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February 10, 2010

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Ah, the days before my deconversion. The guy in the white pajama pants (punjabis) at 11:00 is the sweet tempered Prof. Bhatnagar.

When he wasn't irritable, he was even more irritable. Penetrating Tisra Til was doing wonders for him. Someone in a setting very similar to the one pictured was questioning the health value of milk. I guess they thought it caused mucus or something. Bhatnager blew a fuse and went on a tirade about how milk is the perfect food. "What's the matter with you? People have been drinking milk for thousands of years. Drink the milk and don't worry about it."

One time on the way to the evening meeting I went up to him as he was climbing the stairs and asked a question about the relative size of the inner regions or something to that effect. He laid into me with his rather deep voice. "You fool!! Why concern yourself with these trivial matters and bother me with them? This is a complete waste of time letting your mind entertain such thoughts. Attend to meditation and these questions will be resolved."

Yeah, so I can be like you?

For years after that I used to immitate Bhatnager for my satsangi friends. "You fool!". Everyone thught that was very funny. In retrospect, I think he was being a dick.

Patient man, that Bhatnager. I don't think I ever saw him smile. He was very serious about not being serious.

tucson, yes, I didn't mention Bhatnager's name. Partly because I wasn't completely sure that was the person in the photo. Partly because it's a tough name to spell.

He indeed was a hard-nosed character. No mincing of words. Like you said, he wasn't exactly a role model for loving, relaxed, compassionate enlightenment.

I had a few run-ins with ole Prof Bhatnagar as well. It was at the Dera back in the early and late 1980s.

Even when satsangis thought they were asking him a pretty reasonable question, like in the formal satsang meetings at the guesthouse, he often would get very annoyed. He was a rather arrogant and condescending jerk of man, imo.

I often wondered why Charan would keep such a guy around, in view of the fact that Bhatnagar reacted to those merely seeking clarification with such obvious irritation and annoyance... but its probably because he was a left-over from Sawan's era.

Bhatnagar liked to play the role of a pedantic know-it-all pundit, but actually he was really just an arrogant ass. I guess his personality was really just a way to keep Charan's western flock under the authoritarian thumb of the RSSB.

Bhatnagar tended to impress satsangis who were impressed by the RS cosmology, and by his intellectual demeanor. But I felt he was just a poseur with a bunch of fancy talk. I think Charan employed Bhatnagar to entertain the western satsangi guests when Charan didn't feel like dealing with them. And Bhatnagar, being among the elite of RSSB, exuded an attitude that he was better than the 'common' ignorant westerners.

One time I approached him very politely, and I attempted to have a casual conversation about vedanta and the various other types of Indian philosophy (about which I was far more knowledgeable than other satsangis). Bhatnagar's response was so deplorable and rude, I was stunned. He only wanted westerners that would kiss his ass, but even then he would still play his authoriarian game.

At that point it became obvious to me that he was a very narrow-minded and egotistical jackass. That became one of the many cracks in the edifice and facade of RS, that eventually led to my dropping that path altogether.


lol, enjoyed the second bit of this piece with the pics of brian as a young buck - brian you almost certainly have had an interesting life in travelling to india and meeting these ppl, whether or not it was nonsense is irrelevant.

that bhagaratti character sounds like an old goat, its those types that put me right off totally.

Never understood the flip-flopping of religions alluded to in the intro, religion simply never appealled but that feeling you describe of something more meaningful than this existence or at least a complexity or simple profundity to the universe (mystery) that we will perhaps never understand. However, this might be explained by our conditioning having grown up in a christian countries or indeed could be a sort of existential angst.

However, seems you were consumed with answering these questions from an early age. Whatever the outcome you must have met some real crackers as well as some interesting folk. Generally the hippy movement seems pretty cool, probably useless as tits on a fish, but nevertheless who really is that useful in any case - or as Lennon put it 'love is all you need'.

Hello all ! I guess this Prof.B was quite a character...
Another good post Brian !

It probably makes sense to me cause I've recently de-converted from RSSB ! What a relief... I can finally trust myself a little more, no Mr.Kal to scare me. I'm now focusing on doing something good everyday, as opposed to obsessively scrutinizing food labels !

I just feel so free and so connected with everything around me... :)
Cheers to a great weekend for everyone on this blog !
May you all find happiness and love around you !

Many Splits,

You said: "I just feel so free and so connected with everything around me... :)"

--Exactly how I felt when I deconverted. I was no longer special and isolated with this burden of vows and guru devotion. I was just another guy and through that was one with everyone, everything. I was free.

Another ex-satsangi, Bob, who chimes in here once in awile, has expressed similar feelings.

Rather ironic. Quiting RSSB was a 'spiritual' experience!!

Congatulations. I am happy for you.


Tucson, Brian, and Tao:

What was Prof Bhatnagar a professor of? Was he in employment of the Dera? If so, how much did he get paid? Thought everyone was in volunteer service at the Dera? Wonder what the professor ever said about meditations and his experiences with such? I think, I can see some rather rough answers coming forth.

Many Splits, I also am happy for you. You sound energetic, enthusiastic, and open to exploring life as it should be: non-dogmatically.

Roger, I can't remember what Bhatnagar was a professor of, assuming I ever knew. I doubt that he was paid by the Dera. Like other "sevadars" (volunteers), he apparently contributed his services for reasons other than money.

I funny thing is that I can sense a warmer vibe here, on this blog, than when I formally ' converted ' to RS ! Respects and many thanks to all !

Yes, I feel quite relieved. I no longer have to worry about my husband not being a ' marked ' soul, or being the only one not having the chocolate-chip cookie at Starbucks with my cappuccino !

The elephant in the room was my belief system.
I now feel a greater sense of responsibility towards myself.

Anyway, here is an experience that I'd like to share -

A few weeks ago, I was browsing around in a shoe-store and there was this cheerful young salesperson assisting me. He was cheerful to the point of being delirious ( in an Eddie Murphy kind of way ) which had me quite amused...

I said -
' Buddy, you're obviously really happy about something... '

He replied -
' I'm just happy cause I'm alive ! Look around you, life is beautiful... '

Many Splits,
he sounds deliriously insane, did you call the cops?

he he, good one George. Pretty rare to find cheerful salespeople around where I live!

Many Splits,

Just curious, you said previously: "Brian... I've always been fascinated by the way of the Samurai ! In India though, it would be tough to find a Kenjutsu Master ! I've started looking for one... :)"

I assumed you live in India. Now I'm wondering about you having chocolate-chip cookies and cappuccinos at Starbucks!

You also said: “I will also reveal my identity instead of hiding behind ' Many Splits '.” … this will be interesting.

Hi George -
I was in London in January. Paul is an african-american salesperson at a store in Covent Garden. At that moment he came across like one of the happiest people I'd ever met - and for no apparent reason. So along with taking a pair of shoes from the store I also took with me a sweet memory of a happy person.

Hi Jen -
I travel very often. I try to have very little sugar and salt in my everyday diet when I'm in India. So I'm looking forward to a double chocolate-chip cookie the next time I'm at a Starbucks abroad.

About ' Many Splits ' -
I was just about reaching my conclusions about RS / RSSB a few weeks ago, when I started reading the posts on this blog. What surprised me was that Brian was the same Brian who has written Life is Fair and I immediately posted a comment. Now, I think I should've come up with a better name but the first comments were already in !

About ' Me ' -
I will choose to reveal my identity when I feel like it. I have friends and family who are a part of the ' social ' RSSB network here in India and I really do not want to upset or antagonize anyone. This blog is the only place I can share my thoughts about RS / RSSB.

Many Splits, that’s okay, sorry if I was being intrusive. I was just being curious about where you live and your relationship to RSSB. I understand about revealing your true identity, not a good idea to upset and antagonize anyone.

I wish you good luck, love and understanding on your own personal journey.

Cheers

Dear Jen, thank you for your wishes, I wish you the same !

I just wanted to add a little more -
As I see it, I do fear being ostracized from certain social circles if I were to openly question or give my views about RS / RSSB.

If I was a practicing ' another ' ... a Church-going Christian, a Temple-going Hindu or a Gurudwara-going Sikh, I would face far less resistance if I chose to disconnect. RSSB is very uptight and rather intolerant of their ex-members, which tells you a lot about how things are in the RSSB ' social groups ' in India.

We are in 2010. I watched the launch of the i-pad the other day. I am in business with people from different nationalities. However, I cannot freely talk about my views on a spiritual sect ! It is ironic and absurd at the same time.

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