Do you know God?

Do you know God?
Thomas Chillikulam, TOI Crest,
Apr 17, 2010, 01.07pm IST

Divine understanding …

Religious fundamentalism runs on the engine of arrogance. A religious fundamentalist claims to possess absolute knowledge and truth about God. The basic teachings of religions regarding God prove such claims to be false because all religions perceive God as an inexhaustible and indescribable mystery that cannot be grasped fully. The Bible affirms that the ineffable mystery of God eludes understanding – “Can you penetrate the designs of God? It is higher than the heavens; what can you know?” (Book of Job 11:78). St Augustine, an early Christian thinker, warned those who hold absolutist claims: “If you know God,it is not God”. For St Thomas Aquinas, Christian theologian of all times, the greatest of all knowledge about God is: “To know that one does not know God”.

Upanishadic sages were aware of the incomprehensibility of the divine mystery. The mystery of God is so ineffable that, “The eye does not reach it, or speech, or the mind. It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it,” says the Kena Upanishad (1.3.4).The Absolute is anirvachaniyam or indescribable. Hence, after every description of God, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (3.9.26) adds “neti, neti”“not so, not so”. Sufi Muslim saint Sarafudddin Maneri acknowledges: “A hundred thousand intellects cannot comprehend Thee, O, You who lie hidden from the gaze of eye and soul”. Khwaja Abu Sa’id, another Sufi saint, declares: “No one knows the full story, hold your tongue, hold your tongue”.

Historical experiences and cultural expressions of being gripped by God give rise to particular religions. Religions are existentially manifold, yet at the inner level of spirituality there is an essential unity because the core experience of being gripped by God is the same. Nonetheless, diversity and plurality of religions have contributed positively to the spiritual evolution of humanity. Each religion is the expression of a unique interplay of the divine spirit and the creative human spirit in and through diverse cultures and symbols. Therefore, it is important to respect the diversity of religions and at the same time recognise the basic unity of religions.

God is beyond all religions and no religion can claim to possess absolute truth or make the claim of being the norm for all the others. Truly religious persons cannot be exclusive. They can discern the presence of God in every religion.

Ramakrishna and Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi did not find any contradiction in practising different religions. They exemplify the ideal of finding God in all religions and respecting the faith, symbols and practices of other religions. It is untenable to hold on to a position that God’s revelation occurs only in a particular country or culture. God has no “chosen people” for all are God’s people. A person with a deep experience of God and rooted in his own faith will not be threatened by other religions, but rather would rejoice in the diversity of religious experiences.

Harmonious relationship between religions is possible when followers of all religions realise that the infinite mystery of God cannot be exhaustively grasped. The truth present in one’s own religion is part of the infinite horizon of divine truth in which people of various cultures and religions are equal participants. In this way, religions need not be competitive but are complementary. We are co-pilgrims on a journey towards fuller life and communion with God. In such a common journey every faith is part of a festive delight.

The writer is a professor at Gyanodya Regional Theology Centre, Patna.

Times Of India Reference

Sathya Sai Baba to visit Shimla on April 15

Sathya Sai Baba To Visit Shimla

Sathya Sai Baba To Visit Shimla


Sathya Sai Baba to visit Shimla on April 15

Shimla: Spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi will be in Shimla on Thursday (April 15) to deliver sermons to his disciples. “Sri Sathya Sai Baba is reaching Shimla on April 15 for his three-day sojourn. He will arrive at the Shimla airport at 10.30 am, from where he will reach Pujarali on the outskirts of Shimla by road,” president of the Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Himachal Pradesh, Shyam Sunder told HimVani.

He said more than 10,000 devotees have been working day and night to make arrangements for the spiritual guru’s visit. “Special arrangements have been made to accommodate more than 100,000 people on both the days,” he added. This would be the third visit of Sri Sathya Sai Baba to Shimla. Earlier, he visited the town in 1973 and 1975.

HimVani Reference

Bhagawan Visits Bahai Lotus Temple In New Delhi

Bahai Lotus Temple In New Delhi India

Bahai Lotus Temple In New Delhi India


Bhagawan Visits Bahai Lotus Temple In New Delhi
Posted at 0128 IST on April 13, 2010

In the heart of New Delhi, the bustling capital of India, a lotus-shaped outline has etched itself on the consciousness of the city’s inhabitants, capturing their imagination, fuelling their curiosity, and revolutionizing the concept of worship. This is the Baha’i Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, better known as the “Lotus Temple”. With the dawning of every new day, an ever-rising tide of visitors surges to its doorsteps to savour its beauty and bask in its serenely spiritual atmosphere.

On Monday, March 12, 2010, it had a unique visitor, who is verily the goal all worships offered in all places, at all times in the name of God; The unique visitor was Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

As per the reports from Delhi, Satya Sai Baba reached the Baha’i Temple at around 11:30. He was welcomed by the Director of the Temple along with General Manager and other management officials. Unique feature of this Baha’i Temple is that like any other Baha’i Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all barring any religious or other distinction, as emphasized in Baha’i texts. Baha’is believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. It is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Baha’i laws also stipulate that the holy scriptures of the Baha’i Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language. Following these traditions, Sarvadharma Prayers were offered by men and women representing various religions, namely, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan on this blessed day.. This was followed a ten minute worship, a collective prayer to Almighty, by people from various faith. The function was attended by a capacity group of around 300 people and lasted for approximately an hour.

It was a day when God ‘walked’ into a monumental Temple, most silently, posing as a silent witness, while listening to multitudes of prayers from various faiths. One who preaches unity of all religions does accept prayers in unison and by His visit to this “Universal” Temple, Bhagawan shows His commitment to Universal Brotherhood through Unity of all Religions.

SSSBPT Reference (with pictures)

Sanjay Tandon elected Chandigarh BJP President

Sanjay Tandon elected Chandigarh BJP President
Punjab Newsline Network
Monday, 18 January 2010

CHANDIGARH: Sanjay Tandon has been unanimously elected President of Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh unit. He is son of former BJP minsiter Balramji Dass Tandon.

He was declared elected by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Central Observer for the election of State President in the presence of Kiran Ghai, Incharge for party affairs for Chandigarh and Purshotam Mahajan Acting President, Raghubir Lal Arora State Election Incharge and Satya Pal Jain, Ex-M.P. Earlier to this Yash Pal Mahajan was elected as Member for National Council of BJP

Sanjay Tandon started as a Member State Executive of BJP Chandigarh in 1995. He became Convener of CA Cell, Chandigarh in 2002. After this he was appointed General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, Chandigarh in 2007. Now he has been elected as President of State Unit.

He took active part in all the parliamentary as well as Municipal Corporation elections of Chandigarh during the past two decades and performed duties as a party activist. He was Incharge for Amritsar Constituency in 1991 Parliamentary elections and Assembly elections for Rajpura constituency during 1997 and 2002.

Sanjay Tandon did his B.Com.(Hons) from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He is also CA and member of ICWA. He remained Director of National Hydro Power Corporation for 3 years and State Bank of Hyderabad for 6 years. He is also running an NGO namely Competent Foundation who is running various social and educational activities in and around Chandigarh. At present he is Member of Task Force on Human Resource Development for IT/ITES Sector under Punjab Information & Communication Technology Corporation Ltd. A Punjab State Government Undertaking and also Member of the Committee to discharge the functions of the Board of Studies in Human Rights & Duties, Panjab University, Chandigarh since April 2009.

He has visited USA, Canada, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Switzerland.

He started monthly magazine for party activists namely ‘Chandigarh Kamal Samachar’ and he is founder Editor of the magazine. The magazine includes all the activities of party at local and national level.

A devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, he regularly visits Puttaparthi along with his family for the blessings of Satya Sai Baba.

He is having keen interest in writing and he also wrote Biography of his father Sh. Balramjit Dass Tandon in 2008 namely ‘Balramji Dass Tandon: Ek Prerak Charitra’ which was released by former Deputy Prime Minister Sh.L.K. Advani.

Punjab Newsline Reference

Sathya Sai Baba In Melody

Sathya Sai Baba In Melody

Devotional singer Bhavdeep Jaipurwala is to release an album in praise of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His forthcoming album “Sathya Sai Baba” is also sung and composed by Sumit Tappu.

“The album comprises of nine songs which are not the typical bhajans, in fact we have kept the music contemporary. It is different from what has been sung so far for baba, so I am sure people will like it,” informs Bhavdeep Jaipurwala.

The album will be releasing in November in Puttaparthi, Bengaluru. “We are releasing it in Puttaparthi as 15 years back we had released an album called Sai Darshan, which went on to become one of the bestsellers so far among the devotional music,” he shares.

Hopefully this time too Sai makes their belief stronger with the success of yet another devotional stint.

Deepa Mishra/ Sampurn Media

Thai Indian Reference

Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s visit to Ashok Chavan’s residence

Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s visit to Ashok Chavan’s residence
News channels have become sensationalists and try to give political colour to non political issues and attack privacy where they have no relevance. They have made an issue out of Sri Sathya Sai Baba visiting CM Chavan!
CJ: M. S. Verma
Mon, Nov 02, 2009 11:38:25 IST

SRI SATHYA Sai Baba was at Hadsi, a village about 40 kms away from Pune to inaugurate a newly constructed temple.

In Ashok Chavan’s family, Baba occupies the same reverential place as a preceptor, teacher or Guru in Indian tradition. Before him his father, late Shri SB Chavan too was a follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Shri Chavan naturally liked to have the Guru’s blessing before swearing in as the new CM of Maharashtra. He also touched his feet. He invited Sri Baba who out of his love and benevolence condescended to visit Shri Chavan’s official residence. Shri Chavan showed due reverence towards Baba and naturally touched his feet and received his blessings. The media took this up and converted it into a political issue. The have left no stone unturned to make a mountain of a mole hill.

No society raises a hue and cry if anybody, even if the President of a country, shows reverence to the Preceptor, whether he has any miraculous powers or not. But a couple of news channels have made such a fuss over this incident, totally a private affair of Shri Chavan and who is being condemned as someone who has done something very objectionable and politically incorrect and that the Baba is made to appear a most undesirable individual. Dirty references about him have been dug up and are being thrown about to malign the Baba and to criticize Shri Chavan. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a spiritual Guru. He is not a politician. He does not advise CMs of states or Presidents of countries. In Charles Dickens’s Story “A Deal in Ostriches,” one of the passengers on a ship has five ostriches. One of the ostriches on board the ship swallows a diamond belonging to one Padishaw, a merchant and the passengers discuss whether the diamond belonged to the merchant or to the owner of the ostriches. A passenger, claiming to be the father of a lawyer, gives his funny opinion as if he himself were the lawyer and had the authority to give legal opinion in the matter. Of course it was just ridiculous.

The basic question is whether the channels know much about Sri Sathya Sai Baba or just have the temerity to say anything they like about Baba or any other religious head? Obviously they don’t and in order to create sensation and spread misinformation about the Baba, their correspondents have been talking irrelevant and offensive things over and over again. They don’t realise that in doing this, they are hurting the sensibility of millions of followers of Sri Sathya Sai Baba round the globe in over 170 countries. Baba preaches unity of all faiths, which no politician will ever be able to do. Would the media talk in equal derogatory terms about other religious and spiritual heads? Why then do they choose to do this in this case, only because Baba preaches tolerance, love and selfless service of humanity? It was Baba’s love for humanity that impelled him to arrange drinking water for the whole city of Madras, which successive governments couldn’t do. His two super specialty hospitals, one in Puttaparthy, Andhra and the other at White field Bangalore provide free medical services to the poor, where free heart and other organs transplants are done. He provided drinking water to the whole of Rayal Seema in Andhra. Such services are numerous.

He has hurt none and has rendered service in such a great volume that no ordinary being would ever do. Incidentally, I was a witness when three former Presidents of India (in office) came to pay homage to Baba. All of them were images of humility and piety. The channels would do themselves a lot of good before opening an all out attack on Shri Chavan and Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Late Shri Karanjia, editor of Blitz weekly too was skeptical about Baba’s greatness like the channels in question but he visited Puttaparthy, to get first hand information about Baba before publishing anything.

He visited Baba’s ashram and interviewed him for days like any capable journalist and had to admit the bonafide of the Baba’s mission of service to humanity and later wrote a book “God lives in India,” which is an eye opener for the skeptics and may be to the channels in question. Even otherwise journalists should be well informed about an issue they take up and must first verify the authenticity of persons and things before starting criticising them. Baba’s followers and all sensible citizens of a democracy like India’s would like the channel to desist from harping on a non issue.

Meri News Reference

Spiritual Leader Sathya Sai Baba Visits Ashok Chavan In Mumbai

Chavan hosts Satya Saibaba at Varsha
Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, November 01, 2009
First Published: 16:10 IST(1/11/2009)
Last Updated: 16:11 IST(1/11/2009)

Maharashtra Chief Minister designate Ashok Chavan on Sunday hosted Satya Saibaba at his official residence Varsha.

Sathya Sai Baba was on a five-day visit to the state and in Mumbai since Saturday where he had a discourse at the Jambori maidan at Worli in central Mumbai.

Chavan has said that the Baba has been his spiritual guru since the time of his birth.

Chavan’s father late S B Chavan who also served as Chief Minister twice, was an ardent devotee of the Baba.

Several Congress-NCP politicians, who are devotees of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, also attended the prayer ceremony held inside the house.

Hindustan Times Reference


Sathya Sai Baba visits Ashok Chavan’s residence, blesses him
November 1st, 2009 – 3:40 pm ICT by IANS
By Quaid Najmi

Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra’s chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan hosted his spiritual guru, Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, here Sunday afternoon.

Chavan had specially invited Sathya Sai Baba to visit Varsha, the official residence of the state chief minister at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, according to a government official.

Clad in his traditional saffron robe with his trademark hairstyle, Sathya Sai Baba entered Varsha shortly after 12.30 p.m., the official said.

Chavan, along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters Srijaya and Sujaya, received the dignitary on the white steps of Varsha which had been specially decorated with saffron-coloured flowers, flags and buntings for the occasion.

“The occasion is strictly a private, family affair… nobody from the government or his staff or the party is invited,” the official told IANS.

Sathya Sai Baba, who arrived here from Pune Saturday morning, will conduct a special pooja at the chief minister’s residence in the presence of the Chavan family.

As a mark of respect to the visiting dignitary, Chavan may also wash Sathya Sai Baba’s feet, though no official is willing to go on record.

Later, Chavan will host a lunch in honour of Sathya Sai Baba in the private dining hall of Varsha, which is usually reserved for VVIPs who visit the place.

The chief minister has never kept his devotion and admiration for Sathya Sai Baba under wraps. He seeks his blessings regularly in times of need and goes to express his gratitude when his wishes are fulfilled.

In fact, shortly after his party’s victory in last month’s assembly elections, Chavan had rushed to thank his spiritual guru.

Though this is Sathya Sai Baba’s first visit to the the state chief minister’s residence, he is no stranger to politicians and leaders across the political spectrum.

Among his most prominent admirers and devotees was the former prime minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Heavy security arrangements were made for the VVIP guru in the area.

The Malabar Hill, with the Arabian Sea on three sides, is home for VVIPs and celebrities including the chief justice of Bombay High Court and other judges, ministers, top government officials, legislators, foreign diplomats, scientists, leading industrialists and businessmen, head honchos of multinationals and even a few film stars.

Prior to his Varsha sojourn, Sathya Sai Baba – visiting the state after nine years – also held widely-patronised public discourses in different parts of Mumbai.

He also attended a religious concert by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam in Goregaon Saturday evening, and interacted with officials of his various charitable interests in Maharashtra and Mumbai.

Sathya Sai Baba arrived in Pune last Wednesday from Puttaparthi by a private chartered aircraft on a three-day visit and inaugurated a temple complex, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra at Hadshi.

Thai Indian Reference


Power Inc takes a breather, gets down to spiritual biz
1 Nov 2009, 2358 hrs IST, ET Bureau

MUMBAI: Temporal and spiritual power intermingled in Mumbai on Sunday as devotees — both the humble and the great and the good — of the spiritual leader Shri Sathya Sai Baba lined up to receive his blessings.

Big chiefs of the financial sector and India Inc turned out in large numbers to seek the Baba’s blessings. The morning prayer in the Mumbai suburb of Andheri was attended by an eclectic collection of dignitaries. These included ICICI Bank chairman, KV Kamath, the chairman and MD of the Union Bank of India, MV Nair, Kotak Bank’s vice-chairman and MD Uday Kotak, Gunit Chadha, the head of Deutsche Bank’s India operations, PMS Prasad, a director on the board of Reliance Industries (RIL), India’s largest private sector company, and Meera Sanyal, a banker and an independent candidate from the South Mumbai parliamentary constituency.

At a prayer meeting on Sunday, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, BJP leader Gopinath Munde and many other dignitaries sought the Swami’s blessings at a darshan organised in Mahakali Caves, Andheri.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan prayed for his new administration. “The government needs the Swamiji’s touch and his blessings. We hope to run the government according to his principles,” Mr Chavan said on Sunday morning.
The CM wasn’t the only dignitary queuing up for a sprinkling of the spiritual stardust. A clutch of serving and former judges, including former Supreme Court judge BM Srikrishna (of the Srikrishna Commission fame) and a number of prominent lawyers and doctors were also present.

Mr Kamath, who spoke on the occasion, referred to the insights thrown up in the course of a two-day conference on the ‘Ethics and the world of finance’ held in August 2009 at the Sathya Sai Baba University at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. That conference was attended by two RBI governors, the incumbent Duvvuri Subbarao and his predecessor YV Reddy. Besides the assorted dignitaries, thousands lined up for a darshan, first at Andheri and later at Worli.

Later in the day, the chief minister and his family hosted the Sathya Sai Baba at Varsha, the Maharashtra CM’s residence in Mumbai’s Malabar Hill. Predictably, some of this attracted criticism from people of a rationalist bent of mind who said that the CM’s actions were not in consonance with the state’s secular traditions. Pictures of Mr Chavan paying obeisance to the Sathya Sai Baba were flashed by some Hindi and Marathi television channels.

That’s unlikely to deter the CM, who recalled his family’s three decade-long relationship with the spiritual leader. His father SB Chavan, two times Maharashtra CM and former Union finance minister under Rajiv Gandhi, had been similarly criticised in 1975. But the media critics of that era had later realised their error, Chavan Jr said.

Both Mr Chavan and Mr Kamath praised the selflessness of the volunteers, many from affluent backgrounds, working at various hospitals and educational institutions run by the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba is on five-day visit to Maharashtra. The Sathya Sai Seva Organisation runs a number of schools and four hospitals. The organisation was recently in the forefront of relief work for cyclone victims in Orissa and flood victims in West Bengal.

Economic Times Reference