Tuesday, December 31, 2019

British filmmaker Jeff Grant corroborates Aug. 2019 Sanathana Sarathi article paragraph about his mid 1970s film capturing Sathya Sai Baba's materialization of a necklace, though film is lost now

Mr. Jeff Grant is a former film director and now professional writer who lives in London, UK. I came to know about him through an article carrying his name that appeared in Sanathana Sarathi of August 2019. This article was excerpted from an article by Jeff Grant in "Encounters with Divinity" book, as per Sanathana Sarathi. I have given below a pic of one page of that article, followed by a zoomed in pic of a paragraph in it that caught my attention.

[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.]

This is the text in the above zoomed-in pic:
In the film, our group made, was one shot that showed Him materialising a silver necklace. He did that typical whirling motion with His hands and out from His palm appeared a necklace. When we were editing the film, we examined this shot frame by frame. In one frame, nothing showed but His palm. In the next, a 25th of a second later, two or three links of a chain were there, more in the next, and so on.
--- end text of zoomed-in pic ---

[I thank Sanathana Sarathi and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above pics and extract(s) of their Aug. 2019 English issue on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this Aug. 2019 English issue PDF is available for free download from this page:  https://saireflections.org/journals/PastEditions.php.]

I searched on the net for a free download version of the book, "Encounters with Divinity", but could not find it. Even paperback versions for sale were not easy to find on the net.

However, I was able to come across a blog of Jeff Grant - https://besonian.wordpress.com/ - which carried his public contact email id of sullivancortez@zoho.com [from http://en.gravatar.com/besonian]. I wrote him for corroboration of the above. Corroboration of information helps in making accounts more credible for current and future historians of Sathya Sai Baba Avatar.

Note that this film made by Jeff Grant on Sathya Sai Baba was made in mid 1970s and it was then that the film captured Sathya Sai Baba materializing a necklace. Reference: Filming Sai Baba, https://besonian.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/filming-sai-baba/.

Jeff Grant responded confirming it and also permitted me to share his response text and screenshot. Relevant parts of our mail exchange are given below in screenshot and text form:

Above pic: My query to Jeff Grant screenshot

The main part of my query to him gave the Sanathana Sarathi article extract about the film capturing Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba materializing a necklace, mentioned above, and then I asked him (text): Do you think the above paragraph correctly captures your view? Please feel free to let me know if you feel that it does not.

Above pic: Jeff Grant's corroboration response screenshot

The text of his above response:
Anyway - to answer it - yes, the paragraph you quote represents what happened and what we saw in the cutting rooms in London when we were editing the film. As I remember it we had a pretty close shot of his hands and arms as he produced the necklace. Having examined it as we did, the editor and myself just looked at each other in silence. Although I'd experienced a  number of Swami's manifestations, it was the first time the editor had seen anything like it - and had no idea what to make of it, apart from being utterly perplexed by what appeared to be amazing sleight of hand! Not feeling in a position to commit himself one way or the other I think his view was much as mine had been the first time I encountered such a thing in Puttaparthi - i.e. what he'd seen didn't seem to make sense, but he'd seen what he'd seen - more than that he couldn't way. But again - yes, that paragraph 'captures my view'. So please feel free to use it in your blog.
--- end Jeff Grant corroboration response text---

I was overjoyed to receive this clear and unambiguous corroboration from Jeff Grant, and thanked him profusely for it.

What I realized, a few years after Sathya Sai Mahasamadhi (bodily passing away) in April 2011, by which time I had become a blogger on Sathya Sai Baba and also on spirituality & religion in general, is that the material that is written about Sathya Sai experiences (of his divinity), especially by persons who get regarded as unbiased people who are worldly wise and not naive, will be treasured by posterity, like experiences of divinity of Shirdi Sai Baba and experiences of divinity of Lord Jesus Christ, are treasured by many people of our generation (including me).

The four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament, are wonderful chronicles about Lord Jesus Christ, which have benefited great number of people over the ages, including Hindus like me who revere Jesus Christ as a divine being, like we Hindus revere other divine beings in Hinduism. Note that Paul who is a very big figure in organized Christian religion did not have such experiences with Lord Jesus Christ before Christ's crucifixion. But he had a great experience of Christ's divinity when he was on the way to Damascus to persecute early Christians there **after** Christ's crucifixion which transformed him from being a persecutor of early Christians to becoming a great apostle of Christ.

Jeff Grant's confirmation of the paragraph about his film capturing Sathya Sai Baba's materialization of a necklace is a vital contribution, IMHO, to chronicling the materialization power that Sathya Sai Baba had. Yes, the scientific community will not accept it as scientific evidence as the film is not available now! What a pity that is! C'est la vie! [That is life!]

But it is eyewitness evidence (as the four canonical gospels recording the miracles of Lord Jesus Christ are), which is very valuable to readers of such scripture/such chronicles.

Readers may know of Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson of the University of Iceland, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlendur_Haraldsson, https://notendur.hi.is/erlendur/english/, who has been an unbiased parapsychology investigator of miracles of Sathya Sai.

The last edition of Haraldsson's book on investigation of Sathya Sai miracles is titled "Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet", which was released in July 2013, http://whitecrowbooks.com/books/page/modern_miraclesthe_story_of_sathya_sai_baba_a_modern_day_prophet/. I reviewed the book here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2013/09/review-of-modern-miracles-story-of.html, and have given below an extract from the concluding part of it:

In the penultimate chapter of the book, Haraldsson examines "THE QUESTION OF PROOF". He writes that science traditionally uses experiments to confirm that phenomena are genuine. As Sai Baba did not permit experiments that path was closed. However judicial systems "have evolved interrogation and corroboration of witnesses, investigating relevant contemporary documents and so on, as ways of accruing evidence". But human testimony does have weaknesses due to which courts "rely primarily on the quantity of testimony and on consensus of witnesses". That has been "our" approach, Haraldsson writes.

Haraldsson states that numerous followers including ex-devotees who have extensively observed Sai Baba give a general consensus about the genuineness "of the frequent appearance of objects in his presence, or on his body on certain occasions".

In the concluding chapter of the book, Haraldsson puts forward "a few speculative hypotheses regarding the causes and nature of the mysterious phenomena around Sai Baba" and examines their validity. Haraldsson writes that some of the phenomena could have a "normal explanation" but not the bulk of them. Haraldsson states that the hypothesis that Baba had psychic powers which allowed him to "produce various phenomena when he wants to" is supported by an "endless number of observations and experiences" and so has to be accepted for bulk of the phenomena.

Prof. Haraldsson, in my humble opinion, has been a truth-seeker and has spoken the truth about paranormal phenomena associated with Sri Sathya Sai Baba, despite many powerful people in the media and scientific circles not wanting to hear and know such science shaking truth (to be more precise, current mainstream science shaking truth).

--- end extract from my review ---
[BTW my review is also on amazon.com and goodreads.com]

I do not recall reading about this (Jeff Grant) film capturing materialization of necklace by Sathya Sai Baba in Haraldsson's book. Maybe it is mentioned in the book but I do not remember it.

Note that in this post, the focus is on the film clip which captured Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's materialization of a necklace, and not on much larger aspects of Bhagavan's spiritual persona and his teachings. A future post which will refer to posts in Jeff Grant's blog on Sathya Sai Baba will cover those aspects.

By providing his corroboration and permission to share it publicly without any charge, Mr. Jeff Grant has contributed to the truth about his very interesting experience of divine (supernatural/paranormal) materialization power of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba being captured on film (though film is lost now), being perhaps more acceptable to current and future historians of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I again thank Mr. Jeff Grant profusely for this corroboration that he has provided, even though he is busy with other engagements/work.

Referral: Vox.com article analyzing why the 2010s did not bring about an ebook revolution ...

Readers may want to read my recent post in another blog of mine: Vox.com article analyzing why the 2010s did not bring about an ebook revolution; In 2019 (in USA) ebook sales are around 20% and print book sales around 80%, https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2019/12/voxcom-article-analyzing-why-2010s-did.html.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Shri Mohan Bhagwat, chief of RSS, visit to Prasanthi Nilayam on 27th Dec; I am thankful to RSS and him for their support to Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi town

Last updated on 31st Dec. 2019

I am very thankful to RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and its head, Shri Mohan Bhagwat, for their support to Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi town. Great to see this Radio Sai Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/radiosai/posts/2810681999020920 with pics of Shri Mohan Bhagwat's visit to Prasanthi Nilayam yesterday (27th Dec. 2019).

If I recall correctly, in early 2011 a team of top persons from RSS, including Shri Mohan Bhagwat, visited Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Prasanthi Nilayam.

Good to see Ramesh Sawant sir, former Maharashtra Sathya Sai organization state president just behind and to the side of Shri Bhagwat in one of the Radio Sai post pics. I have been privileged to do Maharashtra Prasanthi Seva in the 1990s when Ramesh Sawant sir was the top leader. I have learned a lot from him and have been inspired by him for Seva. Wonderful to see him in action now in 2019!

Facebook user Saibliss has put up a post on the same visit and put up some pics here: https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/posts/2767205863325969.

I have given below three of those pics of Saibliss post. I thank Saibliss for these pics. In the third pic where Shri Mohan Bhagwat is seated, Ramesh Sawant sir is 2nd from right in the pic (to the left of and behind Shri Bhagwat).


The article: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat Hails Sri Sathya Sai Balvikas Movement,  https://www.theprasanthireporter.org/2019/12/rss-chief-mohan-bhagwat-hails-sri-sathya-sai-balvikas-movement/, gives more details of his visit.

He was the Chief Guest of an Andhra Pradesh Bal Vikas Gurus meet event, 'Swarnotsava Guru’s Sankalpa Yatra'. Note that 2019 is the golden jubilee year of the Sathya Sai Bal Vikas movement started in 1969.

I have given below the summary of that speech from the above article:

Addressing the meet at the Poornachandra Auditorium this morning, the chief guest spoke with power and intent, hailing the great good fortune of the august assembly that has the rare privilege of feasting Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Darshan.

Sanathana Dharma should be understood in the right perspective, he added, urging the assembly of gurus to shun selfishness, following the path of Dharma. Education is the process of manifesting what is innate, the Atman, reminded the chief guest. Hailing the Balvikas that has been labelled after Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai, quoting the Bhagavat Gita assurance of Lord Krishna, Sri Bhagwat expressed optimism in the grand success of the movement, as the movement is promoted by Sai Krishna HimSelf.  He hoped that the Balvikas children being nurtured with human values would become ideal citizens in nation building.

Man should realise three important things, as to ‘why he is born’ , ‘what is the aim of his life’,  and ‘what he should deliver as a human being’, said the learned speaker reminding him that successful life is not the human goal, but a meaningful life.

Touching upon the importance Ashtanga Yoga for a healthy body, mind and intellect, Sri Bhagwat emphasised on the need for man to understand his inner Divinity, that he is Absolute Pure Consciousness.

He also recollected his three earlier visits to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai. Sri Mohan Bhagwat had earlier visited Prasanthi Nilayam twice, in August 2010, and again in March 2011 along with Sri Ashok Singhal. He also had Bhagawan’s  Darshan in Delhi during His visit to the national capital in 2010.

--- end extract from Prasanthi Reporter article ---

[I thank theprasanthireporter.org 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.]

Article in The Hindu dated 27th Dec. 2019 titled, "Uphold human values, follow dharma, says RSS chief" with sub-title, "Mohan Bhagwat participates in meet at Puttaparthi": https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/uphold-human-values-follow-dharma-says-rss-chief/article30415345.ece.

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY POLITICALLY NEUTRAL role in these social media posts that I put up. I am an Indian citizen and resident of India. I do vote in Indian elections but I keep who I vote for as a private matter. I should also say that I am a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy in India.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Bigotry/intolerance of some people who may think they are great musicians/singers, towards folksy type of devotional music & songs, is worthy of contempt

As I got more deeper into religion over the past few years, I saw the wide diversity of modes of worship and adoration of God through song and music, across various groups/classes of people in India, including in Christianity.

I deliberately play various kinds of devotional music on festival days, if I can spare the time, on my speakers connected to computer so as to fill my small flat with the vibrations.

This helps me get more familiar and more open to worship of God through music styles that ordinarily I would not listen much to. Today I am ***respectful*** of Indian village style song & music adoration of God, including in Christian tradition. I certainly don't look down upon it in any way.

However, very unfortunately, I see that some people who may think they are great singers and musicians in India not only look down but express contempt in some manner, upon such village style song & music adoration of God, including in Christian tradition.

I think people are entitled to their choices and opinions about various styles & genres of music & songs, even Christian music. But public expression of contempt at genres of Christian music & songs (or devotional music & songs of other religions) that one does not like, is, in my considered opinion (hope this does not offend some readers), worthy of contempt.

As an example that may make sense to Western readers, let us look at this rap (hip hop) Christian song, Flame - Joyful Noise, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCcW-guAs_s. It may not appeal to some Western Christians and they may want to avoid listening to it. That's fine. But what they should not do, is publicly express contempt for this style of Christian song and music (if some words in the song are inappropriate then that's different).

Now let's look at the Indian language (Tamil) Christian song: GG3 | PUTHUSU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYVnwwwvQO0. This music and song style may not appeal to many listeners of Christian Tamil music or more generally, Indian language devotional music. If they want to avoid listening to it, that's fine. But if somebody else puts on that music or plays that kind of music, they should not publicly express contempt. If they do, then I think (hope this does not offend some readers) they are worthy of contempt.

I am realizing that bigotry/intolerance even in devotional music & song field is a big thing. I mean, I thought that people into devotional music either as listeners or as performers (musicians/singers), would not be that bigoted and would be more large-hearted. Now dislike is different from bigotry/intolerance. Public expression of contempt is what gets somebody into bigotry/intolerance level, and not dislike which is fine.

In my case, I ***respect*** all these genres of devotional music. In particular, I respect both the rap and Tamil Christian songs above. In my ongoing endeavour to broaden my understanding of religion and what interests various people in religion, I play such songs on my loud speaker on appropriate festival days which is when I expect others to be tolerant of my playing such songs loud (during daytime) like I am tolerant of loud congregational singing in other people's flats. And this has helped me to better appreciate these songs and get better understanding of how these songs appeal to a particular audience which is into that kind of music.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Mrs. Tarabai Tarkhad's description of how Shirdi Sai Baba would effortlessly know what is in people's minds

On (printed book) page 30 & 31 of The Incredible Sai Baba by Arthur Osborne, (book pdf link: https://muddypractice.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/the-incredible-sai-baba-arthur-osborne.pdf), author Osborne references statements made by a Mrs. Manager, whom he, it seems, mistakenly refers to as a Parsi lady. Osborne referred to B.V. Narasimha Swami's Devotee experiences book where the author mentions that Mrs Manager is a pseudonym.

From http://bonjanrao.blogspot.com/2012/12/mrstarabai-sadasiv-tarkhad.html we know that Mrs Manager is actually Mrs.TARABAI SADASIV TARKHAD. It states, "When she was interviewed by B.V.Narasimhaswamiji in 1936, she was also called as ‘Mrs.Manager’". This seems to be how Osborne mistakenly presumed that her real name was Mrs Manager (and further presumed that it is a Parsi lady as he may have thought that Manager is a Parsi surname).

What is important for us is what Mrs. Tarabai Tarkhad who had direct experiences of Shirdi Sai Baba, said to B.V. Narasimha Swami, which is what Osborne reproduced in his book. And those words are:

'One noticeable difference between Sai Baba and other saints struck me. I have visited other notable saints also and have seen them in a state of trance or samadhi in which they were entirely oblivious of their body. Then I have seen them recovering consciousness of their surroundings, knowing what is in our hearts and replying to our questions. But with Sai Baba there was this peculiar difference - he did not need to go into samadhi in order to achieve anything or to attain any higher status or knowledge. He was every moment exercising a dual consciousness - one actively utilizing the ego called Sri Sai Baba and dealing with other egos in temporal or spiritual affairs and the other transcending all ego and abiding in the state of Universal Soul. He was constantly exercising and manifesting the powers and features proper to both states of consciousness. Other saints would forget their body and surroundings and then return to them, but Sai Baba was constantly both in and outside the material world. Others seemed to take pains and make efforts to read the contents of people's minds and tell them their past history, but with Sai Baba no effort was needed. He was always in the all-knowing state.' 
Ravi: I would like to add that I have had some experiences with Sathya Sai Baba (physical form) where he, like in above description of Mrs Tarabai Tarkhad, effortlessly would know what is in my mind (heart). He would just know and his facial gestures or other actions would show me, without any possibility of doubt, that he could read my mind (heart) through and through. It was quite scary when I first experienced that power of Sathya Sai (physical form) in early 2003 as I had some foolish thoughts and he got angry with me then, but slowly I got used to it, and he gave me (and all others who had such experiences of him, I guess) the time to get used to that. At darshan time, there was nothing that I could hide from him - I just knew that my life is an open book to him. And so, on those days when he would look at me during darshan, how he would look at me was a very important indicator to me of whether he was pleased with me or displeased with me or had a neutral look showering His Grace on me by looking at me for brief seconds or split-seconds. It was as simple as that for me, especially in the years of 2010 & initial part of 2011 (till he got admitted to Super hospital in March 2011), when I was into some intense spiritual stuff!

Friday, December 20, 2019

How Arthur Osborne got directed by Ramana Maharshi in dream to write the book, The Incredible Sai Baba (on Shirdi Sai); Free pdf link for the book

South India's relationship to the English and British in general, is quite fascinating. Yes, it was British imperialism that materially exploited South India, like it exploited all of India. But there were quite a few good English and other British folks who really liked India and did good work in India.

Arthur Osborne, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Osborne_(writer), and family is one such English family who have made great contributions to spiritual literature in English in India, mostly about Ramana Maharshi as the family were his devotees, but also about Shirdi Sai Baba.

The Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/Sri.Ramana.Maharshi.Teachings%20/photos/a.517844091601806/2813656515353874/  has a large extract from Ramana Periya Puranam about Arthur Osborne. The extract seems to have been authored by Shri V. Ganesan, grand nephew of Ramana Maharshi, https://www.aham.com/usa/sharing/v_ganesan.html.

Some points covered in the extract are:

1. Arthur Osborne came to Ramana Maharshi/Bhagavan in 1945 (and so was with living form of Ramana Maharshi/Bhagavan for only 5 years as Ramana gave up his body in 1950).  [Note that Ramana Maharshi is also referred to as Bhagavan Ramana.]

2. Osborne played a major role in spreading Ramana Maharshi's spiritual message of Atma Vichara - Self Enquiry - all over the world through his writings in English.

3. After Ramana Maharshi gave up his body, he instructed Osborne through dreams.

4. The article states, "He (Arthur Osborne) had the rare combination of intellectual clarity, intuition and poetical ability to express what he had already experienced. It was as though the direct teaching of Bhagavan was broken and simplified in the prism of this chosen direct disciple's true understanding and handed down to all those who have a lesser capacity to grasp it. Arthur Osborne's devotion to Bhagavan was complete and he gave to Bhagavan his whole life together with his many and varied talents. All these he gave without any reserve and without any thought of himself."

5. Osborne was born in London in 1906, and studied in Oxford where he did brilliantly winning ten gold medals. From his mother, Osborne inherited great interest in gardening and poetry.

6. From childhood, Osborne sought the deeper and higher purpose of life, and the meaning of life.

7. He was inspired by Jesus Christ's words, "He who seeks shall find."

8. He came under influence of French philosopher Rene Guenon, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Gu%C3%A9non, and his teaching of "Being is one".

9. He got married to a lady who had similar quest for the truth.

10. He got a job in the University of Bangkok in Thailand and took his family of wife and three children there.

11. A member of Rene Guenon group sent him a photo of Ramana Maharshi and two of his books. Both Osborne and his wife were captivated by the photograph of Ramana Maharshi and wanted to go to India to meet him.

12. His wife and children were taken by the above mentioned member of Rene Guenon group to Ramana Maharshi/Bhagavan but Osborne had to go back to Bangkok (they had come to India for a few weeks) for this job.

13. The Second World War broke out and the Japanese arrested Osborne (in Bangkok) and imprisoned him for three and a half years. Osborne's only solace in prison was Ramana Maharshi's picture and 2 books.

14. Osborne's wife and children continued to have Ramana Maharshi's darshan and seem to have been based in India while Osborne was in prison in Thailand.

15. In prison, Osborne was once taken to be shot (executed). When he was taken in front of the firing squad, he closed his eyes and Ramana Maharshi's/Bhagavan's picture came to his mind then. For some unknown reason, the Japanese released him and sent him to a concentration camp.

16. Osborne's wife and children were praying for Osborne's release. [One of his children, Adam Osborne, was a computer pioneer and became famous for "the Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable computer", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Osborne. He died in 2003 in Kodaikanal at age 64 (he returned to India in 1992 as his health began declining - brain disorder leading to minor strokes - and was cared for by his sister). Guardian obituary of him: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2003/mar/27/guardianobituaries.jackschofield.]

17. After the second world war got over, Osborne was released. When Osborne came to Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai) after release, he was mentally debilitated as he had been tortured in the concentration camp (intellectuals were tortured to brainwash them).

18. He could recognize only his wife. The article states:

She (his wife) came crying to Bhagavan (Ramana). Bhagavan told her, “Please bring Osborne here morning and evening and make him sit where I can see him.” This happened till he became completely alright and even afterwards. Osborne told me, “Bhagavan saw to it that I sat where he could see me. One day, when two or three people came and sat between me and Bhagavan, he even asked those people to sit elsewhere so that he could see me, which was very, very unusual for him.”

However, Bhagavan did not reveal himself to Osborne on the very first day. Some days later, on a festive occasion, Bhagavan concentrated his attention on Osborne and the change came with all its immensity. This is how Osborne describes it: “Bhagavan sat up facing me and his luminous eyes pierced into me, penetrating intimately with an intensity which I cannot describe. Then arose from within, a quietness, a depth of peace and an indescribable lightness and happiness.” This is what is written in the book. What Arthur Osborne himself told me was, “Two search lights came into my body and then divinized every cell in it and that was the first initiation and the first realization”.
---end extract ---

19. The British government offered all British prisoners of war in India to be accommodated in Britain with all comforts. Messages about this were sent to Arthur Osborne and family in Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai). But they turned that down. [After Ramana gave up the body in 1950, it seems that part of the family relocated to Britain, including Adam Osborne who, as per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Osborne, joined a Catholic boarding school in Warwickshire, England at age of 11, which would mean in or around 1950 as Adam Osborne was born in 1939. He had studied till 6th class (standard) in a Convent school in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India.]

20. Osborne had to earn some money to support his family and so took up a job as an editor in a reputed daily newspaper in Chennai. He took an oil portait of Bhagavan to Bhagavan Ramana which the latter blessed saying, "Osborne is taking swami with him." Osborne got inspiration from this oil portrait of Bhagavan while at work in Chennai.

21. Osborne would come to Tiruvannamalai on holidays and other free days.

22. An extract from the article:
Bhagavan continued to bless Osborne to be deeply and steadily rooted within the Heart. The purpose of the outer guru is to awaken the inner guru. The fateful day when Bhagavan passed away, Osborne was there. It did not fill him with sorrow. Instead, it only made him plunge within. He felt Bhagavan's grace more abundantly and his support more powerfully. Some days after Bhagavan dropped the body, Bhagavan appeared to him in his dream. In the dream, Osborne was in the Old Hall and Bhagavan asked him to come near the couch. Osborne went and knelt before Bhagavan and Bhagavan put his hands on Osborne's head in blessing. When Bhagavan put his hand on his head, he had a feeling that Bhagavan was asking him to write about his direct teaching. He then wrote seven articles. They were brought out later as a book titled Ramana Arunachala. Every one of us, every seeker should read this book. That was the beginning. Soon, a cascade of books started coming from Osborne: Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge, The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, The Teachings of the Maharshi in His Own Words, The Incredible Sai Baba, Rhythm of History, Buddhism and Christianity in the Light of Hinduism, Gautama the Buddha, The Question of Progress and a few more.
--- end extract ---
[Ravi: Hmm. It is very interesting for me to note that the many books that Arthur Osborne wrote on Ramana Maharshi as well as the book on Shirdi Sai Baba, were written ***after*** Ramana Maharshi gave up his body, and that Osborne would get dreams of Ramana Maharshi, and in at least one dream he felt that Ramana Maharshi was asking him to write about his teachings. Also of interest, is that initial writings of Osborne on Ramana's teachings were articles, which later got made into a book.]

23. Osborne moved to Calcutta in 1952 taking up a job there. The article states:
Osborne had his second awakening in Calcutta. This is how he described it: “I was alone in my Calcutta room when I woke up and sat up in bed and I just was my Self, the beginningless immutable Self, and I thought that nothing has changed. There was no excitement, no joy or ecstasy. In the wholeness of simple being, there was the thought that it was impossible ever to be bored. The mind seemed like a dark screen that had shut over consciousness and was now rolled up and pushed away. It is the mind that craves activity and feels bored when it does not get it. The Self is untouched by activity and abides in its pristine state of simple happiness. I do not know how long the experience lasted, and in any case, while it lasted it was timeless and therefore eternal. Imperceptibly, the mind closed over again but less opaque, for a radiant happiness continued.

The afterglow continued for several weeks only gradually fading out.”
--- end extract ---

24. The article states:
When he (Osborne) was in Calcutta, his friends were all talking about the Sai Baba of Shirdi. He had read one or two articles about him. Some of his friends wanted him to write an article on Sai Baba, but he was reluctant to do so. That night, Bhagavan appeared to him in a dream and commanded him to write on Shirdi Sai Baba.

When in the dream Osborne confessed that he did not know much about him, Bhagavan instructed him to go to the shrine and that Sai Baba would himself tell him what to write. Bhagavan specifically said, “Sai Baba should be known to the western world so you have to write.” This was the inspiration for him to go to Shirdi and write the book, The Incredible Sai Baba.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: I think I read Osborne's Incredible Sai Baba (about Shirdi Sai Baba) in the 1990s. I was hugely impressed by it. It was written in a different Western matter-of-fact style from Shirdi Sai Satcharita, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Satcharitra, which is the famous & official book on Shirdi Baba by Govind Dabholkar, and is deeply devotional to Shirdi Sai Baba. I really lapped up Osborne's book on Shirdi Sai Baba then. Here's a free pdf version of the book: https://muddypractice.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/the-incredible-sai-baba-arthur-osborne.pdf. I have downloaded it and plan to read it again, a few pages at a time.

Point 24 in the above extracts of aforementioned Facebook post/article give us the background to Arthur Osborne writing about Shirdi Sai Baba (who he had never seen). The foreword which seems to be by Swami Ramdas of Anand Ashram, Kerala in 1957 states:

It is perfectly true, as the author [Arthur Osborne] remarks, that Sri Sai Baba [Shirdi Sai Baba], although well known all over India, is not known outside India, especially in the Western countries. The author wishes to introduce him to the Western world. With this laudable object in view he has written this book which contains Sri Sai Baba's brief life, teachings and anecdotes. Although Sri Sai Baba's life, as depicted in the book based on authentic reports of his devotees, is strange and eccentric, no one who has come in contact with him and his devotees can deny the fact that he was, and Ramdas can say he is, a saint of the highest spiritual eminence."

--- end extract from foreword ---

Ravi: For me, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba are two of the three Sai Avatars and so much more than saints. But it's OK that Osborne (and Ramdas) did not view Shirdi Sai Baba as an Avatar, while writing the book. It gives the book a more matter-of-fact and genuine chronicle character.

I bow in reverence and gratitude to Englishman Arthur Osborne and his family for the great service he has done through the books on spirituality (on Ramana Maharshi and Shirdi Sai Baba) he has written.

In my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2694701814079712, associated with this blog post, through a comment one person thanked me for sharing "this beautiful and inspiring story" and wrote that I had made her Christmas.

I responded (slightly edited): Sairam! I am so glad to have been of some small spiritual service to you. I wish you a holy and happy Christmas.

[I thank  Facebook user Sri Ramana Maharshi Teachings. श्री रमण महर्षि के उपदेश and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract(s) from their article/post on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Thursday, December 19, 2019

As an Indian Hindu, my heart goes out to Pakistani Hindus who have sought refuge in India from religious persecution in Pakistan

As an Indian Hindu, my heart goes out to these Pakistani Hindus who have sought refuge in India from religious persecution in Pakistan, as per their accounts in this video. They are already in India for many years, some for decades, escaping from second-class citizen life in Pakistan. The CAA (referred to as CAB in the video as the video seems to have been made when it was still a bill, and not yet an act) has a cut off date sometime in Dec. 2014 and so will not apply to new refugees. I have to say that I would like them to be given Indian citizenship.

Pakistani Hindus share why Citizenship Amendment Bill is a ray of hope for them | Times Now i-Report, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNAvMLrxBFc, 12 min. 48 secs.

But what about Muslim refugees from Bangladesh in India for similar periods (don't know if there are Muslim refugees from Pakistan & Afghanistan in India)? Should they not be granted Indian citizenship? That, I think, is the big issue being raised by Opposition parties in India as the CAA does not extend this special treatment to Muslim refugees - they have to go by other acts in India dealing with refugees.

My personal view is that if there are Muslims from Bangladesh (or Pakistan and Afghanistan) who are suffering from religious persecution in their countries (note that some Muslim sects like Ahmadiyyas do face religious persecution in Pakistan), and the numbers of such refugees are not big enough to cause significant resentment from other Indians (as they then will compete with other Indians for resources & benefits provided to citizens), I think such persecuted Muslims too should be given Indian citizenship after due diligence to ensure that they are not faking it, really want to be Indian, and have no links to and no sympathy for violent Islamic extremism (terrorism).

[Note that some of the noted violent Islamic extremism that India and Indians have suffered in past decades are:
* 1993 Bombay (Mumbai) blasts, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Bombay_bombings
* 2001 Indian parliament attack, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Indian_Parliament_attack
* 2006 Mumbai train bombings, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Mumbai_train_bombings
* 2008 Mumbai attacks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Mumbai_attacks 
Also note that 9/11 Islamic terror attack in USA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks, had many victims who were Indian nationals (41 Indian national dead victims, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks#Foreign_deaths, among 2977 total dead victims, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks). end-Note]

But then that is only my individual view which makes no difference to Indian Parliament which is what enacts laws (or repeals them). The current CAA does not include Muslim refugees and that is the law of the land as of now, unless the Supreme Court overturns it after it finishes its hearings on pleas against it and gives the judgement. Note that Muslim refugees in India, as per my understanding, can still apply for Indian citizenship under other Indian laws (but that may be very slow and probability of getting citizenship may be low - I don't know for sure).

Here's the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_(Amendment)_Act,_2019. An extract from it is given below:

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, is a legislation passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019. It amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities—Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians—from the neighboring Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.[2]

To obtain citizenship under the amended law, one must have entered India by 31 December 2014, and have suffered "religious persecution or fear of religious persecution" in their country of origin.[2] The amendment also relaxes the residence requirement for naturalization of these migrants from 11 years to 5 years.[3] According to the Indian Intelligence Bureau, over 30,000 migrants are expected to be the immediate beneficiaries of the amended Citizenship Act.[4]

The amendment has been subject to criticism from multiple quarters. Religious discrimination, as in not accommodating Muslims under the ambit of the amendment, has been alleged, including by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[5][6][7]

[Wiki Refs:]
2. "Parliament passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019". pib.gov.in. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
3. "The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019" (PDF). PRS India. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
4. "How many immigrants will benefit from Citizenship Act? 25,447 Hindus, 5,807 Sikhs, 55 Christians, two Buddhists and two Parsis, says Intelligence Bureau". Firstpost. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
5. "Citizenship Amendment Bill: Key things to know". The Times of India. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
6. "Indian citizenship law discriminatory to Muslims passed". The Guardian. 11 December 2019.
7. NETWORK, LIVELAW NEWS (13 December 2019). "United Nations Human Rights Body Slams Citizenship Amendment Act; Calls It 'Fundamentally Discriminatory'". www.livelaw.in. Retrieved 18 December 2019.

--- end wiki extract ---

Readers may want to read my recent post on another blog: My recent Facebook posts about Citizenship Amendment Act critical of violent protests and misinformation but supportive of right to peaceful protest, https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2019/12/my-recent-facebook-posts-about.html.

[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.]

Monday, December 16, 2019

Harry Truman quote about USA Bill of Rights - first ten amendments to constitution - which was ratified on 15th December 1791, being inspired by Bible

I am sharing this Harry Truman quote about USA Bill of Rights as I think it may be historical truth. USA constitution and law as applied today in early 21st century, provides for freedom of religion which has allowed many religions other than Christianity like my Hindu religion, to be freely practiced in USA, and that I, a resident & citizen of India with many friends and some relatives living in the USA, think is a wonderful thing. Of course, all such religions that are practised in USA should, in their practices, adhere to the laws of USA, promote harmony with (law-abiding people of) other religions, and contribute to stability and progress of the people of the USA as a whole.

But I think it is important to know the historical background of the USA Bill of Rights to have a better understanding of how that great milestone in rights of citizens in a democracy came about. Note that the Indian constitution drafted in late 1940s and becoming effective on 26th Jan. 1950, slightly over a century and a half after USA Bill of Rights was ratified, was influenced by USA Bill of Rights (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_India#Influence_of_other_constitutions).

“The fundamental basis of this Nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our #BillofRights comes from the teachings that we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.” – Harry S. Truman #BillofRightsDay #HarryTruman From https://twitter.com/museumofBible/status/1206345447901675520, 4.19 AM on 16th Dec. 2019 (IST) which would be 15th Dec. 2019, Eastern Standard Time, USA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights#Application_and_text has the text of these ten amendments. I have given the text of the first two amendments below as they are famous and are quoted regularly by USA political leaders even today (from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript).

First Amendment (Amendment I)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment (Amendment II)

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It must be noted that there is no reference to a particular religion in the above mentioned first amendment to USA Constitution.

I should also say that I don't think the Indian constitution was influenced by the above mentioned second amendment to USA constitution. In marked contrast, I think the Indian constitution seems to be heavily influenced by the first amendment to USA Constitution (part of Bill of Rights).

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Few visitors, but from across the world, to my pure spiritual philosophy and God & Science blog; One visitor from China today

My iami1.wordpress.com blog is a pure spiritual philosophy and God & Science conversation blog without references to any contemporary spiritual masters (no significant reference to Sathya Sai Baba or Shirdi Sai Baba but some of their revelations & teachings are shared) as the emphasis is on teachings, philosophy and revelations. This serves to disconnect the teachings & philosophy from the personality of the spiritual master. Some people like some spiritual masters and dislike some other spiritual masters. Those personality-level likes & dislikes go out of the picture when the focus is on the teachings & philosophy.

The blog gets very few visitors as compared to my main spiritual blog and miscellaneous blog, and I think that is an expected outcome as few people are interested in spiritual philosophy and God & Science type of topics.

Yesterday (13th Dec) I saw that I had a visitor from China (only 1 visitor yesterday). Perhaps it is from Hong Kong and not mainland China but the stats only report it as China. Given below is the screenshot showing that he/she viewed this post: One can be a Rigorous Scientist and a Believer in God – Dr. Francis Collins, https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/one-can-be-a-rigorous-scientist-and-a-believer-in-god-dr-francis-collins/.

[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 screenshot also shows one file download (don't know if it is the same person). The filename corresponds to my (free) ebook for this blog.

And here's a screenshot showing stats for the blog since I put it up in 2011 (total views may be around 5000). It is very interesting to see that views, even if they may be very few for some countries, are from almost all countries in Europe & North America, most countries in South America, many countries in Asia, few countries in Africa, and from Australia & New Zealand.

I try to do free Seva (Service) through these writings of mine. Good to see that the pure spiritual philosophy and God & Science blog of mine also seems to have served some people with information/views on these topics, across the world. That is satisfactory to know and I thought I should share it with readers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in Dec. 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.

Very happy to know this. As a resident and citizen of India, I heartily welcome these Hindu refugees from Pakistan (fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan), living in India since 2000, to Indian citizenship. They are my fellow Indians now. Great!

[Shared article: Eight Pakistani refugees granted Indian citizenship in Rajasthan's Kota, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/jaipur/eight-pakistani-refugees-granted-indian-citizenship-in-rajasthans-kota/videoshow/73041352.cms]

Sourav Ganguly sent me food: Inzamam says cricket and religion don’t mix, rubbishes Danish Kaneria claims, https://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/sourav-ganguly-sent-me-food-inzamam-rubbishes-danish-kaneria-claims-says-religion-and-cricket-don-t-mix/story-K4VHZVVhWV2y30CGdesy3J.html

Inzamam-ul-Haq is a very respected and gentleman cricketer of Pakistan who also was captain of Pakistan cricket team. I give value to his words. I have seen him playing international cricket on TV quite often in the days I used to follow cricket. Good to see his view of the Danish Kaneria matter.

Note that Mohammad Yousuf whom Inzamam refers to in this article was earlier Yousuf Yohana (a Christian, I believe). I recall seeing Yousuf Yohana playing international cricket (on TV). Later Yousuf Yohana seems to have converted to Islam and adopted the name of Mohammad Yousuf.

Perhaps at the topmost levels of Pakistani cricket there was no discrimination against non-Muslims.

But perhaps at lower levels in Pakistani society there is some level of discrimination against non-Muslims.

It would be great if celebrities and respected figures like Inzamam-ul-Haq work towards removal/reduction of discrimination against non-Muslims in lower rungs of Pakistani society.

I feel it is appropriate to state my belief:
Ishwar Maalik! Allah Maalik! Yesu Maalik! Sabka Maalik Ek!
[Ishwar is the Lord! Allah is the Lord! Yesu (Jesus) is the Lord! The Lord of all is one!]

Note that this report is about an old video. But it is still relevant as it captures an intolerant/bigoted attitude of a Pakistani celebrity cricketer towards Hindus and Hindu modes of worship of God.

I am sharing these articles as I would like to contribute to people knowing about how some Pakistanis, including some celebrities, view Hindus and Hindu modes of worship of God. I think it is undeniable that there is a lot of bigotry and intolerance towards Hindus and Hindu ways of worship of God, in Pakistan. Better to know such realities rather than have deluded notions about freedom of religion in Pakistan especially for Hindus.

[Shared article: Shahid Afridi smashed TV after daughter imitated 'arti', https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/off-the-field/shahid-afridi-smashed-tv-after-daughter-imitated-arti/articleshow/73029451.cms]

In Hindi, about Shirdi Sai Baba - 6 min. 44 secs.

[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/BhaktiSagarTseries/videos/2483575055224466/]

Wonderful to see & hear Kasturi garu talk about Swami - around a minute.

"Swami has come with a smile. That is the weapon with which he conquers"... "Swami said, 'I am a Sathya Bodhaka. I am a teacher of truth. He has come as a teacher. And he teaches so softly and ..'"

[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/uae123000/videos/10158122793268846/?t=0]

Wonderful to know about Danish Kaneria's, former Pakistan cricketer's, devotion to his Hindu faith in the face of discrimination in Pakistan; May God bless him!

Ravi: Firstly I would like say that my strong belief is as follows:
"Ishwar Maalik! Allah Maalik! Yesu Maalik! Sabka Maalik Ek!"
[Ishwar is the Lord! Allah is the Lord! Yesu (Jesus) is the Lord! The Lord of all is one!]

So I am not anti-Muslim. I respect peaceful and law-abiding Muslims.

And I am against extremist violence (different from violence in self-defense) irrespective of which religious group commits it.

Shoaib Akhtar Exposes Pak; Danish Kaneria Mistreated For Being Hindu | India First, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3ouso6lSLU, 21 mins. 40 secs.

Danish Kaneria, former Pakistan cricketer who is a Hindu, says around 4 min. 25 secs. in the video, "Against all odds I am still a proud Hindu & I will die a Hindu."

Ravi: I am just bowled over to hear Danish Kaneria say these words. Years ago, I have watched Danish Kaneria in cricketing action for Pakistan (on TV). At that time, I was not much into reading up/viewing up on such matters like discrimination of Hindus in Pakistan, as I was too busy earning a livelihood and fulfilling home responsibilities, and doing some individual spiritual pursuit.

May God continue to give strength to Danish Kaneria to follow his Hindu traditions and faith even if he faces further discrimination in Pakistan because he is a Hindu.

Never ever in my life in India have I had to worry about discrimination because I am a Hindu (as India is a Hindu majority country and I have lived all the time I spent in India (most of my life) in Mumbai and surrounding areas, and in Puttaparthi now, that are Hindu majority)! The issues that I faced were lack of knowledge about Hinduism and doubt about some Hindu traditions and beliefs (due to lack of knowledge).

I bow down in reverence to Danish Kaneria for having stayed true to his Hindu faith even as he faced discrimination in Pakistan.

This shows how blessed and fortunate Hindus are to live in India (which includes me), where there is no discrimination against Hindus (as they are the majority), and so Hindus are free to practise their faith and traditions.

BITTER TRUTH !!! | Danish Kaneria, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25dkl3Vtgyw, 8 min. 22 secs

Update: Shoaib Akhtar gives his view of the matter here: Pakistan is Home for Hindus,Muslims and all Minorities | Shoaib Akhtar, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6K5011Hvxc, around 10 mins., published on 28th Dec. 2019.

My vehement disagreement with views of June 2019 article about a biologist arguing for elimination of religion for good of humanity

I vehemently disagree with the view expressed in the short extracts given below of the article: A Biologist Proposes To Eliminate Religion For The Good Of Humanity, http://www.physics-astronomy.com/2019/06/a-biologist-proposes-to-eliminate.html, 5th June 2019

The American biologist Edward Osborne Wilson known as "the father of sociobiology" argues that the Earth is suffering "a death through a thousand injuries" because of religion and that it should disappear for the benefit of human progress.
"All ideologies and religions have their own answers for the big questions, but these are often linked as a dogma to some kind of tribe," he said. "Religions in particular present supernatural elements that other tribes, other religions, can not accept ... And every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving and charitable, disparages all other tribes. What drags us is religious faith ".

Ravi: I have not read the article. But the extracts provided above indicates that it may be on the lines an article by a Professor of Physics in IISc Bangalore that appeared in The Hindu in 2013 titled "Let’s aim for a post-theistic society". It generated a lot of comments (including from me) and later response articles that challenged his views. My blog post: Science Fanaticism and Anti-Religion Fanaticism displayed in Post Theistic Society Article, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2013/09/science-fanaticism-and-anti-religion.html, Sept. 2013 gives the details.

Another relevant post of mine in this context is this one: Fantastic Espousal of the Good of Religion by Honourable Mr. Tony Blair in Nov. 2010 Debate, https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/fantastic-espousal-of-the-good-of-religion-by-honourable-mr-tony-blair-in-nov-2010-debate/amp/, Aug. 2012

A relevant extract from the post is given below:

d) He [Blair] pointed out that removing religion from the picture, if at all that is possible, is no guarantee of such problems disappearing. He gave the example of Hitler and Stalin whose reigns of terror did not have any religious background.

e) He acknowledged that certain wrongs had been issued from the pulpit like in Christian Rwanda problem of Hutu & Tutsi. But he also stated that in the same problem many religious people had defended people of the other tribe and some even lost their lives doing it.

f) He advocated, if I recall correctly, focusing on the common good of religions and encouraging that.

g) He said Darwin and Christian religion can go together.

h) I felt that Mr. Blair presented the sober, moderate religious faithful view, which perhaps is the majority of religious believers in the Western world. He boldly took a stance which may not be supported by some rigid religious believers.

Hitchens was brilliant at his vitriolic criticism of religion. But then I felt he was playing to the gallery by using his brilliant command of the English language, his wit and his book-knowledge about religion (as against experiential-knowledge). He did not really respond, if I recall correctly, to Mr. Blair’s moderate religious faithful view. Maybe the structure of the debate was such that you don’t try to arrive at a meaningful solution but just attack the other party. So as a debater he perhaps did an excellent job in ensuring he ‘scored’ over the opponent.

But I felt Mr. Blair was the statesman looking for a solution rather than wanting to simply ‘score’ over his opponent.
--- end extract ---
It is in teaching and practice of religions that we need to see whether extremist violent ideologies, and hatred of people of other religions, are being encouraged. That's the problem area.
Tribalism is the main issue. It has its good and bad aspects. Tribalism is how some groups (tribes) seem to have survived over centuries and millennia. Now the challenge is to remove the negative aspects of tribalism like nepotism and encourage give-and-take in a plural society.

Is religion the only source of tribalism? Will removal of religion (if at all that is possible, which I certainly doubt very much) remove all sources of tribalism? I think not. Communists have no religion - both Stalinist Soviet Union and Maoist China had no religion. But I think the particular brand of communist ideology (Stalinism or Maoism) became the new tribe. A lot of dissenters were simply killed! Some got sent to detention centers like the Gulag (Solzenitsyn being the famous one).

So I think that human society grouping itself into tribes is unavoidable - whether it is based on religion or not.

Religion does not play a major role in many parts of Western Europe today. But language and nationality have come to the fore in Western Europe as shown in Brexit. Isn't that a form of tribalism, even if the tribe is a larger level tribe?

Further to my post of yesterday showing pics of a small duck or duck like creature, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2702459083303985, today afternoon I saw three of them but on the Chitravathi Harati side of the checkdam on Chitravathi river.

I thought of trying to take a video of them as they moved around (at a distance). They are small and I am far worse as a video camera guy with my low-cost smartphone, than as a still pic guy where I am just amateurish. But I thought of sharing the video just in case some readers would like to see it. On uploading the video to Facebook, the resultant Facebook video was somewhat messed up and it was almost impossible to spot the little black water birds swimming. So I uploaded it to youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg689nEtGlU, where the video shows as it shows on video player on my desktop computer (as far as I can make out). It is 22 seconds long.

It is hard to spot them - 2 of them are swimming together roughly around the centre of the video and 1 is slightly apart to their lower left and comes into view only a little into the video.

Some browsing on what these small birds could be, led me to this wiki page of list of birds in Andhra Pradesh: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Andhra_Pradesh. The page lists a Little Grebe (water)bird, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_grebe. Maybe these birds I saw are Little Grebes!

http://bnhsenvis.nic.in/Database/2016_17603.aspx says that Little Grebe in Telugu is called "Munugudi-kodi, Chinna munugu".

Wonderful to see Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's name and message (Love All Serve All) on a USA TV channel! Great service and nice of Fox4 channel to show this service activity of Sathya Sai Baba center of Dallas.

I took 3 screenshots from the video as I think the video comes up slowly in India and so some readers may prefer just to see the screenshots. I cannot include the screenshot pics in this post as it is a share. But I will show the pics in comments in this post.

[Shared FB post: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=869758560105785&id=100012149461697]

The parents, it seems, were doing it out of hope & love for their physically handicapped children. So I will not say it is child abuse (though I recognize that some may say so). But ....

Hmm. I don't know what to say. Matters of faith in the context of parents seeking weird cures for physically handicapped children, is something that I, who am unmarried and have no children, perhaps have no right to say anything on. But I think I have to say that I am supportive of the "progressive" group's and district child protection officer's action that extricated the kids from this mess.

[Shared article: Karnataka: Hoping miracle during solar eclipse, parents bury physically challenged kids neck-deep in cattle dung in Kalaburagi, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-hoping-miracle-during-solar-eclipse-parents-bury-physically-challenged-kids-neck-deep-in-cattle-dung/articleshow/72981488.cms]

Yesterday (Christmas day) afternoon I saw a small black duck or duck like creature swimming in the water on the Karnatakanagapalli bridge side of the checkdam on Chitravathi river. My low cost (cheap :-) ) LYF LS 4505 smartphone with an amateur photographer (me) could not capture it well from a distance. The first pic is without zoom. The second one is with zoom but with great loss of clarity.

I thought I should share it as I don't recall seeing any pics of such ducks or duck like creatures swimming in the checkdam/river (now more like a lake) water in Puttaparthi (this year).

Hopefully this may lead to some other persons who are better photographers and have better cameras to take good pics of it or its fellow creatures (I saw only one such creature) and share it on Facebook.

[FB post (with pics): https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2702459083303985]

"May Emmanuel bring light to all the suffering members of our human family.May He soften our often stony and self-centred hearts,and make them channels of His love.On this joyful day,may He bring His tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20191225_urbi-et-orbi-natale.html" - Pope Francis, https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/1209805991891656705 (today)

Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Live), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKo3T0j9qqo, 5 min. 47 secs.
A different type of Amazing Grace song: Phil Wickham - This Is Amazing Grace (Official Music Video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFRjr_x-yxU, 4 min. 38 secs.
BYU, I believe, is a Mormon faith university.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) | BYU Noteworthy (Chris Tomlin A Cappella Cover), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Mtpk4jeVA, 4 min. 30 secs.
Hindi Christmas song: Aha Yesu Aya Zameen Par, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IokucR-xmM, 4 min. 52 secs.
New Christmas Song - Asmaan Pe Ik Sitara - Christian songs in Urdu and Hindi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWLee4RVW8E, around 3 mins.
Anand Zhaala | New Marathi Christmas Dance Song | Grace Fellowship Youth's, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdZmQKhSMXk, 5 min. 43 secs.
Marathi Christmas song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7fS0Z73ltY, close to 10 mins.
Jewel - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PURr2u0HKGE, 3 min 20 secs.
Tamil Christmas song 2019 | Immanuvel Neerae | 4K | Digital 5.1 Surround | Benny Pradeep, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSl-5xHMo1g, around 6 mins.
Thalaelo | Tamil Christmas Song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uIEFA4a75w, 4 min. 46 secs.
Ratchagar Pirandharae - Tamil Christmas Song - Benny Joshua, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA-X1Gh88lM, 5 min. 32 secs.
Sharing this song just to show some forms of dance that Christian music can take in India (may not to appeal to some but may appeal to some young folks): NEW TAMIL CHRISTMAS SONG 2019 | GG3 | PUTHUSU | OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO | FULL HD, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYVnwwwvQO0, 3 min. 40 secs.
Super Hit Christmas Song💫Aby Vettiyar Latest Carolsong💫Anna Baby✨, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyYiVZ7izdA, 5 min. 44 secs.
ജനകോടികളുടെ ഇഷ്ട ക്രിസ്മസ് കരോൾ ഗാനം | Kando Doore |Super Hit Christmas Carol Song |Renjith Christy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sVWmaVO9Os, 4 min. 49 secs.
Yehoodhiyayile Oru Gramathil Old Super hit Malayalam Christmas song by K J Yesudas, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFOSv6lzukI, 5 min. 18 secs.
"Tonight, in the beauty of God's love, we also discover our own beauty, for we are beloved of God. In His eyes we are beautiful: not for what we do but for what we are." - Pope Francis on Christmas Eve, https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/1209609698288132097
"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God" - C.S. Lewis, https://twitter.com/CSLewisInst/status/1209638930829713408
"Tonight the love of God has been revealed to us. In Jesus, the Most High made Himself small, so that we might love Him. In Jesus, God made Himself a Child, so that we might embrace Him.", Pope Francis on Christmas eve, https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/1209605923569750017
Enjoyed seeing this today. Love going beyond limitations of religions and religious doctrine, and which love is eternal having no birth & no death! Revived happy memories of enjoying watching Bhagavan speak in this manner, live in Sai Kulwant Hall on so many occasions, and being inspired by it. What an inspirational spiritual teacher Bhagavan in physical form was, while delivering such public discourses! So wonderful that now we have such videos for posterity.
[Shared video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzWQw17-l5U&feature=youtu.be]

Desi touch Jingle Bells from folks in US Embassy in India! Around a minute.
[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/India.usembassy/videos/589798151784967/?t=0]
I enjoyed it (around 51 seconds). This had been passed to me as a private message on FB earlier. Good that this was publicly shared.
[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/uma.ragunathan.1/videos/2473027649621507/?t=0]
Jewel - Face Of Love, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXypqfDeMa4, 3 min. 29 sec.
Hindi Christmas Song, Chamka sitara by Neelu Nissi,.Watch our new song PRAISE PRAISE by NISSI ELENA., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kUPnTY6cck, 4 min. 4 secs.
Hindi Christmas song: Kya Din Khushi Ka Aaya, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-jvEOC3ifo, around 7 mins.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS ||JK Christopher || Sharon sisters || JK P Kumar,Latest Telugu christmas songs-2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D2diw3xXBk, 8 min. 13 secs.
Latest New Christmas Song | Telugu Jesus Songs 2019 | Anjana Sowmya | Koti Kaanthula Velugulatho, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsvDl-dY7MQ, 6 min. 33 secs.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Live At The Helix In Dublin..., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw38pGhPXIk, 4 min. 44 secs.
Silent Night - Jim Reeves, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz8VYzyXpRQ, 3 min. 14 secs.
Jim Reeves - Mary's Boy Child, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4QfW3WRp6g, 3 min. 10 secs.
Boney M - Mary's Boy Child (with lyrics), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHTCldo7uw4, 5 min. 44 secs.
Mariah Carey - O Holy Night (Video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJmP8T07JU, 4 min. 47 secs.
Mariah Carey - Joy to the World (Live at St. John The Divine), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtRgKvLkLHM, 5 min. 31 secs.

I had seen this news elsewhere yesterday but not this Nature article which gives vital background info. on the matter.

Panch sir is very devoted to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and has done great service work for the blind, if I recall correctly, through his and his team's research work. I have had the privilege of interacting with him while I was serving in the Sai university, which he used to visit regularly as a Visiting Faculty. Wonderful to know that he will be heading NSF, a premier science research and education body of the USA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Science_Foundation.

Here's a relevant article from The Hindu: Indian-American scientist Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan to lead National Science Foundation in US, https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-picks-indian-american-computer-scientist-dr-sethuraman-panchanathan-to-lead-national-science-foundation/article30356604.ece, 20th Dec. 2019

Note that the US Senate has to confirm the nomination.

I pray to Bhagavan to shower His Grace on Panch sir to get the support of the US Senate and do a wonderful job as NSF head, and I wish Panch sir all the very best.
[Shared article: Trump picks computer scientist to lead National Science Foundation, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03924-3]

Very nice and soulful! Touches the heart. Swami sharanam! Ayyappa sharanam! Video is 5 min. 37 secs.

The post of Shri V. V. Sarachandran that shared this has this intro text (I did not get an option to share that and so I am copy-pasting that below):

This is the season for those making pilgrimage to Sabarimala to receive the blessings of Swami Ayyappa, who welcomes all devotees regardless of their religion, caste or creed. Tradition dictates one needs to observe fasting over more than 40 days, and abstain from any form of sexual activity as well when undertaking this pilgrimage.
[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/srilalitha.bhamidipati.54/videos/1325955600924546/?t=0]

"Chart: Hindus and Buddhists are concentrated in Asia, while Christians are more evenly scattered globally. https://pewrsr.ch/2PDH1v9", https://twitter.com/pewresearch/status/1207164344984915968

The above tweet has a chart giving the key data at one glance.

Revered Kasturi garu: "This white ash is a bandage to remove the bondage"!

For readers, who may not know the (usually 3 finger-thick lines/curves of) white ash tilaka (mark) on the forehead that is seen on revered Kasturi garu's forehead, here's some background on it. It is traditional for some Saivite (Shiva devotee) Hindus (including my Iyer community) to have that on the forehead. It was a must for me too whenever I participated in priest (Vadhyaar) officiated Hindu rituals at home. Besides the forehead, the tilaka would be on the arms and chest, which would be visible while doing the function as the main male participants in the ritual had to be bare chested.  But I did not wear that tilaka/mark other than for such rituals, as that was quite uncommon in and around Bombay/Mumbai where I was living then. I mean, I would have been quite uncomfortable then with the stares that I would have got in my place of study (school/college) or work, with my forehead having that tilaka/mark. But I must also mention that there were a few people, usually elders, who would wear that regularly in Bombay/Mumbai then (1970s to early 2000s).

There is a wiki page for this tilaka/mark which is called Tripundra (I did not know this name and I don't know how accurate the wiki page is): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripundra.

But these lines in the wiki page, resonate with my understanding of Saivite Hinduism:

Tripundra, to those who apply it, is a reminder of the spiritual aims of life, the truth that body and material things shall someday become ash, and that mukti is a worthy goal. Tri means three, pundra means one which is released. There are three horizontal lines of vibhuti (holy ash) on the brow, often with a dot (bindu) as the third eye. Holy ash, usually produced from burnt cow dung, is a reminder of the temporary nature of the physical body and the importance of spiritual attainment and closeness to Shiva (Atman-Brahman).
--- end wiki extract ---

I don't recall wearing a dot mark in addition to the three lines/curves for the rituals I participated in, at home.

However, at a more mundane level and which I guess is probably the reason, at least in part, for which most of the Saivite Hindus that use it regularly, do so, is to identify themselves (to others) as Saivite Hindus, and I guess that is the case with Vaishnavite Hindus and their symbol of Urdhva Pundra, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urdhva_Pundra, too.

[Shared FB post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3088107151202897&set=a.333626916650948&type=3
'In Whitefield, Swami wanted Kasturi to speak to the students.
Kasturi was sitting in a corner where there was not much light.
Swami said, "Come under the light.
Otherwise people will think you have a bandage!"
(Kasturi usually drew ashes on his forehead).
The white ash (vibhuti) all over his forehead looked like a bandage. Kasturi came under the light and told the students,
"This white ash is a bandage to remove the bondage."']

Good to see this. Alike is the Loka Seva Trust school whose management, for some time, had come under the spell of spiritual fraud Madhusudan Naidu, but eventually broke away from him publicly in early 2017.

Good to see Tyagajeevi Gangadhar Bhat sir in these pics of inauguration of some new school building.

For readers who do not know the background, I dug up some old posts of mine (Jan to Mar 2017) related to Alike school breaking away from spell of spiritual fraud Madhusudan Naidu. The horrible Muddenahalli group fellows tried to use legal tricks to take over Alike school and remove Gangadhar Bhat sir from Alike! Things had got that bad at one time, and it was determined fight back against the Muddenahalli group spiritual fraudsters that saved Alike school from falling into their control. Here are some posts of mine that share some info. about those events.

1) Shri Gangadhar Bhat of Alike school asked to leave premises; I appeal to Karnataka Sai orgn. and Central Trust to welcome and accommodate him (and any others), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/01/shri-gangadhar-bhat-of-alike-school.html, 25th Jan. 2017

2) I support Sri Gangadhar Bhat sir of Alike school in his effort to RESCUE Alike school from Madhusudan Naidu & Narasimhamurthy HIJACK, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/02/i-support-sri-gangadhar-bhat-sir-of.html, 4th Feb. 2017

3) GB sir and other Tyagajeevis of Alike school publicly say they don't believe in "Subtle Swami" and request Muddenahalli group to not interfere in their affairs, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/02/gangadhar-bhat-sir-of-alike-school.html, 6th Feb. 2017

4) Alike, Karnataka, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva trust school bank account 'unfrozen', http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/02/alike-karnataka-sri-sathya-sai-loka.html, 21st Feb. 2017

5) Tyagajeevi and Chairman of Loka Seva Trust, Gangadhar Bhat, regrets illegal 12/9/2012 trust deed amendment action, in court affidavit, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/03/tyagajeevi-and-chairman-of-loka-seva.html, 8th Mar. 2017

[Shared FB post: https://www.facebook.com/Alikeonline/posts/3401831023192915]

Firstly, I should say that my putting up this post should in no way be seen as me being biased towards the Conservatives in UK. I am publicly neutral in UK politics (and also in Indian politics).

But that neutrality in UK politics does not come in the way of me being appreciative of Boris Johnson's warm words towards British Hindus in general and the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in London in the video shared below. As an Indian Hindu, I am deeply touched by these words of his and what seems to me to be genuine affection for British Hindus. It was good to see his partner also being present for this visit and being given due honour by the temple management. And it was good to see British Home secretary (minister) Priti Patel accompanying the British PM to the temple, and being given due honour.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Visits Neasden Temple in London, UK, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fLK6tSrCfU, 7 min. 2 secs, published on 13th Dec. 2019 by BAPSChannel.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson Visits Bhaktivedanta Manor December 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueKvxrfVuKI, around 3 mins.


The New Testament passage found in 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

2 Missing Sisters From Nithyananda Ashram Say They Will Depose From US, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/2-missing-sisters-from-nithyananda-ashram-say-they-will-depose-from-us-2147369, 12th Dec. 2019

Good to know that the young sannyasini sisters are willing to depose before Indian High Commission either in West Indies or USA. But the court wants them to depose in person (at Ahmedabad in Gujarat state in India).

The shocking thing is that the young sannyasinis are saying through their lawyer that they cannot appear in person before the court as they (percieve) a threat to their life from their father!

This is horrifying! But that's what fighting in court sometimes leads to, at least in India. The father initiated this matter by lodging a petition that his young but adult daughters have been "illegally confined" by Swami Nithyananda and his followers and, at least in media interviews, he said that he fears for their safety implying danger to them from Swami Nithyananda and his followers. The daughters in turn are saying that they fear for their safety due to threat to life from their father!

The court has assured the young ladies full protection and wants a reply from them as an affidavit by December 19th. The next hearing for the case is on Dec. 20th.
Earlier (Dec. 8th) remarks by Ministry of External Affairs (Foreign Ministry) spokesperson on Swami Nithyananda passport and message to Indian missions abroad about him: MEA Raveesh Kumar Speaks On Self-Styled Godman Nithyananda's Sovereign Nation 'Kailaasa', https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4nYOVqAwGE, 5 min. 15 secs.

Shri Chettiar (of Paduka/Paduga fame in Sathya Sai devotee circles) says, "I want to emphatically state that there is no connection whatsoever between Sri Nithyananda and Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba or the Sai Trusts / Sai Organisations."

[Shared FB post: https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/photos/a.633010493412194/2731028160277073/]

Didn't give Nithyananda refuge, he could have gone to Haiti, says Ecuador, https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ecuador-denies-refuge-rape-accused-nithyananda-says-he-left-haiti-113584

The article says that the embassy of Ecuador stated: "The Embassy of Ecuador categorically denies the statement, wherever published, that self-styled Guru Nithyananda was given asylum by Ecuador or has been helped by the government of Ecuador in purchasing any land or island in South America near or far from Ecuador."

So it seems that Swami Nithyananda is not in Ecuador.

The embassy suggested that he may have gone to Haiti, which is a Caribbean island.

Note that while there are one or more court cases against Swami Nithyananda in India, none of them, as far as I know, have judged Swami Nithyananda as guilty. So he is innocent until proven guilty. I think the Govt. of India spokesperson should have said alleged crimes instead of crimes in the following article.

‘Nithyananda wanted for crimes’: India alerts other countries, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/nithyananda-wanted-for-crimes-india-alerts-other-countries/story-bEs63cdIpcj37yGo7nJBtK.html states, "India on Friday dismissed reports that self-styled godman Nithyananda had created his own country on an island near Ecuador and said the external affairs ministry had alerted other nations where he might seek shelter that he is wanted for several crimes."

I think that cuts off the media hype and gives us the ground reality picture.

In response to a comment in above FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2679206385629255, I wrote (slightly edited):
I have shared the appropriate authorities views.
I also inserted the following in the post:
Note that while there are one or more court cases against Swami Nithyananda in India, none of them, as far as I know, have judged Swami Nithyananda as guilty. So he is innocent until proven guilty. I think the Govt. of India spokesperson should have said alleged crimes instead of crimes in the following article.

I wrote (slightly edited):
Do you think there is anything else in my above post that is inaccurate/untruthful? If so, I will be glad to review it and correct it if necessary.

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
I think he has been granted permission to be absent in person for the rape allegation case against him, and have his lawyers represent him. So, as far as that case is concerned, he cannot be viewed as absconding from justice. Is that case a smear campaign against him? I don't know. But what is clear is that he has not been judged guilty so far.

But the Indian media's question about where he is now, given the case against his Ahmedabad school where two of his disciples continue to be under police/judicial custody, is a valid one, I think. The habeas corpus petition filed by Janardhan Sharma for access to his adult young daughters is being heard by Gujarat High Court. The Gujarat High Court has asked the daughters to come before court before 12th December (or before Indian missions abroad after taking prior permission from court). And the next question too is valid which is that he appears to be abroad and is doing live-stream events but he does not have a valid Indian passport! So how is he abroad? If he has gone abroad without a valid Indian passport then I don't know what exactly his status becomes vis-a-vis Indian government and Indian courts with respect to court case(s) against him.

Is the Indian media hounding him? To some extent, Indian media seems to have sensationalized this case. But it is Janardhan Sharma the father who appears in these media interviews/panels and makes allegations against Swami Nithyananda. So those accusations are there. Whether true or not, especially given the adult daughters' counter-allegations against the father, is very difficult to figure out based only on these media interviews and youtube video put up by the daughters.

The Gujarat High Court seems to be proceeding well on this and hopefully in the next few weeks we will have clarity on the adult daughters' situation.

About Nithyananda doing a miracle at your home: Omnipresent is a ***huge*** word (and so is omnipotent). I rarely use those words in the context of devotion as I am not sure about whether they can apply in situations that I write about/talk about (and that's due to me having no psychic 'I am everywhere' kind of experiences at all).

So I am not in a position to differentiate between somebody who just has siddhis and who is ***omnipresent***.

But I have some views about how paranormal events happen in the context of devotion to Guru/God, which, if I recall correctly, I have written on my main spiritual blog. I can dig that up and share that with you if you are interested.

6th Dec. 2019 update

The news18 report is false (it had said unconfirmed reports). The government (embassy) of Ecuador has rejected the claim of Swami Nithyananda having bought an island that it owns. Govt. of India has dismissed away the claim of any nation being created by Nithayananda. For more see https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2679206385629255.

--- end 6th Dec. 2019 update ---

Hmm. This is extraordinary!


The article states: "According to unconfirmed reports, Nithyananda has bought an island in Ecuador in central Latin America and has started calling it an independent, new nation."

I had a quick look at its website https://kailaasa.org/ (loads slowly). I have attached a screenshot of the "country's" government departments. [FB post has pic: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2675530135996880&set=a.1616532491896655]

Hmm. I had not expected this. What twists & turns!

Should young lady spiritual aspirants be allowed to take sanyas (become sannyasinis) only after parents, if living, give permission?

In the case of the two young sannyasini ladies Nanditha (Ma Nithyananditha - 18 year old) and Lopamudra (Ma Nithyatattvapriya Ananda - 21 year old) who say they have become sannyasinis following their Guru Swami Nityananda, the parents are raising strong objections and claiming that they have been abducted, are in danger, and have been brain-washed (the father even mentions Vashikaran in this context) by Swami Nithyananda and (some of) his followers.

The abduction and danger parts are being dealt with by the police & court authorities.

But what about the brain-washing charge? We will have to wait and see how this is dealt with.

And I think there is the social contract part of it which is important too, which I don't think has been mentioned in this case in media reports (at least the many that I read). And that is that the parents invest time & money to raise their children and expect their children to take care of them in their old age. If the children become sannyasinis of some spiritual group, especially one that the parents are against, then the parents have to forget about their sannyasini-children taking care of them in their old age.

Also, is it proper for a girl as young as 18 or even 21 for that matter, to be made a sannyasini! I think in established Hindu traditions, there is a prior stage of Brahmacharini (female celibate novitiate) which may be for many years which serves as both a preparatory phase and also as a testing phase to see if the person is really ready for sannyasini (female monk) life. In this case, there does not seem to have been any such preparatory/testing period.

What if the ladies regret this step 5 or 10 years into the future? Will they then be like prisoners of the system as they will not be able to easily come out of the spiritual group and earn a livelihood for themselves in the world outside the spiritual group.

Perhaps it is due to some of these reasons that the father of these two young ladies is in great anguish.

But one also needs to give importance to any genuine spiritual urges that the two young ladies may have.

This is a complex situation with no easy answers/solutions.

Having a mandatory requirement (as against it being desirable but not mandatory) that young lady spiritual aspirants who want to be sannyasinis/monks, should have permission of living parents (which seems to be followed by some Hindu monastic traditions), may be a possible solution but will that be going too far?

In response to a comment on above FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2672921409591086, I wrote:
I think different sannyasi sampradayas follow different traditions. Sannyasis staying in the same place/ashram/matha for years is also fine in many traditions, I think.

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):

I think most ancient rishis were married though there have been brahmachari (unmarried) rishis too like the famous Shuka Maharshi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuka, who narrated the Bhagvata Purana.

But sannyasi tradition goes back among Hindus to before Adi Shankara, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Shankara, who is said to have lived in the early 8th century.

Also, here is a relevant extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sannyasa :

Jamison and Witzel state[13] early Vedic texts make no mention of Sannyasa, or Ashrama system, unlike the concepts of Brahmacharin and Grihastha which they do mention.[14] Instead, Rig Veda uses the term Antigriha (अन्तिगृह) in hymn 10.95.4, still part of extended family, where older people lived in ancient India, with an outwardly role.[13] It is in later Vedic era and over time, Sannyasa and other new concepts emerged, while older ideas evolved and expanded. A three-stage Ashrama concept along with Vanaprastha emerged about or after 7th Century BC, when sages such as Yājñavalkya left their homes and roamed around as spiritual recluses and pursued their Pravrajika (wanderer) lifestyle.[15] The explicit use of the four stage Ashrama concept, appeared a few centuries later.[13][16]

However, early Vedic literature from 2nd millennium BC, mentions Muni (मुनि, monks, mendicants, holy man), with characteristics that mirror those found in later Sannyasins and Sannyasinis. Rig Veda, for example, in Book 10 Chapter 136, mentions munis as those with Kesin (केशिन्, long haired) and Mala clothes (मल, soil-colored, yellow, orange, saffron) engaged in the affairs of Mananat (mind, meditation).[17] Rigveda, however, refers to these people as Muni and Vati (वति, monks who beg).

केश्यग्निं केशी विषं केशी बिभर्ति रोदसी । केशी विश्वं स्वर्दृशे केशीदं ज्योतिरुच्यते ॥१॥ मुनयो वातरशनाः पिशङ्गा वसते मला । वातस्यानु ध्राजिं यन्ति यद्देवासो अविक्षत ॥२॥ He with the long loose locks (of hair) supports Agni, and moisture, heaven, and earth; He is all sky to look upon: he with long hair is called this light. The Munis, girdled with the wind, wear garments of soil hue; They, following the wind's swift course, go where the Gods have gone before.

— Rig Veda, Hymn 10.CXXXVI.1-2[17]

These Munis, their lifestyle and spiritual pursuit, likely influenced the Sannyasa concept, as well as the ideas behind the ancient concept of Brahmacharya (bachelor student). One class of Munis were associated with Rudra.[18] Another were Vratyas.[citation needed]

[Wiki Refs:]
13. Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University Archives, page 47
14. JF Sprockhoff (1981), Aranyaka und Vanaprastha in der vedischen Literatur, Neue Erwägungen zu einer alten Legende und ihren Problemen. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens und Archiv für Indische Philosophie Wien, 25, pages 19-90
15. JF Sprockhoff (1976), Sanyāsa, Quellenstudien zur Askese im Hinduismus I: Untersuchungen über die Sannyåsa-Upaninshads, Wiesbaden, OCLC 644380709
16. Patrick Olivelle (1976), Vasudevåśrama Yatidharmaprakåśa: a treatise on world renunciation, Brill Netherlands, OCLC 4113269
17. GS Ghurye (1952), Ascetic Origins, Sociological Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2, pages 162-184;
For Sanskrit original: Rigveda Wikisource;
For English translation: Kesins Rig Veda, Hymn CXXXVI, Ralph Griffith (Translator)
18. Arthur Llewellyn Basham, The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism, OCLC 19066012, ISBN 978-0807073001
--- end wiki extract ---

In response, I wrote:
I think there is a mix of good and not-so-good or bad Hindu spiritual leaders in India today. Sannyasi or not sannyasi is not the issue, IMHO. I think you seem to be anti-sannyasis. I am NOT anti-sannyasi. I respect good sannyasi Hindu spiritual leaders as well as good non-sannyasi Hindu spiritual leaders.

In response, I wrote (slightly edited):
There are sannyasis who live simple lives too. Some sannyasi-leaders live in luxury - that's true. Such is life in early 21st century India! Perhaps the sannyasi-leader feels that as so many Indians now live in luxury, some of whom would be his followers, why should he not live in luxury! But I don't consider the sannyasi-leader to be a bad guy just because he is living in luxury.

In response, I wrote (slightly edited):
Excess money is very dangerous for spiritual leaders and spiritual missions as it tends to corrupt the spiritual core and the excess money attracts money-minded people instead of genuine spiritual aspirants.
[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.]