If Jesus returned to earth and you were part of the multitudes listening to him preach in person, what would you do if you had to go to the bathroom? This is the sort of deep theological question that we love to consider here at the Church of the Churchless. It also was a deep experiential quandary for me back in December of 1977 when I made my first visit to India.
I went to see the guru, Charan Singh, who had initiated me by proxy six and a half years earlier. I had never seen Charan Singh in person, just heard him on audiotapes, seen him on film, and read his books.
So even though I was in between jobs at the time and it was the Christmas season (two facts that my ex-wife never failed to remind me of before, during, and after my Indian pilgrimage), I had decided that spending two weeks in the Punjab at the spiritual colony of Dera Baba Jaimal Singh was good for my soul—though not for my depleted savings account nor my marriage (I wasn’t home on December 25 to put together my daughter’s first bicycle, another fact I was reminded of regularly by my wife until our divorce twelve years later).
The community where the guru of the spiritual path known as Radha Soami Satsang Beas lives is known as the Dera. In 1977, as now, disciples like me came from all over the world to absorb the Dera atmosphere and commune with the guru (or master). We Westerners were able to attend intimate evening meetings with Charan Singh where interesting questions were asked about all sorts of subjects, and even more interesting answers were given by the master.
Indians rarely could get so close to the guru. In large part this was because there were many more Indian initiates than non-Indian initiates. Several times every year huge gatherings, or bhandaras, would be held at the Dera. Hundreds of thousands of Indians would journey by train, bus, truck, foot, or however to the Dera (modes of transportation in India are wondrously diverse and often wondrously terrifying, as I wrote in a Christmas letter about my New Delhi cab ride).
These pilgrims would assemble in a vast open space to hear the guru speak in Punjabi or Hindi (I’m not sure which). This photo doesn’t begin to capture the throngs who extended far back and to the sides from where I was standing near the dais where the master soon would be sitting. The Indians would arrive hours early in order to get a seat (on the ground) fairly close to the dais. We Westerners got preferred seating right in front, and had the luxury of mats to put our posteriors on instead of just bare earth.
This day the talk (or satsang) was in late morning. I had eaten breakfast about an hour earlier and drunk my habitual cup of coffee, not a good idea. But this was my first bhandara, and I didn’t know the drill. Which was…being courteously seated by Indian volunteers (sevadars) in the close-to-the-dais area, waiting a half hour or so for the guru to arrive, and then sitting through a nearly two hour talk in a language I couldn’t comprehend, so I had no way of knowing how close the master was to finishing up his topic.
For an hour or so, everything was cool. This photo shows the view I had of the guru and of the pathi who would chant excerpts from the Sikh Adi Granth, which Charan Singh then would explicate. The best way to imagine the atmosphere is how I began this post: How would Christians feel if they were in the presence of Jesus?
For virtually all Indian disciples of the guru, as well as most Western disciples, considered that Charan Singh was god in human form. I wasn’t sure back then, and I’m less sure now, but there was no doubting the amazingly powerful force of several hundred thousand people sitting in pindrop silence before a highly revered mystic and spiritual master.
I too appeared reverential. On the outside at least. On the inside I came to have a single overwhelming thought: “Oh my God, I’ve got to pee so bad!” I tried to distract myself from bladder consciousness. No go. I considered all the possibilities open to me to pee while sitting on the ground, covered by the wool shawl that I was wearing. My camera case seemed like an option, but I couldn’t see how I could pull off peeing in the case without drawing a lot of unwanted attention from the seemingly blissed-out disciples sitting near me.
Pretty soon a loud voice in my brain was screaming at the guru, “Shut up! Stop speaking! Go home!” A smaller voice was simultaneously saying, “You should be ashamed of yourself! God in human form is sitting right above you, and all you can think about is taking a piss.”
Eventually I noticed a few Indian women standing up who must have been suffering from the same affliction I was. The reaction they got from the imposing turbaned male sevadars wasn’t encouraging. As soon as a woman would rise, a sevadar would vigorously motion with his hands for her to sit down. To leave before God has finished speaking simply isn’t done, no matter what your bladder says.
Somehow I made it through the end of the talk and raced at light speed back to my room, where I enjoyed a near-orgasmic release of bodily fluid. I passed quite a few women raising their saris in ditches by buildings near the bhandara grounds, proving that I wasn’t the only one who suffered a serious split between the needs of the body and of the spirit.
Which I guess is the theological point I’m finally getting to, and will end with. Why do spiritual people so often consider that the body is unnaturally opposed to soul? It was natural for me to want to go to the bathroom after drinking coffee and sitting for hours listening to the guru talk. Why couldn’t I feel comfortable standing up, walking off to a toilet, and then coming back to hear the rest of his satsang with a calm mind and empty bladder?
And why is it necessary to elevate “gurus” such as Charan Singh, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, whoever so far above the rest of us? Aren’t they considered to be the most humble of the humble? If I, who am not at all humble, was giving a talk, it wouldn’t bother me at all to see someone rise and go off to the bathroom. So why was this considered a serious sacrilege at that 1977 Indian bhandara, just as I strongly suspect it would be if somehow Jesus made a second coming and preached longer than the bladders of his listeners could tolerate?
“God’s here, but I’ve got to go.” For skeptical believers like me there is a deeper significance to these words than bathroom humor, I’m quite sure of that.
My understanding from the teachers of the Beas line is that none of them claim to be God themselves. I agree that it is clearly implied in the books and a large number of people believe it. However i just wanted to clear the point , because i believe the masters say that they can be treated as a friend or a guide , and to follow their advise as one would follow a trusted friend's advise and then see objective reality for yourself ( which is the main point in most of your blogs ). Another thing i feel is that the master cannot be held responsible for each sevadar's behaviour. I believe if Maharaj ji's opinion was taken , he would advise to relive yourself immediately with haste !!!! I don't want to defend anything , just expressing my views.
Posted by: Ramnik Soni | June 03, 2005 at 10:56 AM
Perhaps nothing has changed since 1977.
During last year's October session for Western visitors to the the Dera I was walking down the fenced footpath beside the main road leading from the Western accomodation buildings area to the satsang hall at a time just after morning satsang had finished in order to meet up with friends who were intending to go for a walk beside the Beas river. The Master was apparently about due to drive past in his car because sevadars were posted on the intersections and making sure pedestrians were well off the road behind the low steel pipe fences between the footpath and the road. When the Master's car was about to come into view I was motioned by several sevadars to cease walking and not just stand respectfully but actually crouch down behind the railing until the Masters vehicle had passed. Now this may have been their idea of a security measure but from my experience with Dera security during that visit the Indian sevadars knew exactly what level of security risk a western visitor over the age of 58 would present and treated us accordingly. My impression of the whole event was that the sevadars were instructed that all persons other than sevadars who where on the footpath whilst the Master's vehicle was passing were to made to assume this position. I would be very interested to hear from any other visitor to the Dera who can shed light on this incident for me and explain the reason for this requirement of the sevadars in these circumstances. This seemed to be normal proceedure as some of the other Indian people in my vicinity were instructed to do the same.
Posted by: Peter D | June 08, 2005 at 10:51 PM
No doubt you will have seen my name from another site which will be nameless here. I was initiated in 1993 into the practise of Shabd Yoga but sadly "left" the Path. However, I still feel attraction towards it.
I cannot help thinking that the Masters at Beas, or any other centre of the RS Faith are not telling us the whole truth. I think though one mystic Faqir Chand hit it on the head by indicating that it is our Higher Self which is the the real Perfect Master. Everyone in one sense is a Perfect Master but we have not realized It ofcourse.
Faqir Chand was regarded as a respected Shabd Yoga "Satguru" but made a remarkable claim. Since he was the physical incarnation of God he was supposed to know everything but he revealed that he was unaware of his disciples internal, and external "miracles" with his subtle Radiant Form.He stated it was their belief, and faith in him which activated inner, and outer spiritual phenomena. In other words, Faqir the Satguru acted as a catalyst for such experiences. The "unknowingness" he demonstrated about his disciples also appears in many modern day Satgurus. For example, Master Gurinder Singh wrote a letter via his secretary to a Satsangi telling her to continue with her Bhajan but she admitted she did do it at all!! To the ordinary person this would show that He was imperfect..but it is important to say here that a public display of psychic power of super normal "knowingness" about certain people, and events would be contrary to the teachings of the RS Faith. A real guru pretends to be "human."Disciples would also argue that seeming "unknowingness" of their "omniscient" Satgurus is simply a test of faith.
Chands idea though has fascinating implications. It would mean that someone who was a criminal could pose as a Satguru. Those who had belief, and faith in such one would have genuine inner experiences. In these cases, the Higher Self would play a vital part in the evolution of the lower self. Moreover, those Satgurus who may have experienced a "moral fall" may still be regarded as perfect as it is our faith, and belief in him, or indeed, her which is the key to spiritual progress. This makes the notion of investigative research into any living Master of any branch of the RS Faith to some extent superflous. It is faith, and belief which opens doors, and not so much whether a guru is perfect, or not either in terms of personality, or spiritual reach. Our Higher Self is already in Sach Khand. It knows the secrets of the universe. It is our future pure Self in a bizarre process of Mono-Acting. It is all Atma-Lila, or the Play of the Soul.
In spite of all this, the outer Satguru plays a vital role. He is the visible form of God whether fully realized, or not. His Sant Mat philosophy is a necessary outward transmission in the "real" physical world. Thus, finding such a One is still relevant, and vital because it is an attempt to find our visible Self.
Posted by: Robert Searle | July 27, 2005 at 12:53 PM
Regarding the comment posted by Robert Searle:
To begin with, I must say that I completely disagree with the basic premises, and the conclusion of Robert Searle. I will attempt to be as tactful and polite as possible about what I see as clearly fundamental flaws, erroneous presumptions, and a lack of right understanding and true knowledge. I am also quite familiar with Faqir Chand and his views, and I also had a close personal acquaintence with Dr. Sharma of Hoshiapur, who was one of Faqir Chand's main disciples. That being said, I will now discuss the very significant problems and flaws that I see with Robert Searle's comments. I will do that in the same order as they were presented.
Robert Searle wrote: "Everyone in one sense is a Perfect Master but we have not realized It ofcourse."
Response: The idea of "perfect master" is a false notion. Everyone is fundamentally pure Awareness, which is the One True Self, but very few are actually awakened/realized. A true "master" is one who has awakened into Self-realization. So therefore, although everyone is not other than the One Self, "everyone" is clearly not Self-realized, and therefore not "perfect", nor a "master".
Robert Searle wrote: "Faqir Chand was regarded as a respected Shabd Yoga "Satguru"..."
Response: The qualification termed "Sat-Guru" is not determined by what or how other people think or regard someone. A "Sat-Guru" means that one has truly awakened into, and abides as, perfect Self-knowledge; also called Self-realization or Enlightenment. It is not just an arbitrarily assumed title. It is the state of true Self-realization. Just because someone, such as the Sant Mat spiritual leaders, are given the title of "Sat-Guru" by their un-enlightened followers, does not mean that they actually are a real and true Sat-Guru. The mere taking of the superficial title of "Sat-Guru" does not make one a genuine Sat-Guru.
Robert Searle wrote: "Since he was the physical incarnation of God..."
Response: This statement is a false presumption. It is only true in the sense that everyone is a "physical incarnation of God", not just one or a few.
Robert Searle wrote: "The "unknowingness" he (Faqir Chand)demonstrated..."
Response: Yes, at least he was honest and truthful about the fact that he was not perfect and omniscient. For that, I do give him credit. His honesty and humility was not a pretension either. At least he had the integrity to tell the truth and not let people believe in false myths, like most of the other Sant Mat spiritual leaders do.
Robert Searle wrote: "....also appears in many modern day Satgurus. For example, Master Gurinder Singh..."
Response: Again, a completely false presumption -- that "Gurinder Singh" is a "Satguru". What makes you assume that he is a true Sat-Guru ? If you are going to make such a statement, then please give us some evidence or proof that such is the case. Although I can tell you not to waste your time trying, because there is no evidence that he is a true Sat-Guru. Because the truth is that he is not a Sat-Guru -- because he is not Self-realized. If he were, it would be completely obvious and apparent in his state of being, his teachings, and his relationships with others. There is no such indication that G. Singh abides in true Self-knowledge, Enlightenment, or God-realization.
Robert Searle wrote: "To the ordinary person this would show that He (Gurinder Singh) was imperfect....but it is important to say here that a public display of psychic power... would be contrary to the teachings of the RS Faith. A real guru pretends to be human."
Response: This statement is even more incorrect. First, the discrepancy between G. Singh's letter and that satsangi's honest admittance, really does show imperfection, because it is a real discrepency, and clearly shows that G. Singh is not all-knowing. To beileve that he is, is to believe an illusion and a myth. In addition, a "public display of psychic power" may indeed be contrary to the philosophy of Sant Mat, but it does not require pretension on the part of the guru.
Then there is the statement: "A real guru pretends to be human". This is not only false, but absurd as well. A "real guru", a true Sat-Guru, does not "pretend". "Sat" means Truth and imperishable and eternal Being, and a genuine and true Sat-Guru abides only as Sat/Truth. A real Guru never pretends, or has any need to pretend. A real Guru abides in and as Truth, lives the Truth, speaks the Truth, reveals the Truth, and teaches the Truth. The notion that a "real guru" pretends anything is completely false and shows a lack of spiritual understanding and true knowledge.
Robert Searle wrote: "...It would mean that someone who was a criminal could pose as a Satguru. Those who had belief, and faith in such one would have genuine inner experiences..." - and - "...as it is our faith, and belief in him, or indeed, her which is the key to spiritual progress. This makes the notion of investigative research into any living Master... to some extent superflous. It is faith, and belief which opens doors, and not so much whether a guru is perfect,..."
Response: The keyword here is "pose". This is my very point. "Posing" is simply pretention. The achievement of real spiritual awakening and Self-realizaton cannot be obtained simply by "belief" or "faith", in either a false guru or a genuine guru. It matters not what "experiences" occur, especially if they are based on belief in a lie. It is true that what experiences people have, are a result of what they believe. But true spiritual awakening and realization is not just an "experience". It is pure knowledge, Self-knowledge. It is not a matter of belief. It is only achieved by applying the teaching of Truth. It is achieved through honest and clear Self-inquiry, not by mere belief in either posers, or genuine gurus. It takes real spiritual sadhana.
Robert Searle wrote: "Our Higher Self is already in Sach Khand. It knows the secrets of the universe. It is our future pure Self....the Play of the Soul."
Response: This is incomplete understanding. The so-called "Higher Self" is only the One Self. The One Self is not "in" anywhere. It is not "in Sach Khand". The One Self, also known as "The Self", is the true and essential nature of all beings. "Sach Khand means "abode of Truth". Therefore, it would be better to say that, "Sach Khand" IS The Self, and not the other way around. The point is that the true Self, the "higher Self", the One Self, is not somewhere else. It is not in Sach Khand, not on another plane, and not a "future pure Self". The One Self is the sole Reality. It is not higher, or lower, not somewhere, not in any place, not an experience, not separate from any being, and not the "play of the soul". The One Self is Reality itself, and is the true nature, and the very own true self of all beings.
Robert Searle wrote: "In spite of all this, the outer Satguru plays a vital role. He is the visible form of God whether fully realized, or not. His Sant Mat philosophy is a necessary outward transmission in the "real" physical world. Thus, finding such a One is still relevant, and vital because it is an attempt to find our visible Self."
Robert Searle wrote: "In spite of all this, the outer Satguru plays a vital role."
Response: Yes, a Sat-Guru is profoundly important, but they must really be a true and genuine Sat-Guru, a Self-realized Sage. Not just someone who has superficially assumed the title of "Sat-Guru".
Robert Searle wrote: "He (Sat-Guru) is the visible form of God whether fully realized, or not."
Response: All manifest phenomena is the "visible form of God". Not just a spiritual guru. Furthermore, this statement is complete contradiction. A real Sat-Guru must necessarily be "fully realized". If one is not "fully realized", then one is NOT a Sat-Guru.
Robert Searle wrote: "His (the Sat-Guru) Sant Mat philosophy"
Response: What makes you think that "Sant Mat" is actually the philosophy of a real Sat-Guru ? A true Sat-Guru has no philosophy. A true Sat-Guru abides in and as the One Self, the Truth, The Reality. The Truth has no "philosophy". Philosophy is man-made. A true Sat-Guru does not teach philosophy. A true Sat-Guru abides as the Truth itself (Sat).
Robert Searle wrote: "the "real" physical world."
Response: The physical world is only an appearance in Consciousness. Consciousness itself is the Reality, not the "physical world" of form.
Robert Searle wrote: "Thus, finding such a One (Sat-Guru) is still relevant,"
Response: Yes, very relevant, but only if such a one is a true and genuine Sat-Guru. A genuine Sat-Guru will be clearly evident in their life and teaching, not just because they artifically assume the title of Sat-Guru.
Robert Searle wrote: "...because it is an attempt to find our visible Self."
Response: The Self is not "visible". The Self is pure Consciousness, pure Awareness. The "visible" is only the phenomena of sense perception. The "visible" body is form which is falsely identified as being one's self. This false identification with the body is termed false-ego or ahamkara. It is not the true Self, the One Self. The false-ego and it's bodily identification, is the veil of ignorance which obscures one's realization of one's real true nature, the One Self.
The "visible self" is a false notion which is merely identification with form and the body. The True Self, the One Self, is not a body, not a form, is not "higher", and not elsewhere. The One True Self is the underlying true nature and reality of all sentient beings.
When one eventually does awaken into real and true Self-knowledge, which is traditionally termed "Self-realization", then one will have clear and perfect understanding of all the points that I have presented in my responses.
Posted by: Who Am I ? | July 27, 2005 at 06:07 PM
LETS NOT PLAY WORD GAMES!
I am afraid I will not be able to answer all your points at the moment. The reason in part is lack of time, and moreover, alot of your interpretations are JUST THAT INTERPRETATIONS like mine. In many respects, it is pointless, and useless to discuss them as we all go round in circles. None of our claims, and counter-claims will be provable by any natural means.
However, I do believe that a new science will emerge which will prove albeit indirectly many metaphysical claims including possibly the spiritual status of most gurus. If you key in the word Kheper this should lead you to a website concerned with esoteric matters. In the topics section you will find listed MULTI-DIMENSIONAL SCIENCE. This deals with a short non-technical paper on my ideas which integrates science with mysticism, and religion. References are also made to Faqir Chand, and the Radhasoami Faith.
Incidently, I do actually agree with most of what you say but you fail to understand that there are many ways at looking at the same subject. As such this makes your comments largely pointless.
Moreover, I have met Dr. Sharma, and interviewed him for a possible magazine article. This was back in 1990. He even said quite openly that I was his Satguru!! After I left him I became aware of energies of higher conciounessness. It felt as if I was being compelled to accept him as my teacher. I rang Dr. Sharma the following day, and he seemed suprised that "...it was happening already"(ie. unofficial initiation). However, I pulled away from this force,and was initiated into the Beas Satsang in 1993 at Haynes Park.
Posted by: Robert Searle | July 28, 2005 at 04:34 AM
In response to Robert Searle who wrote:
"LETS NOT PLAY WORD GAMES!"
Let me politely say that true non-dual Self-realization and Self-knowledge is not a "word game". The fact that you consider it such, is evidence that you do not have any clear comprehension, understanding, or realization. That being the case, it would be best for you not to make judgements about matters which you are not educated or informed.
Robert Searle wrote: "...alot of your interpretations are JUST THAT INTERPRETATIONS..."
Again, Self-knowledge is not an "interpretation", opinion, concept, belief, idealogy, or philosophy. Self-knowledge is direct apprehension of Reality, of one's own true nature, which is pure and indestructible Being-Consciousness-Bliss.
Robert Searle wrote: "In many respects, it is pointless, and useless to discuss them as we all go round in circles. None of our claims, and counter-claims will be provable by any natural means."
No one said that you must "go round in circles". Nor is the discussion of Self-realizatiuon and the nature of existence "pontless and usless". The only reason why someone such as yourself would react in this way, is because you wish to defend your concepts, beliefs and false-ego. Words are a medium of communication which can be used to express a certain point of view, direction, and orientation. Which is what I have attempted to do in the case of Self-realization and Self-knowledge. The Truth itselfd can never be communicated in words, but words can be used to point in a certain direct in which to proceed. The direction which I have pointed towards, is that of Self-inquiry which leads to direct Self-knowledge, beyond all concepts, beliefs, and philosophical constructs.
Robert Searle wrote: "I do believe that a new science will emerge which will prove albeit indirectly many metaphysical claims..."
There is no need for any "new science", nor is there any need to "prove... metaphysical claims". Self-realization is direct apprehension of Reality itself. The only reason that you or anyone is searching elsewhere for proof etc. is that direct Self-knowledge has not been realized. Self-inquiry (atma-vichara) is the very "science" which you seek and hope for.
Robert Searle wrote: "...a website concerned with esoteric matters." "...ideas which integrates science with mysticism, and religion."
I have no need for researching "esoteric matters". I have deeply studied esoteric philosphy and spirituality for 40 year, and there is little that I am not aware of. I have not need for futher "esoteric" research because Self-knowledge is direct knowledge and realization of Reality. Nor is there any need to "integrate science with mysticism and religion". What is needed, and all that is needed, is simply to awaken into direct realization (atma-jnana) of one's own true nature, that of the supreme Self.
Robert Searle wrote: "References are also made to Faqir Chand, and the Radhasoami Faith."
As I mentioned previously, I am quite familiar with Faqir Chand, and deeply learned about Radha Soami and Sant Mat. Furthermore, at this point, I have no interest whatsoever in either subject.
Robert Searle wrote: "...you fail to understand that there are many ways at looking at the same subject. As such this makes your comments largely pointless."
Let me be very clear and certain about one thing: I definitely do not "fail to understand". And yes, there are many ways of looking at things in general, but I am not speaking about a particular objective way of looking at something. I am speaking of Self-realization and the direct apprension of Reality, which is termed Self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not a thought, idea, concept, belief, philosophy, or way of looking. It is pure Knowledge, not conceptual or intellectual knowledge. It is the nature of Awareness itself. ... Nor is the discussion of Self-realization "largely pointless". The discussion of Self-realization and Truth is termed "satsanga". Rather than being "pointless", it is the most significant and meaningful subject matter and discussion, that one can engage in in ones life. The fact that you state that you consider it to be "pointless" is indicative that you are either very closed-minded, or that you have no comprehension of the significance and value of real satsanga.
Robert Searle wrote: "I have met Dr. Sharma, .... He even said quite openly that I was his Satguru".
I really could not care less what Dr Sharma said, or did not say; about himself, to you, or to anyone else. It is all irrelevant to me. I merely had mentioned him in relation to being very familiar with Faqir Chand. At this point, I am not in any way interested in discussing either.
Robert Searle wrote: "It felt as if I was being compelled to accept him as my teacher. I rang Dr. Sharma the following day...ie. unofficial initiation... However, I pulled away ... and was initiated into the Beas Satsang."
Again, it is quite irrelevant to this one, regarding whatever events may have transpired in your past life-drama and past experiences. It is not that I do not have sympathy and empathy for you as a consciousness-Being; but rather it is that all past, and even present life-drama and events are basically of the nature of a waking-dream, a transitory fiction of mind, an ephemeral phenomenon. They have no value or ultimate meaning in terms of the realization of, and abidance in, the sole existant Reality, the Truth, the Self.
I too, a very long time ago, was an initiate of the Radha Soami branch of Sant Mat. But after profound and true awakening into Self-realization/God-realization, all such concerns and involvements ceased, just as like when, in the morning when one awakens from a dream which one experienced while sleeping, the former dream is immediately no longer happening, not important, and not ultimately meaningful. So too, when Self-knowledge dawns, one awakens from the (waking) dream of duality and false-ego, and into the truely awakened state of the consciousness that is the supreme Self.
Posted by: Who Am I ? | July 30, 2005 at 04:02 PM
I AM A YOUNG A LEARNER OF SANT MAT OR SAY A PATH THAT LEADS TO GOD[PARMATMA].I ALWAYS WANTED TO FOLLOW THE BASIC RULES OF SANT MAT LIKE TO TALK LESS,TO EAT LESS,TO SLEEP LESS,NOT TO HURT ANYBODY'S FEELING etc.
but i dont just understand that why i cant just follow them.i always tried to follow
them but i always fail.When my mother who is also intiated always say to me that u study hard and earn lots of money then i always wonder that what will i do by earning lots of money because lots of money means to divert ones mind from the guru and shabd.we are here in this world not to earn money but to earn money and help poor.These things are just formalitier that we have to perfom.the guru or the master is our only father. he is the one who runs us
Posted by: PUNYA ANOOP YADAV | May 10, 2006 at 01:29 AM
To Punya Anoop Yadav:
It seems that you feel guilty for not living up to your presumed ideas about the "basic rules of Sant Mat". Those are not "rules", but only guidelines. More importantly, you need not feel guilty, and in fact feeling guilty is worse than failing to adhere to those guidlines.
Your mother is giving you good sound advice which will bring you more choices and freedom from poverty. True spirituality does not conflict with human life and work. It is better not to follow such "rules", but think for yourself and follow your own Heart, and trust in your own experience, not in some imposed "rules". Make up your own guidelines and listen to your own Heart, not to the beliefs of others. You own path is right in front of you. This notion: "the guru or the master is our only father, he is the one who runs us" is false and not useful. You are subscribing to a dogmatic belief which manipulates you, dis-empowers you, and also prevents you from realizing direct experience of your own true nature.
My advice: Question all authority and beliefs. Don't listen to dogma. Don't give your life to so-called "masters". The Truth supports those who dare to walk their own path.
Posted by: tao | May 11, 2006 at 08:57 PM
The above discussion was quite fascinating. Do any of the above individuals and possibly others ever get together by phone to talk and exchange ideas? I would love to join in if possible.
Posted by: Roger | May 12, 2006 at 01:31 PM
Radha Soami Ji
Posted by: Fu'eFu'e | June 08, 2006 at 08:17 PM
It seems that you have not fully controlled on you. Its a permanent hardship which may go through all your life.
Whereas the control of the pissing is concerned, if you are not able to stop it for just 45 minutes, u can imagine the condition of the lakhs of people, who sit 4 o'clock in the morning to have a glimpse of their master till 9.30 a.m.
My dear friend, in this world nothing is free. In this path, u have to cut your own throat with your own hands by controlling your HEART, r u ready to do so?
If yes, keep going, otherwise the whole world is desert, nowhere u will find the cool breeze to cool your spirit.
sorry, if i have told some hard words.
Posted by: Vipin Kumar | May 11, 2007 at 04:24 AM
I am an initiate for the past 27 yrs from Maharaj Charan Singh Ji. I am glad and surprised to go through the experiences of the people as old as for 30 yrs.
Meditation is a way of life and looking forward to master alone is the underlying principle. If one cant not fathom the bliss of meditation, no one is to be blamed for it.
I have even visited mental asylem for not following the meditation procedure. Yet, I am at peace with the path.
Master will bring back his sheep. Run as much as you can. One day you will come back...........................
Posted by: Rakesh Bhasin | August 12, 2007 at 06:30 AM
Posted by: anuradha | June 05, 2008 at 11:38 AM
Here's your answer, at last. Out of respect for the Master, your head was supposed to be lower than his according Indian tradition. You were in India, after all. So, what's the big deal.
Posted by: satsangie | March 25, 2009 at 06:34 AM
satsangie, thanks for the answer. But I wasn't aware that there was a question. What question are you answering?
Posted by: Brian | March 25, 2009 at 09:28 AM
the question of why is your head higher than the masters, simple questions denote simple answers, perhaps your head has not yet learned the level of humility required in order to assimilate simple lessons in humility, it may take a lifetime or more, 30 years could even be like a drop in a very vast wide ocean, it may take forever, and then it may become profoundly apparent in the very next breath you take, its hardly nor ever has been within your hand to take control of it, even as much as you cannot comprehend the magnitude of such humility.
Posted by: ashy | March 25, 2009 at 09:46 AM
I just came across your site and this posting was the first I have read by you. I found it very fun to read because I, too, attended that Bandara in 1977.
As I was reading your experience, I was recalling my memory of having to pee and having to hold it for almost an hour. I was shocked to read further and find that you had the very same problem at the very same time!! Actually, it got so painful for me that I rose and attempted to leave. However, one of the sevadors motioned for me so fiercely to sit back down that I sat and stayed.
I rigorously practiced Sant Mat meditation for 15 years with no success. The final blow for me was the succession of Gurindar. I traveled to see him on two occasions. His talks and presence resulted in me leaving Sant Mat. Since then, I've found that he has made changes in the Sang Ghat that were completely against Master Charan Singh's decisions - creating "Centers" (Charan predicted that practice would lead to Sant Mat becoming a form of religion), formalizing Satsang by "ordaining" only certain speakers to present, etc.
I still have my desire for spiritual growth and have found myself aligning more and more to teachers of oneness and enlightenment like Eckhart Tolle. Now that I have had time to be away from Sant Mat, I have come to see a spiritual journey through spritual regions to be a journey through subtle layers of the mind ending, still, in a form of duality. It just doesn't make sense that you have to travel through and experience regions when your goal is to fully know who you are right here, right NOW.
Thanks, again, for a fun recall of my painful Bandara experience.
Posted by: Martin | August 17, 2009 at 07:45 PM
Martin, nice to hear from you. How interesting that we shared the 1977 gotta-pee experience, and now we meet again...in the blogosphere.
It sound like we're pretty much in the same philosophical place. If you read my last two posts, you'll see that I both like and dislike a book by Jed McKenna, "Spiritual Enlightenment."
One thing I liked about it is the distinction he makes between mystical experience and enlightenment -- leaving aside the question of whether enlightenment even exists. His point, which makes sense to me, is that no matter what experiences someone has, that's all they are: experiences.
Do experiences really change us, or bring us closer to life-changing truth? Not usually. Surely not in the sense enlightenment is spoken of -- as a fresh vision of reality. So like you, I'm drawn now to the notion that whatever reality is, it is something to be known here and now.
Not so much experienced, as known. And not so much from the outside in, but from the inside out. Whatever reality is, we are real also.
So why not work on discovering who we are, rather than being focused on having so-called "mystical" experiences? If who we believe we are is false, than any experiences we have as that "who" would be false -- or at least not really real -- also.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | August 17, 2009 at 08:31 PM
I have come across and am reading the most practical book on enlightment - The Untethered Soul. Perhaps, you've already read it.
Tolle has shared great insight in deconstructing and shining the light on and exposing the machinations of the ego, and I have been experiencing regular flashes of something coming through ever since studying him. After reading Tolle, I even found a serious, obvious shift my my Sant Mat meditation. Finally, almost scary progress.
However, the Untethered Soul takes the process to Enlightment out into the full sunlight. Totally exposed. Singer's approach to teaching is so simple, practical, and profound this could be the go to text that so many of us have been searching for. Elegance and power is always in simplicity. The whys and the hows are fully laid out.
I've seen on your site how some posters dissect and parse and seem to revel in the mind and logic. I think we'll find that we realize ourselves in an almost childlike, innocent way. I suspect we'll find the Truth to be the ultimate in simplicity and ease. We'll disover that it's the complications of argument that have kept so many of us blinded.
Posted by: Martin | August 21, 2009 at 08:27 PM
Martin, thanks for the book suggestion. I've ordered "The Untethered Soul." It looks interesting -- got a lot of positive Amazon reader reviews, for sure. Likely I'll blog about it once I've read it.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | August 21, 2009 at 10:42 PM
"I've seen on your site how some posters dissect and parse and seem to revel in the mind and logic."
-- Then you've apparently missed the point. Look deeper.
"I think we'll find that we realize ourselves in an almost childlike, innocent way. I suspect we'll find the Truth to be the ultimate in simplicity and ease."
-- Yes, but been there and done that one.
"We'll disover that it's the complications of argument that have kept so many of us blinded."
-- Perhaps, but it's best to speak only for yourself. I myself am not "blinded" by any such "complications of argument". A little supposed knowledge can be far more misleading than a mountain of skepticism and argument. So avoid making such general assumptions about others.
Posted by: tAo | August 21, 2009 at 11:06 PM
Thanks for considering this book. I much look forward to your thougts.
Tao, my man!! I was hoping that my last paragraph might elicit a response. I feel like the zen deciple who bows deeply and appreciatively when the master slaps with a cane.
When I read your response, I felt the old, familiar stirings of my ego. You know - defensivness, the strong need to right, etc. I really hate that thing and I'm sick, sick, SICK of it. I need a lot of assault on that sick thing and you might just be my good friend.
My comments on the mind and argument are from a long personal history with such a mess. I celebrated the mind and intellect so much that I pursued and recieved a Ph.D. in experimenntal psychology and have been occupied as a collge professor for the past 15 years. Even though I was a satsangi, I truly loved the mind and could not get enough of debate and argument. It has taken a lot of life to bring me around to despising it.
Tao, if you are truly enightened, then my comment was certainly not directed at you. I was mainly concerned with people like myself who stay in the darkness because of our constant thinking and building of argument. I can't wait to take the whole thing off like a hot, heavy, scratchy coat and be free of it. The feelings I experienced when reading your post shows how I have much to go before that wonderful event. I thank you, again, for this insight. I guess I still have some (probably a lot) of love for my old, familiar coat.
Actually, I think we can be general here. Although unrealized, I suspect that we are all the same consciousness trying to get free of the same thing that is holding all of us in its grip with the same methods. This generality is why a blog such as this might be of use. If anything is found useful by one, it very probably could be useful to us all.
It may be that my musings should be kept to myself. I freely admit that I am unenlightened and so I'm not so sure there is much (if any) value in my utterings. I very probably have just wasted the time that you've spent reading all this. Hmmm I probably should just shut up until I anthenically have something to share from a place of light.
Posted by: Martin | August 22, 2009 at 09:04 AM
I believe Mr Hines "left" the RSSB,and I am wondering whether he for instance tried Rajinder Singhs SOS group which claims that inner experiences would be more easily accessible so to speak? I think a true hallmark of a master of any yogic system is being able to give something to work on before, or even after an initiation.
Anyway,I would like to hear (or rather read!)Mr Hines comments on this.
Posted by: Robert Searle | November 25, 2009 at 02:39 AM
Robert, trying one Sant Mat group in a lifetime is enough for me. I doubt that Rajinder Singh is much different than Charan Singh. I'm not impressed by claims of inner experiences. There are plenty of claims in every branch of Sant Mat, each of which considers itself to be the best and most authentic route to the divine.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | November 25, 2009 at 10:02 PM
I think Love is essential to have Love. I'm from India and come up to this site while searching for something else.
I do not know about other santmat groups, you guys are scribbling in, but there is always something for me to "Dera Beas". I realise that how evil, low and unkempt thoughts i do possess and proudly every time, at the end it is our 'SATGURU' The Master who show up to help us while no one other understand our inner longings. He just knows that what we want, he knows that how can we achieve our motive. Whatsoever, once you have been showered with the worthy gift of 'Namdan' you can't get rid of the master, haha. Even if you don't pay heed, he would be the first at the time of your death to show you up. I would not say don't give up, instead give up if you want because he would never give up on you.
It matters when you want to see God, if you give up, you do just delay, delay to reach to your real home, instead have some patience and faith and complete the course of simran. Even if you fail, you will have the reason and you can ask.
Posted by: Lovepreet | March 01, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Tara that is bull****, a family friends mum passed away 2 weeks ago, she knew she was going to die a week before. She never once had a pic taken of herself, but 4 days before her death she insisted. At the time of her death, she had a big smile on her face and said Baba Ji has come and then went.
So all this codswallop saying the teachings have been updated etc, its bs. You could argue the present Guru takes a different approach because society has evolved i.e. the guru plays football and does karaoke. But certainly the teachings don't change.
Just like Jesus's followers, they changed the teachings right under his nose, people like Osho are a prime example, when you attend a discourse, you only really hear half, and all the people that left the path buy into it i.e. Brian buy into it because it makes themselves feel good.
Posted by: Gaz | July 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Well, I am grateful now, for my trials, because they are what cure my desire for things. I do not know if I am completely cured of these desires, however, I feel like I never want to visit a guru’s ashram again and I feel as if I have no or at least very little desire to be around the physical form of a master again. I did much better without visiting an ashram and being around a guru, just following teachings in my familiar environment. I had a very romantic and naïve idea of sevadars and ashrams. Dis- illusion is a necessary process. Well, they did sacrifice and contributed. However, in my opinion, what they brought back was in no wise better than what can be found in The Spiritual Combat and a Treatise on Peace of Soul by Scupolu, first published in Venice, Italy in 1589. For a Western person, it is a whole lot easier to understand and more difficult to follow because since more is understood, more is required.
Applying what I am learning from Spiritual Combat, I am grateful for the trials I endured and the criticism. It helps me to try harder to eradicate my faults. I have no way of contacting the people who did help me. Perhaps these thanks in cyberspace will eventually reach those for whom they are intended. Thanks to everyone who endured illness and still carried on with their seva. Thanks to my roommate for sending me to a couple of healers. Sorry I was in no condition to be a good companion and listen to you or speak to you. Sorry you had to put up with a sick roommate. You later apologized to me for your criticism of my clothes after a lady during evening meeting challenged you and your friends on that. I only wish I had had the strength to stand by my odd clothes, which meant a lot to me, instead of being so weak and destroying them. I am stronger for it, now. Thanks to everyone who gave me directions to where to go and the one who helped me find my way back to the Guest House.
Unless I love people first I cannot love God. Acceptance and patience leads to love. I should welcome the crucifixion of my trials and those who give me trials and criticism for that is how I learn acceptance, patience, and my faults. Life itself has enough trials and I do not mind being a tortoise and taking the steps I can towards God.
St. Theresa of Avila was instructed to do many, many hours of remembrance practice daily and she did it. So, after learning the pitfalls, it is a good practice to do. Truth does not accept what is false. Take the good and leave the bad. God Bless!
Posted by: Free | December 05, 2014 at 11:51 AM
I've been a satsangi a long time and only now am I beginning to get to a place of letting go, not caring, and stopping this constant self examining and trying to be better. We put pressure on ourselves and we also have a lot of misconceptions about how to be when we come onto this path. It is a journey and you will travel in your own way and I genuinely hope you can find that inner stillness, calmness or whatever, which is probably what it feels like to be really free! I don't really know yet.
Reading Brian's blog and being able to post comments has really helped me a lot over the years. Just observing my thought processes and unravelling the programming and conditioning.
Posted by: observer | December 05, 2014 at 12:29 PM
I've been a satsangi a long time and only now am I beginning to get to a place of letting go, not caring, and stopping this constant self examining and trying to be better.
This is what following a spiritual leader will do to you if you persist in your devotion. You'll get to the point where you believe you're so pure, benign, and harmless that you never have to question, doubt, or examine your thoughts, motives, or behavior.
Though only a few maniacs ever get to that point, hordes of aspirants find their indomitable certainty attractive. Spiritual upward mobility, which can only be mastered by the worst kind of people, is irresistible to the most suggestible kind of people.
Posted by: cc | December 05, 2014 at 03:43 PM
You know cc you never cease to amaze me..Free no longer seems to be following a guru rather appears to be capivated by St. Teresa, as am I, I might add..If you have any knowledge of her, you would know she was beautiful, intelligent, witty very wealthy and came from a Jewish background...All her life she fort against her vanity and her imagined ignorance..For a medieval woman she was outstanding...So to imply "worst kind of people" just shows how little you know about folk that are trying to transcend their baseness and become more.
Posted by: june schlebusch | December 06, 2014 at 01:33 AM
St. Teresa...was beautiful, intelligent, witty...All her life she fort against her vanity and her imagined ignorance
You probably think your ignorance is imagined.
Whoever you believe Teresa was, or who Jesus was, whether God exists, or whether people can "transcend their baseness and become more", it's all your belief. That is, it's all about you, and to hell with facts, evidence, and what doesn't agree with you.
Posted by: cc | December 06, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Cc it is also only your believe that it is others believe ..in this case Junes.. Cc I see that you also rarely look at your own thinking critically.. Thus you are all that what you wrote in previous posts. You dogmatically follow your own conviction that you are right.
.You can be thankful to these people here who honestly express and tell their own stories ..and you only wait behind the bush to quickly suck on the next victim whom you would direct your apologetic behaviour which comes from your blind following of your own guru which is your own thinking. Guys guys move away you are all wrong Cc is coming..
Posted by: johny stratchitello | December 06, 2014 at 03:27 PM
your blind following of your own guru which is your own thinking.
One's own thinking isn't worth a damn if it gives greater value to its own precious delusion than to verifiable fact and incontrovertible evidence, so what's your point?
Posted by: cc | December 06, 2014 at 09:14 PM
My point is that everything that you babble here to others concerns you and you alone. You rarely check yourself when you are playing a smartass. Immediately you hear some one is having a guru you think he or she is deluded. I don't have one but meat many people who has. And they were really fine beings. So I think you must check your thinking from time to time cause you might get a really good friend with guru, who will love you alot maybe I will get a guru who knows... and maybe we will meet one day ..and maybe I will be that friend who will love you alot so will you call me deluded than ? A little hint...not all people with gurus are deluded and not all people without them are sane.
Posted by: johny stratchitello | December 07, 2014 at 01:49 AM
not all people with gurus are deluded and not all people without them are sane.
To have a guru, or an astrologer, or a life-coach, or a role model, or just anyone who's views, values, opinions, and advice you give greater weight to than your own is to be, not just dependent, but admittedly helpless, incompetent, and inadequate to the task of finding your own way.
Some gurus tell their followers to be "a light to yourself", but they don't mean it because they'd be as lost without followers as their followers would be without a guru. It's a pathological relationship that some followers (like Brian) grow out of, and many do not.
Posted by: cc | December 07, 2014 at 07:00 PM
Your weakness is that of generalizing and stereotyping this theme you simply cannot grasp that..that it is not like that with everybody and everyone. You are just ranting on every guru or personal believe theme ..yet I didn't see your withdrawal on this subject you just go and go in the same direction even if you are wrong.i see you are limited in this perspective I mean your thinking pattern is limited but I have to accept that..so no I will not judge you
Posted by: Johny Stratchitello | December 07, 2014 at 10:07 PM
People who say, "I'm not judging you", almost always are. Consider believing what you believe, and letting other people believe what they believe.
You're free to try to change other peoples' beliefs. But don't consider yourself superior to them.
You do realize that I wrote this post ten years ago, and mostly have written on other subjects since then? Or are you just generalizing and stereotyping me based on your incomplete knowledge -- something you accuse me of.
Posted by: Brian Hines | December 07, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Brian this post was for cc. I don't have complains to your writing
Posted by: Johny Stratchitello | December 08, 2014 at 09:14 AM
Brian at your age one should realize mistake and thus a little remark could be made from your side. But even that wrote to cc I will say a few things..
Quote Bugger Brian
People who say, "I'm not judging you"
Johny..first off I said I will further not judge cc and did mean it..and so your mistake..
Quote Bugger Brian
Consider believing what you believe, and letting other people believe what they believe
I think you do that but I know you will find reason that you some kind of not..
The whole your post of yours is you and only you you should repeat it to yourself every day a few hundreds...
I liked your writings before but now you loosing a grip . You are offended even if one doesn't write to you. Obviously you are still dogmatic believer and you just change rssb for science you know you are just the same as you were but you will probably not hear me cause you ha to many apologies of your self and thus are not capable of small critique.Your blog was fine but it became a dogma and religion and hate club for believers and apologetic. Here you go my judgement of you and blog but cc I will judge no more .get it?
Now let you bring your apologetic defense..
Posted by: johny stratchitello | December 10, 2014 at 11:03 PM
Johny, you're absolutely right! I believe in science! Actually, I've believed in science my entire life. Even completed the course requirements for a Ph.D. in Systems Science back in the 1970s.
So I haven't traded my belief in RSSB for anything else. I've just stopped believing that the guru is God, or that God exists. I loved science when I was an active member of RSSB, and I still love science.
Why? Because science is our best means of knowing reality. Without reality, we have nothing.
Posted by: Brian Hines | December 10, 2014 at 11:42 PM
teachers of the Beas line is that none of them claim to be God themselves
They only say that the method works pointing to their masters
, nothing wrong with that
Any swim teacher says that
Posted by: 777 | October 02, 2018 at 05:02 PM
Although ( like Juan has heard )
"The Dera (Organization) is mine"
. . . and it is !
Ass somewhat opposed to Jesus Christ
who acknowledged 3 times that the planet was owned by Tony Soprano & Co
Times have changed
Posted by: 777 | October 07, 2018 at 04:48 AM
@PUNYA ANOOP YADAV
So good what you said
He who thinks doing very well > not good. :-)
and what you said about LOVE
anything like helping some old to cross the street
or rescue bacteria ( like Jain)
until hyper (non_thoughts) orgasmic LOVE in
That is it
That is where creation is for
I hope and I am sure YOU ARE FINE
Posted by: 777 | October 07, 2018 at 08:49 AM
@Brian wrote :
So I haven't traded my belief in RSSB for anything else. I've just stopped believing that the guru is God, or that God exists.
So we are now in Version 2.00 because now you
believe in "existence" , you declared a year ago
I believe that your and Laura's atheism consist in thinking
"Nobody is caring about us" - like "we are on our own"
Must be harsh, . . . such thoughts
Posted by: 777 | October 18, 2018 at 05:35 AM