I've had an interesting email exchange with someone who noted my statement in a previous post:
"Often I hear believers say, on this blog or elsewhere, that sharing their personal experience runs the risk of enlarging their ego. In my opinion, the risk lies in the other direction."
She disagreed, saying that for her (a Sant Mat initiate), love is the whole of spirituality. And love should be private.
The inner personal experience of meditation is regarded by many satsangis as a very personal, private, and precious gift which has relevance only to oneself. The experience is a special gift from the inner master or sound, (or whoever/whatever one calls the giver of the gift), and is far more private than special gestures of love between two people in a loving relationship. In a latter relationship, I would feel that I am betraying something of that bond of love if I were to share their special "gifts" without the express permission of my beloved. So, too, with those inner experiences.
I told her that I respected those sentiments, as I used to feel much the same way. However, given my current outlook, it seems to me that the analogy with a "loving relationship" isn't really appropriate when it comes to a guru-disciple or god-believer connection.
Loving is one thing, investing another. If love is truly all that Sant Mat, or any other spiritual path, is about – great. Love one another is pretty darn pure and simple.
But my correspondent also refers to inner experiences that are gifts of the guru, god, or holy spirit (in Sant Mat, the three are virtually synonymous, sort of like the Christian Trinity).
She implies that these experiences are the spiritual equivalent of a sexual union. You don't talk about what goes on in the bedroom with your physical lover, and you don't talk about what goes on in the meditation chamber with your divine lover.
Here's how I see it, though.
If you're in an intimate relationship, or married, it's presumed you're having sex. You may not want to offer up juicy details, but if someone asked me, "Do you have sex with your wife?" I'd have no problem saying "Sure."
However, Sant Mat disciples – like most initiates of a guru – are extremely reluctant to admit that they're even involved in a metaphysical relationship with their master. They'll say, "I can't talk about it; it's too personal."
Well, I'd like to know details, but I'd be happy with much less. Do you get "gifts" of mystical experiences that you know are coming from the guru? Yes or no. Leave aside a mention of what they are. What's wrong with sharing the general nature of your spiritual relationship?
My suspicion is that what's wrong is that the gifts aren't as clear cut or demonstrable as the Sant Mat teachings promise. This makes Sant Mat more of an exercise in investing, and less an exercise in loving.
Meaning, Sant Mat promises certain experiences. A meeting with the guru's radiant astral form. Journeying with the radiant form through higher regions of reality. Merging with the ultimate cosmic energy in the form of light and sound. Entering a formless realm beyond time and space.
This isn't love. This is investing. It's an exchange relationship, really.
At the time of initiation the disciple promises to keep to certain vows, and the guru agrees to take the initiate under his spiritual wing – guiding the disciple back to his or her divine Home.
Problem is, it's said that this promise isn't always fulfilled in one's lifetime. Thus the investment of meditation, vegetarianism, and such isn't guaranteed to show a payoff until a maximum of three additional reincarnations have been lived.
In lots of cases, though, the guru's gifts are supposed to be bestowed in the present lifetime. This is why the meditation practice is billed as a "science." You do certain things, and certain results happen.
It's akin to handing over $10,000 to a investment advisor who says "I can make your money grow." Then you wait. And you wait some more.
No checks in the mail. Not even any financial statements. You've got no indication that the guy is making any money for you. Reading the investment agreement more closely, you note it says:
--You may not make any money until after you die.
--If you make money in this lifetime, you may not know it.
--You can't ask other investors if they're making money.
--You can't tell other investors if you're making money.
Huh? When you entered into this deal, you were sure it was a good one. So you didn't worry about that fine print. But now that the expected payoff hasn't shown up, you're curious about what's going on.
You can't understand why all the secrecy. If so many people are making money through this investment advisor, why isn't wealth evident? You know some fellow investors, and though they won't tell you how they're doing, their lifestyle appears just the same as before.
When you inquire about this, another clause in the agreement is pointed out:
--If you make money, you can't flaunt it.
I could go on in this vein, but hopefully you get the idea. Sant Mat may be the real deal. However, the way the deal is structured, it bears a lot of resemblance to a financial scheme that would make you think, There's something shady going on here.
So this is another way of explaining why I favor full disclosure of initiates' spiritual net worth. If mystical wealth is being accumulated, let's hear about it.
That's the only way for investors/initiates to know whether the payoffs that aren't being made to them, are to other people – which would go a long way toward establishing the credibility of the setup.
Love doesn't have anything to do with credibility. It stands by itself. Promised spiritual experiences, though, either are forthcoming or they're not.
Show me the money. Then I'll know if the deal is credible.