Posts Tagged ‘Superstitions’

Moon mission of Sathya Sai Baba: Only for the faithful!

December 20, 2007

Natteri Adigal, 29 November 2007,

Sathya Sai Baba is not a Nobel laureate like Dalai Lama. But, he counts Dr Michael Nobel, son of Alfred Nobel, among his staunch devotees. Former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati was the chief guest as Baba cut the cake on his 82nd birthday in November.

THE PLANS of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) for a manned mission to moon has had mixed response from the people. The advisability of putting an Indian on moon – before ensuring that no Indian is forced to seek railway tracks to relieve himself / herself every morning – has been justified with sermons on ‘nationalism’ by people reposing unquestioning faith in India’s tremendous capabilities. The move has been strongly condemned by others, who say that the funds happen to be collected by relieving their pockets compulsorily, through a maze of invisible taxes and duties. But, faith is quite a difficult commodity to analyse. It always has takers as well as sceptics.
So was it the case about a different kind of moon mission on the October 4 this year at Puttaparthi, 500 kilometres off Hyderabad. Prasanthi Nilayam in this town is the headquarters of Ratnakara Sathyanarayana Raju, with no achievement to boast of – in the strict academic and material sense of the term. However, millions have full faith in the divine nature of this person, whose following is put at between 50 and 100 million. Out of these, an estimated six million adherents firmly believe him to be the Bhagawan (god). Shortly after aarti was performed for this ‘Bhagawan’ at 6 pm that day, the noted academic Prof Anil Kumar made a startling announcement. He said there would be a repeat of what happened during the epic Mahabharat war – ‘Vishwa Viraat Roopa’. Ardent Hindus believe that their god Lord Krishna revealed his cosmic form to warrior Arjuna and rumours had been doing the rounds that Sai Baba had decided to give a similar darshan to people all over the world by appearing on the moon. The professor instructed devotees present to proceed to the airport and thousand made a beeline for the airport, from where to sight the moon between 7 and 8 pm. The instruction also reached millions of Sai devotees through calls and SMSs.
According to the official weblog of the headquarters, “. . . at 6.15, Bhagawan also emerged from his residence and proceeded to the airport. There, Swami’s car was surrounded by devotees and had difficulty moving around – Swami could not come out of the car completely due to the crush of the crowd. After around 45 minutes at the airport, Swami started back to his residence, the car making its way very slowly through the road which was clogged with people and vehicles.” In short, the promised ‘miracle’ turned out to be a damp squib. The thousands of folk from neighbouring villages who rushed to the airport were disappointed as a cloud cover hid the moon. The police had a tough time in clearing the traffic on the airport road to enable the Baba to return to his abode amid tight security. There was no word from Sai Trust as to why the ‘miracle’ failed to materialise.
Australia-based Barry Pittard, a former devotee and lecturer at Sathya Sai College in Whitefield who has been leading a campaign against the ‘cult’, ridiculed the whole exercise as another gimmick at fooling people. Baba’s faithful devotees, on the other hand, believe that only the clouds played spoilsport. Ironically, there were numerous claims of having sighted him on the moon on that day, and even afterwards. One such claim said, “We were gifted to see the Divine Face of Swami in the Moon on 20th November 2007 clearly. His Hair, Eyes, Nose and Mouth were clearly seen without any blemish. We started crying, looking at this DIVINE LOVE.”
Sathya Sai Baba is not a Nobel laureate like Dalai Lama. But, he counts Dr Michael Nobel, son of Alfred Nobel, among his staunch devotees. On Baba’s 76th birthday, six years back, Nobel launched a digital radio network vowing to spread his message of global harmony and peace. Even people, who take the ‘Bhagawan’ claims with a lot of incredulity, cannot but admire his contributions to the society at large. He has been instrumental in creating ‘institutions of excellence’ which are very different than others – they are addressed at providing medical care and advanced education to the poor public, and not to the privileged.
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, world-class super-specialty hospitals, dispensaries, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries. The 220-bed super-specialty hospital at Puttaparthi was designed by Keith Critchlow, architectural adviser to the Prince of Wales, and was inaugurated on Sai Baba’s 72nd birthday in 1997 by the then Prime Minister. The 333-bed facility at Bangalore has the most advanced ICUs (Intensive Care Units), CCUs (Critical Care Units) and OTs (Operation theatres) in the country but it focuses on treating the most poor. Inaugurated in 2001 by the then Prime Minister, it has handled more than two million cases. Food and medicines are provided free of cost at Sai Baba hospitals. Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Prasanthi Nilayam is the first college to receive A++ rating by NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) of UGC (University Grants Commission). But, unlike IIMs, it does not seek out the crème de la crème but lifts up the ordinary. The trust also runs an Institute of Music and an Institute of Higher Learning, specifically for women in Anantapur.
Last year, the Baba asked his devotees to implement Rs 200 crore drinking water project that provides water from the river Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city, the capital of Tamil Nadu. Both state governments had miserably failed to implement the programme since decades, with all the taxes and duties fleeced by them going only to maintain a bloated bureaucracy. The felicitation for the feat in January 2007 by the Chennai citizens’ conclave at Nehru stadium saw four chief ministers at the dais with Sai Baba, including the hardcore atheist chief minister Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu. He said the work that Sai Baba was doing could be taken as a measure to define god.
As it should happen to any mortal, whether ordinary or divine, the miraculous powers of Sai Baba however seem to be waning with age. The godman has been confined to a wheelchair since 2005 and has made very few appearances due to failing health. He did make a brief appearance on Thursday (November 22) at the Hall to deliver the convocation address of Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, attended by Ashok Chavan, minister for Industries, Maharashtra; Geeta Reddy, minister for Industries, Andhra Pradesh and the noted industrialist AVS Raju.
Even though Sai Baba’s attempt to perform another miracle of appearing on the moon on October 4was a non-event, it would be savage to call it as mooning. After all, he has been able to perform what has proved to powerful governments to be mooning. The godman has achieved the projects out of funds that flowed in voluntarily, unlike the government that indulges in extravagant mooning!
As for the reactions among the faithful for the ‘failure’ of the moon mission on October 4, one devotee Dattaswami says, “Even if this miracle is done, our atheist-friends will say that some laser technology was adopted. Our friends have disposed all the earlier miracles also as magic. When Lord Krishna gave the cosmic vision to Kauravas, they did not believe it and concluded that it was some magic show. . . The whole scene is to be understood carefully to conclude the concept. . . Every time, every devotee needs the exhibition of a miracle to establish the existence of unimaginable . . .god established by the unimaginable limits of infinite space (indicated by the airport) inferred by mind (indicated by moon) in the medium of human body (indicated by Shri Baba sitting there). Since the moon was not visible, which infers the unimaginable limits of space, the airport infers the unimaginable limits of space. It is for this reason of invisibility of moon (mind is invisible), the airport was selected as the place.”
Of course, the explanation may not be comprehensible to ordinary mortals. But, then, faith is quite a difficult commodity to be comprehended by analysis!
Merinews
Advertisements

Puri priests demand ban on entry of ISKCON monks

December 20, 2007

PURI: Firing another salvo against ISKCON monks, nearly hundred priests of Sri Jagannath Temple here sat on a dharna on Thursday demanding a ban on the entry of converted Hindus into the 12th century shrine.

In a memorandum to Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Sri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilanee (SJSS) said only “Hindus by birth” should be allowed into the temple, one of the four important dhams for Hindus in the country.

Earlier last week, the priests had criticised ISKCON for holding “untimely” Rath Yatra and display of the Lord’s picture on the website of an American online shopping outlet.

Samilanee Secretary, Harehrushna Mahasuar, said a number of foreigners under the cover of ISKCON were trying to enter the temple. “Though their passports showed they were Hindus, in reality they hailed from other religious groups,” he claimed.

Citing two recent incidents in which the priests drove out nine Indonesian nationals from the temple, Mahasuar said they were Hindus on paper. But they were converts. “We are sure that they had changed religion in order to get an entry into the Puri temple which is a dream for many,” he claimed.

The priests also expressed their anguish over the police act of facilitating the Indonesian nationals to enter the temple.

“We allowed them to enter the temple as their religion was Hindu according to their passports,” said Puri Superintendent of Police Asit Panigrahi.

20 Dec 2007, 1550 hrs IST,PTI

Hindu boy sells girl friend for Rs 40k

December 19, 2007

Delhi lover sells woman for Rs 40K

NEW DELHI: In a shocking incident, the ‘lover’ of a 21-year-old woman sold her to a couple from Haryana for Rs 40,000. The victim, who was rescued by the Delhi Police crime branch from Jind on Monday, was raped repeatedly by three men before being forced into prostitution.

The woman, who is from Jharkhand, had come to Delhi a few weeks ago to meet her pregnant sister. She was staying in the house of her brother-in-law at Shahdara in east Delhi.

The two men who have been arrested for abducting and selling her were identified as Jai Shankar, who lives in Adarsh Nagar in north Delhi, and Pervez, from Sultanpuri in west Delhi. Both are unemployed. According to the police, Shankar met the woman in Shahdara and they “fell in love”. On December 12, Shankar took her to Pervez’s house saying he wanted to marry her in a temple.

The woman told the police that at Pervez’s house, they were approached by a man named Jagbir and his wife Rajbala. These two have also been arrested. “The couple has admitted they paid Rs 40,000 to Jai Shankar and Pervez for the woman. Jagbir and Rajbala are pimps who forced women into prostitution. The two forcibly took her to Jind and kept her illegally confined there,” said a senior police officer.

19 Dec 2007, 0420 hrs IST,TNN

Thieves cut off Hindu sadhu’s ‘holy leg’

December 14, 2007

By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad

Police in southern India are hunting for two men who attacked a Hindu holy man, cut off his right leg and then made off with it.

The 80-year-old holy man, Yanadi Kondaiah, claimed to have healing powers in the leg.

He is now recovering from his ordeal in hospital in the city of Tirupati in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Local people believed they could be healed of spiritual and physical problems if they touched his leg.

They also believed in Mr Kondaiah’s predictions of the future.

Police say the incident happened 550 km north of the state capital, Hyderabad.

‘Brutal manner’

Police say that the self-styled ‘Godman’ – who lives in a village near the city of Tirupati – was approached a few days ago by two strangers who came to seek his advice over a medical problem.

They say that the pair returned to the old man on Tuesday ostensibly to thank him for his help.

“As the old man had the weakness of drinking, he accepted their invitation to have drinks with them,” said local police Sub-Inspector Pendakanti Dastgiri.

“They took him to a deserted spot in the outskirts of the village.

“After the old man had passed out under the influence of liquor, they cut off his right leg from the knee,” he said.

Mr Dastgiri said that the amputation was carried out in a very “brutal manner” and that police are still looking for the leg and the men who so cruelly took it.

He said that the assailants used a sharp hunting knife, and left the old man alone and bleeding slowly to death.

Local people who found him unconscious alerted the police, who rushed him to hospital in Tirupati.

After regaining consciousness Mr Kondaiah said that he had no idea why he was targeted in such a manner, and did not understand the motive of the miscreants in taking away his leg.

“I have always been good to others and helped who ever came to me. Then why has this been done to me?” he asked amid his tears.

Police say the reason for the attack could be because Mr Kondaiah told too many people of the alleged magical powers of his right leg.

“This might have motivated some people to take away his leg hoping to benefit from it,” a police spokesman said.

“But it is difficult to say that this was the only motive. It could also be a case of a revenge attack.”

Story from BBC NEWS:

Hindu gods get summons from court

December 13, 2007

By Amarnath Tewary,Patna

A judge in India has summoned two Hindu gods, Ram and Hanuman, to help resolve a property dispute.

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in the eastern state of Jharkhand has issued adverts in newspapers asking the gods to “appear before the court personally”.

The gods have been asked to appear before the court on Tuesday, after the judge said that letters addressed to them had gone unanswered.

Ram and Hanuman are among the most popular Indian Hindu gods.

Judge Singh presides in a “fast track” court – designed to resolve disputes quickly – in the city of Dhanbad.

The dispute is now 20 years old and revolves around the ownership of a 1.4 acre plot of land housing two temples.

You failed to appear in the court despite notices sent by a peon and post

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in letter to Lord Ram and Hanuman

The deities of Ram and Hanuman, the monkey god, are worshipped at the two temples on the land.

Temple priest Manmohan Pathak claims the land belongs to him. Locals say it belongs to the two deities.

The two sides first went to court in 1987.

A few years ago, the dispute was settled in favour of the locals. Then Mr Pathak challenged the verdict in a fast track court.

Gift

Judge Singh sent out two notices to the deities, but they were returned as the addresses were found to be “incomplete”.

This prompted him to put out adverts in local newspapers summoning the gods.

“You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a peon and later through registered post. You are herby directed to appear before the court personally”, Judge Singh’s notice said.

The two Hindu gods have been summoned as the defence claimed that they were owners of the disputed land.

“Since the land has been donated to the gods, it is necessary to make them a party to the case,” local lawyer Bijan Rawani said.

Mr Pathak said the land was given to his grandfather by a former local king.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/12/07 09:08:32 GMT

Tamil Indian man attempts to break curse by marrying dog

November 15, 2007

14 November 2007,  CHENNAI, India (AFP) — An Indian farmer has married his dog in a bid to overcome what he believes is a curse caused by him having stoned to death two mating dogs in his rice field, press reports said.

The 34-year-old farmer, identified as Selvakumar from Sivaganga district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, fell on bad fortune 15 years ago after killing the dogs and hanging their carcasses from a tree.

A few days later, his hearing and speech were impaired and he was unable to walk.

Doctors were clueless, but an astrologer finally told him he was cursed by the spirits of the dogs he had killed. He could undo the curse only if he married a dog and live with it, the soothsayer said.

After a long search for a ‘suitable bride’, Selvakumar managed to get a four-year-old mongrel bitch from a friend and had a fully-fledged Hindu wedding in front of villagers and elders on Sunday, eyewitnesses said.

The canine bride, named Selvi, was adorned in a sari and flowers and brought to the temple by village women. A Hindu priest conducted the ceremony.

The reports, however, said Selvi the dog attempted to make a run for it — apparently due to the large crowds — but was eventually tracked down and returned to her new ‘husband’.

“The dog is only for lifting the curse and after that, he plans to get a real bride,” a friend of the groom said.

Indian teachers ‘purify’ low caste students with cow urine

April 23, 2007

Mumbai, April 22, 2007 ,

Indian teachers have been sprinkling cow urine on low-caste students to purify them and drive away evil.

In India, millions of people formerly known as “untouchables” remain oppressed at the bottom of the ancient Hindu caste system.

The Times of India reported yesterday that upper-caste headteacher Sharad Kaithade ordered the ritual after taking over from a lower-caste predecessor at a school in a remote village in the western state of Maharashtra earlier this month.

He told an upper-caste colleague to spray cow urine in a cleansing ceremony as the students were taking an examination, wetting their faces and their answer sheets, the newspaper said.

“She said you’ll study well after getting purified,” student Rajat Washnik was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel. Students said they felt humiliated.

Hinduism reveres the cow, and its dung is used in the countryside as both a disinfectant and as fuel.

In 2001, Hindu nationalists promoted cow’s urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The newspaper said the two teachers were arrested after angry parents complained to police. They have been released on bail.

India’s secular constitution bans caste discrimination, but Dalits – those at the bottom of the caste system – are still commonly beaten or killed for using a well or worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes, especially in rural areas.

Dalits, once known as untouchables, make up around 160 million of India’s billion-plus population.

In February, the New York-based Human Rights Watch group said India was failing to protect its lower-caste citizens, who were condemned to a lifetime of abuse because of their social status.

Reuters

46 per cent Indians believe ghosts exists, 24 percent consult a palmist

January 25, 2007

93 per cent Indians believe in God

New Delhi, January 24, 2007

Here are some common beliefs about religion — Indians used to be very religious but no longer are, religion is the domain of women and the elderly, and educated and urbane India has no time for religion.

If you also thought so, it is time you took a look at the findings of the HT-CNN IBN State of the Nation Survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Every alternate respondent in this survey — 7,670 to be precise — was asked a series of questions about their religious beliefs, attitudes and practices. The findings are bound to surprise you.

The survey found that urban, educated Indians are more religious than their rural and illiterate counterparts. Yes, women are more religious, but metropolitan women are far more religious than rural women. Predictably, the youth are a little less enthusiastic about religion. But the point is: religion in the country is on the rise.

If there is one social group that is least enthusiastic about religious practices, it is the adivasis. And if there is one group that is more religious than any other, it is upper caste Hindus who have been exposed to modern life more than others.

Consider these facts:

1) 93 per cent believe in god; education makes no difference
2) 64 per cent visit a temple, mosque or gurudwara regularly
3) 53 per cent pray daily; the educated pray more regularly
4) 46 per cent believe ghosts exist
5)  24 per cent consult a palmist
6)  68 per cent participate or take interest in religious functions of other religions

Do you think these figures reflect the rise of the BJP? Not quite. The party gets a little more than average support from among the very religious, but so does the Congress.

So what drives people to religion? Sociologists tell us that the stress of urban living pushes people to search for anchors in their lives. Since they cannot go back to their villages, they recreate a community through religion. That explains the religiosity among those who live in big cities.

In the process, religion changes from a personal experience to something that is more public and congregational. Hence, the proliferation of jalsas, satsangs and ratjagas. Market and the media play a greater role in defining religion.

Religious programmes on television are the latest vehicle for religious communication.

(Kumar and Yadav are social scientists working with the CSDS, Delhi)

Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav, Hindustan Times

80 percent of Indians questioned “God had a human form”

November 27, 2006

India sees God as creator, not controller – report

Sun Nov 26, 2006

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Most Indians perceive God as a macro-manager responsible for controlling things like the earth’s rotation, rather than being in charge of the actions of humans on a day-to-day basis, a survey said on Saturday.

According to a poll conducted for the Times of India newspaper across 10 cities with 1,007 respondents — which included people of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh faiths — Indians were not convinced that God controlled our daily lives.

“(God) is seen as the Creator — 91 percent feel God controls macro-affairs like the rotation of the earth or the cycle of life and death,” the newspaper reported.

“A significant 46 percent said (God) was an observer, not a controller.”

Predominately Hindu India is seen as being a deeply religious country where idol worship and superstitious beliefs are widely adhered to, but the poll found that only one third of Indians sensed the presence of God in idols.

While 80 percent of Indians questioned thought God had a human form, 23 percent felt God was male and 11 percent believed God was female. Forty-nine percent thought God took both a female and male form.

The poll, conducted by market research firm TNS for the daily newspaper, also found 54 percent of Indians believed God answered their prayers and 56 percent thought God was never unjust.

The newspaper said that while India is often perceived as a land of God-fearing people, God is seen by many as more a source of energy than someone to be feared.

Zodiac sign will bring super power status for India by 2011 : RSS chief

February 26, 2006

Quoting Swami Vivekanand, RSS Chief, K.C. Sudarshan said “India will become a super power in year 2011 thanks to the excellent zodiac combinations.” The centenary celebrations got off to a spectacular start and would conclude on Feb 18, next year in Delhi.

Muslims and Christians in the country “should accept that their ancestors were Hindus”, even though their style of worshipping God may be different today, RSS chief K C Sudarshan said tonight.

“By nationality these Muslims and Christians are Hindus and due to conversions by their ancestors they are practising different means of worship,” Sudarshan said addressing a mammoth gathering of swayamsewaks during the inauguration of birth centenary celebrations of second RSS chief Madhav Sadashiv alias Guruji Golwalkar here.

Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Swami Satyamitrnand Giriji Maharaj, founder of bharatmata mandir, Haridwar, Buddhist monk, Bhadant Gyanjagat Mahasthivir of Vishwa Boudha Pratisthan, former Bihar Governor M Ramajoise, also addressed the function.

During his brief speech, Vajpayee recalled his association with late Golwalkar in 1940 when he was a tenth- class student. He called for uniting the people in the country to fulfil the dream of late Guruji. Vajpayee also recited a poem in the honour of Golwalkar.