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June 27, 2006

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Hi Brian,

I came across your blog during lunch one day at work. I am a follower of the RSSB path. I am not here to argue with any of your postings as these are your opinions and are to be respected as long with those of your other contributors.

My personal view of the line "Yet my book is read at meetings of Radha Soami Satsang Beas devotees as if it was.", referring to the book being viewed as a holy one and every word in it being considered divine is very different.

I have had the pleasure of reading your book and I must comment that it is well-written and the use of animation intermittently was a nice touch.

However, I personally, and most people I talk to who have read the book use it primarily as a source of rational thought to argue a case for vegetarianism. It is quoted as are many other books, even those without the RSSB stamp of approval, when it aids in explaining a finer point.

At the end of the day, to communicate one's opinions and beliefs, one often needs to borrow ideas that have been expressed by other authors and some of the thoughts and words used to express your ideas have clicked with numerous readers.

I have never viewed it as a holy book and I personally do not believe in the idea of any book being holy in the first place.

Once again, please do not view my comments as a personal attack or me standing up on behalf of RSSB. These are my personal views and felt that those visiting your blog may enjoy this freedom of expression.

Best wishes with your blog and other pursuits in life.

Susheel, I agree with you. I don't know anyone who considers my book genuinely holy, as in the sense of infallible.

What I was trying to get at in this post is the attitude of RSSB satsang speakers toward the approved Sant Mat books. That attitude does indeed border on holiness. As a long time satsang speaker and listener, I'm confident about this.

When was the last time you heard someone pick up "The Master Answers" or "Divine Light," read a passage, and say, "I don't agree with this, and here's why."

If somebody did that, I'd believe that RSSB truly is a science of the soul, and that RSSB books aren't treated with undue veneration.

Myself, while I was still an approved speaker I'd often say to the audience, "How do we know this? Isn't this just a hypothesis? Why should we believe it?" Well, this helps explain why I'm not a speaker anymore.

Anyway, my main point is one that you seem to agree with: that no book should be considered holy, because all books are written by human beings, not God. Relgious books are filled with contradictions and nonsensical statements, which certainly includes RSSB publications.

Brian, first of all, I must say your response is very prompt.

I will agree with you that some individuals treat some of the writings as holy. This, I feel, boils down to individual views and traits.

My understanding of the teachings is that one's journey is purely internal and books, as you have rightly pointed out, are imperfect though they aid in one's understanding and decision-making.

Like they say on the teevee, drink responsibly!

How about if I share someone's karma, instead of deeming myself responsible for it? Then in writing, I am aware of my spiritual life, and in so doing, am aware of your's too.

Of course, an easy thing would be to read that way, too. Give someone the benefit of the doubt, while activating the bullshit detector. I could be cognizant of what is spiritually alive, and not have to blame a writer for assuming "ultimate" authority.

Because we have all heard the coincidental, and the contrived, truisms out of the mouths of babes. As there is only one power in the universe,(the universal one,) well, the actual world is expressing. If I am listening in order to catch someone in a religious faux pas, I am probably bored with myself. Or scared.

A holy text is one that raises my awareness of the holy. Dr. Suess has passed that test. But the exam had to be honest and kind, not possessive of correctness. That is the absurdity of Rushdie's dilemma: by calling you mad, you become mad.

When complimented, my friend used to demure by saying, "I don't write these poems, I just make them up." I like the idea that we have nothing to do with what we write.

Hi Brian,

Two points on your blog entry and your subsequent comments:

Look at the endorsement by RSSB (or any other sect/group) the same way as you would see a company that is ISO certified or a product or medicine that meets the FDA norms. You still can’t be sure if its 100% safe or good for you but the certification gives you some comfort.
You at least know that the contents of the book are in accordance with your faith and beliefs.

This brings me to the second point on critical appraisal of the texts. There are two categories of readers of books - the seekers and the initiates. For the seeker it makes sense to ask all possible questions and satisfy all doubts. This time, however, is gone for the initiates (like you). They have had their moments of questions and doubts and only after putting them to rest did they accept the path (one hopes). The most sensible way now is to practice what has been taught and verify the written word. Lets not keep questioning for the sake of it.

The RSSB (and most other such) books are for support and not for worship. These books are to be treated just as a lawyer or a doctor would treat books on their subject matter - referrals and guides.

Best wishes.

Anyway, my main point is one that you seem to agree with: that no book should be considered holy, because all books are written by human beings, not God. Relgious books are filled with contradictions and nonsensical statements, which certainly includes RSSB publications.

What do you think of the GGS? That was written by 10 Sikh Gurus.

I agree with you RSSB has books which have contradictory statements, e.g. they have stuff such as if you see the back of Guru while he is having a shower, a certain amount of karma gets eradicated. And if he stands on an ant, that ant gets a human birth in his next life. Absolute crass, Gurinder was asked about this, and he said such statements are not true.

Best

Gaz

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