Back in January I wrote about the seeming transformation of the mystical philosophy of Sant Mat into an updated version 2.0. I’m speaking not about Sant Mat in general but about the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB, or RS) sect, for there are many contemporary Sant Mat movements and I don’t know much about the others.
Recently I got an email from an RSSB initiate who described his own take on genuine Sant Mat, which is a lot closer to my version 2.0 than the traditional party line dogma. Like me, he’s got thirty plus years of meditation under his belt. This direct experience has led him to see Sant Mat in a different light.
In my opinion, it’s pretty much the correct light. I could quibble with a few of his conclusions below but those quibblings would be minor. What he, like me, wants to do is not throw the spiritual baby out with the religious bath water.
I agree with him that RSSB has turned into a religion. But if you separate the rigid religious theology from the free-flowing direct spiritual experience, Sant Mat becomes fresh again. Mystical rather than religious. Individual rather than collective. Inward rather than outward.
I couldn’t help my correspondent with his question, “Is there any group that believes the following?” Maybe someone else can. Email me any ideas and I’ll pass them on.
For those who aren’t RSSB savvy, some definitions: Charan Singh was a RSSB guru who died in 1990; Gurinder Singh is his successor; Shabd is considered to be an all-pervading divine power akin to “spirit” that can be seen as light and heard as sound by inner faculties of the soul; Kirpal Singh was the guru of another Sant Mat sect.
Here’s the message:
I found your website yesterday and read much of it. I had previously discovered David Lane's website and the ex-satsangi Yahoo group. (There is a bit too much anger and, frankly, low IQ in these sites for me.) I'm currently looking for like-minded people, so I'm wondering if you know of any group that believes the following:
1) Charan Singh was a near perfect example of how to live a human life.
2) But if you passed him on the street, he wouldn't know you or even know that you had been initiated into RS (I do not know if this is a true statement, as I've had some experiences that certainly seem like miracles!).
3) And that he is God-incarnate ONLY if everything is "God incarnate."
4) And that the Guru doesn't "work out our karma" for us... or even connect us to the Shabd (unless "telling" us about it is what's meant by the word "connect").
5) And that the "radiant form" which IS seen inside in meditation is a projection of our own higher mind... and that the Shabd "form" is simply the Shabd, beyond the stage of the mind.
6) And that the Shabd is a FACT (I've been meditating for 30+ years).
7) And that talking about what we experience inside will not make us "lose" anything, but may make us more ego centered (look at Kirpal Singh, for example).
8) And that it is a fact that the meditation journey appears to be inside and that inner regions exist.
9) And that meditation on the Shabd IS the correct path.
10) And that we don't want to "throw the baby out with the bath water" simply by figuring out that the guru is not whom RS makes him out to be.
11) And that the vows are, indeed, important to keep in order to attain spiritual progress (how can anyone kill an animal and eat it and expect to hear the pure Shabd?).
12) And that Gurinder is mentally brilliant and very charismatic.
13) And that Sant Mat has already turned into a "religion" in the true sense of the word.
Anyway, can you point me in any directions... again, looking for people interested in Sant Mat, but without worshipping the "Master."
I,too, was a member of RSSB for over 20 years. I left for various reasons. However, the spiritual quest or fire within has not been extinquished in the least!
Well, to make a long story short, I have become quite wary of equating spiritual progress with inner meditative experiences.
IMO, it is possible for individuals to go "inside" and have remarkable and fascinating inners experiences. People do have them; this we know.
But, oftentimes, these "experiences" occur in the absence of what I think we really long for....a "spiritual transformation", or one might say a "resurrection" of sorts, where our view of the world, those around us, and ourselves is changed for the better. Or we can say, we become conscious beings. Our hearts open and we feel a connection to life; we feel a drive to serve and help others; and we begin to feel compassion.
Seems to me that if the "inner" is not reflected in the "outer", then what have we really accomplished?
Posted by: Bob | April 21, 2006 at 06:49 PM
Sant mat is not a religion at all but it is a mysticism. Did jesus talk of his religion??
no, he just talked about how to go back to our real home of Lord. That is all. BUt our mind never let us understand the teaching of perfect masters. The mysticism path is not easy and it is not for sissy people but yes it is only for real warriors. Jesus and other past mastsers did talk about their struggling before they finally successed in travelling thru many inner regions to the real home of Lord. Our mind loves to confuse us.
Posted by: david frank | June 08, 2006 at 06:47 PM
Frankly, it seems that you don't have a clue regarding the broad orientation of this blog. Sant Mat is most definitely a religion. It has a very particular concept of Deity (Radha Soami), it has a particular spiritual dogma and teaching, it has a spiritual master who is clearly regarded as a type of savior, and it has a rather large body of followers who firmly believe in both the God, the dogma, and the divinity of the master/savior. So don't go around telling people who have many years of personal experience and deep familiarity with Sant Mat, and who know much better, that "Sant Mat is not religion". People like you are nonsense because they are living in fantasyland and denial, and they try to pretend that somehow their particular religion is different from the rest, and is not really a religion, which is simply a load of rubbish.
Posted by: tao | June 10, 2006 at 11:40 AM