Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them

Spiritual gurus soft targets as no clear policy to secure them
Team DNA
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:11 IST

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore: What kind of security are spiritual leaders provided? The question has assumed significance a day after a gunman shot at the convoy of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar near Bangalore on Sunday.

Tragedy at Mangalore AirportWhile the Art of Living founder has forgiven the gunman and invited him to his ashram, and the Karnataka police are playing down the incident as not a ‘targeted attack’, the issue of protection of religious and spiritual leaders, who move around freely among thousands of devotees and thus remain soft targets for miscreants, has come across as a concern for many.

Sources in the Union home ministry said there are no guidelines or norms to provide security to religious leaders. “The security is related to developments and is provided by the state governments as and when needed,” they said, adding that such attacks are generally the fallout of internal rivalries involving followers.

Buttressing the ministry’s point of view, a Delhi police source said the force had no trend of providing personal security either to such persons or to their establishments. “We do not provide security to any religious leader. Arrangements are made if the religious heads or their sects organise functions.”

The case with the Mumbai police, who have decided to re-examine the security cover to visiting religious leaders after the Bangalore incident, is similar. Currently, they have provision for Z plus security to two religious leaders — Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh and Sathya Sai Baba. As for the others, the police examine the scheduled places of visit and assess the threat perception.

“Each time a religious leader visits the city, we examine the level of security to be provided,” said Naval Bajaj, additional commissioner of police (Protection).

“Depending on whether the leader has recently been in controversy and the number of followers, we draw up a security cover that needs to be provided,” he added.

However, post the Pune bakery blast in February, the central security agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, have been keeping a watch over spiritual centres across India. “The intelligence input gathered after the incident has created an additional burden on the security agencies towards providing security for seers and religious and spiritual centres,” observed an officer in the agency.

However, fool-proof security to spiritual gurus is not an easy task. In Karnataka, over 500 police personnel provide security to seers. But the proliferating number of swamijis and seers from each community makes it an onerous task.

Besides, spiritual leaders like to mingle with their devotees and brook no involvement of the police in gatherings. The alleged bid on Sri Sri at his Kanakapura ashram has exposed this vulnerability. He has Z-category security, say senior police officers.

DNA India Reference

The Real Story Of The ‘Miracle’ Saibaba Statue In Lower Hutt

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


The Real Story Of The ‘Miracle’ Saibaba Statue In Lower Hutt
13/05/2010 13:01:00 Bhaskar Duvvuru

The ‘emergence’ of a statute of Shirdi Sai Baba recently in Lower Hutt fuelled rumours and speculation, with varied versions appearing in the media.

I accompanied Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of NZ Inc Vice-President Thulasi Krishna and Saikrishna Tridandapani to Wellington last week to ascertain the facts.

We met the owner of the property where the statue was reportedly found along with our Wellington based members Srinivas Gazula and Dharmesh Patel.

John Peters Presley (of Madhya Pradesh, India) and his wife Charlene own six acres of land in Wainuiomata. They constructed a house two years ago and planned to subdivide the balance land for residential purpose.

There was a spot next his house with a little water, frequented by wild birds and his domestic sheep. In September last year, Their daughter suggested that the pond be dug deeper to provide additional quantity of water.

It was while digging that Mr Presley found the Statue of Baba in His classic sitting posture. He thought he had found a Maori artefact but later learnt of Baba.

He was a devout Christian but decided to keep the Statue inside his house. As the news spread, streams of devotees of Baba began to visit the house.

Many of them offered money for the Statue but Mr Presley decided to return it to the place where it was discovered but secured on a wooden platform.

Following discussions, Pravin Gandhi, Karthik Badiyani, Ram Chander, Mr Patel and others took the initiative to form the Shirdi Saibaba Holy Land Trust, with Mr and Mrs Peters as the main trustees.

We were told that the Trust would consider plans to construct a Temple but issues relating to purchase of the land by the Trust, Resource Consent, mobilising funds and other issues are still under discussion.

I will keep our members and Indian Newslink readers informed of the developments as they come to hand.

Meanwhile, visitors to Wellington can have Dharshan of Jala Saibaba (Water Saibaba) at 195, Wise Road, Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt.

Bhaskar Duvvuru is Secretary of Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of NZ Inc based in Auckland. Email: secretary(at)shirdisaibaba.org.nz

India Newslink Reference


Shri Shirdi SaiBaba

Shri Shirdi SaiBaba


New Sai Baba Organisation emerges
13/05/2010 14:51:00 Staff Reporter

A group of promoters have got together to propagate the teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba and construct a Temple in Auckland.

The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Committee has more than 20 founding members.

The founding members have recently established the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of New Zealand Inc with the Registrar of Societies to conduct regular meetings, prayers and other activities.

Founder Secretary Ravi Chittajallu said the first prayer meeting will be held on May 20 from 730 pm at the Thiru Subramaniam Temple (also known as Stanhope Road Temple), located at 41A Stanhope Road in Auckand’s Ellerslie.

“The programme will include Bhajans, Ashtothram (Sanskrit slokas and prayer songs) and Mangala Aarti. This is the first programme of the new organisation and we are hopeful of achieving our main objective of constructing a Temple for Sai Baba with the help and support of donors and the public,” he said.

Shirdi Sai Baba (who attained ‘Samadhi’ on October 15, 1918) is one of the most revered Saints of India with a huge following around the world. As well as Hindus, the Saint has increasing following from people of other religious faiths.

A number of organisations have been established worldwide and weekly prayers are held (usually on Thursdays) in praise of Sai Baba.

There are also informal groups, which meet at individuals’ homes to offer prayers, promote the teachings of Sai Baba and undertake community and social work.

What: First Prayer Meeting
By Whom: Shirdi Sai Baba Temple of New Zealand Inc
Where: Thiru Subramaniam Temple (Stanhope Road Temple) 41A Stanhope Road, Ellerslie, Auckland
When: Thursday, May 20 at 730 pm
Contact: Ravi Chittajallu on 021-332922 or Anil Anna on (09) 5272244

India Newslink Reference

Also see:
Shirdi Sai Baba Statue Found Underground In Wellington, New Zealand

Sai Isa

Sai Isa

Shirdi Sai Baba Statue Found Underground In Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Shirdi Sai Baba Statue

Wellington Shirdi Sai Baba Statue


Shirdi Sai Baba Statue Found Underground In Wellington, New Zealand

A find of a Shirdi Sai Baba by John Peters on his property at 195 Wise street Wainuiomata has delighted a Wellington family. The two-foot statue was found on April 15th 2010.

“Baba proved again that he is omni present,” Bhaskar Reddy (secretary of Shri Shirdi Sai Sansthan of New Zealand) said.

Water has erupted from the spot where the statue was found and has now become a small pond. Srinivas Gajula wrote in an email to Sansthan members.

“When the digger was digging he found a solid object and he stopped digging and he lifted the statue from 6- 7 feet under the ground. The developer stooped the digging and cleaned the statue and he was not sure what it was. The developer is an Indian Christian. He called a Hindu priest to identify the deity,” Gajula said.

“We are still trying to get hold off the developer to find some more details . . . apparently the developer wants to leave that particular spot and redevelop the other area. Water came from the place where the digger found the statue and it became a small pond now. Developer put the statue on a small wooden pallet and it is floating in the water now.”

Reddy said: The Sansthan organised two aarthis on 4th July 09 at Wellington and presented 30 bhajan books. Ever since, the families of our members in Welligton – Srinivas Gajula and Dharmesh Patel were conducting bhajans and Shej aarthi every Saturday. It’s amazing that a developer found a statue of Shirdi Saibaba ( about 2 ft ) while developing his 10 acres land. Blessed are Srinivas, Dharmesh, people of Wellington and people of New Zealand.

“This is a good omen and building a temple for our beloved Guru in Auckland is not too far.”

Indian Weekender Reference

Please Read Update (May 14th 2010):
The Real Story Of The ‘Miracle’ Saibaba Statue In Lower Hutt

Anand Vilas – A New Divine Abode In Shimla

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Anand Vilas – A New Divine Abode In Shimla

Thirty five years since He made His last visit, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is set to set His Feet yet again on the Shimla soil. The tourist destination that is known for its pine forests and apple orchards, crisp, clean air and breathtaking views is now going to earn a permanent place in His Story, in the history of the Avatar of Age, when He Himself set His Feet yet again sanctifying His Divine Abode, Anand Vilas, which is verily an exquisite architectural marvel!

With the last minute preparations on for receiving Bhagawan, for Anand Vilas, it has been a long journey. The building that took six long years to complete, starting at 2002 to complete in 2008, the Abode, that was christened by Bhagawan Himself has been awaiting for the chosen moment, The Divine Time to arrive to embrace the Divinity.

The Divine Residence that is built in six floors has a spacious bhajan hall with a capacity of almost 300 with a balcony on top wherefrom Bhagawan could view the entire proceedings. The rest of the four floors consist of His residential complex, interview room etc.

Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Himachal Pradesh has also set up Sri Sathya Sai School for Children, a residential school in Shimla, to impart value-based education to children. With the Divine blessings of Bhagawan, the school began functioning from 2007 onwards and the classes had started on 21st May 2007. Beginning the school, admissions were open from class 1 to 5 with each class having 30 students. There are separate sections for boys and girls. The school would provide free education as per the ideals set forth by Bhagawan and also would put into practice the system of integral education as given by Bhagawan and strive to develop the character of the students along with academic excellence.

The school is situated amidst lush green verdant hills in a serene and calm environment. Meandering rivulets add natural beauty to the campus. The campus comprises a four-storeyed majestic school building and a four-storeyed hostel with all modern amenities. The school and the hostel are located on adjoining hills, and are interconnected through a glazed corridor which will help the students to go to the school without any inconvenience in inclement weather.

Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai BAba is expected to sanctify the school and hostel building along with a Ganesh Temple and Saraswathi Temple and an auditorium, during His stay in Shimla.

While 15th April 2010 would appear on the gold embossed plaque at the Divine Abode, a peep into His last two visits in the seventies, in 1973 and 1975 would be interesting serving as a refresher while anticipating the magical moments yet again.

Bhagawan’s maiden visit to Shimla was in March 1973 during His 22-day tour of Northern India. It was on 17th March 1973, Bhagawan left Moga for Shimla by car to reach the hill station in the afternoon. Upon His arrival, Bhagawan granted Darshan to a huge concourse of devotees on the Ridge.

On the morning of 18th March, there was Darshan, Bhajan followed by Divine Discourse at the Ridge where every inch of space was occupied by the surge of devotees, and still there were thousands who sat on the surrounding hills to hear Bhagawan and have His Divine Darshan. There was another public meeting on the morning of 18th March 1973 where Bhagawan showered His blessings on lakhs of devotees. Thousands had Darshan in the lawns of Woodville Palace, the residence of Bhagawan during His stay at Shimla. Bhagawan also visited the nearby hill stations of Kufri and Phagu both on the morning of 17th and 18th March 1973 along with a selected group of devotees. After sowing the seeds of love, devotion and spirituality in the hearts of millions of people of the sacred land of Himachal Pradesh, Bhagawan left Shimla for Delhi on the morning of 20th March 1973 by car.

The next and latest visit of Bhagawan to Shimla happened in 1975. It was on the 30th March 1975, that Bhagawan left Bangalore on a ten day visit to Delhi, Amritsar, Shimla and Jaipur.

After completing His engagements in Amritsar and Chandigarh, on 2nd April Sathya Sai Baba along with His entourage comprising 20 cars motored to Shimla. Upon reaching, Bhagawan granted Darshan to thousands awaiting Him at the Ridge. Next two days, on 3rd and 4th April, there were programmes of Darshan and Bhajan on the Ridge Maidan, where Bhagavan sang a few Bhajans also filling thousands of hearts with joy and devotion. On the morning of 4th April 1975, Bhagawan gave a nectarine Discourse which was etched in the hearts of simple hill people of this Himalayan region. On the afternoon of 5th April 1975, Satya Sai Baba left for Delhi by car, stopping at Solan on the way for one hour where He gave a Discourse, sang a few Bhajans and blessed the huge gathering assembled there.

SSSBPT Reference (With Pictures)

Language of the heart – Author Ramesh Sharma believes being spiritual is being human

Language of the heart – Author Ramesh Sharma believes being spiritual is being human
by Bissme S.

Since young, Ramesh Sharma has been fascinated about finding out the true purpose of human life. As he grew older, he continued with his quest, even going on trips to India to meet up with spiritual gurus.

Two years ago, the 53-year-old former salesman decided to write down his experiences.

A Buddhist Disciple Muk Tho’s Journey of Spiritual Mystic (Pristine Books, RM33.80) tells of some experiences which might seem ‘miraculous’ and somewhat out of this world.

For instance, there is the story about a garland his mother had placed on a photograph of Indian mystic Sathya Sai Baba which, his mother claimed, had grown longer.

“When she first told me about it, I didn’t believe her,” says Ramesh (bottom) at a recent reading of his book. “So when my mother told me again that the garland had grown longer, I was ready to prove her wrong.”

He decided to measure its length. To his surprise, he found the garland had actually grown longer! In the end, it grew so long that it touched the floor of the prayer room where the photo was placed.

Ramesh, who was 12 then, was speechless and spellbound.

Then when he was 15, he was stung on the hand by a bee. While getting ready to go to the hospital, his maid suddenly went into a trance and acted like she was possessed by the monkey god Hanuman (an Indian deity).

She grabbed his hand and sucked out the poison.

“I was trembling at that time,” he recalls. “Amazingly, the swelling on my hand went down.”

Another story also concerned his mother. During a trip to see Sathya Sai Baba in India years ago, she was given a locket by this holy man. But on the day she died, the locket mysteriously disappeared and was never found.

Of course, sceptics might have a hard time digesting some of these stories but Ramesh remains unperturbed.

“Miracles and divine interventions are experienced by people of all religions and races,” claims the author, who grew up in Penang.

“Spirituality cannot be found in books nor can it be intellectualised. It needs to be experienced through self endeavour and enquiry. Do not take my word for it.”

He encourages people to go on their own journey to find the meaning of life, love and god. “You cannot look for those things from other people’s experiences,” he adds.

Ramesh also believes that the human race will always want to be one with the Creator. “But man must be sincere in his quest to be connected to God. Being sincere means not asking for material wealth all the time. The human race always asks for the wrong things from God.

“Real happiness is not always equated to the material things in life but rather, it is within you – the way you feel and see things in life with contentment.”

He believes that God wants the human race to lead a fruitful life. “You should ask for virtues that will make you a better person. You should ask for strength and guidance.

“When you leave this world, you’re going to leave your money behind and where you’re going will depend on your good deeds.”

He dismisses the notion that being spiritual is about wearing robes, chanting mantras and meditating in a cave. “Being spiritual is being human,” he says. “And being human is about touching someone’s heart.”

Pointing to the late Mother Teresa as an example of a truly great human being, Ramesh says she once brought home a dying homeless man and bathed and cleaned him. She held his hand as he breathed his last.

“Before dying, the homeless man apparently told her: ‘I had lived my life as a pauper but I’m going to die as a king’.

The man was grateful that there was someone who loved him enough to clean him up and hold his hand on his deathbed. It is love that everyone is craving for, and not material wealth.”

It was his mother, Nivedita Joshi, who triggered his interest in spirituality. She was an ardent reader of books on this subject.

He was especially struck by a line in one book, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. It says: “Why do you search for me when I am within you,” which he found very comforting.

Years later, when he inherited most of her books after her death, he read all of them and they opened up a whole new world of experiences for him – one that he cherishes till today.

Reference

The Divine Alchemy-A Miracle Of Sathya Saibaba

The Divine Alchemy-A Miracle Of Sathya Saibaba

Is there an end to Sathya SaiBaba’s miracles, that take place in glorious, mysterious ways?

Buzz up! A fascinating episode has been recorded in “Sai Baba: Invitation to Glory” by Howard Murphet.

There is no dearth for miracles in a Master’s prescence. Divine alchemy as we may call it, when Jesus Christ turned water to wine at Cana in Galiliee and Mosses turned the river Nile to a stream of blood in Egypt, is still a continuing story as Sathya Sai Baba turns water into petrol.

An old Sai devotee was once driving with Baba and others, just after the second World War, through the country side, heading to a religious festival. It so happened that the car car stopped mid way in want of fuel. One of the passengers knew a fuel station down the road but was not sure about the availability of petrol. The driver opted to buy petrol from somewhere nearby but since the availability was the seeming question, Swami asked him to fetch a pail of water from the house that stood less than a hundred meters from them.

When the driver returned with the bucket of water, Swami Sathya Baba played his finger on the surface of the water as those who accompanied Him stood watching silently. He then instructed the driver to pour the ‘Water-fuel’ into the petrol tank warning him not spill even a drop. Soon the Swami and the othres began to drive as the car responded to Swami’s miraculous petrol!

If this achemy could happen in Sathya Sai Baba’s physical presence, there are instances where it could happen in the absence of His bodily presence. The petrol tank of Mr. Gordon Chetty’s car, a nine seater Station Wagon, was always full miraculously! The vehicle was employed in spreading Baba’s teachings irespective of the distance. It happened eleven times in two years.

Once Mr. Gordon was in a wedding party when suddenly he was called by someone urgently to attend to the petrol spilling out of the tank. It was always a usual happening that his parked car would have its petrol tank full miraculously, and a little of the fuel overflowing. It was customary of a huge crowd, of over hundreds, watching each such miracle. At this particular happening there were about 800 spectators and twelve people who collected the overflowing petrol for their own use!

Is there anything that Grace cannot manifest?

One India Reference

Maria Polyzou is born to run the marathon

Maria Polyzou is born to run the marathon
Nihal Koshie / DNA
Monday, January 11, 2010 1:53 IST

Mumbai: Maria Polyzou was in Mumbai for the first time on Sunday. She was in the city to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon flame run — the first time the flame was seen outside Europe — from the Shiv Chatrapti International Airport to the Hutatma Chowk.

Polyzou is best-placed to spread the marathon spirit. At 41, she has been running marathons for 23 years. She is also the director of the Museum of Marathon in Marathon. In September she is planning to participate in the Ultra-marathon, a 250 kilometre grind, between Sparta and Athens.

This year marks the 2,500-year anniversary of the battle of marathon, so Polyzou wants to make it a special one for her and the sport as well. She had run in Xiamen, China, to celebrate the uncoming anniversary in September. “This is a special year for the sport. It’s great that the marathon flame has come to Mumbai. It will make this year’s event most special,” Polyzou told DNA on the sidelines of the run.

The marathon celebrates the run of a soldier, Pheidippides, from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens in 490 BC. Pheidippides was carrying the news a Greek victory over the Persians and collapsed and died at the end of his effort.

“There is something about marathons that elevate the spirit. If you can run a marathon you can safely say that you not only have attained the best from your body but have also managed to control your mind. There is no greater satisfaction than winning a marathon but even participating and lasting the distance can be a life-changing experience,” Polyzou said.

India is a second home for Polyzou. She is a Shri Sathya Sai Baba devotee and has been to Puttaparthi a number of times. “I have always enjoyed my visits to India. I am sure the Mumbai marathon will continue to be a success. What is most important for the success of a marathon is public participation and going by what I have seen today and heard about the previous editions, there is a tremendous support for the event,” Polyzou added.

Tarus, Too favourites
An elite athlete field comprising some of the world’s leading male and female long distance runners will participate in the seventh edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2010. The course record for men stands at 2:11.51s, set last year by Kenyan Kenneth Mugara, while the record for women is 2:34:08, held by three-time winner Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, set in 2008.

While Kenneth Mugara is missing for this year’s line up, due to injury, last year’s runner-up David Tarus, also from Kenya, will be back and going by his current form is one of the front runners to take home the winner’s purse of $35,000.

Tarus ran 2:09:24s at Eindhoven in October 2009 and will have to contend with another strong challenger from Kenya, Daniel Kiprugut Too, who has returned the fastest timing in 2009 from among the field, clocking 2:08:38s in the Paris Marathon.

The other leading contenders among the men are Ethiopia’s Gebo Burka, winner of the Alps Marathon in 2009, with a personal best of 2:10:18s, set at the Cannes Marathon in November 2009, and Kenyan Luka Chelimo, winner of the Toronto Marathon in September 2009 with a personal best of 2:10:26s.

DNA India Reference