Sam Busa, the South African representative of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (an Indian spiritual group) for some 55 years died recently. The current guru of the organization, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, sent this message to Busa's family.
I was informed about Sam's passing. Rest assured Sam is in a much better place now, free from all suffering and concerns. His guidance and help which he gave tirelessly to the sangat in South Africa for so many years will be greatly missed. He lived a full and complete life. He is once again united with his beloved Master. Though you will all miss his presence, his friends and family should rejoice in the knowledge that his was a life well spent and that he is now enjoying the fruits of his lifetime of devotion and service.
With love and affection,
G S Dhillon
These are nice sentiments. I'm sure Sam Busa's family appreciated them.
What struck me, though, was how similar these thoughts are to a traditional Christian (or other religious) reaction to a true believer's death. He is in a much better place; he is united with his beloved.
Perhaps this is true. I doubt that it is.
Still, what's the difference between these statements from a guru and a minister saying, "He is in heaven now, united with his beloved Jesus"?
Faith is faith.
I can understand why people want to reassure grieving family members that a relative has "passed on" rather than ceased to exist. However, to my mind what's better and more honest is to express one's sympathy and sorrow, and leave it at that.