Lead Me From The Unreal to the Real – The Muddenahalli Deception

Indian temple
flower offering

Lead me from the asat to the sat.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality
Om Peace Peace Peace.

(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28)

 

“Look at the moon, not at the finger pointing to it,” the Zen parable says. A guide points the way but is not the Way itself.  He cannot carry the pupil on his back, can only propose conditions that will support the aim. Spiritual teaching is not a one-way process—the guide must also be a student. It’s an essential chain through which higher forces can manifest on Earth. Mutual sincerity will make the relationship fruitful. If the teacher is not also growing, something is gradually lost: the connection to the higher. His role is to enable you to see, as he does, without judgment. Then your conscience or your soul has room to appear and become the real guide.” Sathya Sai Baba was an inner experience that touched the soul not an entertainer!

 

Video with Photos of the Muddenahalli Group while out and about to the catchy rap music

” Human” – artist Rag n Bone Man 

 

Currently, in the darkness of our ignorance, we believe ourselves to be bound and limited (otherwise we would not be reciting prayers or mantras in the first place). But the Guru and the scriptures are telling us that, in truth, we are not, never will be and never have been, bound. Eternally we are Sat-Cit-Ananda. The only thing that can remove our ignorance regarding our true nature is a spiritual education at the hands of a True Master – A Sat Guru. At the culmination of such an education, light floods the room, as it were; darkness vanishes and we become wise. This is exactly what  Sathya Sai Baba spent decades teaching us. He said time and time again, we have the source within and the duty of the guru is to point the way.  This was his mission.

Sai Baba  told devotees during 2006 that His mission was already complete. He also told us that Sat Gurus only leave their bodies once they have finished their missions. He directed us away from being attached to His form and asked us to be attached to the eternal Atma which is the reality of all forms. He said that when He left His body He would remain as the eternal Atma,  that He would not come back in any astral form or subtle body. He actually didn’t mention another  means of communication through someone else.

Therefore, if we trust what Sai Baba said, we know that He completed His mission and having completed it, He left His body and remains as the eternal Atma, which is His reality. Since  Sathya Sai  Baba said that illness could not defeat him, we also understand He left His body voluntarily.

Although  Muddenahalli Madhusudan claims otherwise that Sai Baba died prematurely leaving him to continue his mission for so many years. He is blatently contradicing all that Sathya Sai Baba said when alive. That Sai Baba failed to complete His mission before leaving His body and that He, Sai Baba, has therefore had to come back in a subtle body to finish it. Madhusudan is now encouraging devotees to be attached to and seek visions of this subtle body through Madhusudan.

But wait a minute! What Has Sathya Sai Baba actually declared?

Sai Baba doesn’t need or use mediums or intermediaries:”I never speak through another. I never use another or possess another physical vehicle to express Myself. I am not a ghost or spirit to do so, to need some medium. I come direct, I speak direct, I come as I am or as I will to come in fresh created Forms. I do not use weak vacillating human vehicles; I confer boons straight and without any intermediary”. (Sathyam Sivam Sundaram Part 2)

However Madhusudan claims that Swami has also gone back on His word that He never uses intermediaries and is now using Madhusudan as an intermediary to convey messages to His devotees. Who are we going to believe? Swami’s own recorded words or Madhusudan’s unverified claims (which contradict so much of what Swami says)? I choose to place my faith in Sathya Sai Baba while in His physcial body!

Madhu with Sai Baba

Madhusudan World Traveller:

 

Madhusudan, unlike Sai Baba, travels the world. He does so business class!  Needless to say his travels are costly. From the travel reports send out to followers, we read about his expensive trips abroad, we gather nothing about them is cheap. He is travelling in style!  So what about money? Like everything else, “the spiritual” must be paid for. Rent is due, and gas and electricity aren’t free and plane tickets are expensive and Hotels do not come free!  Madhusudan, like so many other self-styled gurus, demand and get huge sums from hopeful followers who somehow believe that the more something costs, the more valuable it is.  That standard may apply to consumer goods but “authentic gurus” tend to live simply.  If a luxurious lifestyle is given as proof of efficacy, you may have cause to question the teacher and the teaching, and your own values. Do you  really value imitations more than the real thing?  Sathya Sai Baba darshans was always a deep experience that gave us a radiance that was found nowhere else. With Madhusudan its sheer entertainment! – A mere shadow of what is truly real.  While on the subject of the “Real Thing”  what about the ancient practice of  Tithing? (To give monies for aid.)  If a spiritual community supports the helpless and softens the harsh division between those who have too much and those who have not enough, tithing is blessed. But there is no spiritual gain from supporting some charismatic “rascal”  who turns spiritual seekers into his own ATM machine by  actively engaging in tithing. (Taking donations from followers.)

Be wary of cults, they are easy to join but hard to leave. A genuine teaching on the contrary may be hard to find and harder to enter, but very easy to walk away from. Are you being courted? Cults seek recruits. Speak to followers who left, not just the ones who stayed: how were they treated? Are they grateful for what they received?

 

Tithing

To exact a tithe from (a person, community, parish, etc.

Offering of Flowers To Sathya Sai Baba – Source Sai Baba Of India
Madhusudan – offering a double blessing – but what’s the expression on his tired looking face, if it is not  one of sadness

CATCH A FALLING “STAR” – Sathya Sai Memories

Isaac's Krishna with flowers
Isaac’s Krishna with flowers

 

Catch a falling star, put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day. Those few words from the song of the same name, sum up my experiences I had this year in the Puttaparthi Ashram. I had given the post another name, but feel this title is more in keeping with the post.  So here goes.

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On my visit to Puttaparthi this year, I noticed so many changes. Gone were most of the small cafés I’d enjoyed eating in. Gone too was the prettiness of the ashram. The huge concrete buildings were in need of a lick of paint, the pathways that meandered around the darshan area, all were in need of repair. It was noisy. I remember one day a young seva dal worker walked up and down the walkway in East Prashanthi, with a placard that read: “Please be quite.” There seemed to be such a lack of awareness that this was supposed to be a place of peace, quiet, and reverence.

I opted out of sitting in the darshan hall this year, preferring to sit in the gardens at the back of the Ashram. They were beautiful and cool. The Bougainvillea and other tropical plants painted the landscape brightly while providing shade. The statues all around the garden, freshly painted, were a reminder of times gone by when everything had been spick and span. I used to sit there on the stone bench under one of the Neem trees, watching exquisite black and red butterflies dancing from branch to branch. The Neem trees were in full bloom while I was there, and as the tiny blossoms reached out toward the sun, all kinds of insects came to settle. My! the chirping sounds of those insects added a sense of the sublime to the whole scene. The birds too chirped their mantras and whooped, often it seemed, keeping time with the Vedas being chanted in the darshan hall some five hundred feet away.

The bench under the Neem tree was my favourite place to sit. The gardeners watered the area in the early morning, leaving everything wet. A smell of fresh earth embraced us.  The temperatures also dropped sharply after the thorough watering. It was simply the best place in the ashram to stay cool.

Isaac Tigrett’s ‘Krishna’ status stood directly under his 4th floor apt. It, too, had received a fresh coat of paint. The dark blue colour shone in the sunlight, and if one looked sideways at the statue, it appeared to have an aura. I am not sure what optical illusion made this appear so. Anyway it was enchanting to the eye.

Isaac’s apt was high up, in full view of the canopy of the Neem trees. How I envied him that special place. I never saw him in or around the ashram but sensed he enjoyed his apt. and its spectacular view! But he is no longer there now. He gave up his residency this June. Apparently his “Mission” had ended.

Isaac outside the ashram gate on Guru-Pournima celebrations this year.
Isaac outside the ashram gate on Guru-Pournima celebrations this year.

He’d lived there for seven or more years. On Tuesdays and Fridays, he’d held early morning bhajans there in his apt. I attended only twice in 2008. Isaac at that time was pretty overwhelmed by the amount of ladies attending. Obviously the famous former owner of the Hard Rock Cafe was centre of attention – that is after Sai Baba. He had not expected on his arrival, he could create such a stir. But human nature being what it is he was very much in demand. It was like everyone wanted a piece of him, and he later retaliated by withdrawing.

Isaac had gone through many up and downs during his stay in Prashanthi Nilayam. He arrived a few years before Swami’s demise, and had weathered all the political storms that were to come later. Although respected and admired on his arrival, he had difficulty settling in.

I’d not known Isaac personally and, after 2008, I hardly saw him. He’d told people he had no friend’s there. I am not sure that was altogether true, but perhaps he felt that it was. He’d hired young men to run errands or to assist him with his projects. I was told that even his assistant had been less than loyal and had been let go. Yet, he was generous in supporting the local villages, and was well-liked by those who lived outside of Puttaparthi.

bench3Catch A Falling Star

I remember seeing him two years ago in the Mandir hall. He’d looked much older. His hair once dyed black now was white, his untrimmed beard didn’t help his appearance. I guess he’d ceased to care much about his looks, once under the influence of Sai Baba. Gone also, I thought to myself, was the image of the chic entrepreneur of the famous Hard Rock Cafe. He looked somewhat awkward and out of place. I watched while he did his pranams to Swami, then as he got up, he glanced over at the ladies in an embarrassed way, and slowly walked out. It was around that time he stopped visiting the Mandir. I had a strange feeling at that time, his days there were numbered.

Isaac deciding to leave the ashram marks the end of an era. I arrived just after he’d given a huge cheque for the SS hospital to be built in 1991. Everyone was talking about him. They all said that with the building of the hospital, things would be great for Sai Baba. And weren’t we the lucky ones to be there with Him at this time?

Well, in my opinion, that was an unlikely truth. The ashram had certainly changed with the great influx of money though not altogether for the better. Now that he has gone, will things settle down to the slow pace of life that the ashram enjoyed before Isaac’s mission? I suppose so, but Isaac Tigrett will never be forgotten. He left his mark there and as for the hospital? No one can erase his memory from that. What a sad ending…

 

Bamboo in the garden. The garden is the heart of the Ashram in Puttparthi
Bamboo in the garden. The garden is the heart of the Ashram in Puttparthi
In the garden after the rain
In the garden after the rain
Ashram Gardens
Ashram Gardens

Finally, this writer is most cautious in posting articles that may be contensious  I always check with people who are mentioned in my posts. It is only good manners to do so. I contacted Isaac Tigrett, before the final draft of this blog-post was released. I have always done that with his posts (those on this blog) and for others too. thank you..

“The Miracle Letter” – Early Devotees

aaa9swami99

I would like to share a event which I heard personally from a very good family friend of ours,  the Late Mrs Usha Pillai who used to stay at Mission Road in Bangalore many years ago .She was the head of the Sai Mahila Vibhag in Bangalore and she was active in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too.

She was a staunch devotee of Baba right from the early years and she used to tell us many interesting experiences she had. She was one of the devotees from the early years, when there was  at that time, no proper transport  to Puttaparthi . They would travel by Horse or Bullock carts to reach Puttaparthi and when they were going back in the evening to their native places, Swami would come to see them off with a lantern in His hand and bid farewell.

She once narrated a very odd incident to me which is still sharply etched in my memory till  this day, though at the time she told us this story, we  had just joined the Sai fold.  At the time that this incident happened , Swami Chimayananda was in Switzerland.  She said that she was working actively in the Sri Chinmaya Mission too and Swami Sai was aware of this. Swami once called her for an interview during which He waved His hand high in the air and caught an envelope.

He then told her that  “Swami Chinmayananda ki heart attack vacchindi” – meaning in Telugu that Swami Chinmaya nanda had just got an heart attack. He then opened the letter and showed it to her.

aaaswami_chinmayananda99

It was a letter written by the Swiss Misson of the Swami Chinmayananda Organisation addressed to their Bangalore counterparts in which it was written that  Swamiji had indeed had a heart attack at about 02.30 AM that day (early morning). She was a bit surprised as she was not
aware of it or anyone else at the local unit. Then after the interview, she went to the Chinmaya Trust and told them that Swami Chinmayananda had a heart attack in Switzerland. The incredulous members in the Mission did not believe her and asked her how it was possible for her to know as they themselves were not aware besides they were in touch with the overseas mission. A few days later the Mission Members in Bangalore received a  letter that the Swiss Mission had sent via airmail,  with the details of the heart attack of Swami Chinmayananda.     

Amongst other things, that Swami told her was that He asked His devotees to take very good care of their health as He wanted them to live long and witness the earth-shaking Miracles He would perform in the later years of His Mission.