Here’s one of the handful of passages from countless spiritual books that I’ve read which truly resonate with me. As I said in “Start erasing your spiritual blackboard,” I’m a believer in writings that say “Don’t believe in me.” This is one of those.
It comes from a well-thumbed book of mine, “The Master Answers.” Published by Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), the book consists of verbal questions directed to Charan Singh, an Indian guru, and his off-the-cuff answers.
Near the end of my RSSB speaking career, I kept coming back to the following question and answer about the nature of God. Charan Singh is wonderfully Zen-like in his response. He strikes at the heart of theological dogmatism that places unreasonable confidence in concepts.
Unfortunately, most RSSB disciples haven’t contemplated this interchange to the degree that they should. They believe in belief. They consider that what they read in the RSSB literature and dutifully repeat when asked, “What do you believe?” is a valid reflection of reality. Of course, it isn’t.
Charan Singh reminds us that unless we know our own self, we’re spiritually ignorant, no matter how many ideas about God spin around in our heads. As the Greeks said, “Know yourself.” That comes first. And also, probably, last.
Charan Singh was asked: “Could you give a concept of the Lord?” This is his answer. I love it.
“He is a Power. Give it any name. We cannot even say it is power. We cannot say He is a person. It is difficult to describe Him. I think it is best for us to know Him rather than to describe Him.
We all try to think with our own limited intellect what He would be like. What are we? Have we ever thought about ourselves?
…When the soul is in the body we are alive, moving about, doing everything that you see. What is the concept of the soul? We have seen many people dying. Have we seen or have we any witness who has ever seen anything going out of a body at the time of death?
We have no concept of the soul, and that means we have no concept of ourselves. Then how can we have a concept of the Lord?
The concept that we have of ourselves should be the same as our concept of the Lord.”