After someone told me about a book, "Memoirs of a Seeker," that described a woman's relationship with a guru, I purchased the Kindle version.
Because I'd been told that the guru was Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the leader of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), an India-based religious organization that I was a member of for 35 years, I was perplexed that Sheena, the author, apparently never mentioned the guru's name, from what I could tell from a quick browsing of the book.
But the person who recommended the book knows Sheena (not her real name), and separately another person emailed me with some mentions of the book, further confirming that the guru is indeed Gurinder Singh, and the ashram is Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, the RSSB headquarters in the Punjab.
I haven't read the entire book.
I've just looked through the parts describing Sheena's initial infatuation with Gurinder Singh and the RSSB teachings, which led to a massive disillusionment when, after a lot of personal contact with the guru, she realized that he was just a flawed human being, not a "perfect master."
I invite you to buy the book. I was impressed with how clearly and honestly written it is. I found no reason to doubt Sheena's sincerity, nor her accuracy. Here's how her book ends. (I'm sharing screenshots, because it isn't possible to copy text from a Kindle book.)
What follows are some additional screenshots of portions of the book relating to her time as a Gurinder Singh devotee, and a sewadar (volunteer) at the Dera. I'm sharing these excerpts because I want to stimulate people to buy Sheena's book, and I'm pretty confident that she wants her story as widely known as possible.
I've added some comments of my own after each excerpt.
It sounds like India hasn't gotten on board with the Me Too and Times Up movements, or at least the Dera hasn't -- because Gurinder Singh's concern was with how he would be viewed, not with how Sheena would be seen, or whether the accusation that the guru "chased" a young female disciple had some truth behind it.
In this excerpt Sheena mentions an incident of a woman being molested by a male sewadar that Gurinder Singh knew about, but ignored. She also talks about the hypocrisy of the RSSB teachings saying one thing, while the reality of how things operated at the Dera was quite different.
Sheena got to know Gurinder Singh and his family much more intimately than most members of RSSB. Given the guru's shady financial dealings, as detailed in a recent Bloomberg story, these observations about how Gurinder Singh changed after gaining his new-found wealth fit in with what I've heard from others.
"Sweeto" refers to the guru's wife.
This is a beautiful, and brave, critique of how the atmosphere of spirituality that used to permeate Dera Baba Jaimal Singh (I visited for two weeks in 1977, when Charan Singh was the guru) has been shunted aside by a steadily creeping materialism.
Sheena is correct: power and wealth do corrupt. Gurus such as Gurinder Singh Dhillon aren't immune from their allure. Thankfully, Sheena saw through the guru illusion.
Sheena says that she found God, but not through the guru -- who was an impediment, not a means, to divinity. She is grateful, though, for her experience with RSSB and Gurinder Singh. Often it takes following a wrong road to get on the track of one that leads where we want to go.
For Sheena's full story of her seeking, and finding, get "Memoirs of a Seeker." I've just scratched the surface of what is in Sheena's book.