Last updated on 27th Nov. 2019
Please excuse my trumpet-blowing in this post. I request the kind indulgence of readers.
A few days ago, I was struggling to explain to an elderly person (an academic) in Puttaparthi about my social media writer work on Sathya Sai and general spirituality & religion. He was aware of my 2 self-published books and my blogs but ... I should say that he was NOT scoffing at my work but neither was he really understanding the impact of my work. This is not to say that my work has great impact. No, it does not have great impact. But in a niche group of readers, it has some impact.
And I have seen similar kind of reactions from some other elders in Puttaparthi.
In contrast, I have had much more positive responses and encouragement from youngsters and my age people in Puttaparthi. Some elders have been encouraging but some have been rather disinterested. I wonder why this is the case! I am thankful to those in Puttaparthi who provided me encouragement. And I am respectful of the right of some persons to be disinterested in my writings :-).
On social media, from outside Puttaparthi persons, I have had lots of responses and encouragement, including from a few who seem to be academics. I am thankful to them for their encouragement.
Now I can simply dismiss the matter away and not put up a post on it! But I think that there is a rather strange and dismissive view some elders, including elder academics, in Puttaparthi circles have about writings on spirituality done by people younger to them. And I think that creates an atmosphere of discouragement to younger Sathya Sai devotees in Puttaparthi environment who want to express themselves on spirituality.
So I decided to put up this post as a way to counter some such discouragement from some elders, including elderly academics, to people younger to them, perhaps unconsciously. I don't know whether this is only in Puttaparthi or happens elsewhere too. I would like to ***promote*** youngster and middle-age Sathya Sai devotees who want to write about spirituality, to freely express their views, even if they trip up here and there. Fear of discouragement from elders, especially elder academics, should not inhibit them - that would be tragic.
I mean, many people in Puttaparthi environment, especially after Mahasamadhi, are more interested in material worldly stuff than spiritual stuff, especially writing about spiritual stuff. Academics are more bothered about publishing academic papers in their professional area which is unrelated to spirituality & religion. Perhaps they are under pressure to produce more academic research papers in their professional areas and so have no time to write about spirituality.
But from a spiritual perspective, that is tragic! Spiritual movements need capable spiritual writers who are knowledgeable about spiritual stuff and scripture. They are absolutely vital for the spiritual movement to be spiritually vibrant (as against material wealth wise vibrant or non-spiritual secular knowledge wise vibrant).
So I thought I should put up my self-assessment of impact of my social media writer work on Sathya Sai and general spirituality & religion, which I base on blog views and Google Search rankings. My main spiritual blog - ravisiyer.blogspot.com - now has over half a million views from various countries in the world with the top ten countries being: India, United States of America, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ukraine and Singapore. That's not something a knowledgeable elder will scoff at.
[27-Nov-2019 Update: Added below screenshot of audience stats:
[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.]
Some important top ranked Google search terms related to my social media writer work on Sathya Sai and general spirituality & religion as seen on 23rd Nov. 2019 with all searches done from Chrome incognito window to avoid bias towards my blogs, are given below:
1) Vedanta, god and science
1st rank: lists my "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" book, https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science
2) god and science conversation India
1st/2nd rank: lists my "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" book (same as above), https://www.flipkart.com/am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-science-conversation/p/itmfazakubzrhhru
[Note that the more general term:
god and science conversation
lists my above book as the 20th rank result (excluding Ads).]
3) autobiography software developer spiritual aspirant
autobiography software techie spiritual aspirant
autobiography software engineer spiritual aspirant
1st rank: lists my "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1" book, https://www.amazon.in/Autobiography-Indian-Software-Spiritual-Aspirant/dp/1645874087
4) sathya sai baba advaita
3rd rank shows 3 videos; 2nd video is "Sathya Sai Baba's Advaita Teachings By John Hislop Ph.D.", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl9izOvsUJg , put up by me on youtube (shared from another source, but with transcript made by me).
5) sathya sai baba historicity of rama and krishna
sathya sai baba on whether rama and krishna are historical figures
1st rank: shows my post: Sathya Sai Baba on historicity of Rama and Krishna, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/01/sathya-sai-on-historicity-of-rama-and.html
6) sathya sai baba atheists self-realization
sathya sai baba atheists
1st rank: shows my post: Sathya Sai Baba said atheists can also get self-realization; Sai Baba's words about Sai-Baba-speaking-through-somebody-else claims, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/03/sathya-sai-baba-said-atheists-can-also.html
7) chandogya upanishad chapter 6
4th rank shows my PDF document: Chandogya Upanishad – Chapter 6 (Dialogue between Uddalaka and Svetaketu) – Some Shlokas, https://iami1.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/chandogyachapter6someshlokas.pdf
8) sathya sai baba blogger
6th rank shows my blog and this post on it: Sathya Sai Baba to students & devotees: Direct connection between you and me; No one can break that intimate relationship, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/10/sathya-sai-baba-to-students-devotees.html
9) Is Madhusudan Naidu having spirit of Sathya Sai Baba?
Has Sathya Sai Baba spirit entered Madhusudan Naidu?
1st rank & featured snippet: Our petition (has multiple contributors including me): Declaration by Sathya Sai devotees and alumni & staff of Sai educational institutions, condemning spiritual fraud Madhusudan Rao Naidu, https://www.change.org/p/sathya-sai-devotee-fraternity-worldwide-we-condemn-spiritual-fraud-madhusudan-rao-naidu
10) Is Madhusudan Naidu medium of Sathya Sai Baba?
2nd rank: Our petition (has multiple contributors including me): Declaration by Sathya Sai devotees and alumni & staff of Sai educational institutions, condemning spiritual fraud Madhusudan Rao Naidu
I repeat that my work does NOT have great impact. But, within a niche community, it has some impact. And that's a source of encouragement to me to continue my writings on these topics.
I hope this post will help inspire young and middle-aged writers and wannabe writers on Sathya Sai and spirituality & religion, to not get discouraged by concerns that some elders, especially academics, will view their work as unnecessary i.e. be dismissive of their work.
Here's my advice to them: Ignore the disinterest, lack of encouragement from elders, especially elder academics, and follow your inner urges. This is an unpleasant thing to say but I think I must say it here: Some times, jealousy is a reason behind such reactions to your work by elders. Don't get bothered too much by such jealousy.
Also, usually such spiritual writing work is NOT a money spinner (I do it as free service but even if I had tried to do it as a livelihood I think I would have earned only a little money). So if you want to pursue any spiritual writing urges, say on a part-time basis, you must be prepared to sacrifice some worldly stuff and lead a 'ceiling on (material) desires' life.