Today I got this message from someone who, unlike me, still attends the satsang meetings of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, the India-based religious organization that I belonged to for 35 years, before RSSB and me parted our ways.
Baba Ji refers to the current RSSB guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
I heard today from someone who said “Baba Ji said that Brian Hines is good (or a good soul).” I am not sure which or maybe both, because his English is a little hard for me to understand.
I told this person, Ah. That's nice.
I said that because it was indeed nice to hear this unsubstantiated rumor. For even though I've been critical of Gurinder Singh's business dealings while the RSSB guru, and I have problems with other aspects of his stint as guru, I don't feel any personal ill will toward him.
During the period I was writing three books on behalf of RSSB, I met with Gurinder Singh occasionally and found him a pleasant competent person to deal with. We also exchanged letters and I was pleased to perform security seva (volunteer work) during some of the guru's visits to the United States and British Columbia.
It isn't that I spend much time, or any time, really, wondering whether Gurinder Singh has a favorable opinion of me. I simply felt good when I heard that reportedly the RSSB guru thinks I"m good, or am a good soul.
I prefer the former, since I no longer believe that I have, or am, a soul.
The broader issue here, I guess, is whether it ever makes sense to say that someone is bad. Or, I suppose, good. For it seems to me that most people, and this might even include all people, try to do the right thing insofar as it appears to them.
Of course, there's no doubt that some people do terrible things: murder, rape, torture, and so much else that's despicable. But we can harshly criticize the doing of those things without calling the person who does them "bad" or "evil."
Good and bad are words that imply a choice in how we act. I'm deeply skeptical that free will actually exists. More likely is that we all are simply acting in accord with what complex and difficult-to-discern causes both inside of us and outside of us have determined that we must do.
So I don't look upon myself as being a good person, or a bad person. Sure, I feel that by and large I'm a decent human being, but I'm well aware of my defects and shortcomings, which are numerous.
At any rate, I'm pleased that the RSSB guru supposedly looks upon me positively. Though I don't mind being argumentative and confrontational, I prefer to get along with other people whenever possible, even when we disagree.