument and NOT as the awareness/Atma that is one's ultimate reality and that continues even after the mind-body instrument/device drops away.

[Shared FB post:]

Sorry to hear this sad news.

I was a Seva Dal volunteer in Dr. Rajeev Rao's medical camps organized by Sathya Sai Seva Samithi, Dombivli, in Dombivli's (in Thane district, Maharashtra) poor areas like hutment colonies, in the 1990s. It was held once or twice in a month on Sundays, if I recall correctly. At times, I also did compounder duty, under his instructions and command. He was a very kindly man who served poor patients with love, respect and dignity. I learned a lot about loving and caring attitude towards poor patients from participating in the medical camps of Dr. Rajeev Rao in poor areas in Dombivli.

He had also served for some time at the General Hospital in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi). At the time I shifted to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002, he was in Puttaparthi and I took his help & advice regarding exploring Seva opportunities in Prasanthi Nilayam and settling down here.

I have also visited his home in Dombivli once or twice, if I recall correctly.

I pray to Bhagavan to shower His Grace on Dr. Rajeev Rao's soul/sukshma sharira and give strength and courage to his family to bear the loss.

The shared FB post is NOT public and so I am not sharing it. However my FB post: is public.

Shared reviews of my part autobio book on blog, as review comment on page for the book (with 4 out of 5 stars as rating):

Sairam! May Bhagavan continue to shower His Grace on his soul/sukshma sharira. Fascinating article written by Shri Halagappa about his life. Seems to have the ring of truth.

Shared FB post:

Some of my comment(s) on FB post: which is about Q&A session of Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju's talk in Singapore:

I heard the two Q & As about "parallel organization". My view is that AK sir was not specifically asked about Madhusudan Naidu and whether his claim of being a medium/embodiment of spirit of Sathya Sai should be rejected or not. If the question had been of that sort (which I think the center may not have agreed to air anyway), I am quite AK sir's response would have been that Madhusudan Naidu's claims should be totally rejected.

He was asked about "parallel organization" and I think he gave a pretty reasonable answer from a generic "parallel organization" view. I think the essence of his answer was that you improve your own organization so much that people will get attracted to you and not go to the "parallel organization". As generic responses to generic questions, I think his responses are OK.

In particular, I don't think AK sir's responses to these generic questions can be viewed as some sort of dilution of his stance against the ***outrageously false claims*** of Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

Very interesting! Faith in God (across various religions and sects) permeates almost everything in India.

Chandrayaan-1 team recalls how they thanked their Gods after spacecraft entered lunar orbit,

Blessed is this country of India/Bharat where faith in God across various religions and sects, permeates the length & breadth of the country, including in cutting-edge technology fields.

Technology & faith in God can co-exist. If you doubt that, come to India and experience how technology and faith in God can co-exist!

He seems to have been a model prisoner so far! But .... rape and murder are such horrific heinous crimes! Life can be very strange at times. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde?

Shared FB post: is linked to Times of India article: In 2 years, Dera chief Ram Rahim lost 15kg, earned Rs 18,000 in jail.

Devotional Hindi film song with classical background from 1960. This song continued to be played by radio stations in the late 70s and 80s, perhaps in one of their oldies programs. So I have heard this song many times.

I had not seen the video though. Dilip Kumar (real name Mohammad Yusuf Khan) plays the role of the hero-prince. The song is sung by the great Mohd. Rafi.

The video has some playing-to-the-gallery stuff which I am sure would not be there in proper classical music and dance performances of such songs. But then it is the gallery that provides the box office money and so it is such songs that tend to permeate more among the people at large and have more longevity. C'est la vie! [That's life!]

Associated youtube video: Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re - Kohinoor (1960),, 7 min. 17 secs.

Great to see courageous efforts made to expose and hopefully remove horrific abuse of power and horrific exploitation of those who are trapped under such power-abusers, all done in the Holy Name of Lord Jesus Christ.

But I should also say this is one side of the story. Perhaps the other side vehemently denies these allegations. It is hard to know the underlying truth in such cases.

However, courageous efforts like these to expose such alleged Untruth (Asathya) and unethical (Adharma) practices done in the HOLY NAME of Lord Jesus Christ, are good, and I support that.

Shared FB post: (it is about an Indian Christian college).

In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote:
The West is just way ahead of India in tackling such crime in religious and spiritual movements. Hats off to the West for this. ... But, in recent years, India seems to have made giant strides in this regard, with some big spiritual leaders being convicted of heinous crimes and sent to jail, despite them having very large following.

Lovely rendition with lots of Bhakti: Radhe Radhe Ho | Kirtan Live,, 9 min. 15 secs.

The 36th chamber of Shaolin movie is one thing to watch. This BBC short video is quite another!

Passing out as a Shaolin warrior monk! I think the world would surely benefit from some capable Shaolin warrior monks who ****follow the teachings of the Buddha****.

The extraordinary final test to become a Shaolin Master | Sacred Wonders - BBC,, 8 min. 24 secs. published on 14th Aug. 2019.
Real Shaolin Disciple Reacts to BBC Shaolin Master Documentary,, 12 min. 46 secs.

In the end, only kindness matters!

HANDS (Lyrics) - JEWEL,, 3 min. 51 secs.

Ravi: May God bless Jewel and her music team for this awesome and very inspirational song. May God bless the youtube video creator who put up the lyrics.

Thought-provoking though one may not agree with the conclusions of the author. I would argue for deeper and more faith in God in general across multiple religions than faith in a particular religion alone, as being good for the Western countries.

The article got re-printed in Deccan Chronicle of yesterday, if I recall correctly, which is where I saw it first.

The West cannot survive without a re-energised belief in Christianity; Most British people seem to take it on faith that to have faith is stupid
By Greg Sheridan

Great to see this initiative from Chinese government. May God bless them (or best wishes to them if they prefer not to have God blessings :-) ).

In Manasarovar, Chinese lend a helping hand to Indian pilgrims,, 12th Aug. 2019

I enjoyed reading this enlightening article about multi-faith reverence in an Indian Air Force station in the early 1980s. This article appeared in the print edition of The Hindu today (11th Aug)

Peer Baba amid the planes; How a Sufi’s tomb inside an (Indian) Air Force Station turned a beacon of hope after a series of fatal air crashes,, 11th Aug. 2019

A small extract from the article: "For soldiers, faith is an extension of their professionalism and work is worship. Prayers do not substitute or replace it, but just act as a supplement. The purpose of including a variety of religious practices was not for displaying exaggerated secularism or feigned parity; rather, it marked another occasion of teamwork, when a bit of contribution from everyone, invocations in this case, could add to greater results."

Interesting Tamil Hindu temple in Germany and its annual festival:, 4 min. 53 secs, published by DW News on 17th June 2011.

Marathi bhajan on Vitthal sung in what seems to be rush hour (and so crowded) local train in Mumbai. Around 5 mins. I enjoyed the bhajan.

Shared FB video:

Very interesting video. It is about a Hindu monastery in Hawaii.

Hindu Monks in America? | Karolina Goswami,, 16 min. 23 secs, published on 2nd Aug. 2019

Based on my personal experience after Swami Mahasamadhi in April 2011, I agree entirely with MLK's words.

Shared link: having this quote: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Very interesting video clip of Lucas Ralli talking about his experiences of miraculous powers of Sathya Sai:, around 10 mins.

This was shared with me by an FB friend, Ramadas Mannattil.

I was not aware that this well known Sathya Sai devotee and writer, Lucas Ralli was in some way connected to the founders of the company Rallis, which was quite a well known and respected multi-national company in Bombay of my youth (though it seems that by that time the company had moved out of Ralli family hands). A friend and his father both worked for Rallis around that time. If I recall correctly, I have visited the Rallis office where my friend worked near Mumbai CST (then Bombay VT) - I think that Rallis office building was very close to Bombay Gymkhana. Now the company seems to be owned by/part of Tata Chemicals.

Here's a history link on the Rallis (India) website:

Interesting video about an Englishman's journey to thank Lord Shiva by going to the Indus river and praying there:, around 12 mins, published on 15th July 2018.

Awesome Carnatic music & song extolling Lord Rama! Video is 4 min. 13 secs.

Shared FB post has video of Rama Varma singing:

Nice, around 5 mins.
Shared FB post (has ISKCON street singing/Nagarsankirtan):

‘Give us an undertaking’: Man who cancelled Zomato order gets police notice,, 1st Aug. 2019

The report states, "The police in Jabalpur on Thursday sought a written undertaking from Zomato customer Amit Shukla that he would not spread religious hatred."

I support this action of the police.

The report quotes Amit Shukla as saying, “Do my freedom of expression and religion not fall under the idea of India?” and “At present, the pious month of Shravan is going on and it is a matter of my personal choice”.

My view is that I respect Shri Shukla's food choice during the pious month of Shravan. But if he wants to eat food cooked and delivered (handled) only by people of a particular religion/caste, then he should NOT order with general food delivery companies like Zomato. He should get that organized differently. Perhaps he could even cook his food himself to ensure that he satisfies his piety needs. Note that I do respect his belief with respect to his food.

I believe there are spiritual aspirants of different faiths in India who have similar beliefs with respect to their food - this is not limited to Hindus. But I believe that some such spiritual aspirants ensure adherence to such beliefs, by cooking their own food!

'Food doesn't have religion', Zomato responds after customer seeks non-Muslim delivery executive,, 31st July 2019

Ravi: I fully support Zomato's statement that "Food doesn't have religion". The customer who requested a non-Muslim delivery person behaved in a very wrong way. That is completely unacceptable in India today.

Ishwar Maalik! Allah Maalik! Yesu Maalik! Sabka Maalik Ek!
[Ishwara is the Lord! Allah is the Lord! Jesus is the Lord! The Lord of all is One!]