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

The Lake Under The Moon – Metta Teachings

Winter is behind us now. This brings a feeling of light, hope and openness. We can look out of the window at trees and see them forming leaves. Golden Daffodils adorn our gardens once more. The snowdrops and crocuses are also bountiful. This year more than most! I like to think it is not only a new beginning but  also a time to ponder on what lies ahead. Although in the quiet moments  of a Spring day, reflection on what has past is often more on our minds.  Dare we expect more from this new year than the last?  In the old Pali dialect, the language of the Buddha (upanijjhāna),  “reflection” has the self-same meaning that it does in English—it means to be like a mirror or the surface of a deep pond, to receive an impression and hold it without adding anything else. It also means to contemplate or consciously consider. To listen to the inner voice of reason.

Years ago, at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke of this, and of the Buddha’s advice to his 7-year-old son Rahula. The Buddha told his son about the importance of honesty, telling young Rahula to practice reflection—to reflect on the inner and outer consequences before, during, and after doing something. Please consider trying this. The results are subtle but quite amazing. Consider how you feel before you perform an act of generosity, during, and after. Also consider how it feels to do something less than noble or not do something. Let’s say, not to eat or drink too much or be angry or stingy, to un-grasp the hand of lifelong habits. What is amazing is that this type of practice of reflecting on the quality and consequence of our lives is a way to expand time by opening and deepening and enriching the time we have to spare.

In meditation or just being  alone with our thoughts , we allow ourselves to reflect on something that has already happened. We can allow a memory or experience to arise within us, and like the surface of a deep pond, reflecting the moon without fighting it or fleeing from it or freezing it or adding anything at all. Remember that the ancient root of the word, “understand” means to stand under, to allow the truth of something to soak in. It also suggests holding and supporting, standing under our own experience, receiving it. Think of the lake under the moon.

Crocuses in the garden

Re-written from an article published in Parabola magazine.

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Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013 – Children of Light

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Your FaceBook Link to the Kumbh Mela, 2013

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Happy to present facts on this most important Maha Kumbh Mela.  Being a keen photographer myself, the photographs I find are  pretty amazing… I thought you folks would also enjoy them. This was not an easy post to put together due to so many photos but worth the time, I feel….  

The Beginning

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Originally, the demigods had lost their strength from the curse of Durväsä Muni. To regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, who directed all the demigods to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu. After prayers to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (the primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita, the nectar of immortality. So they made a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras demons, to work together with a promise to share the wealth equally. However, when the Kumbha (urn or jar) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights, the equivalent to twelve human years, the gods and demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu flew away with the Kumbha of elixir but spilling drops of amrita at four locations: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.

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Celestial Aspects

Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign of Leo – Simha Rashi, it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik. When the sun is in Aries – Mesha Rashi, it is celebrated at Haridwar. When Jupiter is in Taurus – Vrishabha Rashi, and the sun is in Capricorn – Makar Rashi, the Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and when Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio – Vrishchik Rashi, the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain.

Each site’s celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter

Overview

This festival has been held on the banks of the Ganges for thousands of years.

The event, held every 12 years, is billed as the biggest gathering on Earth. More than 100 million people are expected to attend the 55-day festival.

The 2013 gathering is a Maha Kumbh and this only happens after 12 purna kumbhs or about every 144 years – and it is always held at Allahabad. Hence this year’s festival is known as a Maha Kumbh and will last for 55 days, a period of time determined by an astrological calculation described above.

Preparing For Millions

Sunday Evening

On Sunday night, smoke could be seen rising from hundreds of small fires which people had built to cook dinner or keep warm.

Monday 14 January,2013

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The festival formally started at dawn and all roads leading to the Kumbh Mela grounds are now packed with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Here is a run-down on this morning’s events :

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05:17 IST (23:47 GMT)

kumbha17At 5am, Sangam is a hub of frantic activity. Thousands of pilgrims have already taken a dip in the holy waters, thousands are lining up for their turn and thousands more are walking towards the river front.

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The air here smells smoky from all the fires which people have burned overnight to stay warm.

There is a chill in the air this morning as holy men sprint into the waters in Allahabad, but the day dawned warmer than in recent weeks when a cold snap hit northern India.

06:44 IST (01:14 GMT)

Sadhus on the banks of the river shout “Try it for yourself!”

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The first group of Naga sadhus (ascetics) arrived in a colourful procession. Led by naked ash-smeared men with marigold garlands around their necks, they sprinted into the chilly waters of Sangam.

Dip over, some came and stood before us rubbing coarse river sand on their bodies.

I was able to ask an old sadhu if he felt the cold. “Not at all” he said and handed me some sand: “Try it for yourself!”

07:33 IST (02:03 GMT)

kumbha1The sadhus from the Niranjani akhara (camp) arrive in a huge procession.

The naked ash-smeared men arrived in a colourful procession and waded into the chilly waters of Sangam – the point at which the rivers converge.

The sadhus have been leading processions accompanied by elephants, camels, horses, chariots and music bands in recent days.

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Ascetic and Horse

Although the sky is still dark, the bathing ghats are lit up with thousands of electric bulbs.

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The group of several hundred naked ascetics, has a reputation for being rather unfriendly and they are accompanied by the elite commandos of the RAF (rapid action force). The pesky journalists and tourists are reined in behind police lines “for your own protection,” we are told.

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The group takes 45 minutes to bathe after which they are escorted out by the RAF troops.

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08:56 IST (03:26 GMT)

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As waves of naked ash-smeared ascetics continue to arrive and sprint towards the river, thousands of bathers in nearby enclosures watch in awe.

One sadhu, with long matted hair, stops and does a joyous jig for the furiously clicking cameras.

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Women Ascetics Also Take Part in the Kumbh Mela

womanasceticIn a departure from tradition, a large number of women ascetics have also come for a bath at Sangam. Dressed in bright saffron-coloured saris and robes, they seemed to be enjoying all the attention. Some laughed and chatted amongst themselves, some even posed for pictures.

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the women kumbhaMeanwhile, in the next enclosure, thousands of ordinary pilgrims – men and women, old and young – are moving in orderly lines for their bathing rituals.

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11:00 IST (05:30 GMT)

kumbha16The crowd management at the river front so far has been impressive.

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As soon as pilgrims finish bathing, they are encouraged to move away and make space for other bathers.kumbha9

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Away from the river front, the mela area is bustling with small roadside vendors selling tea, sweets, colourful photographs of Hindu deities and small round white candies generally offered at the temple altar.

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Pilgrims Give Alms to Children Dressed as Hindu Gods

childgoddessOn one street, several toddlers dressed as Hindu deities sit by the roadside as many passing pilgrims hand them coins.

“Their parents are very clever,” an old man tells me, “for who can refuse alms to a pretty child dressed as a god or goddess?”

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Later

Several million people have been bathing at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers at Allahabad in India, on this opening day of the Kumbh Mela festival with at least 10 million pilgrims set to do so by the end of today.

Police estimated that, by late afternoon, about 7.5 million people had bathed. They also say that the festival is expected to draw over a million foreign tourists.

For festival-goers, one of the most memorable spectacles of the day was when the Naga sadhus, or ascetics, sprinted into the river reciting religious chants, many clad only in marigold garlands.

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In Numbers

  • Visitors: 80-100 million
  • Number of days: 55
  • Area: 20 sq km (4,932 acres)
  • Drinking water: 80 million litres
  • Toilets: 35,000
  • Doctors: 243
  • Police: 30,000
  • Hospitals: 14

Fourteen temporary hospitals have been set up with 243 doctors deployed round-the-clock, and more than 35,000 toilets have been built for the pilgrims.

Official Website of Kumbh Mela, 2013
Official Website of Kumbh Mela, 2013