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April 27, 2012

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I love how so many satsangis are just not able to grasp the irony of Babaji raking in millions of dollars and turning his sons into billionaires. Yes, as a general concept, money is not bad, and any human or superhuman should be deserving of it. BUT, not if you are owner and head of a spiritual path that claims its base in the fact that money is material and the more aware you are of shabad, the need of money becomes almost nonexistent because your body,mind and desires are completely taken care of by shabad. I thought that's the whole reason satsangis are even motivated to meditate. To become ONE with the Shabad and transcend this bad material place called Earth?
I've heard so many satsangis justify this as these millions just being family money transferred over to it current owners, and that it's not Babaji's fault that his business is doing well.

Hi I've followed this blog with interest for a while but haven't seen a discussion about Gurinder Singh's background in terms of personal belief (rather than what he preaches). There is very little information available about his personal life, apart from his wealth, which has been the subject of some scrutiny. I understand that he was brought up a Sikh, does anyone know whether he took amrit? Before it was clear to him that the family business (rssb) would be passed on to him, did he frequent a gurdwara? Does he personally believe in sikh theology? When was he initiated into rssb by Charan Singh? Does he actually believe in what he says himself and does he consider himself as his own master or 'God' (I don't mean what's expected of him or what he wants others to believe, but rather what he actually thinks of himself). What religious study did he undertake; has he read the world's prominent scriptures including bah'ai? Did he undertake any yogic tutelage apart from shabd yoga? How many languages does he speak?

It matters to understand the spiritual and religious background of a person who has so much influence over people and its not right to live in secrecy and denial- we're no longer in the middle ages where questioning is a heretic act. I would appreciate if a learned individual could shed some light on this.

Mirabai was a follower of Ravidas and left him a diamond. Ravidas did not even take a look at it. When Mira came back and asked why the guru was still living in poverty
Ravidas said he had the wealth of naam and did not need her diamond.

This story is taken from 'tales of the mystic east'. Have things changed now?
Even Charan singh did not buy property abroad. Gurinder singh has not only
made RSSB into a religion with all the trappings including property and worldwide centres, but his personal focus in life is wealth and business.

He has expensive tastes. He lives richly and associates with wealthy disciples. He has made his own sons into billionaires. When exactly does or did he spend years in intense meditation?

Swami Ji apparently spent 17 years, jaimal 13 yrs, sawan 9 years. Gurinder must have inherited all that meditation because he doesn't need to do any.

Gurinder is a business man not a spiritual leader. He needs to leave that job to someone who is not so attached to power and wealth. Then he can spend his own life pursuing his business interests. However he will not do that because RSSB gives him power, which he loves.

ScepticSam, very well said. They should really stop printing these books now. Those that buy and buy into the RS literature are way too foolish ...

Gurinder singh ji have no need to prove himself.. I think some don't want to know the reality that he is form of God who gives to others...only.
Radha soami ji.

A few years ago, it suddenly came clear to me (I'm a slow thinker.) that Jesus was a nobody who accomplished nothing and lived in a nowhere place. He did not die gloriously (even though it looks cool in the movies) but was crucified as were many criminals in his time. In fact, he was crucified between two thieves to remind us of that fact. He didn't leave behind any books (as Plato did) nor did he establish any great schools (as the buddha did) nor did he have profound effect on the government (as did Confucius) nor did he conquer any lands (as did Mohammed). In fact, the list of what he didn't do goes on a very long time, compared to what great men of history have really done. Yet, 2000 years later, we're still talking about him. What's up with that?

By the way, I just stumbled onto your post today because it's the first day I ever heard the term RSSB. An Indian devotee told me about it and Google led the way right to your web-site. The Internet Google works in mysterious ways. I applaud your tenacity in keeping up with this blog. I've just started writing my blog hap-hazardly...the second attempt. I have very few followers, so I don't have much impetus to keep it up as you have. Good job! And I applaud your spiritual journey despite a lot of bumps and discouragements along the way.

Spockolator, good insights about Jesus. We really know nothing about what he taught. All we have are rumors based on hearsay, composed many years after Jesus died, which have been edited, fudged, translated, and retranslated over many centuries.

Best wishes for the success of your own blog writing. Don't worry about how many people read your stuff. The number will grow if you stick with it. I've been blogging for almost ten years, nearly every day. The Great God Google rewards consistency. You shall receive the search hits that you deserve.

In my experience, writing is its own reward. That's the only way I can keep writing (of course, I've enjoyed writing for most of my life; started as soon as I could write). I feel better after I say something as honestly and openly as I can. Maybe I don't change many minds of other people, but every day I change my own. That's what counts the most for me.

every guru had his own earnings...so whats the problem.....plz donot make such comments

rohin, Gurinder Singh isn't living off of his "earnings." He's making hundreds of millions of dollars from stock given to him at an extremely low cost by relatives who happen to also be his initiates.

This is unheard of, so far as I know, in the history of gurudom. It's not as if Gurinder Singh was working for his money. Now, sure, there's nothing inherently wrong with being rich and using your connections to make money.

But when the connections are related to being a guru who is considered to be God in human form by both your relatives and non-relatives -- that strikes many people as being unseemly.

Brian, lets put our differences aside, you're a human, i'm a human, what do you think of Jesus and the 10 Sikh Guru's? I'd love to hear your insight on this. I've never heard you talk about the 10 Sikh Guru's or Mohammed Sahib.

Thanks

Gaz, I've read some of the Bible. I've read all of the Adi Granth Sahib (in translation, naturally).

I resonate with some of what Jesus and the Sikh gurus say. But now I lean much more toward Buddhism and Taoism, especially Taoism.

Kabir appeals to me also. He's part of the Sikh tradition, right? Quoted quite a bit in the Adi Granth, if I recall correctly. I wrote about the wilder side of Kabir here:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2008/12/kabir-was-too-w.html

I believe in mystery. I believe that we humans don't know what the cosmos really is all about. Maybe it isn't possible to know. For most of my life I've had a strong desire to know the truth about ultimate reality.

I still do. I've just come to accept that probably I never will. Because, in my opinion, nobody ever has. Of course, some would say (Buddhists and Taoists, especially) that ultimate reality is right here, right now.

Appealing though. I'm going to go on a bike ride now and experience ultimate reality,

Ulitimate reality via shabd on bass, that i dig,
jah ratafari

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jr3x4oJrDs

I too have always wanted to know the truth about ultimate reality, I don't agree with Sikhism today. I'm sure you've heard of this argument before about how a book can't be the Guru, it's just not right.
I personally think the answer lies after Guru Gobind Singh (the last Sikh Guru), most believe he initiated a book as his successor and most believe he initiated Ratnager Rao and then he initiated Tulsi Sahib. It never become clear on who Tulsi Sahib initiated as his successor, that's where the investigation needs to take place.
I am a believer in God, I don't totally believe in RS yet. But I firmly believe if one has a sincere desire to meet God, not for the satisfaction of worldly desires but for spiritual reasons then I think it's possible.
But as this world has evolved and got older, it's become harder to meet God and find out what the truth is. Also I believe if the world evolves then the 'Guru' will evolve. A lot of us use previous saints as an example and are stuck in old times as regards to what a perfect Guru should be.
There are so many so paths which claim to be the right path. I do credit Gurinder, because he has said many times, 'no one can say that this path is right unless they've reached the ultimate goal within'.
Other paths like Sant Rajinders and Ching Hai don't say anything like that.

But I treat this life as a train ride, I take this quote from Maharaji Charan Singh, this life is a train ride. Enjoy the train ride but be prepared to leave the train when the times comes.

ChurchOfTheChurchless would better be renamed as RantsAndRhetoric.

Your posts on RSSB are much like that of a student who does not pay attention in class, and is therefore unable to complete his homework even though he spends two and a half hours on it everyday, sometimes less, but one and a half hour at the minimum, fails the class and then goes around yelling that he was not taught right in the class. Really? How come some other students got an A grade?

I guess the best remedy for such a student would be to get back to the class in all sincerity and to pass at the next attempt, instead of wasting the rest of his life ranting about the teacher. The teacher is willing to give more than the student deserves. The teacher does not expect anything in return and the students who were capable, did benefit from the teachings, and will continue to benefit.

You would be well advised to turn your story of failure to a success story. The teacher is all forgiving and all compassionate and is ready to embrace you again!

Love, you are very judgmental. Is this the result of your own meditation, or have you always been this way?

What makes you think my meditation has been a failure? I consider my many years of daily meditation to be a great success. I've learned to concentrate, to focus, to be mindful of what is happening within and without me.

Where did you get the idea that only the form of meditation you believe in, which I assume is the Sant Mat/RSSB version, is beneficial?

I practiced that form of meditation correctly, as instructed, for about 35 years. Now I practice a different form of meditation that suits me better. Your comment implies there is only One True Teacher and One True Form of Meditation.

I encourage you to open your mind.

Ha! Hilarious blog post!

The Gospel of St. Brian! You should have made it longer, at least a longish blog post entirely on this new Gospel of yours. What might be the RSSB people's reaction if you, established writer of "their" books as you are, were to send them a slim volume developing on this theme?

Amazing how the even such a stark, in-your-face contradiction doesn't strike the "sheeple" who believe and follow blindly!

Random thought, arising from this : Islam (the whole deal, not just the cherry-picked Sufiana core of Islam) is so full of holes as not to require any more holes in order to be thrown in the trashcan : but still, might the fact of Mohammed's vigorous pursuit of temporal power be yet one more reason to reject that crazy religion?

"The Gospel of St. Brian"

Yes, very obvious that the good old ego took over when Brian chose to give up talking at satsang and writing Sant Mat books in favour of having this blog so that he could be the so called churchless pastor and have his own sheeple followers.

I think you are jealous Brian, because you think that Gurinder is making lots of money. Seriously? like he doesn't work hard? And all you can do is blog away here to the discontented non achievers so that they can whinge about anything they like - boohoo I didn't achieve any spiritual enlightenment after years of meditation - so now I will project all my negativity onto the guru and the behaviour of other satsangis.

At least I take responsibility for my own lack of enlightenment, lol.

And yes, I know your reply, if you don't like it don't read this blog. Also, I am projecting my negativity onto you. Damn - I'm too critical. Long way to go before sainthood lol

Yes, very obvious that the good old ego took over when Brian chose to give up talking at satsang and writing Sant Mat books in favour of having this blog so that he could be the so called churchless pastor and have his own sheeple followers.

Actually, this blog is more like a support group for recovering sheeple.

...all you can do is blog away here to the discontented non achievers so that they can whinge about anything they like - boohoo I didn't achieve any spiritual enlightenment after years of meditation.

Actually, most of the recovering sheeple who come here feel enlightenment has more to do with abandoning the guru than with following him.

At least I take responsibility for my own lack of enlightenment.

Do tell.

Observer said, "Yes, very obvious that the good old ego took over when Brian chose to give up talking at satsang and writing Sant Mat books in favour of having this blog so that he could be the so called churchless pastor and have his own sheeple followers."

---I've heard people say this about Brian a few times, but I have seen little evidence of "sheeple followers" of Brian the Churchless Pastor over the years and I have been lurking around here for quite a while. He has just created a respectable and stimulating forum for certain topics to be discussed while managing not to take too much flak personally. But sycophant devotees of Brian? Not many. I think cc's assessment above is about right.

Oh please, tucson, give me a break.

I have also been reading Brian's blog for many years and we all know that he likes to keep it going by letting the satsangi comments through because it would be quite boring otherwise.

Especially if everyone just agreed with him and it was all left side brain logic and reason which a certain creepy critic persistently adheres to.

Ha ha ha! Observer, I enjoyed the spin you put to my comment, and how you made what I said sound exactly the opposite of how I meant it.

The contradiction I had referred to was the contradiction between a Path that is otherworldly and the Guide for that Path who is apparently happily immersing himself in worldly riches, and what is more, possibly doing this using unethical means. And therefore the “sheeple” in my comment would refer to the Faithful who pass this contradiction by unquestioningly.

From a wholly unbiased and disinterested third-person standpoint, I have to say that all these facts (if facts they indeed are) of GSD’s sudden access to huge amounts of wealth using possibly iffy means does sound off loud warning bells. To rehash points that have already been said plenty of times in different posts and comments on this blog :

1. There is nothing necessarily wrong about a spiritual leader earning money. But a spiritual leader (and his family) suddenly (that is, over a few short years) getting very much richer than they had been thus far, that itself does raise warning flags.

2. The possibility of unethical and doubtful (even if not outright illegal) means used to arrive at such wealth makes one even more uncomfortable.

3. One does wonder about the unquestioning silence of followers on this. Even if you are sure that someone’s character is unimpeachable, shouldn’t you want to bring everything in the open so that such doubts are cleared, once and for all?

4. And therefore, oughtn’t the RSSB authorities, perhaps GSD himself, come out with a public announcement or something that sets to rest this issue to everyone’s satisfaction? That should be easy enough, if indeed there has been nothing underhand going on here.


However, although I did not really comment earlier thinking this, I do agree with you, Observer, when you say that “sheeple” can come in all sizes and shapes. Just as you have sheeple “followers”, you can similarly have sheeple atheists. I don’t think any of the regulars on this blog would answer to that description, but I certainly have seen people who are atheists simply because their parents had been atheists, or simply because everyone around is. Although again, much of that sheeple-hood derives from people simply not being interested enough to question the existing status quo or zeitgeist (as it applies to them), at least in this respect.

- - - - - - -

cc, I agree Brian’s blog is a wonderful place for many people. But it is by no means merely a ‘Believers’ Anonymous’ board where the recovering Believers and Faithful come for solace and support. I myself am no recovering believer (I’m neither believer nor recovering), and I have found this place really wonderful, because :

(a) The blog posts themselves and also, sometimes, the comments by people far more experienced in these matters than I am, help me learn, quickly and in one place, so much about these things. That is, this blog can be seen as a rather wonderful and fairly unique source of a huge wealth of eclectic information in this field, both directly provided here and also from research ideas (as in quick Internet “research”, nothing overly detailed) that they suggest.

(b) It helps me test out my own ideas and thoughts on this very important topic, usually without even opening my mouth (because Brian himself, or some commenter, has already thought of the thoughts that come to me, and commented here, and has had a discussion on that very thing going on here).

(c) By letting me meet (if only anonymously) so many people who have thought deeply and practiced widely on these things. In real life it is difficult to find even one such person : and here we have so many people, or at least their first-hand thoughts lingering on these boards, even if the commenters themselves sometimes no longer make an appearance.

(Which, incidentally, is why I think it’s a pity that these arguments sometimes end up in acrimonious name-calling : I myself would feel privileged to be on cordial, if not actually friendly, terms with the people one comes across here, irrespective of whether we agree about individual points and issues discussed here.)

- - - - - - -

Not that there is any reason for anyone to really be concerned about the beliefs of someone as generally insignificant as me (no more than a random reader of this blogsite), but for the record and for what it is worth, here is where I stand:

I am firmly agnostic. Which is merely a grandiose way of saying : I have absolutely no idea at all.

However, I am very, very interested in “all this”. I believe that this is THE most important issue there is. At least where I am concerned. (Due to certain personal reasons this issue, this “quest”—to use another grandiloquent term—has assumed a position of urgency for me).

I have started active practice of three separate “paths”. I follow their instructions to a T, especially their specific meditation practice, with one exception : their injunction that all paths but theirs are to be avoided. Yes, this does take up a great deal of time and effort. Which is quite warranted, given the importance of the issue here (importance to me, that is). I doubt I’ll be able to carry on with all three paths for a long time, and may have to lose at least one of them one of these days, purely for practical reasons, because there are only 24 hours in a day, but still, while I’m following them, I’m following them as fully as I can.

So then, yes, I am definitely a follower myself, in that I do follow some traditional “paths”. But I’m the opposite of the blind follower—or so I like to think. And this is the point of my original comment (posted above) : that had I been a follower of RSSB, then I would certainly have wanted this issue of this (alleged) wrongdoing by GSD cleared up (perhaps, being a follower, with full confidence that he would come out clean and the accusers would be left red-faced and apologetic—but still, I would certainly have wanted this cleared up). And somehow, as far as I can gather, the RSSB followers seem to be making no effort to have this cleared up, as in brought to full light. Which I find surprising. That, like I said, was the point of my earlier comment.

Disclaimer : Absolutely no disrespect meant to RSSB followers. When I say I’m agnostic, I mean that I don’t know. Literally. And that means not knowing one way or the other the “truth” of the RSSB path either.

I have also been reading Brian's blog for many years and we all know that he likes to keep it going by letting the satsangi comments through because it would be quite boring otherwise.

I find the satsangi comments crushingly boring, but I put up with them because this blog is as much about Brian's abandonment of that particular cult as it is about abandonment of all spiritual nonsense and religious dogma.

I myself am no recovering believer

Yes, you delight in being beyond recovery. Every time you quote or paraphrase Wu Wu Whatsisname and try to explain why you can't explain what the hell you're saying, you demonstrate the dizzy delerium of spiritual bamboozlement.

Hi Appreciative Reader,

I don't like misinformation and even worse deliberate disinformation, and I find such on this blog many times, so here I am defending or being the protector or whatever, why? I don't know.

With regard to the guru of RSSB using "unethical and doubtful (even if not outright illegal) means used to arrive at such wealth" (your words) - I recommend you read the following thread:

http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2013/05/dirty-money-tied-to-rssb-gurus-ranbaxy-wealth.html

In like in particular, Yogendra's comments posted July 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2013. I like that he was disturbed enough about the facts presented on this blog to do some research to satisfy his own doubts (and then Pastor Brian chased him away because he said the guy was getting "preachy" lol).

...left side brain logic and reason which a certain creepy critic persistently adheres to.

What I find creepy are those who persist in believing in myths.

http://www.livescience.com/39373-left-brain-right-brain-myth.html

Observer,

Brian allowed all of Yogendra's comments in that thread without a peep of complaint about "preachyness" until Yogendra posted what I pasted below.

I rest Brian's case with the following evidence....

Yogendra wrote:

"First, "The Third Eye", as concluded from Charan's and Sawan's ( His Master, the Great Master) writings in RSSB Books.

1.Sit calm and close your eyes. When you are conscious of the dark inside, yes you are at the Third Eye.
you know, the purpose of meditation is to remain PRESENT at the third eye. All else will follow by itself.

2.When you meditate or do repetition of names, your focus and time in the darkness grows. That's all we want. Unshattered focus in the darkness is called Concentration in spirituality.

"Opening of the Third eye or Going Within"

1. When the concentration is complete i.e. We are able to hold our undivided attention steadfast ( be present ) at the Third Eye for sufficient time i.e. around two to three hours, We start seeing flashes of light in front of us inside the darkness.
This is opening of the Third eye.

"The Progress Inside"
1.We see flashes of the light which is stable and consistent by itself because our concentration goes up and falls down. With Practice the light becomes constant.

2. We may see various faces, sceneries, etc. inside but we should be indifferent towards them because they are the expressions of our own mind's impressions ( or perhaps desires also ) and not anything spiritual at all.

3. As the concentration grows with practice we are able to overcome the previous stage.

4. We see a clear dark sky with bright stars.

5. We see a big shining star. We keep on doing the repetition with indifferent attitude and we cross through the star.

6. Similarly we cross through the Sun and the Moon.

7. There comes the Radiant Form of the Master.

This is "Guru Bhakti" or the "Master's Service". The Disciple's job ends here. From now on Master takes the charge.

The next and final part is "Naam Bhakti" or "Name's ( Word's ) Service."

All the above progress in Master's Service is done solely with the help of repetition of the Names. We hear Word in this stage only for the sake of practice for the second and final stage i.e. Name's Service.

Name's Service is done with help of practice of Word. Repetition of Names is discarded in this stage or done just to reach required concentration."


I myself am no recovering believer

Yes, you delight in being beyond recovery. Every time you quote or paraphrase Wu Wu Whatsisname and try to explain why you can't explain what the hell you're saying, you demonstrate the dizzy delerium of spiritual bamboozlement.

cc :

Was that comment of yours addressed to me? I couldn’t find any context or reason for your saying what you did there, and so I’m confused. In fact I ran a CNTRL F on this thread, and I find no one else has said those words “I myself am no recovering believer” (that you start your comment with), so I’ll assume you’re addressing me.

-- Are you trying to ask me something, indirectly and through innuendo? If so, please restate your question more clearly, and I’ll be happy to answer if I can.

-- Are you offering me some advice or feedback? If so, please restate more clearly. I’ve found your comments here generally insightful (if terse and sometimes trenchant), and I’ll be happy to consider (but naturally not accept unquestioningly) such advice or feedback.

-- Are you simply calling me names for the heck of it? Even if so, I’m interested in understanding the context. Are you simply having a bad day, perhaps at home, perhaps at work? Are you feeling unwell? Or is it perhaps something I said, or some manner in which I expressed myself? Please state the context clearly, so I can understand where you’re coming from.

-- If I’m making a mistake here, and if, despite that starting quote of yours (“I myself am no recovering believer”) that paragraph of yours coming right after that quote was not addressed to me, then my apologies. Even so, can you please state whom you were addressing there? Is it observer you’re talking to there, if not me, or someone else altogether?

Also, who or what is “Wu Wu Whatsisname”?


- - - - - - -


observer :

I did check out all of that link, including Yogendra’s comments.

I don’t suppose Yogendra would read this comment of mine here, but just in case he does, I’d be very interested to know if those things he mentioned about the star and moon and sun, as well as the specific meditation tips he put in there (the points that tucson has listed here), are his own first-hand experience or if he’s simply quoting a book or pamphlet somewhere? If simply a book quote, then like Brian I’d be dismissive of this too : but if that was his own first-hand experience, then I for one would be interested to know more. Narration of first-hand experience is not preachiness ; but regurgitation of passages from books can be seen as both preachy and wearisome.

Also, I checked out his “research” on this issue. Sorry observer, but it doesn’t seem to add up.

Here’s why. I did some quick research of my own. Nothing grand or detailed, just a five-minute Google-assisted clicking around, which anyone here can do for themselves. Religare came out with their IPO back in 2007. Their shares went for around Rupees 160 (I’m using all numbers approximately here). At this time, those shares quote at around Rupees 320. So any investment made then would simply have doubled, no more. (Disclaimer : I haven’t researched this in depth, like I said. There may have been share splits or bonus share issues, and probably a good many dividend payouts as well, which may have further increased the ROI. If anyone has any information on this, do please let us know. Easy enough to check from public sources, I just haven’t taken the time and bother to do this.)

So an investment in Religare’s IPO is not really much of an investment. A two-fold capital appreciation across these many years (plus whatever dividends they may have paid out) : not too bad, that, but nothing extraordinary either. Doesn’t explain GSD’s riches and, importantly, does not conform with Yogendra’s position there.

What may have happened is, those shares were given to GSD at their face value (which is only Rupees 10 a share). Indeed Brian says as much in his other blog posts. Now that would indeed explain GSD’s riches. And no, this would NOT be a simple example of astute investment. I don’t know if this is strictly legal (although I suppose it is, else someone—perhaps other investors who have their money in Religare—would have moved court by now). But strictly legal or not, certainly such a transaction would be very irregular.

If such transaction were made because of GSD’s status as Guru, then it was naïve (or, seen in different light, cynical) of his followers/relatives to make that offer, and certainly not quite straight of GSD to accept.

Those seem to be the facts of the case, and the disinterested interpretation of those facts.

Again, observer, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings or in any way disparage your Faith. I’m just trying to understand the situation, and commenting on it as I see it. (I’m surprised the Dera hasn’t come out authoritatively quashing such rumors and allegations once and for all. “Authoritatively”, I mean, no by virtue of their authority as God’s representatives, but using the authority of plain truth clearly explicated. Which they could easily have done, and can still do, if everything we’re discussing here on this thread has a satisfactory and above-board explanation.) I’m open to being corrected, if you (or anyone) can present other facts that I’m unaware of. I’m sure Brian won’t mind publishing any corrections here provided you (or anyone else) can bring out factual and unbiased explanations on this.

I ran a CNTRL F on this thread, and I find no one else has said those words “I myself am no recovering believer” (that you start your comment with), so I’ll assume you’re addressing me.

appreciative reader, in his very lengthy comment, sounded like you at some point and I mistook his words for yours. Sorry.

who or what is “Wu Wu Whatsisname”?

A while back a commenter recognized the teaching of Wu Wu Wei in a statement you made. I asked you to explain what the statement meant and you said it couldn't be explained.


Further correction: I keep conflating tucson with Appreciative Reader. Twice now, I've replied to the latter as if he was the former. Apologies to both of you.

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