Saturday, August 31, 2019

Very disappointed to see search results for Sathya Sai Baba in National Digital Library of India

Last updated on 3rd Sept. 2019

I request interested readers to do this search themselves by visiting the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) website, https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/.

Note that this is funded by Union government of India and seems to be the premier digital library of India.

I had hoped to see entries on well known Sathya Sai literature like Sathya Sai Speaks Volumes, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram Volumes, various Vahinis etc. Yes, these digital books may get accessed only through Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) and sister trust (e.g. Sadhana Trust) owned and operated websites for copyright purposes. But, ideally, NDLI should have entries that directs the user to these ebooks on SSSCT and sister trust owned websites.

Instead we get very few books on Sathya Sai teachings and philosophy. The top result is a Ph.D. thesis submission titled, "PEACE PHILOSOPHY OF SATHYA SAI BABA "! Now it is good to see such Ph.D. thesis on Sathya Sai but I would have liked that to be 100th or beyond result for a general search on Sathya Sai Baba!

Some Mathematics research paper by an SSSIHL faculty that is dedicated to Bhagavan is listed as the 3rd result. But the research paper is on Mathematics!

And I am very disappointed to see my part autobiography book listed as the 25th result! It should have been somewhere after 1000th result! My book description mentions "From around 1993/1994 Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Dombivli Sathya Sai samithi become central spiritual influences." So the search is listing it. But it does not have Sathya Sai in the title.

My book is appearing as the 25th result simply because books authored by Sathya Sai and having Sathya Sai in its title, seem to be few in NDLI database.

Having a more elaborate search term like:
Sathya Sai Baba Upanishad Vahini
does not improve matters. I find this to be so disappointing!

I hope somebody in suitable position in SSSCT or sister trusts does something about ensuring good coverage of Sathya Sai authored books and important books on Sathya Sai by others, in key digital libraries of the country like NDLI.
================================

Given below are some comments of mine from Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2581888802027681, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks for the valuable info. --name-snipped-- sir. SSSCT and sister trusts involved with publication of Sathya Sai literature should contact NDLI through appropriate channels (just an email won't do), and request that links to free Sathya Sai literature on SSSCT & sister trust websites, be added to NDLI database. ... But .... Jai Sai Ram!
---
But I don't think in India, there is such a law relating to depositing few copies of books published with a particular national library. I may be wrong, but I have not come across that. And I don't think it applies to self-publishers as I am now a self-publisher with ISBN numbers allotted to me by Indian govt. agency for ISBN, http://isbn.gov.in .. Searching for my name as the publisher in this website lists my books. Clicking on 'Recently Published Books' link leads you to the search form.
----

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
This is search in what I think is a premier digital library of India and NOT the Internet in general. Digital Libraries will have mechanisms to filter out junk/garbage. Internet Search, in general, does not have effective mechanisms of that sort.
----

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
Oh! I am not so exposed to management of library systems in academia or large non-academic libraries. I have only been a user of such libraries. .... I was not aware that you had studied oriental philosophy in an academic setup. Hmm. ... Perhaps you may be right that there are some biases that are common to Internet searches and library searches. I think you know more about this than me. Thanks for your valuable info. and views.
-----

In response to a comment, I wrote:
At least in libraries in India, it would be good if lit-survey on Sai's teachings using search facility, provides proper results. ... I really don't know much about how library systems do their searches. I guess they would use search engines and algorithms that are similar to that used on the Internet, but made available for use on private networks. I think SSSIHL (Sai university) used something like that in the latter part of my stint there.
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My 1978 SSC (Xth standard) school class pic and related stuff

Last updated on 5th Nov. 2019

https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2577467012469860, dated 26th Aug. 2019 shares my Cardinal Gracias High School, Bandra East, Mumbai - SSC - 1977-1978 Batch class picture Facebook post of a classmate. [Original Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1303074752985&set=a.1303074712984, dated 25th Feb. 2011].

Note that SSC stood (and perhaps continues to stand) for Secondary School Certificate (Exam). It corresponded to the tenth (X) class and was the last class in the school system (from 1st class to Xth class). We would be leaving the school after passing this exam with most of us moving on to (junior) college (different institution as our school then did not offer junior college education). The Xth class SSC exam was a state education board held exam and evaluation whereas all previous classes were school held exam and evaluation.

I have given below a slightly cropped and rotated pic of it. Note that the resolution of the pic and/or the clarity of the original pic is low. The original pic would have been taken sometime in April 1978 in all probability. I was 15 years old then running 16.




Given below is my post content (slightly edited):

My Cardinal Gracias school & class mate, --Name-snipped--, had shared our class pic of 1978 (SSC passing out batch) in 2011. I found it recently while searching on Facebook, if I recall correctly, for Cardinal Gracias related search terms.

I guess I should be in this pic somewhere but I am not able to identify myself. The faces are not so clear.

Update: --Name-snipped-- says I am the chap in the 3rd row (row of boys just above row of girls), 3rd from left of the row. I think that face seems to be the closest (among all other guys pics) to what I may have been looking then. But I am still not hundred per cent sure as the face is not clear.

Further Update: My elder sister (elder by nearly 10 years) confirms that I am the above 3rd row chap. That seals it for me!

The full school name is Cardinal Gracias High School and is located in Bandra East, Mumbai.
---- end post content ---

Readers may want to read the comments on the post, for slightly more information about the class pic.

Here's the school website, https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/ and wiki page:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Gracias_High_School.

The pic below is a cut-out from the class pic of the boy identified as me (very low resolution and so not clear):



Given below is an autograph I had signed for my class mate then (April 1978, in all probability). Please excuse my scrawly handwriting. The pic has been edited to whiten out my class mate's name. Even today, usually my handwriting is a scrawl. If I compose myself and (hand)write slowly, the handwriting can be better but I do that rarely. Anyway, nowadays most of my writing is by using the computer keyboard (like writing this post). The pic is courtesy my classmate and his Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ramesh.iyer.1694/posts/10206154638860983, dated 26th Aug. 2019.


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Some additional info. about Indian education system then (and which is largely the same now, I think):

The marks obtained in the SSC exam would play a vital role in which junior college one could join, and which stream one could take - Science, Arts or Commerce stream. Junior college was for 2 years culminating in another state level board exam and evaluation. After that one joined degree college or institution, with science students branching into medicine (MBBS/dental surgeon), engineering (B.E./B.Tech.) and science (B.Sc.) streams which were for either 4 years or 3 years (B.Sc. was for 3 years).

I have also attached below my SSC passing certificate from the Maharashtra State Education Board (some personal data in it is elided/whitened). The certificate is dated 1st. Dec. 1978 and states that the examination was held in May 1978.

[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.]


====================

Update on 2nd Sept. 2019

Sharpened the class pic using online tool: https://raw.pics.io/sharp-image

1st level of sharpening pic is given below:


2nd level of sharpening goes too far, I think, resulting in easily visible distortion. Given below is the 2nd level sharpened pic:


Given below is my individual pic sharpened (1st level) separately:


Given below is my individual pic cut out from class  pic sharpened (1st level):


Given below are some of my comments from Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2577467012469860, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks for your input. Actually, I think scanning the pic, at 300 DPI or higher, may give the best results. But then he has to find the original pic, and then go to the scanner guy. I think that's the issue here. I think this pic that he shared was taken many years ago on his mobile phone and is available for him easily to share. The original class pic may be stored in some corner somewhere. He will have to spend time to search for it. That, I think, is the issue. ... Meanwhile, I am happy with what he has shared and the image sharpening software does improve the pic a bit. I am able to better identify, though not fully certain about it even now, my Sikh friend Inderjit Singh (last row, fourth from right). Inderjit was a fun guy. I have some fun memories of him :-), from slightly over forty years back!
----

In response to a comment about the person not having last year school pic, I wrote (slightly edited):
Oh! That's a pity! It is quite fun going down memory lane around school farewell and then class pic.
...
Actually, more than fun, it is happy and pleasant.
...
Kind of mature pleasure that perhaps only oldies can get.
----

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
Interesting comment --name-snipped--. I tend to agree (I also did a little bit of calculus :-) ). I have a patchy memory. Some things I remember well from the past decades and in some cases, I draw an absolute blank. That blank can be embarrassing at times like in one case, when I could not recognize a boyhood friend (from my Dadar Railway Officers colony days where I was till 1974 i.e. around 12 years of age). He recognized me and remembered me well, when he joined my team in USA, while I was on foreign assignment to USA (we were seeing each other after a gap of 15 to 20 years). He actually took over my part of the software project (Backup utility for Banyan Vines port to Wang VS - I say that as I recall your Banyan Vines connection).

I drew a complete blank! I could not tell him that and I did not handle that situation well. Now I think he is somewhere in the US and if I do reconnect with him (I tried to locate him but failed), I will explain to him my strange behaviour when he recalled me and I drew a blank! .... When I told my mother about it after I came back to India (after finishing the assignment), she remembered him well! Even today, I don't recall him as a boyhood friend! But I recall some other boyhood friends (till I was around 12 years old).

I have given up trying to understand what my mind remembers and what it doesn't. My mind is quite a strange creature :-). I try to live with it :-), knowing its strange features. Ha! Ha!
----

In response to a comment, I wrote:
I think a famous Russian author (was it Tolstoy or was it Dostoyevsky?) had written that no family is a perfect family. We all have our weird issues. Family life is not easy, given the many human pushes and pulls family members, including us, have.
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In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
Yes, in some families there is great damage to some individuals. Some slip into alcoholism, drug abuse etc. to cope with it, and get sucked into dark recesses of life.

But then now I think these are middle class and rich class family issues. I don't mean to downplay them but for me individually, they seem small problems in front of the brutality of prolonged poverty including indebtedness that I have seen in and around Puttaparthi. So they are not some articles that I have read somewhere but actual people who I know.

I bow down my head to single mothers that I know who are poor and have children to raise with ****zero**** support from their husbands. If I was in their place, I just don't think I would have been able to face life. They have also endured very harsh words and sometimes beatings from their husbands when they were with their husbands.

How do I pay my monthly rent? Where will I send my children to school given that I have very limited money to pay as fees? Oh! My child is crying as it wants new clothes like everybody else on some festival day! What shall I do? I don't have the money to buy new clothes for my children!

The above are not my imagination. From around mid 2012, I started asking some poor Puttaparthi locals about their lives and so came to know of such situations.

When I could (and when I can even now), I paid (pay) them some small amount. That makes them so grateful!

And I tell them that I will pray that God should help them, which I do, and which they appreciate very much. What more can I do for them?

I do not get deeply involved in their problems as if I do that I will get completely drained, and which will be of no use to them at all.

Now I am much much more appreciative of social welfare programs that state and central governments have for the poor. It is the very lifeline of many of the poor in our country!
----

5th Nov. 2019 Update:
Got a better sharpened image of class pic. Courtesy: Raghu Iyer and Pravin.


Me mainly from above pic:

Friday, August 30, 2019

Searching World eBook Library for my - Ravi S. Iyer - books

There are three websites that seem to come into play for World eBook library (last one being in the Indian context): http://worldebooklibrary.org, http://community.ebooklibrary.org/ and http://community.worldlibrary.in. Note that National Digital Library of India, https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/, list the source of my 2 books listed on it as "World eBook Library" which is hyperlinked to: http://community.ebooklibrary.org/.

At all these 3 sites: http://worldebooklibrary.org, http://community.ebooklibrary.org/ and http://community.worldlibrary.in,
General search (not author search) for: Iyer, Ravi S.
gives as the first result:
Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science Conversation: iami1.wordpress.com blog book
Ravi S. Iyer
Ravi S. Iyer (Self-publisher)
Book Id: WPLBN0100002977
PDF (eBook)
Subjects: Non Fiction, Religion, Self-help
Collections: Philosophy, Authors Community, New Age
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It does ***NOT*** list my part autobiography book in the first twenty five results. I think the book is not yet included in proper search database at worldebooklibrary.org

======================

At http://worldebooklibrary.org, http://community.ebooklibrary.org/ and http://community.worldlibrary.in,
Search for: Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer
gives 0 results!
That is a strange result. I expected my book to be listed.

But search for: Ultimate Existential Reality Answer
lists my book as first result in http://community.worldlibrary.in (and I expect the same in the other two websites mentioned above).

So the special characters of ? and/or - seem to be tripping up the search engine on these sites.

The above statement is at least partially confirmed by
search for: Who am I I am I
listing my book as the first result!

===================================

At http://worldebooklibrary.org, http://community.ebooklibrary.org/ and http://community.worldlibrary.in, Advanced Search allows one to search by author. However there seems to be some confusion if one chooses Advanced Search after having done a general search. Perhaps the general search term gets added to the advanced search term, but I am not sure of this.

To be safe, one can have a fresh Advanced Search by visiting above websites (or if one is already on it, by clicking Home) and then choosing Search link at the top menu (Home Books> Search Support> About Us> Get Published>). That takes one to a fresh (new) Advanced Search form without any previous search criteria coming into play.

With Author: Iyer, Ravi, S.
and "All These Words" as the choice against it, on clicking Search button (at bottom of Advanced Search criteria), the result gave my "Who am I? I am I ..." book as the first result. It did not list my part autobio book in the first 20 results.

worldebooklibrary.org listed 70 results.
community.ebooklibrary.org listed only 1 result (my 'Who am I? I am I ...' book).
community.worldlibrary.in listed only 1 result (my 'Who am I? I am I ...' book).
-----

Clicking on my "Who am I? I am I ..." book result leads to display of all information about the book, as well as author's bio. Towards the bottom of the display, my part autobiography book is also listed!

So my 2nd book (part autobiography) is already in the World eBook Library but search functionality on its websites does not seem to have the data for it (and so does not display it in search results). Hopefully, this 2nd book's data will get added to the search functionality in the near future.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Very happy that National Digital Library of India lists both of my books (ebook version) stored in World eBook Library

Firstly, what is National Digital Library of India?

From https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/faq, "National Digital Library of India (NDL India) is an all-digital library that stores information (metadata) about different types of digital contents including books, articles, videos, audios, thesis and other educational materials relevant for users from varying educational levels and capabilities. It provides a single-window search facility to access digital contents currently existing in India as well as other digital sources under a single umbrella."

"NDL India has been designed to benefit all kinds of users like students (of all levels), teachers, researchers, librarians, library users, professionals, differently abled users and all other lifelong learners."

The sponsor for NDL India: "Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), through its National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), has sponsored and funded the National Digital Library of India (NDL India) pilot project."

So NDL India is funded by Indian government. IIT Kharagpur (http://www.iitkgp.ac.in/) seems to be having the responsibility (and funding) for hosting the facility, as of now at least.

Note that NDL India does not seem to take on the burden of storing the actual ebooks. It only stores some data (metadata) about the ebook including where the ebook is stored (elsewhere).

Last year itself when I self-published my first book (Who am I? I am I ...), I explored the possibility of adding the book to NDL India. I wrote email(s) to them but got no response. I tried some other digital library associated sites in India and failed to get any response from them on listing my book.

I had felt rather sad that I could not contribute my free ebook to my country's digital library/libraries. But I realized that NDL India and other noted digital libraries in India will not accept books directly from an individual author (especially a nobody-author like me). Some library/librarian would have to list my book for NDL India to list it.

Today I decided to explore again whether I could do something about contributing my (now) 2 books to NDL India or getting it listed there. I was pleasantly surprised that searching NDL INDIA, https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/ for

a) Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie
listed my part autobio book from the "World eBook Library", http://community.ebooklibrary.org/.

b) Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer
listed my 'Who am I? I am I ...' book, from the "World eBook Library", http://community.ebooklibrary.org/.

The author is listed as "Iyer, RaviS." It should have been: "Iyer, Ravi S." (as they put the last name first in some searches). But...

Search for: Vedanta, god and science
also lists my 'Who am I? I am I ..' book (as the first result, as of now)! That's really nice! See screenshot below.

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



Hmm. I knew that World eBook Library had picked up my books from http://self.gutenberg.org where I had uploaded them. But I did not know that through World eBook Library, my books would get listed in NDL India! So what I, an Indian citizen and resident, failed to do through direct emails to NDL India, got accomplished via self.gutenberg.org and World eBook Library both of which seem to be based in USA!

But I see the logic. World eBook Library is an institution with possibly significant level of funding whereas I am just a nobody-individual who can just vanish into the blue anytime.

http://community.ebooklibrary.org/view/about-us.aspx states, "The World Library Foundation is the world's largest collection of Books and Articles in electronic format. Founded in 1996, the World Library Foundation is a global coordinated effort to preserve and disseminate digital facsimiles of historical books, classic works of literature, serials, bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other heritage works in a number of languages and countries around the world. World Library Foundation is a IRC 501(c)(4) Organization, organized Not for profit, but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. Our mission is to serve and aid the public, students, and educators, by providing the world's most complete collection of electronic books, documents, and articles online, as well as offer a variety of services and resources that support and strengthen the instructional programs of education, elementary through post-baccalaureate studies."

It is a global not-for-profit institution! So it makes eminent sense for NDL India to list books stored in World (eBook) Library.

There is one catch though. World eBook Library needs an eLibrary Card for access to its books which costs individuals slightly less than 10 US Dollars per year.

Perhaps as I am the author of the books, my self.gutenberg.org id works on World eBook Library. So I don't have to pay anything to view my books on World eBook Library.

But how about other Indians finding my ebooks on NDL India which directs them to World eBook Library and also any other country's citizens getting directed to World eBook Library for my books?

My books are also available on archive.org which is free use for anybody (as of now, at least). I think I will write to NDL India giving my ebooks' links on archive.org and asking them to list those links in addition to World eBook Library links.

Also, those users who find my book titles on NDL India but cannot access the ebook on World eBook Library as they do not have an eLibrary card, may then do suitable Google searches. Google search for free pdf for those titles gives, as some of the top result(s), link(s) that will lead them to free ebook view/download site(s) for those books.

In any case, I now have the happiness (ananda) of seeing both my books listed on NDL India, a top digital library of India, funded by the union (federal) government. I thought of sharing that happiness (ananda) with readers through this post.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Transcript of wonderful short message from President Ram Nath Kovind on kindness and gratitude

Wonderful short message from Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind: https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/videos/377025233194370/ dated 23rd Aug. 2019. He emphasizes gratitude in it. I think the message is really a powerful one.

Transcript of these wonderful words of Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind:

Ladies and gentlemen,

As individuals, as families and as societies, we need to celebrate and share stories of kindness that we witness around us. By celebrating such act of kindness, howsoever big or small, we can promote goodness in our midst. Mahatma Gandhi also said and I quote, the simplest acts of kindness are, by far, more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer, unquote.

Being grateful for what we have, can also be a gateway to access our inherent kindness and its free expression. A simple exercise such as writing down every morning, three things in your life for which you are grateful, will enthuse you with positivity.

Feelings of gratitude are known to reduce our anxieties and insecurities. Experiencing gratitude shifts our focus from our worries to the blessings that life has offered us, freeing us to share our innate goodness and compassion with others.
-----

Ravi: I feel blessed to hear such noble & kind words from the highest constitutional office of my country. May the President live long and infuse Bharatiyas (Indians) with such wise messages on need for kindness and gratitude to improve our lives.

Got my author page on amazon.com and amazon.in

I was very happy that https://authorcentral.amazon.com recently accepted my request to create an author page for their site, which then has resulted in an author page for me on amazon.com and on amazon.in.

You see, I have chosen to sell my books only on amazon.in but not on amazon.com as I want to limit my self-publisher legal indemnity risk to India. [Readers may want to see my post: Why I am not making my free ebooks available on Amazon Kindle (and Google Books), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/why-i-am-not-making-my-free-ebooks.html.]

So on authorcentral.amazon.com, my books were not in the list (created from amazon.com books) I had to select from, declaring them as my books, which prevented me from going further in the author page creation process on that site.

And amazon.in ***does not*** have a separate authorcentral!

I sent a request message to authorcentral.amazon.com and they responded quickly, by checking that I do have two (paperback) books on amazon.in and so accepting me as author on  authorcentral.amazon.com, and informing me about it over email. I thanked amazon profusely in my email response.

So here's my amazon.com author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/ravisiyer (which redirects automatically to https://www.amazon.com/Ravi-S.-Iyer/e/B07WZ3PWJM). This has my pics and a brief bio. But it does not list any books.

In the author pics upload form, amazon says, "We encourage you to feature yourself in your photos, but feel free to add the photos that represent you best as an author."

So in the set of my (author) pics, I decided to add my divine awareness (which I believe is my ***ultimate & eternal existential reality*** and NOT this ephemeral mind-body complex named/identified as Ravi S. Iyer) meditation helper-statements pics. Those pics can be seen in this post of mine: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/05/hope-to-get-back-to-divine-awareness.html.

Given below are screenshot pics of the above author page:

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





And here's my amazon.in author page: https://www.amazon.in/Ravi-S-Iyer/e/B07WZ3PWJM/. This lists my books on amazon.in and shows my pics but does not show the brief bio. The pics are picked up from authorcentral.amazon.com but not the bio! I plan to send a request on this to amazon.in support.

Given below is a screenshot pic of the above (amazon.in) author page:


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Amazon and Flipkart Promotional discounts of 27% and 17% for my 2 books from today for 9 days

From today, 25th Aug. 2019, till 2nd Sept. 2019 (for 9 days), my books will be available at promotional discount on amazon.in and flipkart.com. Details are given below:

1) Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation
Sold at Rs.112 (17% discount off regular price of Rs.135) at https://www.flipkart.com/am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-science-conversation/p/itmfazakubzrhhru?pid=9781646503490 and https://www.amazon.in/Who-Ultimate-Existential-conversation-iami1-wordpress-com/dp/164650349X.

Pic below is of the flipkart sale page today:

[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.]



2) Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1
Sold at Rs.208 (27% discount off regular price of Rs.285) at https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/1645874087/ and also at one of two sellers in flipkart. The default seller in flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/autobiography-indian-software-techie-spiritual-aspirant-part-1/p/itmeb37e55629d21?pid=9781645874089 sells it at Rs.285. But the page also shows a link to get to the alternative seller selling it at Rs.208 as part of the text: "View more sellers starting from ₹208" in the page.

Pic below is of the amazon.in sale page today:


Friday, August 23, 2019

Celebrating advent of Lord Krishna with some song-videos

Cool stuff! Hari Bol!
https://www.facebook.com/TimesofIndia/videos/442668472994707/, "Janmashtami is being celebrated at a shopping centre in the USA."
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Hridaya vihara bada chitta chora - [Govinda] lives in our heart but is a big thief of our mind/chitta.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba singing Govinda Gopala Prabhu Giridhari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inzUvWhdBfc

Giridhara Gopala - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3_UjM54UC4, 5 min. 50 secs.

Govinda Krishna Jai, Gopala Krishna Jai - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bUmiA3QHM, around 3 mins.
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Jagjit Singh Bhajan "Hey Gobind Hey Gopal" Lord Krishna Bhajan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty86h60vu2Y, 8 min. 14 secs.
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Shyam Teri Bansi Pukare Radha Naam by Nanuram Dogney & Gauri Kavi Live - Hemantkumar Musical Group, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dV0fhQCDIY, 8 min. 6 secs.
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Govind Bolo Hari Gopal Bolo Kumar Vishu Bhajan Hindi Chanda, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W5eHIGDoPs. around 10 mins.
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govind bolo hari gopal bolo, sundar bhajan jayakishori, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tXAHEC-g80, around 6 mins.
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K.J Jesudhoss-Swagatham Krishna -Traditional Guruvayurappan Song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuc5V9ZdziU, 6 min. 29 secs.
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Awesome live rendition of the famous classical music Krishna song/bhajan - Swagatham Krishna (Welcome Krishna) - sung by Nandini Rao Gujar: Swagatam krishna- Mohana- Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBrBtdAGiNM, 8 min. 15 secs.
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Nice classical dance in celebration of Krishna Avatar, SWAGATHAM KRISHNA (AGNYAATHAVAASI) - Kuchipudi dance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfBanyJqwtk, around 4 mins.
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Interesting live rendition: Singer Niranjana Ramanan Sings Swagatham Krishna Song @ Agnyaathavaasi Audio Launch, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAvsBGHa8ws, 3 min. 43 secs.
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Famous Tamil classical Krishna song - Kurai Ondrum Illai - live rendition in 1997 by M.S. Subbulakshmi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkIKWN_JpYo, 4 min. 18 secs.

An audio version (recorded) by a younger M.S. Subbulakshmi. I have heard this audio many times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-4rwaN6m4I
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Famous evergreen Marathi Krishna song that I have heard umpteen times right from my boyhood in Bombay/Mumbai: keshava madhava marathi song.wmv, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa2SFPB0CTY, 2 min. 40 secs.

If I recall correctly, it was sung by Suman Kalyanpur.

Decent live rendition (of same song) - At least I liked it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKhiqmwk54Q

Ending my flurry of sharing Krishna songs to celebrate the birth of the ***Great*** Krishna Avatar (my first Ishta Devata), here is a lovely live rendition of the Marathi Krishna song in Hindustani classical style: Keshava Madhava: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwyF_RSFFVY, around 6 mins. The singer is Dattatreya L. Velankar.
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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Created a Max. discount (33%) coupon on Notion Press online store for my "Who am I? I am I ..." book; Also created 17% discount Promo option for amazon and flipkart sales for 9 days

I have offered a 33% (max) discount coupon on my paperback book: "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation " on the Notion Press online store here: https://notionpress.com/read/who-am-i-i-am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science-conversation-1325428-1325428.

What a buyer has to do is to visit the above webpage and type in the coupon text (without quotes) "NICEDEAL", in the field/box stating "Enter Coupon Code" right next to the Price label (₹ 135). That applies the discount of ₹ 44, making the discounted book price as ₹ 91.

I have created 10 such coupons which I think means that the above coupon-text can be used 10 times before the coupon stops operating.

I have also created a "Promo" campaign option for this book. This option applies to amazon.in and flipkart.com sales! I can discount the book at a maximum of 17%, bringing its price down to Rs.112 from Rs.135, and with me getting zero royalty.

But this can be done only for a period of 30 days in total. I have now scheduled a promo campaign from 25th Aug. 2019 to 2nd Sept. 2019, a period of 9 days, where the book will be sold at Rs. 112 on amazon.in and flipkart.com instead of Rs. 135. This leaves 21 more days of promo campaign possibility in future for this book.

These discount-campaigns drastically reduce the royalty but that's fine with me as I am doing this work as NOT-FOR-PROFIT. In fact, I did NOT want royalty but Notion Press does not provide that zero royalty possibility in its main book sale details web form. I want the customer/book-buyer to get the best deal.
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[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.]




23rd Aug. 2019 update: Above pic is of an invoice for an order today that used coupon discounts for both books (some data is masked by white rectangle with black border).

Created a Max. discount (38%) coupon on Notion Press online store for my part autobiography book; Promo discount of 27% on amazon and flipkart for 9 days

Today I started exploring the book discount-promotion campaign options that are provided by Notion Press. I was surprised to note that I could offer a 38% (max) discount ***coupon*** on my paperback book: "Autobiography of an Indian Software Techie and Spiritual Aspirant – Part 1" on the Notion Press online store here: https://notionpress.com/read/autobiography-of-an-indian-software-techie-and-spiritual-aspirant-part-1-1325351.

What a buyer has to do is to visit the above webpage and type in the coupon text (without quotes) "GOODDEAL", in the field/box stating "Enter Coupon Code" right next to the Price label (₹ 285). That applies the discount of ₹ 108, making the discounted book price as ₹ 177.

I have created 10 such coupons which I think means that the above coupon-text can be used 10 times before the coupon stops operating.

I have also created a Free Shipping campaign from tomorrow (23rd Aug. 2019) till end of the year. But I think if a coupon is used, then the free shipping will not apply.

The usual shipping charge to an India address is ₹ 50.

These discount-campaigns drastically reduce the royalty but that's fine with me as I am doing this work as NOT-FOR-PROFIT. In fact, I did NOT want royalty but Notion Press does not provide that zero royalty possibility in its main book sale details web form. I want the customer/book-buyer to get the best deal.

I think these campaigns apply only to Notion Press online store and NOT the amazon.in and flipkart.com stores which also sell the same book.
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Update: I tried out a "Promo" campaign option for this book. This option applies to amazon.in and flipkart.com sales! I can discount the book at a maximum of 27%, bringing its price down to Rs.208, and with me getting zero royalty.

But this can be done only for a period of 30 days in total. I have now scheduled a promo campaign from 25th Aug. 2019 to 2nd Sept. 2019, a period of 9 days, where the book will be sold at Rs. 208 on amazon.in and flipkart.com instead of Rs. 285.

That's cool! This leaves 21 more days of promo campaign possibility in future for this book.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Superhit devotional songs from 1975 low-budget but unexpected superhit Hindi film - Jai Santoshi Maa

In the late 70s and 80s in Bombay/Mumbai and Dombivli, I have heard some of the more popular devotional songs of this Jai Santoshi Maa Hindi film, umpteen times. At festival times like Ganesh Chaturthi and Navarathri there would be many community puja (worship) events along with some entertainment over a few days period. The bigger events would have a loudspeaker playing devotional songs for most of the daytime. I think I have heard the songs I have given below many times through these loudspeakers. They had acquired a cult-like status. The movie box office proceeds seems to have been in the range of the superhit Sholay and Deewar movies' box office proceeds - all three movies were released in 1975! That itself tells us how big Jai Santoshi Maa was at the box office. I mean, Sholay and Deewar were spectacular hits having superstars of that time, and these movies are considered as great Hindi films even today.

These devotional songs of Jai Santoshi Maa highlight rural women and their worship rituals in the context of the many trials and tribulations they face, and in the context of having successfully overcome the trials and tribulations and coming out on top, family status wise and financial status wise, through the grace of the goddess Santoshi Maa (Mata).

The youtube views (viewcounts) tell us that these songs are popular even today!

* 14 million views: Karti Hu Tumhara Vrat Main | Usha Mangeshkar | Jai Santoshi Maa 1975 Songs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkaPXgFAn-c, 6 min. 25 secs, published by Gaane Sune Ansune on 12th October 2015

* 22 million views: Main Toh Aarti Utaru Re Santoshi Mata Ki (|) | Usha Mangeshkar| Jai Santoshi Maa Songs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ8VKSh3rL0, 6 min. 52 secs, published by Gaane Sune Ansune on 7th October 2015

* 6 million views: Yahan Wahan Jahan Tahan | Kavi Pradeep | Jai Santoshi Maa 1975 Songs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er2ggmmQS3o, 6 min. 1 sec,  published by Gaane Sune Ansune on 9th October 2015

Attempted explanation(s) of why the movie and these songs acquired a cult-like status are given on the movie's wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jai_Santoshi_Maa. I have given below some extracts from it:

Jai Santoshi Maa is a 1975 low-budget Hindi film that became one of the top blockbusters of all time.[2][3] Santoshī Mā (also called Santoshi Mata) is the goddess of satisfaction. Usha Mangeshkar, sister of Lata Mangeshkar, sang the devotional songs for the film along with Mahendra Kapoor and the famous poet Kavi Pradeep, who wrote the lyrics of the songs.
...
Release and response

This low-budget film with forgotten stars and unknown actors unexpectedly emerged as one of the highest-grossing releases of 1975—sharing the spotlight with the likes of Sholay and Deewaar. This bewildered critics and intrigued scholars (resulting in a modest literature on the film as a religio-cultural phenomenon), but made perfect sense to millions of Indian women, who loved its folksy story about a new "Goddess of Satisfaction," easily accessible through a simple ritual (which the film also demonstrates). A classic example of the "mythological" genre—the original narrative genre of Indian-made films—and one of the most popular such films ever made, it gave a new (and characteristically Indian), inflection to the American pop-critical term "cult film," for viewers often turned cinemas into temporary temples, leaving their footwear at the door, pelting the screen with flowers and coins, and bowing reverently whenever the goddess herself appeared (which she frequently did, always accompanied by a clash of cymbals).

The screenplay is based on a vrat katha: a folktale (katha) meant for recitation during the performance of a ritual fast (vrat) honouring a particular deity and undertaken to achieve a stated goal. The Santoshi Ma vrat seems to have become popular in north India during the 1960s, spreading among lower middle-class women by word of mouth and through an inexpensive "how-to" pamphlet and religious poster of the goddess. However, the printed story is very sketchy and the film greatly embellishes it, adding a second narrative to its tale of a long-suffering housewife who gets relief through worshiping Santoshi Ma.

Analysis and social significance

In an era dominated by violent masala action films aimed primarily at urban male audiences, Jai Santoshi Maa spoke to rural and female audiences, invoking a storytelling style dear to them and conveying a message of vindication and ultimate triumph for the sincerely devoted (and upwardly-mobile). Above all, it concerns the life experience that is typically the most traumatic for an Indian woman: that of being wrenched from her mayka or maternal home and forced to adjust to a new household in which she is often treated as an outsider who must be tested and disciplined, sometimes harshly, before she can be integrated into the family. Satyavati's relationship with Santoshi Ma enables her to endure the sufferings inflicted on her by her sisters-in-law and to triumph over them, but it also accomplishes more. It insures that Satyavati's life consistently departs from the script that patriarchal society writes for a girl of her status: she marries a man of her own choosing, enjoys a companionate relationship (and independent travel) with her husband, and ultimately acquires a prosperous home of her own, beyond her in-laws' reach. While appearing to adhere to the code of a conservative extended family (the systemic abuses of which are dramatically highlighted), Satyavati nevertheless quietly achieves goals, shared by many women, that subvert this code.

[Wiki References]

2. BoxOffice India.com
3. "Jai Santoshi Maa", https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073191/. IMDb. Retrieved 17 February 2007.

--- end wikipedia extracts ---

Ravi: I should also mention that I have not seen the film.

[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.]

Tune mujhe bulaya sherawaliye - You called me, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger! - Popular 1980 Hindi film bhajan

I just love this bhajan/devotional song and have enjoyed it over the decades listening to it on the radio mainly in the 80s, but also later on in the 90s. Now youtube provides me the great pleasure of watching the video-song.

Here's the video of it from the 1980 movie Aasha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK7eTIyJoOE, 6 min, 46 secs, sung by Mohammed Rafi and Narendra Chanchal, music composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and song composed (lyricist) by Kaifi Azmi. One of the two singers (Mohd. Rafi) and the lyricist (Kaifi Azmi) are Muslim. This just shows how Hindi film industry of those days (perhaps even today), always promoted a multi-faith approach to God and promoted religious tolerance/pluralism. I simply adore (Late) Mohammed Rafi, who I believe was a devout Muslim! May God shower His choicest blessings on Mohammed Rafi sahab wherever his spirit is now (with God in all probability), and his loved ones! May India have many more Mohammed Rafis who are like him as devout Muslims and promote multi-faith approach to God!

I think the song is about Mother Durga or some similar deity who rides the lion/tiger. This particular deity lives on the hilltop.

The lyrics in Hindi (Devanagari) script: https://www.bhaktibharat.com/bhajan/tune-mujhe-bulaya-sherawaliye

I am giving my rough English translation of most of the lyrics

You called me, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!
I have come, I have come, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!

The whole world is one wanderer/traveller
The destination of all is your door
The hill is high
The road is long
But I could not stay (back), Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!
You called me, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!
I have come, I have come, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!

In the desolate mind, a lamp got lit
On your road, partners met (each other)
(What) should I open my mouth (for) and what should I ask you?
Without asking, I got everything, Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!
...

Who is the king (and) who is the beggar?
All are the same/equal (as) worshippers of you
You, by giving darshan (giving view of herself) to all
Have embraced (all), Oh she who has/rides the lion/tiger!
...

Say with love, victory to mother (goddess) (Jai Mata Di)!
All say, victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
When coming say, victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
When going say, victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
Remover of difficulties, victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
Takes across (difficulties), victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
Mother goddess simple (innocent), victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
Fill my bag, victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!
Promised darshan (giving view of herself), victory to mother (Jai Mata Di)!

Friday, August 16, 2019

How Religious Fundamentalism Hijacks the Brain: Very interesting and thought-provoking article, even though it reflects an atheist mindset

Last updated on 17th Aug. 2019

How Religious Fundamentalism Hijacks the Brain by Bobby Azarian Ph.D., https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201810/how-religious-fundamentalism-hijacks-the-brain, 10th Oct. 2018

An extract from the article (part of the extract is repeated in a previous post and readers may please excuse that):

In moderation, religious and spiritual practices can be great for a person’s life and mental well-being. But religious fundamentalism—which refers to the belief in the absolute authority of a religious text or leaders—is almost never good for an individual. This is primarily because fundamentalism discourages any logical reasoning or scientific evidence that challenges its scripture, making it inherently maladaptive.

It is not accurate to call religious fundamentalism a disease, because that term refers to a pathology that physically attacks the biology of a system. But fundamentalist ideologies can be thought of as mental parasites. A parasite does not usually kill the host it inhabits, as it is critically dependent on it for survival. Instead, it feeds off it and changes its behavior in ways that benefit its own existence.

--- end extract from article ---

Now I do not entirely agree with the above extract. In particular, I do not agree with the part about absolute authority of religious text and/or leaders being almost never good for an individual. I think that is too blanket a sentence. If the sentence had additional words that limited its scope to violent fundamentalism that kills or maims innocent people OR emotionally hurts innocent people (e.g. by telling them that they will burn in Hell for eternity for not having accepted a particular deity as their saviour), then I may have tended to agree with it.
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Update: I think I should also say that I do not agree fully with this statement: "In moderation, religious and spiritual practices can be great for a person’s life and mental well-being." The statement has an implication that in more than moderation ("excess?"), religious and spiritual practices will not be great for a person's life and mental well-being. I think it is too blanket an implication. For those who are very deeply attracted towards the religious and spiritual life, more than moderation in these practices will give more joy and well being than moderation!

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

My "Who am I? I am I ..." paperback book now available at amazon.in at reduced price of Rs.135 (+ shipping)

Last updated on 18th Aug. 2019

My "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" paperback book is now available at amazon.in at reduced price of Rs.135 (+ shipping): https://www.amazon.in/Who-Ultimate-Existential-conversation-iami1-wordpress-com/dp/164650349X/ .

Given below is the full cover page pic.


[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 reduction in price has been made possible as Notion Press minimum price for the book in 6 in. x 9 in. size paperback is Rs.135 (+ shipping), whereas earlier on the minimum price for the book in A5 size on amazon.in from another publisher was Rs.199 (+ shipping).

I have withdrawn the earlier Rs.199 (+ shipping) priced book from amazon.in (and flipkart.com).

I am happy that I am able to offer the paperback version of this book at a lower price of Rs.135 (+ shipping).

It has been put up on flipkart.com at the same Rs.135 (+ shipping) price here:  https://www.flipkart.com/am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-science-conversation/p/itmfazakubzrhhru?pid=9781646503490.

Note that the ebook version is available as free download here: https://iami1.wordpress.com/consolidated-blog-content-document/ .
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Given below are my comment(s) on my Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2566015110281717, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment that congratulated me and also said that I (Ravi) am a realised soul, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited): Thanks for the Congrats. But I am very much in spiritual sadhaka / journeyman stage and do become a prey to Kama & Krodha. ... Kama Krodhaku ippudu kuda nenu guri avatunnaanu. Anduvalana nenu oka saadhaka stagelone unnaanu. Mana Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Vaari to prarthistunnaanu, ee Kama Krodha pai naaku oka roju jayam raavaalani. Jai Sai Ram. ... Please excuse any Telugu mistakes as I am not proficient in Telugu.
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Sunday, August 11, 2019

How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 5 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan)

This post continues from the post: How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 4 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan), https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/08/how-16-year-old-lord-rama-kills-giant_11.html, 11th Aug. 2019

Ref: https://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/baala/sarga27/bala_27_frame.htm

The next day morning Sage Viswamitra tells Rama that he is highly pleased with him (for killing Tataka) and that he will now endow Rama with a great variety of divine missiles which can be used to defeat all kinds of beings including divine beings (devas), demons (asuras), gandharvas, urugas and humans. Ref: 1-27-1 to 1-27-4a

The next verses have Viswamitra detailing the variety of powerful divine missiles and weapons that he will be giving to Rama.

Then Viswamitra chanted the sacred hymns associated with these divine missiles and other weapons, dedicating those sacred hymns to Rama. Ref: 1-27-22 and 23.

All these divine missiles and other weapons appeared before Rama and said to him that they were there to accomplish whatever task he gives them. Ref: 1-27-24 to 26a.

With a pleased heart, Rama patted them with his palm. He told them to come to his presence whenever he calls them, and then sent them off. Ref: 1-27-26b and 27.

Resplendent Rama with a thankful heart to Sage Viswamitra, readied himself for further journey. Ref: 1-27-28

Ref: https://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/baala/sarga28/bala_28_frame.htm

Rama later requests Viswamitra to give him the annulment missiles too. Ref: 1-28-2 [Ravi: I did not understand exactly what these annulment missiles do. Perhaps they annul some other missile (of a particular type?) that is attacking a warrior.] 

Viswamitra imparts many such divine annulment missiles to Rama. These divine annulment missiles appear before Rama saying that they are ready to obey his command. Rama asks them to come whenever he needs them, and sends them back. Ref: 1-28-3 to 1-28-15

Ravi: That completes the important episode of Ramayana dealing with Lord Rama killing Tataka demoness, with some introduction as well as description of joy of divine beings (devas) and Sage Viswamitra at Tataka being killed, leading to divine missiles and other weapons being endowed on young 16-year-old warrior-lad Lord Rama by Sage Viswamitra.

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

How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 4 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan)

This post continues from the post: How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 3 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan), https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/08/how-16-year-old-lord-rama-kills-giant.html, 10th Aug. 2019

Ref: https://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/baala/sarga26/bala_26_frame.htm

On seeing that the horrendous in shape Tataka is killed, Indra, the king of divine beings (Devas), and other divine beings (Devas) praise Rama for his admirable act. Ref: 1-26-26, 1-26-27

Divine being (Dev) Indra tells Sage Viswamitra that he and other divine beings (devas) are pleased and that he should be loving towards Rama. Ref: 1-26-28b, 1-26-29a [a refers to first part of verse and b refers to second and last part of verse.]

Indra (and other divine beings) tells Sage Viswamitra that powerful divine missiles (weapons) may be offered to Rama as Rama is faithfully following his instructions. Rama is worthy of receiving those missiles. This son of a king (prince) has to accomplish great deeds for the divine beings (devas). After having said this, they contentedly returned to the heavens. Then it is sunset. Ref: 1-26-29b to 1-26-32a

Viswamitra is very satisfied with Rama having killed Tataka and says to Rama that they will stay here for the night and will go to his (Viswamitra's) hermitage the next day morning.

मुक्तशापं वनं तच्च तस्मिन्नेव तदाहनि |
रमणीयं विबभ्राज यथा चैत्ररथं वनम् || १-२६-३५, Verse 1-26-35

On that day itself that forest (Tataka forest) is released from the curse. It pleasantly shines forth like the heavenly garden, Chaitraratham.

[Ravi: The next part will cover how Sage Viswamitra endows Lord Rama with a variety of powerful divine missiles and other weapons.]

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Some Tataka (Tadaka) vadh (killing) videos

1) This seems to a clip from 1987-88 B.R.Chopra Ramayan TV serial, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayan_(1987_TV_series)

Taadka Vadh by Shri Ram in Ramayan [HD], https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV05cHi4_Fs, 2 min. 15 secs

2) Rama, Lakshmana & Tratika Demon - Ramayan - English, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYTgUOT8J7A, 7 min. 31 secs.

3) (Taadka vadh) netaji subhash railway dramatic club, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_unJKqdNVI, 2 min. 18 secs

4) ISKCON Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) kids doing a great drama: Killing of Tataka- Drama on Ramanavami in Radhadesh 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9s3mVKIHns. The actual battle is enacted from around 13 min. 45 secs to around 15 mins. I loved the kid doing the role to Tataka demoness :-).

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

Saturday, August 10, 2019

How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 3 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan)

Last minor update on 11th Aug. 2019

This post continues from the post: How 16 year old Lord Rama kills giant demoness Tataka (Tadaka) in his first major battle - Part 2 of 5 (Valmiki Ramayan), https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2019/03/how-16-year-old-lord-rama-kills-giant_28.html, 28th March 2019.

On hearing the words of Sage Viswamitra about the need to kill demoness Tataka, Rama says that he will obey his father's words about following Sage Viswamitra's instructions.

Ref: https://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/baala/sarga26/bala_26_frame.htm

Rama says that as Viswamitra is a learned (religious) scholar (Brahmavaadinah), he (Rama) will follow Viswamitra's instruction to kill Tataka (Tatakavadham).

गोब्राह्मणहितार्थाय देशस्यास्य हिताय च |
तव चैवाप्रमेयस्य वचनं कर्तुमुद्यतः || १-२६-५, Verse 1-26-5

Above verse rough English translation: For the welfare of cows and Brahmins, for the good of the region/state, I am ready to implement the command of you, sir, who are a highly esteemed sage.
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I think this verse shows how learned sages and powerful warrior-princes and warrior-kings worked in tandem to protect Dharma in ancient times in Bharat (India). The warrior-prince has the power to maim and kill through his warrior prowess. But he has to ideally use that power only when the situation demands him to do so, for protection of Dharma.

The learned sages are knowledgeable about Dharma and when acts of killing or maiming tyrants are acceptable from a Dharmic standpoint. They give their valued opinion on these matters, which gets viewed as a command at times by warrior-princes and warrior-kings who revere the learned sages.

Also the protection of Brahmins and cows is stressed. I think ancient Bharat society was held together by knowledge and wisdom imparted by Brahmin community. So for the protection of that ancient society, protection of Brahmins was vital. And cows were vital for that rural society to survive and prosper. So protection of cows was also vital. Thus protection of Brahmins and cows in ancient Bharatiya (Indian) society was a divine duty for warrior-princes and warrior-kings.

Then Rama clenched the bow with his left fist, and made a thunderous sound with (by pulling) the bowstring. Ref: 1-26-6

This is the warrior's challenge-call to the enemy! Rama is letting Tataka know that he is on her territory and is challenging her rule over her territory.

This sound startles the inhabitants of Tataka forest. Tataka herself is stupified by the sound and very infuriated by it. Ref: 1-26-7

Tataka rushes in great fury towards the source of the sound. Ref: 1-26-8

Rama sees the ugly and enraged giant demoness and tells Lakshmana to see how ghastly and ferocious she looks, and that fearful (cowardly) hearts would burst (collapse) by looking at her. Ref: 1-26-9 and 1-26-10

Rama says that though she is said to have magical powers and be unstoppable, see how he (Rama) will make her retreat by cutting off her ears and tip of her nose. Rama says that as she is a female he does not want to kill her, but that he will end her impudence. Ref: 1-26-11 and 1-26-12

Tataka created a massive dust cloud and baffled Rama and Lakshmana with it for a while. Ref: 1-26-15

Then Tataka rained a torrent of stones on Rama and Lakshmana which made Rama very angry. Ref: 1-26-16

शिलावर्षं महत्तस्याः शरवर्षेण राघवः |
प्रतिवार्योपधावन्त्याः करौ चिच्छेद पत्रिभिः || १-२६-१७ , Verse 1-26-17

By his shower of arrows, Raghava (Rama) blocked her (Tataka's) great shower of stones. As she (Tataka) rushed towards them, Raghava (Rama) mutilated (cut off) both her arms with his arrows.

ततश्च्छिन्नभुजां श्रान्तामभ्याशे परिगर्जतीम् |
सौमित्रिरकरोत् क्रोधाद् हृतकर्णाग्रनासिकाम् || १-२६-१८, Verse 1-26-18

Having lost both her arms and in distress, she (Tataka) roared. Being provoked, Soumitri (Lakshmana) cut off her ears and the tip of her nose (by his arrows, one presumes).

कामरूपधरा सा तु कृत्वा रूपाण्यनेकशः |
अन्तर्धानं गता यक्षी मोहयन्ती स्वमायया || १-२६-१९
अश्मवर्षं विमुंचन्ती भैरवं विचचार सा ||  [Verses 1-26-19 and first part of 1-26-20]

She (Tataka), who had the power to change her form at will, kept changing her form and (sometimes) vanished from sight (disappeared), thereby baffling them (Rama & Lakshmana) with her power of illusion.
While showering a storm of stones, she moved about ferociously.

ततस्तावश्मवर्षेण कीर्यमाणौ समन्ततः || १-२६-२०
दृष्ट्वा गाधिसुतः श्रीमानिदं वचनमब्रवीत् | [Last part of Verse 1-26-20, first part of 1-26-21]

Then on seeing Rama and Lakshmana being covered by a storm of stones, the illustrious Sage Viswamitra said,

अलं ते घृणया राम पापैषा दुष्टचारिणी || १-२६-२१
यज्ञविघ्नकरी यक्षी पुरा वर्धेत मायया | 
वध्यतां तावदेवैषा पुरा संध्या प्रवर्तते || १-२६-२२
रक्षांसि संध्याकाले तु दुर्धर्षाणि भवन्ति हि | [Last part of Verse 1-26-21, full Verse 1-26-22 and first part of 1-26-23]

[Sage Viswamitra says to Rama:] "Enough of your compassion, Rama. She is sinful, of evil behaviour, creates obstacles to yagnas (holy rituals), and in a short time regains her illusory powers. The sun will set in a short time. Before that (sunset) she should be killed as at dusk demons become invincible (undefeatable)."

इत्युक्तस्स तु तां यक्षीमश्मवृष्ट्याभिवर्षिणीम् || १-२६-२३
दर्शयन् शब्दवेधित्वं तां रुरोध स सायकैः | [Last part of Verse 1-26-23, first part of 1-26-24]

When thus spoken to (by Sage Viswamitra), Rama displayed his sonic archery ability (ability to attack the enemy with arrows by knowing where the enemy is through sound made by them; Tataka was not visible to Rama then), and blocked the demoness' shower of stones with his shower of arrows.

सा रुद्धा बाणजालेन मायाबलसमन्विता || १-२६-२४
अभिदुद्राव काकुत्स्थं लक्षमणं च विनेषुदी || [Last part of Verse 1-26-24, first part of 1-26-25]

When the web (shower) of arrows obstructed her who had the power of illusion, she dashed towards Rama and Lakshmana, blaring stridently.

तामापतन्तीं वेगेन विक्रान्तामशनीमिव || १-२६-२५
शरेणोरसि विव्याध सा पपात ममार च | [Last part of Verse 1-26-25, first part of 1-26-26]

Rama struck with an arrow in the chest of the one (Tataka) who was invading and swooping down fast like a thunderbolt (on Rama and Lakshmana). She (Tataka) fell down completely dead.
----

Ravi: It seems that even the arrow that Rama shot from his bow which killed Tataka, was shot based on the source of the sound being made by the demoness Tataka. That is, the demoness was not visible to Rama at that time.

Thus the 16 year-old warrior-lad Rama accomplished his first great feat in re-establishing Dharma by eliminating a fierce demoness who could not be defeated by warrior kings of the day, and who was obstructing illustrious Sages like Sage Viswamitra from performing yagnas (holy rituals). The Adharmic and tyrannical demoness who could not be eliminated by mortals, was eliminated by the divine coming in human form (Avatar) - Lord Rama!

[Hindi;] Prabhu Ramachandra ki Jai! [English: Hail Lord Ramachandra (Rama)!]

[Ravi: The next part will cover how the divine beings (Indra and others) and Sage Viswamitra rejoice at the killing of the demoness. It will also cover how the Tataka forest quickly regains beauty and brightness on being released from the Tataka demoness curse.]

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

Thursday, August 8, 2019

This month is the 6th anniversary of this Sathya Sai and other spiritual & religious matters blog

I was informed this by a notification on LinkedIn as I have specified the start month-year of the blog as the beginning of my new "job". I gave my Company (place of work) as "Sathya Sai Baba and more - blog" and also provided this blog link. The job-title is "Author".

I had started blogging, as a regular free service (Seva), in or around September 2011 but on two other blogs and under pseudonyms. At that time, it was very important for the spiritual path that I had taken to keep a very low profile, and so I did not want people at large to know that I was blogging. But I did share it with a few friends privately.

I also started another blog in 2011 (perhaps in or around September) which was intended to be more of a website for interested contributors, to promote free service software development in areas like rural agriculture and learning Telugu. This I did in my own name. But that blog/website did not receive any software development contributions at all (other than my own bare-minimum starter-contributions; I wanted to play more of a co-ordinator role), though some friends did provide contributions on free software licensing issue that I was looking at in that blog. So I gave up on that activity after some months.

If I recall correctly, it is after I started this ravisiyer.blogspot.com blog where I blogged under ***my own name*** and not a pseudonym that I slowly started taking on a public social media writer role. Later I started blogging with my own name on the earlier blogs too and also revealed that the earlier names used on the blogs were my pseudonyms.

Now the blog has over half a million views as reported by blogger stats.


The blogger audience stats page shows that viewership of this blog is not limited to India. USA, France, UK and Russia have over 10,000 views.



[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.]

So it has been an around six year journey for me as a ***public and on my real name*** free service (Seva) social media writer. It has significantly changed my life & my lifestyle, and paved the way for me to become a self-published author of two Not-for-profit-for-author books.

Here's my first post on this blog: Prof. Haraldsson's book, "Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet", Released, https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2013/08/prof-haraldssons-book-modern-miracles.html, 19th August 2013.

Rajiv Malhotra on how Hinduism is viewed by USA academic religion and related fields; Perhaps neglect by USA (and Indian) academics of Sathya Sai teachings and movement is for similar reasons

Last updated on 9th Aug. 2019

Firstly, I should say that I am NOT an academic. I am a ***non-academic*** social media writer (blogs & Facebook) on spirituality and religion. These writings include my humble views, experiences and thoughts about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his teachings.

My association with Indian academia was with mainly pre-Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai university (SSSIHL) in the role of a free service (Seva) industry expert in software development with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012. That stint does NOT make me an academic. I contributed as an industry expert and NOT as an academic. And the field was software development which is a part of the Computer Science field.

Having said that, I have done some amount of reading about religion from some academics in the field of religion and also of related fields. As far as I can make out, in the academic field of religion and spiritual movements, there is very little about Sathya Sai Baba.

"Winged faith: Rethinking globalization and religious pluralism through the Sathya Sai movement" by Tulsi Srinivas is perhaps the most well known academic scholar work on Sathya Sai in religion, spiritual movements and related fields. I  should also say that I have not read the book.

Also note that parapsychology field work is different. Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson has written about Sathya Sai in that context.

I am talking here about academic fields of religion and spiritual movements, and related fields.

Google Scholar reports some academic articles by A. Kent in relation to Sathya Sai movement of Malaysia.

Why do we have such neglect of Sathya Sai teachings and Sathya Sai movement in academic field (I refer to academic literature)? I don't know the answer.

But here's a video where Rajiv Malhotra talks about how Hinduism is viewed by USA academics, based on his encounters as a donor in the past to academic work in this area in the USA. Note that these views of his may be strongly disputed by US academics in fields of religion, spiritual movements and related areas. They do not seem to like Rajiv Malhotra.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWcy5TPKVlk, around 10 mins.
==================================

Given below are my comments on my Facebook post,  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2562974457252449, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
I think you are referring to schools adopting Sathya Sai system of teaching. That is different from what I am referring to. I am referring to academic literature, which essentially is academic research publications, on Sathya Sai. That is a niche area that is understood only by people with exposure to academics and those fields in academics. ... But it is a vital area as it is these academics that are viewed as experts in the field by encyclopaedias, and by some, I repeat some, government officials and ministers.

In contrast, I believe (but am not sure about it) there is significantly more academic literature (academic research publications) on Shirdi Sai Baba from USA and European academic research scholars (don't know if Indian academic research scholars have contributed to this).
----

In response to a comment, I wrote (slightly edited):
They need to publish academic research articles on Sathya Sai. Why they have not done much (or perhaps nothing or close to nothing) in this area is a big question mark!
----

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in July 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.


I just browsed through this article as I do not know much about the associated field.

"There is, however, one elegant solution to the riddle of how to explain the relationship between consciousness and physical properties [Ravi: associated with brain, as per my understanding]. Many illustrious philosophers throughout history have held to this view, and if it is rarely considered today, this is likely because it requires such a radical shift in perspective. Nevertheless, if we are ever going to understand consciousness and its relationship to the physical world, I believe this is a shift we are going to have to make.

The key to resolving the hard problem of consciousness lies in the following observation. While physical properties cannot explain consciousness, consciousness is needed to explain physical properties."

The above (small) extract seems to make sense to me.

Article: What If Consciousness Comes First?
Bridging the mind-body gap will require a fundamental shift in perspective., https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mysteries-consciousness/201907/what-if-consciousness-comes-first, Psychology Today, 22nd July 2019 by Sharon Hewitt Rawlette Ph.D.
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The Change.org petition: "Declaration by Sathya Sai devotees and alumni & staff of Sai educational institutions, condemning spiritual fraud Madhusudan Rao Naidu", https://www.change.org/p/sathya-sai-devotee-fraternity-worldwide-we-condemn-spiritual-fraud-madhusudan-rao-naidu, continues to get a few signatures per month.

Now the total signatures has touched 383.
April 2019 had 2 signatures, May - 3, June - 5, July (so far) - 1. These signatories are from UK, Canada, Singapore, Slovenia, Colombia, US (USA) and India.

Alumni participation seems to be very minimal. I think, by and large, it is non alumni Sathya Sai devotees who have the courage to sign such petitions, though there have been few alumni signatures too, and I thank these alumni for their courage.

Good to see such courage among non alumni Sathya Sai devotees. I think it is such people that will keep up the motto of Bhagavan of "Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara", especially in the context of Madhusudan Rao Naidu spiritual fraud.

Update: I have uploaded the latest signature list which has a couple or so test signatures (not whitened list) on public Google Drive folder here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qxa2EezgcF8WmbRoJyP9-m0btxOI-6MB . It is only around 97 KB in size.

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In June 2019 Sanathana Sarathi print issue, I read this lovely and inspiring article written by Howard Murphet (perhaps in 1980): The Great Australian Miracle. It is about a miraculous healing of a small girl (Mayan) in Australia who was suffering from a dangerous disease (apiastic anaemia), due to faith that the small girl, and her parents and grandparents developed in Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and the positive response & intervention by Bhagavan.

The article was printed in Sanathana Saranthi in May 1980 (the June 2019 issue reprinted it). The article is available on the Internet here: http://sssbpt.org/pages/SaiSpiritualShowers/SSS02Apr2009.html
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I was not aware of this:

'The most repeated command
in the Bible? "Do not fear."
The reason? "For I am with you...."', https://twitter.com/scottsauls/status/1145355096957607936

It is Sathya Sai who gave me the faith and confidence that if I am confronted with a serious problem including a fearful situation, and I then earnestly and sincerely pray to God (including prayer to Avatar Sathya Sai), God will help me in some ***significant*** way to counter the serious problem which may be a fearful situation. Sathya Sai repeatedly said that He is with his devotees, and will come to their aid when they are in trouble.

God grants Abhaya (fearlessness) to the sincere and earnest devotee. This theme runs through Hindu devotional scripture.

It is interesting to know that the Bible seems to have similar statements.
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Nice quotes about Guru: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SECzyblmGlU, 49 seconds.

I think this quote is very apt for today's spiritual aspirants, and is reportedly from Swami Sivanananda Saraswati (Divine Life Society) (1887 - 1963), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivananda_Saraswati.

"Let each man take the path according to his capacity, understanding and temperament. His true guru will meet him along that path". https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/255653-let-each-man-take-the-path-according-to-his-capacity.

I think there is a lot of truth to what Swami Sivananda said above. I think the duty of the genuine spiritual aspirant is to "take the path according to his (or her) capacity, understanding and temperament". It is my strong belief today that once a spiritual aspirant does that with Shraddha (faith in Divine Power/God) and Saburi (steadfastness), the appropriate Guru for him/her "will meet him (or her) along that path".
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"The world’s largest religion by population is still Christianity", https://twitter.com/PewReligion/status/1149472698344464385

2015 figures in numbers and percentage:
Christians - 2.3 Billion, 31.2%
Muslims - 1.8 Billion, 24.1%
Hindus - 1.1 Billion, 15.1%
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The Festival of Bharat - S3: Jews were never persecuted in India | His Excellency, The Ambassador of Israel to the UK, Mark Regev ji's moving opening words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q__mjojfAU, around 5 mins, published on 11th July 2019 by the Festival of Bharat.

Ravi: Great to hear such praise about India's (Bharat's) spirit of tolerance towards various religions, including Judaism (in this case, the speaker speaks only about India's tolerance towards Judaism), across centuries and millennia from a top diplomat of Israel.
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I have been trying to get contact information of the Royal Travancore family, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travancore_royal_family, so that I can offer to send them my part autobiography book, if they are interested. Note that both my parents' families were subjects of Travancore kings & queens (prior to Indian independence and merger of royal kingdoms into republic of India in late 40s & early 50s).

[Update: I was able to get the info. that the Travancore Royal Family Palace (residence) is the Kowdiar Palace in Thiruvananthapuram.

https://www.ixigo.com/kowdiar-palace-thiruvananthapuram-india-contact-phone-number-ne-1273857 gave the contact number of Kowdiar Palace as 91-471-2434744 (0471 243 4744).

I called up the number, and after I got connected to another person, was able to get an email id to which I sent my offer to send my book. I also gave my family background in Kerala and said that the book offer is out of gratitude to Travancore Royal Family for protection and support provided to my parent's/parents' families. end-Update.]

I could not get an email id or a telephone number of the office of this royal family with Google search so far.

But there are wiki pages on some of the current royal family members (though it is more of a titular thing now without any political power being vested in them, I guess), and youtube videos!.

Here's an interesting 2017 interview with Princess Gouri Parvathi Bayi of the Travancore royal family where she goes down memory lane a little, and talks about travel: Conversations With Hari- Princess Gouri Parvathi Bayi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLkrJEmtTV4, 12 min. 26 secs.

BTW if any readers, especially those based in Thiruvananthapuram area of Kerala know the contact info. of the office of Travancore royal family, I request them to please pass it on to me.
---------

I commented on above post (slightly edited): --Name-snipped-- sir - I thought you would like to know that I have ordered for two copies of both of my books (Part Autobio & Who am I? I am I ... ) to be sent to Kowdiar Palace to be offered to H.H. Princess Gowri Parvati Bayi and H.H. Princess Gowri Lakshmi Bayi.

I was also able to get the contact info. of office of H.H. Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma (current king of Travancore and, I believe, brother of above two princesses and trustee of Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram) and have sent a mail to the office offering to send a copy each of my two books.
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