Sant Mat is an Indian mystical philosophy that can be translated as "path of truth." I was an active member of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), one of the various Sant Mat branches, for about thirty-five years.
Back in the old days, the RSSB guru taught that spiritual truth was unchanging. But with a new guru, we've got new truths. To me, that's refreshing. It's probably disconcerting to those who held a rigid fundamentalist view of Sant Mat, though.
Five years ago I wrote a post about "Sant Mat, version 2.0." This is how I summarized the changes that Gurinder Singh apparently has made to the RSSB teachings.
(I say apparently because the current guru doesn't allow his talks to be recorded, and he doesn't write anything himself. So this makes it difficult to pin down what he's telling people.)
Sant Mat v. 1.0
--The guru is God in human form
--The guru is perfect, possessing God’s divine qualities
--God has chosen certain souls to return to Him
--God delegates the guru to initiate these “marked souls”
--Without initiation by a perfect guru, God-realization is impossible
Sant Mat v. 2.0
--The guru is a human who is seeking God, just like us
--The guru is imperfect, just like us
--Whether we want to pursue God-realization is up to us
--The guru is a spiritual guide, not a savior
--There are many paths to God, not just Sant Mat
Now it looks like Gurinder Singh is wandering even farther from the tradtional Sant Mat path. On a recent Church of the Churchless post, someone who signed his/her comments "A Typical Follower" shared these thoughts:
Having written a book called "Return to the One" about Plotinus, a Neoplatonist Greek philosopher, I like the new emphasis on The One. I have no idea what The One is, and neither did Plotinus, because The One is -- obviously -- not something separate that we can have ideas about.
"Return to the One" started off as a RSSB publication back when I was a true believing disciple. Eventually I published it myself, partly because I didn't want to change Plotinus' teachings to make them conform to what RSSB editors wanted.
I guess I was ahead of the times.
Now it sounds like Gurinder Singh is embracing much of Neoplatonism, a monism that bears quite a bit of resemblance to Vedanta/ Advaita/ Buddhism if you unfocus your mental eye and don't pay too much attention to philosophical details.
Anyway, it's nice to see that the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas is loosening up, laughing more, letting go of a lot of rigid traditional Indian supernatural beliefs.
Some have suggested that this is what happens when a guru makes over $250 million while on the job. Being super-rich can people encourage to say how they really feel. However, it isn't possible to say with certainty what is causing Sant Mat to morph into version 3.0.
I just like it better.