Wednesday, July 31, 2019

First sale of part autobio paperback book on amazon.in; Not-For-Profit way to handle Notion Press author earnings

Last updated on 2nd Aug. 2019

I was pleasantly surprised to be informed by Notion Press over email, of the first sale of my paperback book, "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1" on amazon.in (https://www.amazon.in/Autobiography-Indian-Software-Spiritual-Aspirant/dp/1645874087). The purchase happened towards the end of this month (July 2019).

I did not buy the copy on amazon.in, and so it is somebody else who made the purchase. Whoever it is, I hope he or she will find it worth the money they have spent on it. Further, I do hope that they do not mind the somewhat hurried writing approach I have used in the book, due to lack of time as there are many other things on my plate now. I simply do not have the luxury of time now to step back and write in a calm and peaceful way, pondering over what would be the most appropriate words and phrases, and pondering over the flow and other presentation aspects of the book.

Now this book is put up on amazon.in by Notion Press. Even for the minimum price of Rs.285, Notion Press provides me author earning of Rs.21.33 for sales on amazon.in and flipkart.com, and author earning of Rs.81.18 for sales on Notion Press's own web store. Notion Press does not seem to have a way of not having any author earning at all! I have to go by their model if I want to get my books published through them.

So for this book sale on amazon.in, Rs.21.33 has been credited to my Author earnings total on Notion Press (they pay it after author earning crosses some figure - Rs.500, if I recall correctly).

It is my responsibility to handle this Rs.21.33 and any other author earning for purchases made by others, in a Not-For-Profit way that is transparent to interested readers or members of the public. I will adjust it against the expenses I have incurred for self-publishing this book, and for the purchases of the book I have made myself which I have provided free-of-charge to a few people.

So far, I have purchased the following number of copies of this book, self-published using Notion Press:
1) 2 copies (one copy of earlier publication attempt and one copy of current publication) from Notion Press website paying: Rs.285 + Rs.50 (shipping) for each copy. Total payment for 2 copies: Rs.670. On this I have got author earning credit (not paid yet) of Rs. 81.18 each, with total credit of 162.36. [So effective cost of these 2 copies will be: 670 - 162.36 = 507.64.]

2) 12 copies at special discounted price known as author price (minimum order qty is 12 copies) of Rs. 170.44 (shipping seems to be free). Total price paid: Rs.2045.28.

To summarize:
Total money spent by me on copies of this part autobio book: Rs.670 + Rs.2045.28 = Rs.2715.28

Total author earning for this part autobio book (yet to be paid to me): Rs.162.36 + Rs.21.33 = Rs.183.69

So, very clearly, as of now, I do not make any profit on this book.

Later I will create a regular public blog page to record such expenses and author earnings for my books. As this was my first author earning credit (not yet paid to me) for purchases made by others, I thought it appropriate to put up this post.

Note that my Pothi.com paperback book sales, as of now, do not result in any author earning. They have a different model where, if one sells only on their web store and not on amazon.in & flipkart.com, the minimum price chosen results in zero author earning (for Pothi.com web store sales), and which is what I have currently chosen on Pothi.com for my books. Note that I recently withdrew my "Who am I? I am I ..." Pothi.com book (https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science), from amazon.in and flipkart.com, to reduce the book price to Rs.159 (minimum price) from the earlier price of Rs.199 (minimum price when additionally sold on amazon.in & flipkart.com, with zero author earning for amazon.in & flipkart.com sales, but some author earning for Pothi.com web store sales).
--------------------------------

2nd Aug. 2019 update: I got a message from an old software industry ex colleague that he was the person who had bought my (paperback) book. I thanked him for "being the first customer who purchased my part autobio book" and hoped that the book does not disappoint him. Note that there are no other additional purchases of my book by others, so far. So it is confirmed that he is the first customer of my part autobio book!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Very relieved to see NY state and USA federal lawmakers, and NY AG speak up in support of attacked Hindu priest in Queens, New York City, and in support of Hindu community there

This post follows up on my previous Facebook post dated 21st July 2019: A Hindu priest was attacked in New York, congresswoman says, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2548349405381621 [this Facebook post's full contents are reproduced at the bottom of this blog post].

Yesterday's (28th July 2019) Hindu print newspaper carried this article: U.S. lawmakers condemn attack on Hindu priest, https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-lawmakers-condemn-attack-on-hindu-priest/article28733153.ece, 27th July 2019

Swami Harish Chander Puri is the name of the Hindu priest. He seems to be the founder and leader of the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple in New York, http://www.shivshaktipeeth.org/.

I looked up youtube for videos on US lawmakers condemning this attack and found this video: Web Extra: NY AG, Officials Condemn Assault On Hindu Priest, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anHkIvYFMNM, 41 min. 31 secs, published by CBS New York on 23rd July 2019.

The above video shows many speakers, most of them New York State lawmakers, one senior New York state government official (Attorney General), along with one US Federal lawmaker (Congressman), coming forward to condemn the assault and to protect the multi-ethnic and multi-religion community in Queens, New York City, New York (state), USA. Hindu community leaders and spiritual leaders (including Swami Puri who was attacked) also spoke condemning the assault and stressing Hindu community values including that of peace and compassion (including towards the attacker), and belief that divinity resides in all (including the attacker).

I would like to repeat what I said in my above-mentioned Facebook post on this matter (https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2548349405381621):
I have visited Queens, New York many times in the 1980s as it had an Indian owned shop that sold dual voltage (110 V and 220 V) electronics goods. That allowed us to use the same electronics item in USA as well as in India. I think Queens had a Hindu temple even then and had Indian restaurants too. I don't recall whether I visited a Hindu temple in Queens then - I was not into devotion (Bhakti) then but I was respectful of the devotional faith of others.

So this horrible incident is something that I can relate to, to some extent. I find it deeply disturbing that the 62 year old Hindu priest was viciously attacked in this way. But I will not jump to the conclusion that this is a religious hate crime till that gets established by concerned USA law enforcement agencies.
--- end extract from previous Facebook post ---

As a Hindu who now resides in India (and is an Indian citizen) who has many Indian origin friends and few relatives living in the USA (some of whom, I think, are USA citizens now and some are on the path to USA citizenship), this horrible and vicious attack on a harmless and innocent Hindu priest in Queens, New York City, was very disturbing to me. I was worried about the safety of my many Hindu friends and few relatives in the USA and how such incidents would impact their freedom to worship God in the Hindu tradition in the USA.

I was very relieved and, in fact, quite overjoyed, to hear these speeches/remarks in above mentioned CBS New York youtube video, from these brave and noble lawmakers and senior government official of New York state, as well as the Hindu community leaders and Hindu spiritual leaders in this region of the USA (or those located elsewhere in the USA but having a voice and influence in this region). These words have been very reassuring to me that lawmakers associated with the Queens, New York City region and the top law enforcement officer (Attorney General) of the whole state of New York, are ready to do whatever is needed to protect law-abiding Hindus of Queens and protect their freedom to worship God in the Hindu tradition in Queens, New York City, USA. I profusely thank these lawmakers and senior government official for their support for the Hindu community in Queens.

I pray to Almighty God to shower His blessings on these lawmakers and senior govt. official (Attorney General) for their courageous public words and work in protecting freedom of religious faith in Queens and beyond in the USA, on the Hindu community organizers and leaders of this meet for their courage in speaking up and organizing the event, on the media (including CBS New York which put up the youtube video) for covering the event, and on the other participants of this meeting who showed up to listen and to show support for it.

I also found the remarks of the lawmakers and Attorney General to be very inspiring in terms of promoting the multi-ethnic and multi-religion community that Queens is today (as per their words). As I, in my role of a social media writer on spirituality & religion, promote at least tolerance, if not celebration, of multi-ethnic and multi-religion (including no faith/no religion) communities who are peaceful and law-abiding, I felt that I should do my bit to promote the speeches/remarks made in this meeting. So I decided to invest my time in making an edited transcript of these speeches/remarks.

Note that I am publicly neutral with respect to political parties in the USA. I have omitted any direct or indirect reference to any top (Federal) political leader of the USA in the transcript given below. But I have included words that argue against politics of hate and discrimination, in general. In other words, I am OK with, and support, sharing arguments against politics of hate and discrimination but I do not want to mention any names of top political leader(s) in the USA, directly or indirectly, in the context of allegations that they engage in such politics of hate and discrimination. I request that any comments of readers in this post, also follow these norms.

The edited transcript below uses the youtube auto-generated transcript but attempts to correct the mistakes in it. The edited transcript given below has most, but not all, of the remarks/speeches.

New York State Senator John Liu, https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/john-c-liu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Liu, says (slightly edited):

Time: 0:00

Well, good morning! Welcome to Glen Oaks, Queens, a wonderful family-oriented neighborhood and it is within this neighborhood that we were all truly horrified and agonized to learn that this man of peace, Swami Puri Guruji had been attacked last week and attacked in the most vicious and senseless of ways.

We're gonna hear from him in a little bit but I just want to say that we're standing here in unity to denounce this kind of attack, to denounce any hate that might have been behind this heinous attack and to say that this does not represent the community and in fact this is a community that is family-oriented. It is strong. It is a community, a tight-knit community with lots of diversity including this tremendous asset we have here in the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple. This is a temple that's been here for two years now. I had the honor of representing this temple when it was located in Flushing for many years and our Swami has been the founder and here from the beginning along with many of his members here. This is a community of peace.

And going forward we are, number one sending a very strong message that any kind of hate will not be tolerated here or anywhere and that if there is legislation that is going to be needed that we will spare no haste in passing that legislation. An example of legislation would be the religious garb bill that was passed in the state legislature just a couple of months ago. I proudly sponsored it in the Senate. Assembly member David Weprin sponsored it in the Assembly. That religious garb bill expressly prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of a person's religious appearance whether it be in their clothing or in their facial hair or appearance.

When there's discrimination in the employment it leads to people thinking that it's okay to treat people differently and once people start down that slippery slope of thinking it's okay to treat people differently, this is where things get worse and worse and ultimately it invariably results in attacks as Swamiji has suffered. I've been around too long to believe that these kinds of attacks are any kind of random acts of violence. They are premeditated to some extent, no matter the condition of the attacker and so we're here to stand united in support of our beloved Swami and to say that we will not tolerate [such violence] in this community.
----

New York State Attorney General Letitia James, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letitia_James

Time: (around) 03:42
This is the time to do some soul-searching about the existential threat to our country and the level of hate unfortunately that we are seeing not only in New York but all across this country. I've been in government for a very long time and unfortunately I've been to too many of these conferences and when we stood together against members of the Jewish community, against the African-American community and the list goes on and on and on. So I am here today just to show my support to Swamiji and the entire Hindu community that this terrible attack will never be tolerated here in Queens, New York City or anywhere throughout the state of New York and it's critically important that after each and every attack that individuals come together.

Individuals who are different, individuals from different diverse backgrounds, different ethnic backgrounds, that is critically important to show New York and to show the world that we are stronger when we are one and that all that separates us are nothing more than artificial constructs and the reality is, is that diversity really is our strength. The fact that we are different is our strength and so it's so critically important that all of us embrace one another and stand with Swamiji during this period of time and to let everyone know that this dark cloud of hatred will pass and that we will all be together. But it's important that everyone understand that this dark cloud of hate has been brewing for some time and I can recall the time when we all talked about unity, when we all talked about building a more perfect union and we all talked about love and that's really what I want to focus on - the power of love. And it was evidenced by this man saying to his attacker, simple words: I forgive you. I don't know if I could do that. God's still working on me but we should all learn from this man. This is a time when all of us should be taught the lessons of this great man. This is a teaching moment for all of us as a nation and as a state to talk more about love and to not allow the seeds of hate to divide us - not in this city, not in this state, not in this country. Love is much more powerful than hate. And I stand with you all. God bless you.
----

U.S. Representative (Congressman) for New York's 5th congressional district, Gregory Meeks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Meeks :

Time: (Around) 6:40
Thank You senator Liu, to our Attorney General, all of the elected officials, to the priests of this temple. This day reminds me of a time that I thought we would have grown from, where we would not be talking and even thinking about people hating someone, simply because of who they are, what their religion is, what ethnicity they are, what their gender may be. We never want to go back to that America. We thought that we had progressed past all of that and yet today we stand here because we're concerned about individuals who may be targeted. Fortunately in this situation it may have come that the individual was deranged. So we do have a problem there to make sure that we have mental health facilities for those who have mental problems. But the fact that even I when I put out my initial statement, was concerned about bigotry ...

...it endangers all of us and every one of us for indeed and our diversity and as I look at my brothers and my sisters that may, in this case, have come from South Asia. You have really made America greater than it's ever been. The fact that you are here demonstrates to the rest of the world of what we can be as a society if we are together and unified. Diversity - and that's why I'm glad we're all standing here and I wanted to make sure that we are here together because diversity is our strength. But then when you see all of us coming around, unity is our power and it's the power to tell those who do not want to see the diversity that we're going to stand together against that evil and when you look, as the Attorney General was just saying, at the strength, the common dignity, the humanity of priest Puri, it reminds me of a time that I thought that we didn't have to go back to when Dr. King was stabbed in Harlem, [Dr. King] almost lost his life but came back and forgave his attacker. It shows you the humanity of the priest for all mankind. It shows how he wants to bring us all together. It shows how, as the Attorney General says, that love is indeed stronger and it sets an example for all of us to follow.

... And so I'm here in solidarity to say that we stand with you because in essence we are all one. We are all the same. We're all human beings. We are all loving beings and together we shall clearly defeat those who'd want to separate us. Again, thank you senator Liu for bringing us together.
----

New York State Senator Leroy Comrie, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leroy_Comrie

Time: (Around) 11:10

Good morning everyone! I am honoured to be here today, standing with my colleagues in government. I want to thank senator Liu for bringing us together. I would invite all of you to look at this community. This is an embedded community. The South Asian community is this community. This community is business, homeownership, children, a lifestyle that has been in this community for years now, almost two decades.

And for, as the previous speakers have said, we are concerned because there are coded words given out ... that is allowing people that are scared about what their status is, that are concerned about change, that are fearful of embracing the beautiful mosaic that's standing here that is about peace. That is about love. That is about togetherness. That is about education and so we're here today to not just condemn the act but to appeal to all people to understand that this is love. This is America. This is why our country was founded so that all people could be one and we need to send out that message to all folks that may be afraid because they are getting coded language from certain people that are afraid of the change of this country that this is powerful. This is what we are going to be in the future. This is what we need to embrace. We need to extend the love and so all of the folks that are here today, we want to encourage you to continue to find ways to work together, to ignore the negative messages that are coming from certain people that are scared of the future and to embrace this beautiful mosaic that we have today. So I can't say it any better than the speakers that have already spoken but I'm here today in solidarity and unity and ?? consistency to make sure that we work with all our communities in Queens to make sure that we're all treated respectfully. Thank you very much.
[Applause]

Time: 13:18

NY State Senator John Liu: The first South Asian elected official in the state of New York. Senator Kevin Thomas.

NY State Senator Kevin Thomas, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Thomas_(politician): Good morning! You know it breaks my heart that we are all gathered here to talk about hatred and bigotry. I am the state senator for district 6 which is mid Nassau County. I do not represent this constituency but as the first South Asian state senator these are my people and I am here to stand up for them. Immigrants make our country better. United we stand divided we fall. This Shiv Shakti temple like so many in our country is an all-American story.

This temple has been part of New York City and this community for a very long time. It serves hundreds of families some who have lived here for decades as well as immigrants who work to become proud American citizens. First of all, I want to thank the Shiv Shakti temple and
Swamiji for serving this community. Thank you for lifting up the lives of your neighbors and for helping keep us strong and united as one American family. We are grateful for that. Another reason we are here today is because of what happened to Swamiji. These acts of violence have no place in our community. A hateful act against one community is an attack on all of us here regardless of what religion we are. I had a conversation with Swamiji last night who basically said, I forgive my attacker. I pray for him so that he'll be a better person tomorrow. I admire his grace and his strength. I'm also thankful for the Attorney General, her support in all of this, the NYPD and my legislative colleagues from the Assembly and the state Senate. We must draw on our strengths as a community to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers. Thank You.
----

New York state Assembly member Clyde Vanel who seems to represent the district where this meeting was held, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Vanel

Time: (Around) 15:35

First I'd like to thank Senator John Liu and all my colleagues in government for being here and all the different community members. Sitting here, you know, I have to think about what does an American look like? What does a community member look like? What does a New Yorker look like? Do they look like me? Do they look like Swamiji? Like John Liu? You're looking at Americans. You're looking at New Yorkers. You're looking at community members. Hate has no place in our community. This is a great community of family, of family values. One thing that all my colleagues in government understand that it's difficult to do what we do but when there are houses of worship that guide people in the community, that guide the entire community, what have you - that helps a whole lot. And this temple is a beacon of light in the center of our community. One another thing that we have to learn is about forgiveness. That's a lesson that we have to continually rediscover and relearn and what a great example that we've learned today. As the Attorney General said, how the strength of a person to be able to forgive his attackers at the moment and even speak that now, humbles all of us. Thank you for being such an example to the community. Thank you for being here. Thanks for being here, everyone.
----

Time: (Around) 17:07
Senator John Liu: Now Assembly member Dave Weprin, sponsor of legislation earlier this year.

New York state Assembly member Dave Weprin, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Weprin:

As Senator Liu mentioned, that's why it's so important that we recognize all communities and have legislation like the bill senator Liu and I sponsored and is going to the governor's desk to prohibit all discrimination against anyone in employment, public or private, in New York State for wearing religious garb attire or facial hair. You know this is a very diverse community. I've represented this community for eight years in the City Council and now nine and a half years in the assembly. I  actually start across the street but cover this whole region. It's unfortunate this is not the first time that we've come together as many ethnic groups, many religions in support of an individual or an incident. This has to be investigated as a hate crime.

We all have to come together - one day it's the African-American community, another day the Latino community or the Asian community. In this area, it's often the Sikh community. Here in this case, the Hindu community or, of course, the Muslim community. We have many Muslims in this area. You know, any time hate rears its ugly head, it's so important that we all come together and stand united. Hate crime against any one of us or any religion or ethnic background is a hate crime against all of us. Thank you Senator Liu for bringing us together and I hope that this will be the last time that we have to come together but unfortunately I think we're all afraid that it's not going to be the last time. But it's very important that we all speak out and we speak out loudly. Thank you.
----

Time: (Around) 19:18
New York State Assembly member, Alicia Hyndman, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Hyndman:
Thank you very much Senator Liu for sending an email out and look at the turnout that happened. I got this last night. But to Swami, I am just thankful that you're standing upright with us. Your humbleness and your forgiveness shows this community what America is no matter what's going on ...

I want to say this. This is what Queens looks like. Everyone in here is what this borough represents. And our Attorney General, Senator and all my colleagues have said it - that we will not stand for any kind of hate or bigotry because if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. This place is so diverse and when you look at us, you realize that we will stand together to drive out the hate in this borough, in this city, in this state. ...

And I will say Swami, thank you for showing us an example of what love is. Because you are a beacon of love and this temple is blessed to have you in leadership and I'm thankful that I'm able to be here with my colleagues to fight and push back against the hate and bigotry that takes place in this great borough. Thank you.
----

Time: (Around) 20:29
New York state Assembly member Edward C. Braunstein,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Braunstein

Thank you for bringing us here today Senator Liu. It's very important for us to come together at a time like this. Queens I believe is the most diverse county in the country, maybe the world and we celebrate that diversity. That's what makes it so great to live here and we serve as a model for the rest of the world on how to live together peacefully. So an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and unfortunately this is not the first time we've come together. And when there's been incidents in the community and always the first group to show up and lend support is the Hindu community. So we're here to have your back, to let you know and let the rest of the community know that we will not tolerate hate in our community and we're going to stand together. So it's an honor to be here to show my support. I also want to thank the Attorney General for being here. This is the top law enforcement officer in the state of New York who's come out here to lend her support. We appreciate having you here and thank you for having me.
----

Time: (Around) 21:34

NY State Senator John Liu: We have a tremendous leader here in Queens and beyond and she, a couple of years ago, agreed to be a district leader in the Democratic Party of Queens. Dr. Neeta Jain was instrumental in putting this together. Dr. Jain.

Dr. Neeta Jain, District leader, Democratic Party of Queens:
Thank you John. Thank you for calling me and putting this up here. As we honor here, talking about hatred and bigotry, I just want to say first of all that I'm serving my community for more than 20 years and we have never seen this kind of action before, especially with our spiritual gurus. And they are the pillars of our community. If (there is an) attack on them, (it) means attack on our whole community and we always believe our community's values are love, peace, harmony and compassion. That's the only thing we give to others and that's the thing we only expect from others. So thank you Swamiji for your spiritual .. that he already said that he forgave the man who attacked.

But I hope this will stop right here as all our colleagues in government are saying and I'm very thankful to (the) Attorney General that she came out here in very short notice. And I really want to urge that for some time if we can raise our security around all the worship houses in our county or in our whole city because as you see that we are standing here in solidarity. You see we have Sikhs, we have Hindus, we have Jains, we have Muslims. Everybody is standing here. There's a reason behind it because we want to tell all of these people who think viciously and who act viciously that we are all together and we're standing here in unity. Nobody can divide us. Nobody can fight us anymore. So God bless all of you. God bless America. Thank you so much.
----

Time: (Around) 23:36
Dr. Krishna Pratap Dixit, Head priest of the Hindu center in Flushing:

Hindi: Dhanyavad John Liu. Hum yahaan pe, Swamiji ke saath jo durghatna hui, uske ninda karne ke liye (upasthith?) hain

[English: Thanks John Liu. We are here to condemn the bad event (attack) that happened with Swamiji.]

Hindi: Swamiji hamare committee ke Dharmik neta hain. Aur yah durghatna, yah attack jo Swamiji ke upar hua hai, yeh hamare jad pe hai.

[English: Swamiji is a/the spiritual leader of our committee. And this bad event, this attack that happened on Swamiji, this was (an attack) on our roots.]

Hindi: Swamiji hi hum sabhiko prem aur bhaichare ka paath padathe hai. Hum log Sarve Bhavantu sukhinaha mein vishwas ke log hai. Sabhi shanti purvak rahe aisa vishwas aur aisi shiksha hame swamiji ke dwara milti hain.

[English: It is Swamiji who teaches us the lesson of love and brotherhood. We people believe in "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha" - May all beings be happy. All should live peacefully - this is the faith and teaching that we get from Swamiji.]

Hindi: Kal bhi main Swamijise mila tha. Parsun meri telephone pe baat hui thi Swamijise. Aur Swamiji ne bataya ke Dixitji, mujhe bahut usne mara lekin phir bhi main Bhagavan se prarthana karta hun ki usko sadbuddhi aaye. Yeh Swamiji ki --nta hai aur mahanta hai.

[English: Yesterday I had met Swamiji. Day-before-yesterday I had spoken on telephone with Swamiji. And Swamiji told me: 'Dixitji, he beat me up badly but still I pray to God that he gets wisdom (good/right way of thinking)'. This is Swamiji's greatness.]

Hindi: Hum sabhi milkar ke yahan pe Shanti se rahen, aisi meri prarthana hai aur aisa mera vishwas hai ki aap sabhi log ekjut rahe taaki aisi durghatna jo hai wo bhavishya mein na ho sake. Main yaha community leaders se bhi agraha karunga ki iski puranaavritti bhavishya mein kisi ke saath na ho, aisi vyavastha aap karein. Dhanyavaad.

[English: We all should stay together here in peace - this is my prayer. And I believe (I am confident) that you all should live (be) together so that such bad events (attacks) do not happen in future. I will also request community leaders here that they make suitable arrangements that this should not repeat in future with anybody. Thank you.]
----

Time: (Around) 26:08
Hindu Temple Society of North America, President Uma Mysorekar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Temple_Society_of_North_America:

Swamiji! Namaste!

Greetings to all of you. On behalf of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, I want to extend my best wishes to Swamiji. (Invoking) the divine blessings of Shri Maha Ganapathi and all the deities of the temple for your rapid and complete recovery and continued service to the community.

It certainly was a shocking news for all of us and we sincerely hope as the community is standing together, this unity will sustain not just today but for days and months and years to come. And regardless of which temple we belong, regardless of which service we do, we pray one God and we pray that God whoever it be, to shower grace and blessings on all the human beings to look forward for a better future. And certainly it was difficult for me to assume that a Swamiji could be attacked but I guess this is the world today and we should be prepared to accept anything but take steps to prevent further (such incidents). Thank you all. Namaste!
----

Time: (Around) 27:00

Aminta Kilawan-Narine, Coalition of Progressive Hindus, https://www.sadhana.org/executive-board: Namaste, Assalaamalaikum, Sat Sri Akal, Shalom and good morning everyone. My name is Aminta Kilawan-Narine and I am a co-founder of Sadhana, Coalition of progressive Hindus. We're a social justice nonprofit that centers the values at the heart of Hinduism as we see them - Ahimsa - non-violence, Ekatva - oneness of all and Seva - selfless service. Today we're here for one reason that is to stand in solidarity with Swami Puriji and with all the devotees of the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple. We believe it is our Dharma to refuse to accept tyranny, to empower the marginalized into action and we stand up and we speak out when injustice occurs. It's our Dharma to denounce the racist anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric in our country today. ...

To say that this incident hit home is to say the least. There are times when I myself am nervous about travelling in the subways with my tikka on my forehead. I know that I'm not immune from such violence and to presume otherwise would be ignorant of the times in which we live. So we need to shift the culture around us. When one of us is attacked, as many of our speakers said, all of us are attacked and I think what we need (is) to speak up as a collective. So I'm very thankful for Senator Liu's bringing us together today. Many of us are enraged by what happened to Swamiji. But, as many of us said, we can learn so much from him. The question Swamiji asked from the very beginning is: why did this happen? It's actually easy to penalise but it's much harder to transform.

Why did Swamiji's attacker think it was okay to do what he did? How can we reframe the narrative to bring about peace? So for sadhana our message is twofold: to denounce the hatred and the bigotry because for us the same divinity resides equally in all of us and we also have to embrace Swamiji's compassionate perspective recognizing even in this man who attacked Swamiji, is a person who deserves our compassion. So we will build a platform for truth and justice and fight hard against those forces that divide but our platform, since we are a people of deep faith, is to have room and compassion and forgiveness for the misguided ones among us. And as was invoked by previous speakers, there were those who lived by these tenets - Martin Luther King Jr. , Mahatma Gandhi. They often paid with their lives.

We have to think how do we push beyond the traditional forms of justice and shift towards transformative justice, so people see the roots of the violence and we can change that. Can we imagine a world in which peace prevails? I think we can and we can create that world together and we must acknowledge that there's a struggle between good and evil that's a struggle within every single one of us. So before we denounce another for a crime, we also have to recognize in ourselves that struggle between good and evil and Swamiji is on that path. And so when I was thinking last night about Swamiji, I was thinking about a bhajan that I hold dear to my heart.

It's called Vaishnava jana to, and it goes like this:

Vaishnava jana to tene kahiyeji peedh pariyi jane re

So who is a Vaishnav? A Vaishnav is someone who empathizes with others, feels the pain of others and helps anyone in (need). (When) I think about Swamiji, I think about a Vaishnav. And, at the same time, we're calling on the NYPD to take this matter seriously, as we know you are, bringing swift justice to the matter, see it for what it is, and to, you know, connect with Swamiji in the temple every step of the way. Before I close I just wanted to ask everyone to repeat after me:

We are one. [Repeated by others: We are one.] We are one. [Repeated by others: We are one.] We are one. [Repeated by others: We are one.]

Thank you and Namaste!
----

Time: (Around) 31:08
NY Senator Liu: I want to thank (Sanay Sanji?) from Congress member Grace Meng's office (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Meng, https://meng.house.gov/) for being here. I want to thank (Howard Polik?) representing New York City Council Speaker Cory Johnson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corey_Johnson_(politician)) for being here.
(Susan Seinfeld?) also a district leader in this area. Swami (Nithyananda?). Thank you very much Swami. And also Chaya CDC (http://chhayacdc.org/) and representatives of the New York City Human Rights Commission (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/index.page).

We're gonna hear from Swami. You know, Swami doesn't actually have a lot of words to say. He does have some things to say but I just want to say that look, a lot of people have already expressed the very simple notion that this is about forgiveness, not about outrage. I'll be the first to admit when I heard of this thing last week - to know that somebody had attacked a religious leader right in our community, someone who I happen to know very well, who's the very diametric opposite of hate and violence - to see somebody like this attacked, your blood boils. You are outraged, enraged and you want something done. But then I came to see this Swami and he just looks at you.

So what's the matter? Try to find out what happened and we can forgive this person and that has been his message all along. He's here, not to talk about the details of his attack and it was very vicious. Not to talk about anything bad but to first and foremost thank the community for the incredible outpouring of support and to send a strong message of conciliation, of forgiveness, of pardon and in fact that's what he is about. That is what this temple is about. I dare say that is what our community is about. Swami Puriji
----

Time: 33:09

Swami Harish Chander Puri (the English translations below are mine (Ravi's)):
Hindi: Sabse pehle Bhagavan ka Dhanyavaad karta hun.

[English: First of all, I thank God (Lord Almighty).]

Hindi: Aur John Liu, aur hamare (senators), (councillors), Attorney General, jitne bhi officer hai, jitne bhi aaye hue patrakar, TV channel, sabka mai dhanyavaad karta hun.

[English: I thank John Liu, our senators, our councillors, Attorney General, all the (government) officers here, all the reporters who have come here and TV channels, I thank all.]

Hindi: Sabse pehle main dhanyavaad us mai ka karta hun, us woman ka jisne phone karke police ko bulaya.

[English: First of all, I want to thank the mother, the woman who phoned up the police and asked them to come.]

Hindi : And police ka bhi dhanyavaad, sare New York police ka.

[English: And I thank the police, all the New York police.]

Hindi: Aur aaj jo ham sab ikkatthe hue hain, yeh hamari family hain, jo hamare shastron me - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - sari family ek jaisi hain. Isse pata lagta hain ki ham sab log ek hai.

[English: And today that we all have gathered, this is our family. In our scripture (it is said) - 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' - the world is one family, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasudhaiva_Kutumbakam. All the family is like one (united). From this, we come to know that we all are one.]

Hindi: Bhagavan se prarthana karta hun ki sabka kalyan ho. Sab sukhi rahein, aanand mein rahein. Aur hamara yeh jo desh hai - America - sab prakar se surakshit rahe. Aur aise logon se savadhan rahein. Bhagavan unhe sukh de.

[English: I pray to God for welfare of all. May all be happy, be joyous. And this, our country - America - may it be protected in all ways. And may we be vigilant against such people (like the attacker). May God give him (attacker) happiness.]

Hindi: Sabka dhanyavaad. Namaskar.
[English: Thanks to everybody. Namaskar (Salutations).]

[Applause]

--- Question & answer part is skipped ---

[I thank CBS New York and all the speakers whose remarks have been shared above in a slightly edited form, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me doing so, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this matter deals with protecting social well being in Queens Hindu (and other minority) communities, in New York City, New York, USA.]

Full contents of Facebook post  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2548349405381621 dated 21st July 2019, referenced above:

A Hindu priest was attacked in New York, congresswoman says, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/21/us/new-york-hindu-priest-attacked/index.html

This article has an embedded video interview of the Hindu priest: Hindu priest brutally attacked near Queens temple, https://pix11.com/2019/07/19/hindu-priest-brutally-attacked-near-queens-temple/, 19th July 2019

The CNN article states: "Investigators do not believe there is a hate crime component connected at this point, the second NYPD spokesperson said. The arrest paperwork states the dispute stemmed over the victim walking in the suspect's neighborhood, another police department spokesperson said."

The CNN article also quotes Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York as saying, "I commend the NYPD for making a swift arrest in this case and I'm confident that justice will be served. I stand with the Hindu community and wish the victim a full recovery".

Ravi: I have visited Queens, New York many times in the 1980s as it had an Indian owned shop that sold dual voltage (110 V and 220 V) electronics goods. That allowed us to use the same electronics item in USA as well as in India. I think Queens had a Hindu temple even then and had Indian restaurants too. I don't recall whether I visited a Hindu temple in Queens then - I was not into devotion (Bhakti) then but I was respectful of the devotional faith of others.

So this horrible incident is something that I can relate to, to some extent. I find it deeply disturbing that the 62 year old Hindu priest was viciously attacked in this way. But I will not jump to the conclusion that this is a religious hate crime till that gets established by concerned USA law enforcement agencies.

I admire the Hindu priest for saying that he is praying for his attacker. I hope we come to know the truth about this case. The person arrested by the police for this attack is Sergio Gouveia, 52 years old.

My prayers for early recovery from his injuries for the Hindu priest.

I request readers that no comments be made about Mr. Trump and his statements and policies on this post.

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sanathana Sarathi May 2019: Elsie Cowan's article, "Life and joy for all" gives very interesting details of Walter Cowan's resurrection

Last updated on 22nd July 2019

The resurrection of Walter Cowan is a well known incident among Sathya Sai devotees. Here is the article on it from John Hislop's My Baba and I book, put up on SSSCT website: http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pages/Devotees_Experiences/Resurrection_WalterCowan.htm.

I had read the above article (in John Hislop's book). But I don't think I had read (or do not recall it) Elsie Cowan's version of the miracle. I found Elsie Cowan's article to be straight-forward. I get the impression that (in the article) she is just "telling it like it is".

Elsie Cowan writes that (in December 1971) her husband Walter Cowan collapsed in their hotel room in Madras (Chennai now) and that an eminent doctor who had been brought in to examine him, declared him (Walter Cowan) dead. An ambulance was called to take Mr. Cowan to a hospital where the hospital doctor also declared him dead, and Mr. Cowan was covered with a sheet with cotton wool put in his ears and nostrils. Note that Elsie Cowan had not accompanied Mr. Cowan to the hospital (she seems to have felt that it was divine will and that Mr. Cowan had reached Bhagavan's feet).

Accompanied by another person, Mrs. Cowan went to have Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's darshan. Bhagavan told Mrs. Cowan, "Walter lives". Mrs. Cowan was spellbound! Bhagavan further said, "Go back to the hospital. I will come at ten o'clock."

When Mrs. Cowan reached the hospital, she found Walter Cowan to be alive! Mrs. Cowan writes in this article, 'Though I couldn't understand it, I wasn't surprised. Because, when Baba said, "Walter lives", I believed it absolutely. His words had produced such a strong faith that I could not think of death at all in connection with Walter. Baba told me later: "It was your faith in Me and My words that held the healing; it was through that faith that I could reach him"'.

Baba came to the hospital at ten o'clock and rubbed Walter's chest and back. Mrs. Cowan writes that then there was more life in Walter.

Now, interestingly, some time after Baba left, the hospital doctor came into the room and told Mrs. Cowan, "He can't live. He is dead. I will go with you and take the body away. I have the necessary permit."

Mrs. Cowan got angry with the doctor and rebuffed him. The doctor eventually went out.

Walter Cowan took a lot of time to recover. Mrs. Cowan writes that he died three times. She then writes, 'Each time, as soon as I cried out, "Baba, Baba, Baba, Walter is going", Baba stood there, in the hospital room, before me, and brought Walter back, by rubbing his chest and back. Walter was discharged from the hospital after twenty-two days. He was able to walk down the stairs'.

Ravi: It is wonderful to read Mrs. Elsie Cowan's account of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba bringing back life to Mr. Walter Cowan, and that being due to the deep faith she had in Bhagavan. Deep faith in Bhagavan provided the environment for the miracle to happen!

The Sanathana Sarathi article states that it is excerpted from "Miracles of Divine Love - Volume 1".
====================================================

Walter Cowan speaks about his account in this video: https://vimeo.com/83246106, 5 min. 25 secs. Elsie Cowan speaks only a little in this video.

[I thank Sanathana Sarathi and the author & publisher of "Miracles of Divine Love - Volume 1" and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract(s) from their article on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sanathana Sarathi May 2019: Swami Atmashraddhananda on individual emancipation and welfare of the world

Yesterday night I enjoyed reading this article: "INDIVIDUAL EMANCIPATION AND WELFARE OF THE WORLD" by Swami Atmashraddhananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Kolkata, in the May 2019 print issue of Sanathana Sarathi.

This is the first part of a two part article (2nd part is carried in the June 2019 issue) based on a talk delivered by Swami Atmashraddhananda in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) on 10th June 2018.

The article (first part), IMHO, is a superb articulation of Hindu core beliefs and value system, that I was exposed to in my readings on spirituality & Hinduism in my youth in and around Mumbai from late 1970s to early 1990s (prior to coming to know about Sathya Sai). Note that I have read many books published by Ramakrishna Math and/or Ramakrishna Mission, and have visited their Khar centre in Mumbai, a few times.

I strongly recommend that readers interested in these matters should read this article, if they have not read it already.

I thought I should also share the key concepts touched upon by the Swami in this article (first article), and use related extracts from wikipedia sources.

The Swami first talks of "Atmanomokshartham jagathitayacha". Given below are some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmano_mokshartham_jagat_hitaya_cha (Ravi: I am not sure about the shloka being from the Rig Veda; it could be based on some shloka in the Rig Veda):

Atmano mokshartham jagat hitaya cha (translation: for the salvation of our individual self and for the well-being of all on earth) is a sloka of the Rig Veda.[1] Vivekananda would often use it and it became the motto of the Ramakrishna Mission that he founded in 1897 and the related Ramakrishna Math.[2][1][3]

The motto suggests twofold aim of human life— one is to seek salvation for one’s soul and the other is to address the issue of welfare of the world.[1]

...

The dictum has two messages. One is to seek salvation for one’s soul and the other is to address the issue of welfare of the world.[1] This motto also cements the two divergent and obvious aspects of ‘atman’ (soul) and ‘jagat hitaya’ (service to humanity) which are to be achieved by one’s own efforts.[4] To achieve this, constant human effort is a requisite not only for one’s own salvation but also for providing service to the humanity at large.[5]

This theme was enunciated by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to a query by Swami Vivekananda for personal liberation. Ramakrishna then admonished Vivekananda saying that he expected him to personify the huge Banyan tree, which not only provided shade but also solace to the people. This direction of Ramakrishna resulted in Vivekananda creating the two institutions - the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission - which were open to all class of people irrespective of their caste and creed. The objective of the two institutions was defined as "Atmano Mokshartham Jagat Hitaya Cha - For the emancipation of one's self and the good of the universe", which became the raison d'etre of the Ramakrishna Order.[6] This motto coined by Vivekananda does not have any overtones of proselytizing but it is a philosophy which helps in its adoption by people of all faiths.[7]

[Wiki References]
1. Singh 2005, p. 71. [Singh, Karan (1 January 2005). Hinduism. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84557-425-3.]
2. "IDEOLOGY of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission" [https://web.archive.org/web/20131004213350/http://www.belurmath.org/Ideology.htm]. Ramakrishna Mission. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
3. Sarvabhutananda 2012, p. 30. [Sarvabhutananda, Swami (2012). Ramakrishna Movement. Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. ISBN 81-87332-38-7.]
4. Nanjundiah 2007, p. 6. [Nanjundiah, M. S. (2007). A Spiritual Centre Blossoms: Ramakrishna Math, Bangalore, First 100 Years--1904-2004. Ramakrishna Math. ISBN 978-81-7907-054-3.]
5. Vanamali 1998, p. 1. [Vanamali, Vanamali (1 January 1998). Gurudeva Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Maharaj, reigning Pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. Aryan Books International. ISBN 978-81-7305-155-5.]
6. "Philosophy of the Ramakrishna Order". [http://www.rkmpune.org/rk_order/rkm_philo.html] Ramakrishna Math, Pune. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
7. Nanjundiah 2007, p. 11. [Nanjundiah, M. S. (2007). A Spiritual Centre Blossoms: Ramakrishna Math, Bangalore, First 100 Years--1904-2004. Ramakrishna Math. ISBN 978-81-7907-054-3.]

--- end wiki extracts ---

The Swami mentions the Sthula (gross) body, Sukshma (subtle) body and Karana (causal) body belief. Given below are extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Bodies_Doctrine

According to Sarira Traya, the Doctrine of the Three bodies in Hinduism, the human being is composed of three sariras or "bodies" emanating from Brahman by avidya, "ignorance" or "nescience". They are often equated with the five koshas (sheaths), which cover the atman. The Three Bodies Doctrine is an essential doctrine in Indian philosophy and religion, especially Yoga, Advaita Vedanta and Tantra.
...
Karana sarira or the causal body is merely the cause[1] or seed of the subtle body and the gross body. It has no other function than being the seed of the subtle and the gross body.[2] It is nirvikalpa rupam, "undifferentiated form".[2] It originates with avidya, "ignorance" or "nescience" of the real identity of the atman, instead giving birth to the notion of jiva.
...
Sukshma sarira or the subtle body is the body of the mind and the vital energies, which keep the physical body alive. Together with the causal body it is the transmigrating soul or jiva, separating from the gross body upon death.
...
Sthula sarira or the gross body is the material physical mortal body that eats, breathes and moves (acts). It is composed of many diverse components, produced by one’s karmas (actions) in past life out of the elements which have undergone panchikarana i.e. combining of the five primordial subtle elements.

[Wiki References]
1. Sharma 2006, p. 193. [Sharma, Arvind (2006), A Primal Perspective on the philosophy of Religion, Springer, ISBN 9781402050145]
2. Bahder & Bahder 2013. [Bahder, Paul; Bahder, Carol (2013), Be Free From "Me": Vedanta Notes, Vision of Vedanta]

--- end wiki extracts ---

The Swami covers Purusharthas. Given below are extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puru%E1%B9%A3%C4%81rtha

Puruṣārtha (Sanskrit: पुरुषार्थ) literally means an "object of human pursuit".[1] It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values).[2][3]

[Wiki References]
1. puruSArtha [http://spokensanskrit.org/] Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany
2. (Flood 1996, p. 17) [Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.], (Olivelle 1993, pp. 216–219) [Olivelle, Patrick (1993). The Āśrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508327-X.]; Cf. also (Apte 1965, p. 626) [Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965). The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-0567-4. (fourth revised & enlarged edition).]; (Hopkins 1971, p. 78) [Hopkins, Thomas J. (1971). The Hindu Religious Tradition. Cambridge: Dickenson Publishing Company, Inc.]
3. M Hiriyanna (2000), Philosophy of Values, in Indian Philosophy: Theory of value (Editor: Roy Perrett), Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8153-3612-9, pages 1–10
--- end wiki extracts ---

Swami Atmashraddhananda also talks about Antahkarana. Given below are extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antahkarana :

In Vedāntic literature, this antahkaraṇa (internal organ) is organised into four parts:[2]

Ahamkāra (ego) – identifies the Atman (self) with the body as 'I'
Buddhi (intellect) – controls decision making
Manas (mind) – controls sankalpa (will or resolution)
Chitta (memory) – deals with remembering and forgetting

[Wiki References]
2. "Antahkarana - Yoga (definition)". [https://en.mimi.hu/yoga/antahkarana.html] En.mimi.hu. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Towards the end of the (first) article based on talk of Swami Atmashraddhananda, there is mention of mystic side, e.g. hearing a divine sound or seeing a divine vision, being very personal and private. Manifestation of this, [Ravi: if genuine], in day-to-day life is that the person "will become more unselfish, his focus on the little self of himself will shift, he will become more and more identified with others because the real Self within us is not multiple, it is singular. The consciousness that is present in all of us, the divinity that is present in all of us, is not multiple; it is only singular. What is the Self in me is also the Self in others. So, naturally when a person grows spiritually, he becomes more and more unselfish, and concerned about others' welfare. This spiritual growth of a person leads him to Moksha, the ultimate goal of human life."

Ravi: I tried to see on youtube whether this talk of Swami Atmashraddhananda was available but I could not find it in my search attempts. Readers who want to get an idea of how this Swami speaks and looks may view this video: What is Self-Knowledge?: Insights from Katha Upanishad by Swami Atmashraddhananda (delivered on 25th April 2019 at IIT Madras), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AN4nlT20Jg, around an hour, published by Vivekananda Study Circle. The Swami can be seen from around 1 min. 20 seconds into the video.

[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. I also thank Sanathana Sarathi for the small extract from the article given at the end of the post, and have presumed they will have no objections to it.]

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Part autobio paperback book (6 in. x 9 in.) is now available on amazon.in

The paperback version of my part autobiography book in 6 in. x 9 in. size is now available on amazon.in for Rs.285 + shipping here: https://www.amazon.in/Autobiography-Indian-Software-Spiritual-Aspirant/dp/1645874087.

Notion Press self-publishing platform sells it on amazon.in. It also sells it on its own store at the same price here: https://notionpress.com/read/autobiography-of-an-indian-software-techie-and-spiritual-aspirant-part-1-1325351.

This is mainly the same book content (text and pictures) as available at Pothi.com in A5 size: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-autobiography-indian-software-techie-and-spiritual-aspirant-%E2%80%93-part-1, for Rs.265 + shipping.

Pothi.com's shipping charges seem to be slightly more than Notion Press, and so the final cost of the book is almost the same, whether one buys from Pothi.com or Notion Press/amazon.in.

It was possible for me to use two self-publishing platforms for the same book and same edition (first) but with different sizes (A5 and 6in.x9in.), as I have a non-exclusive agreement with the two self-publishing platforms. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Part autobio paperback (A5 size) first edition allotted ISBN 978-93-5382-255-2 (9789353822552)

The first edition of my paperback (A5 size) book, "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant - Part 1" has been allotted on 16th July 2019, an ISBN as follows:

ISBN with hyphens: 978-93-5382-255-2
ISBN without hyphens: 9789353822552

To see ISBN entry in isbn.gov.in (issuing Indian govt. agency) go to isbn.gov.in and click on "Recently Published Books" link.

In "Recently Published Books" page, there is a search criteria box at the top. Specify ISBN number (with or without hyphens) of this book and click on Submit to get the Search results. The Search results should show this book's ISBN entry details.

Note that Book Title in isbn.gov.in form does not allow - character and so this book's Title in ISBN entry does not have - character. But Description field has the proper title with - character ("Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant - Part 1").

Given below is a pic showing the isbn.gov.in Search results for this ISBN entry.

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



I have updated the paperback book in Pothi.com sale page: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-autobiography-indian-software-techie-and-spiritual-aspirant-%E2%80%93-part-1, to have ISBN number in the Title-Verso page and also show the ISBN barcode in the back cover page. I have added the Pothi.com logo and price at which the book is sold on Pothi.com, to the back cover page. Given below is a pic of the current back cover page.



For more about the book including download links and paperback sale page(s), please visit: https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/p/autobiography-of-indian-software-techie.html.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sathya Sai as spiritual teacher in full flow in 1996 Gurupurnima video clip

Sathya Sai as the spritual teacher can be seen in full flow in this video clip: Sathya Sai Baba Discourse - Gurupurnima 30th July 1996 Pt - 7, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAx0nIzqsxs, 9 min. 15 secs. The clip has English sub-titles besides the on-the-spot English translation of Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju.

I came to the Lotus Feet of Sathya Sai in the early to mid 1990s. Like many others, I have personally experienced, live, the power and force of discourses of his like the clip above. What an awesome spiritual teacher Sathya Sai in living form was!

Oh how blessed we are to have experienced Sathya Sai, the spiritual teacher! God taking form as the Avatar Sathya Sai to show mankind the way to live in these times while progressing spiritually towards merger in Godhead!

How well he teaches about various sects (like Vaishnavites & Shaivites) and various religions, being just different paths to the same God! Truly, Sathya Sai was an amazingly inspiring spiritual teacher.

I offer my pranams (obeisance) and love to my beloved and revered Gurudev, Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on this holy day of Gurupurnima.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Indian self-publishing platform companies like Pothi and Notion Press are doing great service to the nation through their very affordable book publication services

I now have two paperback books (both being associated, at least in part, with spirituality) which have been self-published using Pothi (pothi.com) in A5 size and will very soon have the same two books in 6 in. x 9 in. size, self-published using Notion Press (notionpress.com). I think that Pothi (pothi.com) and Notion Press (notionpress.com) are doing terrific work! Great service to society if you ask me, as these Print-On-Demand self-publishing platforms with a free Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option, provide a platform for writers and knowledge-sharers to very affordably provide a way for interested persons to buy printed copies of their writings/knowledge-sharings. I think that contributes significantly to more ideas and more knowledge being available to those who are interested.

The key point about Print-On-Demand is that the book author/self-publisher does not have to invest in ordering and storing hundreds of copies of his/her book, and also worry about selling those copies. With self-publishing platforms like Pothi and Notion Press, the author's book is put up on the web store of these companies, and users can directly buy the books from that web store. Additionally, sometimes for a fee, the books can also be sold on major Internet stores like amazon.in and flipkart.com.

Of course, some books may not be of interest and may vanish into oblivion over time. But that's how it is. Time is the great test of what ideas, what creative literature and what knowledge survives, perhaps with some modifications, over time.

Europe surged ahead of the rest of the world with inventions like Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in the 1430s, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press#Gutenberg's_press. That made it possible for knowledge, creative literature, information etc. to be shared with literate people far more easily than earlier.

As far as I know, India (or rather various Indian kingdoms then) was mainly into palm leaves, copper plate and other metal plates, or stone inscriptions as a way to preserve and transmit knowledge/information other than verbal knowledge transmission processes, till the Europeans brought the printing press into India as they were trading with India and later as they colonized parts and later whole of India. The Chinese were into printing on cloth prior to the Europeans but I don't think India was into printing on cloth then, or at least not in a significant way.

To just show what an impact Gutenberg's press had on Europe and how it contributed to Europe's transformation as a powerhouse of knowledge and learning and science & technology ..., here's an extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press :

A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.[1][2]

Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed, circa 1439, a printing system by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes, as well as making inventions of his own. Printing in East Asia had been prevalent since the Tang dynasty,[3][4] and in Europe, woodblock printing based on existing screw presses was common by the 14th century. Gutenberg's most important innovation was the development of hand-molded metal printing matrices, thus producing a movable type–based printing press system. His newly devised hand mould made possible the precise and rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities. Movable type had been hitherto unknown in Europe. In Europe, the two inventions, the hand mould and the printing press, together drastically reduced the cost of printing books and other documents, particularly in short print runs.

The printing press spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries.[5] By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had already produced more than twenty million volumes.[5] In the 16th century, with presses spreading further afield, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies.[5] The operation of a press became synonymous with the enterprise of printing, and lent its name to a new medium of expression and communication, "the press".[6]

In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication, which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities. The sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its peoples led to the rise of proto-nationalism, and accelerated by the development of European vernacular languages, to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca.[7] In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale.[8]
...
[Wiki References:]

1. For example, in 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium Archived 10 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine; the same did four prominent US journalists in their 1998 resume 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking The Men and Women Who Shaped The Millennium Archived 3 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Johann Gutenberg entry of the Catholic Encyclopedia describes his invention as having made a practically unparalleled cultural impact in the Christian era.

2. McLuhan 1962 [McLuhan, Marshall (1962), The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1st ed.), University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0-8020-6041-9]; Eisenstein 1980 [Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. (1980), The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-29955-8]; Febvre & Martin 1997 [Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1997), The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800, London: Verso, ISBN 978-1-85984-108-2]; Man 2002 [Man, John (2002), The Gutenberg Revolution: The Story of a Genius and an Invention that Changed the World, London: Headline Review, ISBN 978-0-7472-4504-9]

3. Tsien Tsuen-Hsuin; Joseph Needham (1985). Paper and Printing. Science and Civilisation in China. 5 part 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 158, 201.

4. Briggs, Asa and Burke, Peter (2002). A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet, Polity, Cambridge, pp.15–23, 61–73.

5. Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1976): "The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800", London: New Left Books, quoted in: Anderson, Benedict: "Comunidades Imaginadas. Reflexiones sobre el origen y la difusión del nacionalismo", Fondo de cultura económica, Mexico 1993, ISBN 978-968-16-3867-2, pp. 58f.

6. Weber 2006 [Weber, Johannes (2006), "Strassburg, 1605: The Origins of the Newspaper in Europe", German History, 24 (3): 387–412, doi:10.1191/0266355406gh380oa], p. 387:
At the same time, then, as the printing press in the physical, technological sense was invented, 'the press' in the extended sense of the word also entered the historical stage. The phenomenon of publishing was born.

7. Anderson, Benedict: Comunidades Imaginadas. Reflexiones sobre el origen y la difusión del nacionalismo, Fondo de cultura económica, Mexico 1993, ISBN 978-968-16-3867-2, pp. 63–76

8. Gerhardt 1978 [Gerhardt, Claus W. (1978), "Besitzt Gutenbergs Erfindung heute noch einen Wert?", Gutenberg-Jahrbuch: 212–217], p. 217

--- end extract from wikipedia ---

Ravi: While I have not researched this in depth, I am quite sure that Gutenberg's printing press (inventions prior to it helped it to develop to that stage) and his hand mould invention, were absolutely vital inventions in bringing about the transformation of Europe into a powerhouse of knowledge, science & technology and so military power, thereby making Europe the dominant force in world affairs for a few centuries later on, till the end of World War II in the mid twentieth century. Asia which had been the dominant power prior to that got completely overwhelmed by European power!

Now Asia is re-emerging as a world power continent.

Knowledge and easy transmission of knowledge are absolutely vital necessities for a country to become a knowledge-power. I think self-publishing platforms like Pothi (pothi.com) and Notion Press (notionpress.com) are doing a great job in enabling knowledge to be shared easily via very affordable ways of self-publishing books using Print-On-Demand approach. That's a terrific contribution to the nation, IMHO. I am not saying this lightly. I mean it. I was a part of the Information Technology field in India whose work ***in the private sector*** especially from the 80s contributed significantly to making India a rising or re-emerging power in the world. So I am not just talking in the air :-).

All the best to folks at Pothi and Notion Press! Keep up the good work!

[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.]

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Awesome dance performance about Sathyam Shivam Sundaram by young girl for Sony Super Dancer 3 show

Some days back a Facebook correspondent had passed me a video of a young girl doing an awesome dance with the audio background being a part of Sathyam Shivam Sundaram Hindi film song, and then some sentences about Shiva and Shakti.

Here's a youtube clip of it, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD1IFxBbuJg. But it has been put up by an individual and NOT Sony, so it may get blocked for copyright in future. As per this Hindi language report on the dance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJKlLqXUGR8, around 3 mins, the dance was part of Super Dancer Chapter 3 of Sony. The young girl dancing is Jayshree Gogoi and the event was on 9th June 2019. Zeenat Aman was invited as a guest and was seated with the panel of judges. More on Zeenat Aman later in this post.

Here's a clip of the Sathyam Shivam Sundaram Hindi film song audio with English meaning and with the video being different from the Hindi film song. From around 5 min. 20 secs, the video has some philosophical stuff not directly related to the song and can be ignored. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3I4LUExFRo

I request readers who have not seen the original Hindi film song video, to see the above video first before seeing the original Hindi film song video given below. I do not want to cloud such readers' minds with the Bollywood video part right away, which essentially plays to the gallery (as they need to make money). The song audio is awesome with a lot of wonderful meaning.

So now here's the Bollywood video. Note that in reality I doubt there would be any village in India where a scantily clad lady is allowed to clean the temple of Shiva, Rama and Krishna every morning. I mean, that would be a big scandal. ... But this is a movie and so the imagination runs wild.

The singer is the Great Lata Mangeshkar and the lyricist is Pandit Narendra Sharma. The heroine is Zeenat Aman (a Muslim in real life, BTW) and the movie was released in 1978 - Sathyam Shivam Sundaram. It was a big hit song then, I remember.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdU3qP5EYoY . Note that the same Zeenat Aman is seated with the judges (she is in an off-white dress) for Jayshree Gogoi's Sony Super Dancer 3 contest program in 2019, over 40 years after the Hindi movie was released.
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Link below shows the same song played by an orchestra around 2015 (around 37 years after the movie release). The video part of the movie song has faded in memories of most people, I think. But the audio lives on as the words of the song are uplifting and sacred. This orchestra performance is good I think as the singer sings the song with great singing ability and emotion and is backed by a good music team.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram by Vaishali Made Live Music Show - Hemantkumar Musical Group, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RJPTec2CKo, 6 min. 23 secs, published in Aug 2015 with over 7.5 million views so far. The youtube video description gives the Hindi lyrics in Latin (English) script and in Hindi.

From around 1 min 29 secs in the Sony Super Dancer 3 video of the girl doing the awesome dance, some words are spoken in Hindi. Given below are those Hindi words and the English translation.

Main hi Shankar. [I am Shankar (a name of Lord Shiva)]
Main hi Parvathi. [I am Parvathi (name of Goddess Parvathi, consort of Lord Shiva)]
Main hi Purush. [I am the male.]
Main hi Stri. [I am the female.]
Main hi Shiv. [I am Shiv (Lord Shiva)]
Main hi Shakti. [I am Shakti (Goddess Shakti symbolizing primordial energy).]
Main Vinashak. [I am the destroyer (Lord Shiva is viewed in some scenarios as the destroyer).]
Main Prakriti. [I am creation/nature (creative force that manifests as creation/nature).]
Aur ye mera ruup - Ardhnaari Nateshwar. [And this is my form - Half-woman Nateshwar (Lord of dancers).]
--- end Hindi words & translation ---

Ravi: The message, as I understand it, is about Lord Shiva encompassing within himself/herself: masculine and feminine, primordial **creative** energy and destructive power, and being half-man & half-woman who is the Lord of the dance of creation, sustenance (for a period) & destruction of the world we experience.

In my experience of Prasanthi Nilayam when Sathya Sai was in physical form, Shivarathri was easily the most powerful spiritual-power function of the year. The entire focus of that function was on Sathya Sai's spiritual power as Shiva aspect.

BTW I am a Shaivite, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaivism, by family tradition. So I have been very fascinated and also had many questions about Shiva aspect of Swami (Sathya Sai), and Shiva worship in general. The following posts share information about views of others' and my views based on my readings & my experience of Swami, about Shiva worship. Don't feel obliged to read or browse through them 🙂. Only if you, dear reader, can spare the time, you can have a look at them:

1) Sathya Sai Baba Lingodhbhavam and his views on Shiva Linga worship, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/10/sathya-sai-baba-lingodhbhavam-and-his.html

2) Harvard Prof. Diana Eck on Shiva Linga worship, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/10/harvard-prof-diana-eck-on-shiva-linga.html

3) Initial part of the post covers Shiva Linga worship, so readers may want to read only that part and skip the rest: Comment exchange on Shiva Lingam, European Christianity, Syro-Malabar Indian Christians and USA Evangelical Christians, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/07/my-comments-on-shiva-lingam.html
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Friday, July 5, 2019

Part autobio ebook first edition, 2nd revision, allotted ISBN 978-93-5382-135-7 (9789353821357)

The First edition, 2nd revision of my ebook, "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant - Part 1" has been allotted an ISBN (different from ISBN for First edition), as follows:

ISBN with hyphens: 978-93-5382-135-7
ISBN without hyphens: 9789353821357

To see ISBN entry in isbn.gov.in (issuing Indian govt. agency) go to isbn.gov.in and click on "Recently Published Books" link.

In "Recently Published Books" page, there is a search criteria box at the top. Specify ISBN number (with or without hyphens) of this book and click on Submit to get the Search results. The Search results should show this book's ISBN entry details.

Note that Book Title in isbn.gov.in form does not allow - character and so this book Title in ISBN entry does not have - character. But Description field has the proper title with - character ("Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant - Part 1").

Given below is a pic showing the isbn.gov.in Search results for this ISBN entry.

[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.]



For more about the book including download links and paperback sale pages, please visit: https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/p/autobiography-of-indian-software-techie.html.

Note that isbn.gov.in advised me in an email that ISBN for First edition of ebook cannot be used for First edition, 2nd revision of ebook. Therefore I applied for a new ISBN for the latter which was allotted to me promptly, in a few days time, by isbn.gov.in.