Brian Steel – Spanish Translator & Internet Propagandist

Information About Brian Steel:
Brian Steel is a Spanish translator and editor living in Australia. He is currently an ex-devotee of the Indian Guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, India. Brian Steel is an obsessive, rambling and nitpicking critic who cannot make a sober or consistent argument against his former guru. While Brian Steel was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, he wrote the following books favorable to the guru’s cause and movement:

  • A Basic Dictionary for Sai Baba Devotees and Others
  • The Sathya Sai Baba Compendium. A Guide to the First 70 Years
  • The Powers of Sathya Sai Baba

Although ex-devotees refer to Brian Steel as a “scholar” and a “linguistics expert”, he does not list any credentials on his websites (nor have any publishers made mention to any credentials he may possess). Therefore, the “scholar” and “expert” claims attributed to Brian Steel are unsupported, subjective statements not rooted in fact.

Brian Steel is the webmaster for the following websites/blogs:

  • bdsteel.tripod.com
  • briansteel.net
  • brianestil.wordpress.com
  • briansteel.wordpress.com

Brian Steel’s Comments About The English Translations To Sathya Sai Baba’s Telugu Discourses:
Brian Steel wrote a long-winded article about the “packaging” of Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses. While wading (knee deep) through Brian Steel’s article, I discovered that his entire argument is inherently flawed. To prove my point, let us look at some actual quotes from Brian Steel regarding the English translations to Sathya Sai Baba’s Telugu discourses:

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “SSB’s actual words, sentences, and speaking style, have often been submerged in a heavily edited, polished and sophisticated written version.”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel (Regarding The Editing Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Discourses): “1. Change of sentence style from simple to more complex and sophisticated; 2. Condensation of the spoken original; 3. Enhancement or clarification of sentences or paragraphs; 4. Relocation of information to an earlier or later paragraph, making the whole Discourse more cohesive and stylistically sophisticated; 5. Omission of words, sentences, pages, or facts; and 6. Editor’s additions and adornments.”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “The changes are such that the two products, while conveying (more or less) the same spiritual concepts, are very different sets of communications, as if from two different persons. As has already been hypothesised, this calls into question the exact nature of SSB’s words, for those devotees who wish to quote from written sources alone, or to study the precise words of wisdom in Study Circles. (That, in fact, is ironic: Devotees in SSB Centres all over the world spend regular hours minutely analysing and commenting on short sections of SSB’s Discourses. The concepts, sentences, and phraseology are commented on in minute detail and squeezed for deep spiritual meanings, in the sincere belief that the words and style (as well as the concepts) are SSB’s!”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “It is not therefore surprising that many (perhaps most) devotees seem to regard the volumes of Sathya Sai Speaks reverently as ‘Gospel’ truth. However, it may come as a surprise to them (they may even be offended) to be told that they are NOT being given a close translation of SSB’s words in these official magazines and printed volumes, but a very highly edited version (with significant additions and omissions, as we shall see), produced by Organisation editors – initially Kasturi himself, later other equally erudite close associates of Baba.”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “Have the printed Discourses always been so distant from the original spoken versions in both style and content?”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “In view of the minute attention accorded by devotees to all of SSB’s words and actions, we may ask once more: How is it possible for SSB’s ‘words’ – as opposed to his teachings – to be quoted with any accuracy?”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “However, as we are now beginning to see, particularly with the ‘Premsai’ evidence, what is eventually printed for wide circulation really becomes more of a hybrid form, a condensation (and sometimes a selection) of SSB’s words, ideas and concepts, significantly enhanced by the editors’ language and stylistic skills.”

bdsteel.tripod.com/More/packagenew04.htm Brian Steel: “Glib spokespersons and devotees-in-denial should compare these 8 official literal translations with the official packaged versions to get further evidence of the degree of packaging of their guru’s words.”

Brian Steel Completely Contradicts Himself:
Based on the quotes cited earlier, Brian Steel clearly stated that the English translations to Sathya Sai Baba’s Telugu discourses are not what Sathya Sai Baba actually and literally said in Telugu. Brian Steel cited about a dozen examples to illustrate his point. The examples that Brian Steel used do show that those particular English discourse sections were heavily modified and/or edited. Consequently, according to Brian Steel, the English translations are not the actual words and phrases used by Sathya Sai Baba in his original, Telugu discourses.

It is Brian Steel’s opinion that Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses are “packaged, highly edited, polished, condensed, enhanced, inaccurate, distant, different, adorned, significantly added to, snipped and hybridized”. These points are important to remember, because after Brian Steel made his case against the integrity of the English translations, he flip-flopped and cited these very same flawed English translations (yes, the ones he said were “packaged, highly edited, polished, condensed, enhanced, inaccurate, distant, different, adorned, significantly added to, snipped and hybridized”) to attribute literal inaccuracies and discrepancies directly to Sathya Sai Baba!

When it comes to Brian Steel’s “packaging” sermon, the English translations are inaccurate, changed considerably and do not reflect what Sathya Sai Baba literally said in Telugu. However, when it comes to perceived contradictions and inconsistencies, Brian Steel cited these very same “packaged” English translations as accurate and factual references to critique what Sathya Sai Baba actually said in Telugu. Brian Steel is trying to have it both ways. He can’t.

As if Brian Steel’s contradictory argument is not embarassing enough, he does not speak, understand or write Telugu. Consequently, Brian Steel is at a sore disadvantage in that every single fault he finds in the English translations are implausible guesses as to what Sathya Sai Baba might have said in Telugu.

Brian Steel is basing his critiques solely on the English translations. One would think that the only rational approach to critiquing Baba’s discourses would be to have a person who is fluent in Telugu to point out the alleged discrepancies. However, Brain Steel does not know Telugu. Therefore, Brian Steel’s entire works of contrasting, comparing and critiquing is of little practical value. This sums up my entire argument against Brain Steel’s “packaging” sermon.

Translation Considerations And Hermeneutics:
Brian Steel has personal problems with the way Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses are “packaged”. Brian Steel casually dismissed the intricacies and perplexities that often face language translations. There are many devotees and ex-devotees, students and ex-students (for example, Meenakshi Srikanth) who have claimed that Sathya Sai Baba is a brilliant and excellent Telugu orator who’s simple, poetic and elegant style reveal a profound mastery of the Telugu language. Anyone who is bilingual can clearly understand the translation obstacles in maintaining the purity and essence of the original written or spoken word. This can clearly be seen in the Old Testament where there are numerous contradictions that must be reconciled with the original Hebrew words. However, even then, Hebrew scholars disagree with each other on hermeneutics. Such is the case with the translation hurdles that must be overcome when translating Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses from simple, poetic and elegant Telugu (which are full of subtle, complex nuances) into English.

The English Translation Is The Proof Plate For Other Languages:
There are two times when Sathya Sai Baba’s Telugu discourses are translated into English. The first time is when a translator gives an on-the-spot translation while Sathya Sai Baba is speaking. The second time is after the discourse when the original Telugu discourse is re-translated (from audio tape) into English for publication. This accounts for the discrepancies between what one hears during the discourse (on-the-spot translation) and what one reads after the discourse (examined translation). Apparently, Brian Steel does not understand this.

The English translations are proof plates for translations made into other languages. Consequently, the English version must be edited so that it presents the most direct and concise version of the discourse. This allows for a more accurate and consistent translation into other languages.

Brian Steel also faulted the translations because they present “an inaccurate picture of Baba’s public speaking personality and style”. No translation can convey a person’s “public speaking personality and style”. If people want to know Sathya Sai Baba’s “public speaking personality and style”, they should watch a video or watch him in person. No one can accurately assess a person’s “public speaking personality and style” by reading his/her words on paper.

“On-The-Spot” Notes And A 0.04% Error Rate:
Brian Steel cited devotee’s “on the spot notes” made during Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses. This goes from bad to worse. Anyone who has ever heard one of Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses knows that many times Sathya Sai Baba cuts off the translator before he finishes translating. Not only that, but Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses are fast paced (something Brian Steel acknowledged). To keep up with the English translation (or make one’s own translation) is a difficult thing to do! Making notes is bound to result in profound errors on the part of the person who is trying to keep up with the discourse.

On Brian’s appendix page (at bdsteel.tripod.com/SSB/apx.htm) one will find comparisons between various versions to Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses. One of the examples used by Brian Steel is a Yugadi Discourse that was translated from Telugu into Tamil and then translated again from Tamil into English (talk about being desperate to find errors). This is bound to end up with substantial errors. These are the extents to which Brian Steel is willing to go to prove that there are alleged discrepancies in Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses.

It isimportant to point out that out that there are approximately 1,200 discourses published between 1953-1997, hundreds of discourses published between 1997-2003 and about 90 discourses published between 2003-2004. There are also over a hundred Vahinis and hundreds of discourses given during the Summer Showers. Conservatively, there are 1,600 discourses and speeches given by Sathya Sai Baba from 1953-2004. Brian Steel has found discrepancies in three full discourses and snippets from other discourses (not numbering more than 60 on his and other Anti-Sai websites). This would comprise discrepancies in 0.04% of Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses! Even so, I have not seen how any of Brian Steel’s cited discrepancies detract from Sathya Sai Baba’s main message.

Brian Steel Attempted To Cite “premasai” As An Authority:
Brian Steel cited what he contended were “literal translations” taken from the internety.com/premsai website (which is no longer online). This site was run by unnamed devotees who published “thoughts for the day” and Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses in nine languages. Brian Steel argued that these premasai translations were “literal translations” based on the authority of unknown devotees who made that claim. Brian Steel knows nothing about the translators (including their names). Since Brian Steel does not speak, write or understand Telugu, he cannot say, with any certainty, that the translations on the “premasai” website were “literal translations”. How does Brian Steel not know that these devotees may have enhanced or edited the translations to reflect their devotion to Sathya Sai Baba? How can Brian Steel accept the word of devotees when he considers them mislead, given to excessive exaggerations, belonging to a cult and being brainwashed? These are the un-scholarly standards with which Brian Steel attempted to make a case against Sathya Sai Baba.

Brian Steel And The Sathya Sai Baba Birthday Debate:
Sathya Sai Baba Birthday Debate – A Full Response

Brian Steel – Email Correspondence:
Click Here to view my email correspondence with Brian Steel and his immature reactions to my article about him. Brian Steel is a person who is highly critical of others. However, when others write something critical about him, he hurls insults and throws flaming hissy fits without even being properly or fully informed (admittedly)! One would think a so-called “scholar” and “linguistics expert” would respond more intelligently and soberly. Apparently that is not the case with Brian Steel.

Sathya Sai Baba And The Yadalams Of Bukkapatnam

Bhagavan Baba

Bhagavan Baba


Sathya Sai Baba And The Yadalams of Bukkapatnam
They had known the sublime in Bhagawan

Literature on the experiences of devotees of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba particularly in the 50’s and before, are full of reference to the Yadalam family of Bukkapatnam, who provided refreshment and conveyance for pilgrims heading towards Puttaparthi.

The family they talked about was that of Yadalam Venkataramanappa and Yadalam Nagamma. They were one of the first families outside Puttaparthi to recognise Bhagawan’s divinity.

They became devotees of Bhagawan in a very interesting manner. Yadalam Venkataramanappa had come to Puttaparthi hearing of Bhagawan’s glory. He had in mind three questions that he intended to ask Bhagawan: his own health, his business and his daughter’s family problem. When he arrived at Puttaparthi, he was disheartened to see a huge crowd of devotees in front of the house where Bhagawan was staying. Venkataramanappa lost hope and stood at the rear. Within a few minutes, Bhagawan sent for him. Venkataramanappa was taken by surprise, more so when Bhagawan recounted all the problems and assured the latter of His grace and protection. Venkataramanappa then invited Bhagawan to his house at Bukkapatnam, offered Him padapuja and even took Him out in a decorated procession.

Bhagawan became a regular visitor to the Yadalam house. He was very playful with the entire family. He proudly wore the garlands they made and went about singing songs. He would even take out ornaments family heirlooms, put them on and ask others how He looked. When His legs ached out of exhausting walks, Yadalam Nagamma would arrange hot water, turmeric powder and amudham oil for His bath.

The Yadalams were the first people to get a robe made for Bhagawan. It was light grey in colour and not of full length. Bhagawan materilised a Peetham (pedestal) to keep idols. He did not give any idol. He said, “I am here in the centre of the Peetham. On either side me stand Parvathi and Paramaeshewar. On another occasion, He materialised a yellow Kafni worn by Sai Baba of Shirdi for Yadalam Nagamma.

Once in 1946 Yadalam Venkataramanappa, suddenly lost sensation in his knees and was bedridden all the time, unable to walk. People at Bukkapatnam teased the Yadalam family: “You have allowed a Bhat Raju to enter your house. That is when you are suffering so much. Can your Sai Baba cure you? Some even went to Puttaparthi and asked Bhagawan: “Your devotee Venkataramanappa is suffering with leg pain. You have not done anything. Can you not cure him?” Bhagawan replied, “I know what to do, I will walk to Bukkapatnam and cure his disease.” That night, some one called out for Venkataramanappa is front of his house. On opening the door, the family was pleasantly to see Bhagawan Himself standing there in the middle of night. Bhagawan went to Venkataramanappa, held his hand and asked him to get up and walk. He even materialised dates for him and personally made him eat them. By the time, Bhagawan left for Puttaparthi in this morning, Venkataramanappa was perfectly well again.

The following year another touching episode occurred in connection with the Yadalam family. Yadalam Nagamma had gone to Mudugubba, 38 kilometres from Puttaparthi to attend the marriage of a close relative. She had been injured in a fire accident, suffering from burns on the body and face. Nagamma did not want to go back to Bukkapatnam with her swollen sepsis-infected face. She went instead to her native place, Kothakota. In His own mysterious way, Bhagawan was aware of the accident. He instructed Nagamma’s daughter-in-law, Janakamma, who had by then reached Puttaparthi with the terrible news, to arrange to fetch Nagamma to Puttaparthi. They Yadalam family did as Bhagawan bid them. Bhagawan materialised vibhuti and applied it all over her body. He even mixed it in some food and made her eat it. Early next morning, to everybody’s surprise, Nagamma’s face was whole and clean.

Bhagawan had once suggested to the Yadalams to open a grocery shop at Puttaparthi, but they did not want to do business in Bhagawan’s place and develop desires. They wanted to keep business away from devotion. Such was their faith and devotion to Bhagawan.

R. Padmanaban

Reference

Yadalams Bukkapatnam

Yadalams Bukkapatnam

Despite Skeptics, Medical Schools Address Spirituality

Mind Body Connection

Mind Body Connection


Despite Skeptics, Medical Schools Address Spirituality
By MANOJ JAIN The Washington Post
July 27, 2008

My patient is an elderly man with end-stage congestive heart failure, kidney failure and now an infected dialysis line, and he is unlikely to live more than six months. The Bible lies on his bedside table next to his hospital breakfast tray and the morning newspaper. I wonder if I should pray with him.

A neurosurgeon I know often prays with his patients before operating on their brains to remove a tumor or on their backs to relieve a herniated disk. In the pre-op holding area, he stands near the gurney and, with the patient’s permission, clasps his or her hand and recites a prayer. He usually concludes the prayer with “in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

My friend the neurosurgeon is unusual in this regard. Although studies show that 40 percent to 60 percent of hospitalized patients want their doctors to pray with them, fewer than 5 percent of doctors say they often or usually pray with patients.

As a doctor, I understand this. Although I am comfortable asking patients about their faith when I question them about their profession and their family or social support structure, I feel awkward, even squeamish, about praying with my patients. That may be because I was never taught how to pray with my patients in medical school, nor did I see my mentors praying with patients. Also, I am of the Jain faith, an Eastern religion based on the principle of nonviolence and the practice of meditation, and most of my patients are of the Christian or Jewish faith. In addition, at times I have seen religious beliefs compromise a patient’s health: One young patient of mine died in my intensive care unit because she refused blood transfusions based on her religious beliefs.

My reluctance to pray with patients comes in the face of growing evidence that spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation might be healthy for us. A study published in 2003 found workers who attended a meditation training session had a more powerful immune response to the influenza vaccine than those who did not meditate. Another study has even shown a sort of dose-response curve – the higher the church attendance, prayer and Bible study, the lower the average diastolic blood pressure – as if religious practices act therapeutically, almost like a blood-pressure pill. Although there’s no solid proof of a causal relationship between religion/spirituality and improved health, researchers such as Harold Koenig, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, are convinced that spiritual practices can help you live longer.

Across medicine and society, there’s increasing interest in the link between religion/spirituality and health. Three-quarters of all U.S. medical schools now offer courses in spirituality and medicine, and academic centers such as the

George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, and the Center for Spirituality and Health at the University of Florida are being established across the nation.

Yet many researchers are skeptical about the union of religion/spirituality and medicine. (Or perhaps I should say “reunion,” because religion/spirituality has been a part of medicine since ancient times: The words “holiness” and “healing” stem from a common root meaning “wholeness.”)

Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, worries that the linkage oversimplifies and trivializes religion by limiting its value to its effect, if any, on health.

In 2007, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality commissioned a research team to evaluate 813 studies on meditation. The group reported mixed evidence from some of these studies; most of the remaining studies had design flaws that made it impossible to assess their conclusions.

I myself was a co-investigator on the largest study on the therapeutic effect of intercessory prayer, an 1,800-patient, six-center, $2.4 million study led by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, now at Harvard Medical School’s affiliate Massachusetts General Hospital.

Our findings, published in 2006 in the American Heart Journal, showed that being prayed for did not improve outcomes, and it seemed to have a negative effect when patients knew they were the subject of prayers from afar.

Even if prayer were shown to improve outcomes, religious differences make it impractical for doctors to make it part of daily patient care.

I asked my neurosurgeon friend how he prays with patients who are Jewish, Muslim or Hindu. Does he end with the phrase about “our Lord, Jesus Christ”? He paused and then told me that it depends on the patient. I suspect that there is a selection bias and that he is more likely to offer prayers to Christian patients than others. He admits he feels uncomfortable offering a prayer in another faith or using the words “Allah,” “Om” or “Shalom” because for him the prayer would not feel authentic.

In the end, this is what prompts my discomfort with praying with patients. If a doctor is using prayer because he feels it will help to heal a patient and not just to improve the doctor-patient relationship, then I believe it is unfair, even discriminatory, for a doctor to offer a Christian prayer with a Christian patient and not offer another prayer to patients of other faiths.

Because the research literature is equivocal on the benefits or drawbacks of prayer and meditation, I explored my own heart and soul for an answer.

Without hesitation, I believe that practices such as prayer and meditation offer benefits in addition to medication and surgery and the doctor-patient relationship. I have seen it myself. On several occasions, I have meditated with my patients.

Once, a young HIV-positive woman complained of shortness of breath after recovering from severe pneumonia. Medically, nothing helped, and no cause was obvious other than anxiety. With some hesitation, I offered to do a session of meditation with her. She agreed and subsequently improved.

Often, I wonder how I can incorporate spiritual practices in my routine therapeutic recommendations, just as I recommend exercise and a nutritious diet. I believe it’s possible. But doing it, I believe, requires understanding two critical concepts.

First, we need to distinguish between religion (an organized institution with social boundaries, rituals and membership) and spirituality (the sense of the sacred within us and our relationship with a greater force). Spirituality may or may not be rooted in religion, but the core of all religions is spirituality. Once we can relate to the spiritual core of each patient, we do not have to agonize about finding the “appropriate” prayer and “politically correct” words for patients of different religions.

I think I could pray (using a generic prayer) or do a meditation exercise at a critical moment with my patient. At times, if this is uncomfortable or if there is not enough time, I could simply encourage the spiritual part of patients’ lives.

This is what I did with my patient suffering from end-stage congestive heart failure. I touched his Bible and said, “Many patients find this very helpful. I am glad you are using it.”

“Couldn’t make it without it, Doc,” he replied with a tone of hope and optimism.

Second, we doctors need to expand beyond medicine’s traditional body-mind focus. Most of my patients see themselves as having a soul and a spirit, and if I, as a doctor and a scientist, wish to treat them in a holistic manner, I need to take this thinking into account.

I was reminded of this recently on morning rounds. I walked into a room, saying, “Hello, Mr. Jones.” My patient was sitting in a chair in the corner, head bowed, lips moving silently.

I realized that I had interrupted his prayer. I bowed my head to join him. He continued. “Lord, I want to thank you for helping me heal and decreasing my pain . . . and now, Lord, I have to cut my prayers short this morning because my doctor is here.”

We both said, “Amen.”

RELIGION AND HEALTH
Research suggests that religion offers health benefits, including longer life spans. Is that because of the healing benefits of prayer or because people of faith enjoy supportive, healthful lifestyles?

Some statistics:
• 83: The life expectancy of people who frequently attended religious services; for infrequent attendees, the estimate was 75.

• 70 percent: The percentage of churches that provide health-care services to their communities, according to a survey of 6,000 congregations.

• 40 percent to 60 percent: The percentage of hospital patients who want their doctors to pray with them. But fewer than 5 percent of doctors say they do so.

• 2,500: Number of Maryland kindergartners exempted from vaccine mandates on religious grounds, up from 1,300 in 2004.

– THE WASHINGTON POST

Reference

Wholeness

Wholeness

94-kg Gold Throne For Sai Baba

Golden Throne At Shirdi Temple

Golden Throne At Shirdi Temple


94-kg Gold Throne For Sai Baba

Shirdi (Maharashtra) : Sri Sai Baba Sansthan at Shirdi – the town famous for Sai Baba’s temple – received an early morning bounty Thursday from two devotees.

Two brothers, Mahesh and Girish Reddy of Hyderabad, gifted the Sansthan a 94-kg gold throne costing a whopping Rs. 100 million.

It has been made by artisans in Bangalore for a five-and-half feet idol of Sai Baba, installed at the Sai Temple in Shirdi.

It was a challenge for the Reddys and the transporters to ferry the throne safely to Shirdi, located nearly 200 km from Pune.

The Reddys packed it in a bus, which was escorted by a fleet of 15 cars carrying gun-toting security personnel.

Jayant Sasane, director of Sri Sai Baba Sansthan, said the siblings, builders by profession, are Sai Baba devotees and have been visiting the temple town for the past 20 years.

During one such trip, they had sought Sai Baba’s blessings for a big contract which could bring them prosperity. They promised to install a special gold throne for the Sai Baba if they bagged the contract.

Apparently, Sai Baba fulfilled their wish and the Reddys called the Sansthan to tell them that they would keep their promise made to the Baba, Sasane told IANS.

“Incidentally, one-and-a-half years ago we had announced our plan for a gold throne for Sai Baba. Devotees had been donating for the cause and so far we have collected around Rs. 10 million,” Sasane said.

Some political parties suggested that the money meant for the throne should be used for victims of natural calamities.

“Last September, the Reddys called with their private offer to install the gold throne,” he said.

It will be installed Sunday (December 23), the day of Dutta Jayanti. The date is significant for millions of Sai Baba devotees around the world as he is considered an incarnation of Dutta Guru.

The throne is the second most generous donation that the Sansthan received in 2007. In June, one V.K. Ramani of Chennai donated Rs. 750 million, Sasane said.

Ramani, an IT professional, donated it for the construction of the sprawling Dutta Niwas. “It will cost almost Rs 10 billion. The money donated by Ramani will be used and the Sansthan will spend the rest,” Sasane added.

When completed, the Dutta Niwas will accommodate 15,000 devotees at a time, making it one of the largest congregation halls in the country.

Sai Baba - Golden Throne

Sai Baba Golden Throne

Jackie Shroff Quits Smoking, Drinking For Sai Baba

Saint Sai Baba

Saint Sai Baba

Jackie Shroff quits smoking, drinking for Sai Baba
Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, July 28, 2008

Jackie Shroff, who plays spiritual leader Sai Baba in a forthcoming movie has quit smoking and drinking to get into the skin of the character. Jackie, who is also an ardent follower of the spiritual guru, said: “Now I feel as if Baba is guiding me in the film and I am only following his instructions.”

Actor Jackie Shroff, who has worked in nearly 150 films and played diverse roles, now plays spiritual leader Sai Baba in a forthcoming movie. And he even quit smoking and drinking to get into the skin of the character.

“I have quit smoking and drinking for the last one-and-a-half years and plan to continue with it in the future too,” Jackie told IANS.

The actor has also turned completely vegetarian.

“I did not have the habit of eating non-vegetarian food much, but I have stopped it completely now,” Jackie said.

Jackie, who has played a cop with élan in many films, admits that he was initially apprehensive about getting into the role of the spiritual guru for the film titled Malik Ek. But director Deepak Balraj Vij was adamant about casting him.

“Initially, when he had approached me with the project, I did not agree as I thought playing Sai Baba would not be possible for me.

“But the constant persuasion from the director made me say yes and then I never looked back,” said Jackie, who won the Filmfare best actor award for his performance in Parinda (1989).

Jackie, who is also an ardent follower of the spiritual guru, said: “Now I feel as if Baba is guiding me in the film and I am only following his instructions.”

Malik Ek is slated for an October release.

Jackie is also working in Sohail Khan Productions Kisaan, where he will be seen as a Sikh farmer. The film also stars Sohail Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Nauheed Cyrusi and Dia Mirza.

Reference

Jackie Shroff

Jackie Shroff

Could Aliens Become Spiritual Mentors?

Alien Mentors

Alien Mentors

Could Aliens Become Spiritual Mentors?
Contact: C. L. Talmadge, HealingStone Books, 972-227-8233

LANCASTER, Texas, July 28 /Christian Newswire/ — Is our society about to acknowledge the existence of aliens?

A second credible member of the public has spoken out on the topic. Just last week former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, speaking on BBC Radio, said aliens exist and have been observing earth for “quite some time.”

The 77-year-old Mitchell, one of only 12 human beings to have walked on the moon, also said that events like the reported 1947 alien spaceship crash at Roswell, New Mexico, occurred and were hushed up by the U.S. and other governments for various reasons.

In a May interview with Italian newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s chief astronomer, the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, said there is no conflict between believing in extraterrestrial intelligent life and believing in God.

“How can we exclude that life has developed elsewhere?” Rev Funes asked, even implying that some aliens might not have been subject to the separation from God described in Genesis. “There could be (other beings) who remained in full friendship with their creator.”

Any extended discussion, apart from the existence question, about intelligent non-human life heretofore has been limited primarily to speculative fiction. Most works in these genres eschew any direct talk of spirituality, religion, or faith, alien or human.

There are some exceptions, however, and if our society is now more open to aliens, then a look at how we have portrayed alien faith and spirituality is worthwhile.

Enemy Mine, a 1985 science fiction film derived from an award-winning novella, depicts an intergalactic war between human beings and an alien race called the Drac. Marooned on an isolated, inhospitable planet, a Drac and a man start off as enemies. Out of survival necessity, however, they make a wary peace and eventually become dear friends.

The Drac shows a sense of his own spirituality and the divine, reading frequently from a small book of religious/philosophical text, and pondering the larger questions of life.

Ultimately, the alien’s faith and friendship motivate the human being to consider something other than his prestige as a top-scoring fighter pilot. The alien reminds the human that life is so much more than just a scramble for conquest and material success. The human being is much better off for having encountered an alien of great faith and courage.

An example of fantasy that directly addresses alien spirituality is the Green Stone of Healing epic series. It features an intelligent non-human being, a Mist-Weaver, who exhibits capabilities that human beings more readily ascribe to the supernatural. The Mist-Weaver is able to appear and dissolve at will, transitioning from material to non-material realities in much the same manner as the divine heralds of earthly religious traditions.

As would an angel, the Mist-Weaver assumes physical form to converse easier with the human characters. The Mist-Weaver clearly has a profound sense of the divine and his connection to it and to all life, and tries to encourage that spiritual connection in his human counterparts.

The Mist-Weaver’s presence spurs his human students to examine the limitations of their faith and their spiritual understanding, just as the burning bush, signaling God’s presence, presented Moses with challenges of faith and self-growth.

His spiritual teachings often leave the human beings baffled, however, because they are so different from human understanding. The Mist-Weaver never tries to dictate human behavior or beliefs, solve human problems, or protect his students from the consequences of their actions.

In taking a hands-off approach, he might seem indifferent to some, but the Mist-Weaver simply refuses to intervene out of his abiding respect for free will. Perhaps that’s what makes this alien truly strange. The Mist-Weaver doesn’t suffer from that all-too-human inclination to run other people’s lives or to proclaim God as a similar micro-manager.

A third example of speculative fiction portraying intelligent non-human beings with a highly developed spirituality is Alien Nation. Most of these on-screen “Newcomers” are just regular folks, although there are villains in their midst, too. But the average alien Joes and Jills have jobs, houses, children, and try to live peacefully among their human counterparts. They also have extensive religious rituals and traditions that are depicted throughout the TV series.

Like Enemy Mine and the Green Stone of Healing series, Alien Nation asserts that non-human beings can teach the human variety a thing or two about life and spirituality. The Newcomer police officer is paired with a human detective who is initially very unhappy about the arrangement. But the former earns the latter’s respect and affection through his courage, smarts, initiative, and loyalty. The Newcomer demonstrates that these enduring and spiritual character qualities are not the sole province of human beings. Again, the human being is better off for having known the alien.

Tragically, on earth today the concepts of spirituality and faith seem far more alien to many than does the assertion of intelligent non-human beings.

Aliens may give God far more credit than we do. If / when the day comes that we openly encounter intelligent non-human beings, we may find that the experience brings us much closer to reclaiming and living our own spirituality than we ever believed possible.

We can always choose to embrace the unknown–the alien–instead of fearing it.

Reference

Howard Murphet – Sathya Sai Baba’s Divine Love Will Show Us The Truth

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba’s Divine Love Will Show Us The Truth
Howard Murphet talks on the spiritual quest for Sai Baba

What is the truth?
When at his trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus stated that he had come to earth to teach the truth, Pilate replied, “What is the truth!” and walked away. Apparently, he did not think that this tall gentle Jew, whom the temple priest had sent to be tried for his life as a troublemaker to the Roman rule, would have the answer to this big question. It was laughable to think that he would have the answer to a question the Greek Philosophers from Socrates onward had failed to answer. Well, what is the truth? Do we know it yet, 2000 years after that mocking question was asked in Jerusalem? Did Jesus teach the truth that he claimed he had come to teach? I believe that he did for those with ears to hear. Perhaps he did not emphasise the meaning sufficiently, but he certainly emphasised the importance of knowing and living the truth, for he said, “If you know the truth, the truth will make you free.”

Searching for a wise teacher
Most men and women long to know the truth about their own being – who they really are and what the purpose of their lives on earth is. Does all this struggle and endeavour end in nothing or does some important, happy destination lie at the end of this long road, this seemingly meaningless journey of pain and pleasure? Is there some formula for living that will lead them with mathematical certainty to a goal that will bring them permanent satisfaction and happiness?

Many men and women have searched through the world for a wise Teacher who will give them the answers to such questions and who will reveal the truth of being and provide the recipe for living that will bring them the freedom and joy they seek. Well, as one of those world-wandering sadhakas (aspirants), I eventually found the One, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I knew I had found my teacher but I did not immediately recognise him as a Godman or Avatar.

Illogical answers
Very soon however, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba gave me the answers to most of my main questions; the mysteries that remain are probably beyond the level of my conscious understanding. He told me that there was just one purpose in my life, or indeed many lifetimes – that it was to develop and expand my consciousness until it had become one with the Divine Consciousness of God and thus to become one with the Divine Being that goes under many names. There is only one Being, He told me – One without a second. “In the darkness of our ignorance,” He told me, “you think that you are a separate being and that there are billions of others, but in truth there is only one Being.” Such an illogical statement was hard to accept against the evidence of my senses. Through the years that I spent in the environs of His physical presence, I began to realise the truth of this astounding paradoxical statement. Though you and I see many, touch many, hear many, communicate with many, there is in truth only One. If this be true, then surely we must come from the One.

A wise 6-year old boy
I remember one day some years ago at the Ashram, I was sitting on the veranda of the Mandir as Swami was calling into His presence a number of boys who had just joined his elementary school. He was standing perhaps three metres away from where I was sitting. I remember He asked each boy two things – his name and where he was from. Each of them stated his name and address in India. Each one seemed overjoyed to be in the presence of Swami but one little fellow, though smaller than the rest, had the brightest smile. He gave has name readily and when Swami said, “Where are you from?” he replied “From you, Swami.” Then the Lord Sai smiled too. “Look,” he said happily, “Here is one who knows he is from God”.

This boy could not have been much more than six and here was I, in my sixties and still trying to understand and realise that I was from God – that indeed we all are. So we come from God, yet we are still an integral part of Him – the One Being. Furthermore, in our present state of human consciousness, we are not aware of having any connection with Him; we are, in a sense, like the prince in the story who was taken from his royal home by a band of robbers. He grew up with the robbers and believed that he was one of them; indeed he had no idea of his royal identity – not until many years later, when a turn of circumstances brought him back to his home, did he realise his identity.

Must we go back to our spiritual home before we realise who we are? On the contrary, I think we must realise our identity before we can go back. Well, if we have come from God as the little boy stated, and with which Swami agreed, how did this happen or seem to happen?

Three explanations from Vedanta
There are three main explanations propounded by some of the great Rishis of the past who gave commentaries on the Vedanta. The word “Vedanta,” by the way, means the end of the Vedas, because this philosophy comes from the Upanishads, which are found at the end of each Veda. The word “Upanishad” means that these teachings are for those who sit close to the feet of the Master. They are, it is implied, beyond the understanding of the ordinary man or woman. The great sages strive to understand them but do they always succeed? Now, briefly, here are the three explanations on how there seems to be such a diversity of life, whereas in truth there can be only oneness or unity.

The first explanation briefly is that God through his shakti, created a maya or illusion in which we see ourselves as separate, whereas in reality we are only one. This is sometimes called “the mortal dream.” Our everyday consciousness in its waking state is really a dream state and only when we wake from this dream will we see the truth of oneness; this is called the Adwaita Vedanta or in English, non-duality.

The second great theory as given in Vedanta is that we were always throughout eternity separate souls, though part of the one God. The best analogy I can think of for this is the fruit of the pomegranate with its many separate seeds within the same skin, all being part of the one fruit. We are still part of the one fruit or the one Being without a second, whom we call God. We, the separate seeds, are not aware or have somehow forgotten who we are.

The third of the great theories is this; the one and only God created or emanated the myriad of separate souls from within himself, they are part of his very breath, part of his essence, as the Old Testament of the Hebrews states, and for all eternity they will remain separate from their creator, that is, separate in form while being one with God in their spirit or essence. This particular understanding of Vedanta seems to lie at the base of some of the world’s great religions. For some reason, known only to God Himself, separate souls in this world are born into the great illusion believing that they are separate or asunder from God. This mistaken belief of being asunder from the One is the original sin, or error from which all other errors emanate. When through the discipline of spiritual training, we come to understand and realise that though apparently separate in form, we are, in essence and in truth, one with God and with each other, then we come into the Kingdom of Heaven which is simply the state of Divine Love, or the feeling of oneness with all. Sathya Sai Baba, whose teachings are in line with the main teachings of Vedanta, together with the love he stirs in each spiritual heart, has not said, to my knowledge, which of these three explanations is correct. Since they all teach the one God and our eternal oneness with Him, perhaps the theories of creation are not important.

One further question
Though a great deal of joy-giving light has been thrown by the great Sai teachings on such fundamental questions as where we come from, who we really are and the purpose of our long journey through this school room of earth, it seems to me that one big question remains. That is: why did we have to come to earth in complete forgetfulness of our unity with the divine One, or to look at the matter in the evolutionary way, as theosophists and many of the great mystics do, why did we have to begin the journey in the mineral kingdom through only a modicum of consciousness?

Why did we have to develop that consciousness through life in the plant and animal kingdoms before reaching the human stage, and then struggle on further up the evolutionary ladder until we reach divine consciousness? As God is Chit or Absolute Consciousness and it is taught that we, each one of us, is wholly God, why the necessity of the long climb through aeons of time from the modicum of consciousness in the mineral to the full consciousness of the God-realised man? In brief, why was it, what the Masters call “the journey of necessity,” really necessary?

His Prema is the answer
Perhaps this is one of the questions which, in Paramahansa Yogananda’s terms “will be left for eternity”, or perhaps when we have reached that adulthood of consciousness as God-realised individuals when the great One will see the expanding consciousness of our minds?

Yet the most important vehicle I feel is the prema or divine love that our great leader, the Godman, Sathya Sai Baba, is constantly stirring in the sleeping springs of our spiritual hearts.

Howard Murphet

Howard Murphet