My correspondent, "unknown," has followed up on his or her previously posted critique of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB).
Unknown's new material primarily concerns some RSSB business dealings, and how a few senior members of this India-based spiritual organization came to have doubts about it.
I've copied in the correspondence, which came to me by email, below. Here's a PDF version:
Download RSSB Business Practices-Chapter 1 pdf
I feel the need to explain why I think it's worthwhile to put this material up for public viewing.
Basically, I believe that it's desirable to freely share ideas and information so long as the privacy of individuals isn't infringed upon, and what's being shared isn't libelous.
Neither seems to be the case here.
This material apparently was on the Internet for a while, then removed. Once public, always public... that's the rule in this age of Google caches and file copying.
Naturally I can't vouch for the truthfulness of what "Waking Now" relates. However, it has enough of a ring of truth to be believable. If anyone wants to challenge the accuracy of Waking Now's allegations, they're free to comment away.
Lastly (before getting to Chapter 1), I feel that it's healthy to remind ourselves that perfection isn't a quality found in either organizations or individuals -- assuming it's even possible to operationally define what this word means.
Some RSSB devotees are going to feel that it's wrong to post any sort of criticism of this group. They consider that because the organization is led by a "perfect guru," then everything RSSB does must be above reproach.
This is a fundamentalist religious attitude, no different from that of Muslims who say "no cartoons can be published of Prophet Muhammad!" or of the medieval Catholic church, which punished heretics who dared question the holy faith.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas claims to be a spiritual science. Science progresses by testing hypotheses, examining all of the data related to a problem, disseminating research results and discussing them openly.
So here's some information about RSSB. Consider it; ignore it. Your choice.
Here is first Chapter of material addressing how RSSB business is conducted as personally directed by Charan Singh and Gurinder. Several more chapters will follow on this subject matter and then on to chapters of other subjects.
This chapter is prefaced by Waking Now self introduction when he briefly posted on the exsatsangi site a good many years ago and then quickly deleted. As some readers of this site may be able to deduce who ‘Waking Now’ is, I believe he would not wish to be identified by his real name. As is obvious, the elderly gentleman who is described in this account is Mr. Krishin Babani, Waking Now’s late father in law.
A Look into the Beas Dera Culture
By Waking Now
I have been reading posts here for some time and have appreciated that many of you have seen through the façade of RSS Beas.
I came in contact with RSS Beas as a teenager 50 years ago, slid into the cult in the early fifties, became a functionary, and officially left in the early nineties.
Since leaving I am learning to live by my own light. I have delved into the roots of the spiritual traditions of my Indian culture by readings and pilgrimages and have understood the working of the RSS Beas feudal religious cult within which I was caught for a very long time. This reminds me of the Sawan Singh quote: ‘Santmat is not taught, it is caught’, I would say, ‘Santmat is not taught, the Satsangi is caught’.
I have decided to post here in the hope that I might shine more helpful light.
Real RSSB-A Look
I met him at his Sawan Sadan flat in Bandra, Bommbay.
“Meet me before you return”, He had phoned.
“I will meet you but there are some conditions”, I said.
First condition is that I will meet you at the nearby park.
The second condition is that you will shave and take a bath and wear clean clothes.
“I am sorry I cannot meet your first condition”, he said. “I have remained in my room for so long that I no longer have strength in my legs to walk up to the park, but I will meet your second condition. I will shave and get ready”.
“All right”, I said.
He had met me some days earlier at the place where I was staying and I was shocked to see an unkempt haggard person, enter the room instead of the handsome personable man I had known.
“What’s the matter”, I asked.
“It is my fate”, he said, “My fate was made before I was born so what can I do”.
But I don’t believe in Karma and fate any more.
What, you don’t believe in Karma, you, a great Satsangi? (Mr. Babani’s quote)
No, I don’t believe in anything anymore. I just pay attention to my life. (Waking Now)
We had some tea and refreshments and did some small talk during which he would interject, “It’s my fate”.
Later, I spoke to his relatives and they said that he is getting close to 70, maybe, he is getting Alzheimer’s.
On further inquiry, I found that sometime back he had been intensely pressured to go to the Dera at Beas (“We will carry you if you don’t go”, the Official had said) to meet Baba Ji [my insert-Gurinder] to settle an old lingering dispute over his flat. He had gone to the Dera with his nephew, whose parents had lived with his Uncle, a single person, [my insert-Mr. Babani is the uncle] for the last over 35 years.
At the appointed hour, they entered the gates of the Residence where Audiences are given.
Inside, off the main path, is a Gazebo set in the garden, where people with appointments wait until they are called.
When the Uncle and nephew reached the Gazebo, they found two Dera lawyers also waiting there.
One of them told the Uncle, “You have to sign some papers before you can have Audience with Baba Ji”.
“You have to cancel the papers saying that after your death your flat goes to your brother and after his death, to his son, your nephew, and instead you have to Will your flat to the Dera”.
The Uncle was in shock. He had flown two thousand miles for this meeting where he was expecting Grace and a just resolution of the dispute with the Dera.
He hesitated, and then said, “All right, I will sign whatever you want”.
So they brought the papers before him. He cancelled earlier entries and willed the flat to the Dera.
He was then asked to proceed for the Audience.
Both he and his nephew stepped into the room. Baba Ji was waiting together with the Bombay Secretary.
Baba Ji asked the nephew to wait outside.
Inside, Baba Ji patted the Uncle on the back and said, “Satsangis should not file a case against the Gurughar (the house of the Guru)”.
The nephew was called in. He had witnessed what had gone on outside at the Gazebo, so when he met Baba Ji he said “What will happen to my parents after my Uncle is gone”
Baba Ji replied, “We won’t take the flat while your parents are alive”.
Than you, Baba Ji..
I asked the nephew, an established businessman and a Bombay sewadar, after he recounted this [corruption in transcript-remainder of sentence lost].
“What could I do”, he said, “it is my Uncle’s Will, so his own business”.
I then asked whether Baba Ji had given in writing that he would let his parents stay in the flat after his Uncle’s death.
No, he said.
I then said that if it was Baba Ji’s intention to let your parents stay after your Uncle died, why would He force your Uncle to change the Will.
To that he had no answer.
He told me that sometime after returning from the visit to the Dera (‘Heaven on Earth’ it is called) the Uncle had refused to leave his room and started behaving abnormally.
I said it seemed to me that changing his Will under pressure at the Dera had caused deep depression.
The origin of the dispute with the Dera goes back some forty years to Charan Singh’s reign. When land was purchased in Bandra Bombay for a Satsang hall, Maharaj Ji (Charan Singh) had inquired from the Bombay Secretary of the time, a very successful Builder, whether Dera could get the adjoining empty plot.
“Yes Maharaji Ji, it belongs to me and you can have it”.
Shortly afterwards, there was discussion about developing the property with Maharaj Ji.
A mixed-use development was proposed. Maharaj Ji wanted the ground floor to be planned for offices and halls, and flats to be in the two upper floors, “But will the satsangis buy flats in the building”, he had asked…
Yes, Maharaj Ji, I have two brothers who are thinking of moving from their location and they will buy flats.
“All right then”, said Maharaj Ji
So the project was begun. The availability of the flats for purchase was announced at Satsang. Eight flats were available, four on the first floor and four on the second. Buyers came and as is the Bombay custom, installment payments began. The four flats on the second floor were made into two sets.
One set was purchased by the brother of the Secretary with a large family, and the other by another Satsangi family. On the first floor, two flats were kept for the use of Dera dignitaries (Gurinder has stayed in one of them while having a job in Bombay), one was bought by the Secretary’s brother, who was single by staying with his mother and brother’s family, and the last by another satsangi family.
After the flats were completed and the papers signed and the monies paid, the families started living there.
Some years later, the older brother with the large family had a stroke and was paralyzed.
Since the Sawan Sadan building had no lift (elevator), it became very difficult for his family members to carry him down two flights of steps. So the family decided to sell their flat and move to another in a building with a lift. They found a buyer and as is normal for people living in flats in Bombay, sought permission of their Housing Cooperative Society (because flats in buildings are bought cooperatively and the building maintained by its registered Society) which in the case was the Dera (RSSB).
To their surprise, Dera said, No, you can’t sell the flat to a non satsangi.
So they thought, as a family member told me last year, Dera is a religious society so they do not want meat eaters and alcohol drinkers.
So then they arranged to sell or trade the flat with a Satsangi who was living in a building with a lift and again asked the Dera, their housing society, for approval.
No, the Dera said, you can’t do that; we must first approve the Satsangi buyer.
They were dismayed and sought an explanation.
“You can’t sell your flat”.
‘The flat belongs to us, you are not Owners of the flat, you are only Occupants. The price you paid for the flat was not the purchase price but was to be treated as a deposit.”
The Satsangi owners were in disbelief. The found themselves in a strange predicament unheard of among flat owners in Bombay. They spoke to the Bombay Secretary, the Builder. Two of his blood brothers (not just satsangi brothers), had bought flats.
From family sources, I learnt that the Secretary discussed the situation with Maharaj Ji (Charan Singh). He told Maharaj Ji, “When the Satsangi had bought the flats, it was not so that they were to be Occupants and the purchase price was to be a Deposit.”
Maharaj Ji was unmoved.
(It did not matter that the Satsangi owners felt misled or misinformed and their equity (life savings) in a flat in Bombay was at stake. Or even that the devoted Satsangis, dependent for protection of their worldly as well as spiritual well-being on their Guru, could have made an honest mistake.)
‘No.”, Maharaj Ji said, “The Dera model must be followed. The Dera owns the property.”
The Secretary wilted, he could not stand up to Maharaj Ji. (He could not go against the RS teaching, the obedience to the Guru is paramount.)
A family member recalled to me last year. The Secretary came back from the meeting with Maharaj Ji and told his brother Satsangi owners, “Donate your flat to the Dera, you will get 10 times in return”.
The flat owners did not agree. It was a question of their life savings. One of the ladies of the family recalled the event and commented, “Donation is by choice, it is not forced”. Another lady said, “We were a large family, we saved with great difficulty to buy the flat.” One said, “It was not the Secretary who was being skinned”.
Instead, the Satsangi owners banded together and hired a lawyer.
The extended family of the Secretary was split. “Why had the brothers living in the flats disobeyed Maharaj Ji”. The brothers no longer had good relationships. This attitude even extended to their children, the cousins-one set looking down upon the other. Even in 2001 when I met some of them, there was alienation.
The Dera threatened one of the Owners who also had a house at the Dera, “Withdraw your suit or we will take away your Dera house”.
The suit was not withdrawn. The Dera house was forcibly taken away.
The Dera then started other intimidation tactics. A board was erected in front of the property saying that it belonged to the Dera and no one could engage in buying or selling the flats.
A Bombay RSSB committee member was chosen to front litigation. As a family member recalled, He told Baba Ji, “I am a Bombay flat owner…I know they have rights, how can I be a party to the case”.
“Do it,” Baba Ji said, “I am behind you”.
He submitted that and complied.
The paralyzed brother had died. Fortunately, his children had prospered in their business and constructed a house elsewhere.
The Dera then started tackling each owner separately. They persuaded the wealthy family to give up their double flat now worth nearly seventy times the original price, and promised them a flat at the Dera. The family did not want any more hassles and were wealthy enough to afford to donate it. The other owners pleaded with them, “You will break our band, and weaken our litigation, don’t settle”. They decided otherwise.
The other brother was forced to will his flat to the Dera.
The remaining owners until last month were still in litigation. Dera is trying other settlement tactics with them.
Last year, I asked a Bombay RSSB Committee member what he thought of the Sawan Sadan Satsangi flats case.
“Dera is wrong there”.
‘Then what did you do about it”.
“I expressed this opinion at a Board meeting.”
The old Bombay Secretary [Mr. Babani-my insert], a giant of man in business and organization skills and a famous Satsang orator, an RSSB pillar, known to many Westerners who attended Maharaj Ji’s programs in Bombay and saw him on Foreign tours, died last year, a mentally weakened man.
His son said he had Alzheimers but I found that while his recall was not good, some of his remarks were very intelligent. He was kept away from the ordinary Satsangis because he spoke things about RSSB, the management did not want ordinary Satsangis to hear. He had become critical of the RSSB.
He told me, “Now, Dera is making a fool of me. I will show them”.
I said, “I have left the Institution, you can do the same”.
“No”, he said, “it was easy for you, it is very difficult for me”.
A few weeks before he died, I had visited him and taught him the Happy Buddha Qi Gong movement, which he enjoyed practicing very much.
Some time before he died, a Dera Lawyer come and got an affidavit from him to say that he never announced in Satsang (40 years ago) that the Sawan Sadan flats were for sale. The lawyer then took the piece of paper to the brother living in one of the flats and said, “Look, you have no case”. [my insert-I was informed this was not the only false affidavit that Gurinder extracted from Mr. Babini later on his deathbed].
Ironically, his school teacher, Parmanand, who had introduced him to RS when the Bombay Secretary was a young man, during his last years, verbally abused RS. At the time I heard of a Satsangi saying that Parmanand had lost his mind.
I went up the cracked stairs of the Sawan Sadan building which seemed in disrepair. The steps were very high, because the height of the ground floor had been raised to accommodate the offices and halls, but the treads remained the same width and the number of steps had remained the same.
I entered his room. He was sitting by the edge of the bed, shaved and showered and wearing clean clothes. At his bedside table were photographs of Maharaj Ji, one, an early Bombay photograph, in which he was also present.
“How are you”, I asked.
“How can I be”, he said, “my fate was formed before I was born and I am old now”.
“Forget about all this fate business and enjoy everyday of your life”.
I sat and he called for tea and we talked.
I said, “Forget about all this satsang and meditation business, just do what pleases you”.
“Can you meet me again in the evening?”
“Yes, if you come to the house before we leave for the airport”.
As it happened, he could not come and we bid goodbye on the phone.
Unknown here-this is the end of this tale and chapter. As we shall see in further accounts, these illustrated RSSB Dera’s ethics and coercive techniques to part Indian satsangis with their estates and inheritances are standard operation. I am once again struck by how disposable people are treated, no matter how much they have sacrificed and produced for the organization. Many senior sewadars are lulled into thinking that after producing a great deal for the cult, even neglecting their family and personal life in the process, they will always be secure with the respect of seniority and recognition within the organization even when they can no longer produce at a high level. Tsk, tsk, ultimately the cult is always about ‘what have you done for me lately’.
I have a question for you Brian but as it is personal you may not wish to answer which I'll quite understand.
Did you feel that you were disposable when you were a satsangi?
Posted by: Helen | January 17, 2009 at 09:07 AM
Let me say at the outset that I am a satsangi--and a friend of doubt and not-knowing. I enjoy this forum greatly, and am happy to continue with my practice while engaging with a variety of--sometimes opposite points of views. It may be in may nature, but I like the friction of this kind of forum.
I am happy to challenge the "path" and have it be challenged. As a satsangi, do I know Baba Ji is God-in human for? Of course not. How could I? Do I nonetheless feel pulled to meditate and try to turn inwards? Yes (I share many feelings with Jayme--see his lenghty comment about his pre-initiation experiences from "A critique of RSSB." But I feel two things about this post in particular: 1) that it's a piece of rubbish. Why? Because there's no way of verifying it, that it's hugely long and a bore to read, and 2) that you, Brian, are not being completely honest with yourself or us when you write:
"I feel the need to explain why I think it's worthwhile to put this material up for public viewing.
Basically, I believe that it's desirable to freely share ideas and information so long as the privacy of individuals isn't infringed upon, and what's being shared isn't libelous."
There's a lot of information out there. A LOT. Why you chose to show THIS piece--you claim is in the name of "freely sharing ideas." But how does one choose which ideas to "freely share?" There is a big difference between curiosity and building a case. Is your curiosity a mask for anger towards RSSB in this case?
Posted by: Adam | January 17, 2009 at 09:33 AM
Adam, I didn't choose this material. It was sent to me by "unknown." I've frequently done this in the past on this blog -- used content in emails that have been sent to me.
After I made a post out of Unknown's comments, I felt that it made sense to share additional forthcoming material that was referenced in one of the comments.
Also, my understanding is that this content no longer is available online. So it wasn't a matter of duplicating the material, but of restoring some information on the web.
Regarding a few other observations you made...
"No way of verifying it." Well, if the factual part of the post isn't true, those with more or better facts can comment on it. This was written by a high-ranking RSSB "official," based on what sounds like first-hand information. Everyone can decide how much credibility to give it.
"Hugely long." So are the two daily newspapers that I get every day. I choose what to read and what not to read. So can you, Adam.
"A bore to read." Again, don't read what seems boring if you don't want to. I found it interesting. We're all different.
"Not being completely honest with yourself or us." Wow, how amazing! You know what's inside my head better than I do! When I forget something I should call you up so you can tell me what it is.
Yesterday I thought off and on about this post before I sat down at my laptop. I pondered my motivations for sharing the material. I examined how I felt emotionally. I got in touch with my intuition.
And then I wrote what I did. It felt honest at the time. It still does. I don't harbor intense animosity toward RSSB. I don't think much about RSSB most days. I have coffee almost every Sunday with old satsangi friends, some of whom are still involved with the group and some who aren't.
What connects us isn't the organization, but our humanity, our history, our present and future together. I really don't have a desire (nor non-desire) to either rake RSSB over the coals or to praise its glories.
When something interesting about RSSB comes along, I enjoy sharing it. The other day in my Tai Chi class the instructor told a story about visiting another style's practice and asking why such and such a drill was done.
He was told, "It's just what we do." Great answer. Over-analyzing what we do is senseless. Over-analyzing what someone else does (like you've tried to do with me) is even more senseless.
Posted by: Brian | January 17, 2009 at 10:33 AM
"Wow, how amazing! You know what's inside my head better than I do! When I forget something I should call you up so you can tell me what it is."
OK, give me a call :)
I don't mean to be a jerk, Brian...it's just this line that caught my attention:
"it's desirable to freely share ideas"
This is because I have become conscious of certain defenses of my own, and a flag went of when I read "it's desirable" because it is a statement that sounds like fact, or tries to pass it self off as self-evident, and can also fly under the radar because it has cultural currency--most of us believe in free speech. But it's not just "desirable", a disembodied desire, it's specifically your desire, since you shared it, and I wondered if there was another motivation there. Maybe there's not. You're right that I'm not inside your head and have no idea what's going on, but I wanted to inquire anyway. Some days I am angry at the path and some days grateful for it, so it made sense to me, from my personal experience, that someone with a long history with RSSB like yourself might have similar such feelings.
All the best,
Posted by: Adam | January 17, 2009 at 11:18 AM
Helen, you've asked a good question. I've never thought of "disposable" as a word to describe my relationship with RSSB. But it's a pretty good one in some respects.
Meaning, RSSB struck me as a "what have you done for me lately?" organization. Most organizations are these days. Witness yesterday's closing of all the Circuit City stores in the U.S. Something like 34,000 people laid off all at once.
Lifetime employment and retirement security is no more. Somewhat similarly, this is how I felt with RSSB, especially looking back. You're a welcome part of the fold so long as you fit in with the flock. When you don't, you're not.
Strangely (but not really), I feel more genuine warmth and acceptance from "worldly" groups than from religious or spiritual ones. I've been the secretary for our neighborhood association ever since they talked me into doing the minutes and such eighteen years ago when we moved to the area.
There are disagreements on the board of directors. People get angry and emotional sometimes. But since there isn't an expectation of "group think," such is accepted. There's a feeling of community rather than of us versus them.
RSSB operates with the primary allegiance being to the guru, not to the individuals within the group. So in this sense, yes, I felt disposable. For a long time I enjoyed that feeling, that I was nothing (or very little) and the guru was everything.
Eventually, though, the philosophical/logical disconnect started to hit home. The guru and the disciple are supposed to be one, both drops of the spiritual ocean. So how could one drop be so superior, distinct, more important than the other drops? If one drop is disposable, so is every drop.
This is one reason I wanted to share the material in this post. I think it's healthy to realize that the RSSB organization and the RSSB guru are imperfect, flawed, struggling along just as we all are.
Posted by: Brian | January 17, 2009 at 11:23 AM
Well here's my impressions. I might come across as an apologist, which I don't think I am. These are just my honest thoughts on what I read...
It seems clear that stuff has gone down that doesn't feel right or good.
At the same time there is something about Wakingnow's reporting of events that doesn't strike me as totally objective, fair or completely unbiased.
i.e. I sense he wants to see the dark side of RS or, to put it another way, he has an emotional investment in painting events as black as he can.
That is not saying that he definitely IS doing that. Just I get a sense that he MIGHT be.
And, hey, that would not be so unusual or unnatural.
The guy had been involved in something for 50 years since being an impressionable teenager,
(plus served that 'something' for most of his life), before deciding he had been conned, and it wasn't what he thought it was.
So if he did see everything though the 'lens' of whatever feelings that leaves you with, that's normal.
I just think it might be good to be aware of that when reading his version of events, would be what I am getting at.
My point is... we need to hear the other side of the story on these events to get an idea if he is doing that at all, and to what extent.
Well here I go on what struck me most:
This story presents only a few alternatives to my mind:
1. this guy Wakingnow is distorting what happened to blacken the Dera's reputation for some reason.
2. there must be some truth to these allegations.
3. this is the whole and complete truth and Charan and Gurinder actually did and said all that.
4. Wakingnow was making false accusations for some reason.
5. Some combination of all or some of these alternatives.
Well, I suppose I don't WANT to believe Charan and Gurinder would do something like that.
That would entail letting go of ideas I still hold on to.
So I am aware of my own filters and why perhaps I have some resistance to options two and three.
- - - - - -
Exsatsangi support posts #10172, #10173 and #10174:
Babani becoming depressed and abnormal after allegedly being "pressured" from Dera lawyers.
Starts off with allegations of Gurinder using coercion and "pressure" to get a will changed to donate the property to the Dera. (#10172).
Message to us the readers = Bad guru.
Then shifts to the history and there we get Babani talking to Charan about it.
Here we hear that the satsangi flat owners felt "misled or misinformed".
BUT also that they "could have made an honest mistake".
Here Charan is "unmoved" by their predicament.
Message to us the readers = Bad guru.
Hmmm? But which is it?
Did Guru Charan do something legally wrong
...or did the satsangis make a "mistake" and he was just unsympathetic?
Charan is alleged to have said:
"...the Dera model must be followed. The Dera owns the property."
But wait a minute... Even I as young westerner knew that stuff way back in the early eighties. How come they didn't?
And it stands to reason that the Dera society don't want any old family living above the RS Bombay satsanghar.
Seems obvious to me that the residents couldn't sell it to whoever they felt like. Nor even sell the lease (which, reading between the lines, is what they found they legally had got on paper but didn't know until they tried to sell).
So, if that is the case "Donate your flat to the Dera, you will get ten times in return" seems NOT be an accurate representation of what was probably said. They probably only had a 'leasehold' to donate.
My guess is that it more likely was "give up your legal fight to claim ownership, you will get ten times in return".
A family member is said to have recalled "Donation is by choice, not forced."
But how does that fit with the owners/lessees being "misinformed".
and/or "could have made an honest mistake"?
Seems clear to me that there is another side to this story that is not being related.
(N.B. I happen to know that after a satsangi Brigadier died there was a similar altercation/disturbance to do with the surviving relatives and the house of that Brigadier in what was the old Dera complex. He had one of the more grand ones and a few generations of the family had been in it as their home. I never understood what was going on exactly but the behaviour of the younger members of the family was related to me with some disgust by a Dera resident. And upon enquiry elsewhere I heard another side to the story that the Dera had kicked them out (perhaps rather callously, I don't know) because they wouldn't leave voluntarily and shifted them to other accommodation.)
Finally Wakingnow alleges "coercion" and "pressure" as if it is something done for financial gain again.
And at the last he says that everyone who was wealthy enough gave up thoughts of a legal fight.
Wakingnow even returns to his theme of donations and "willing" the flat to the Dera in the case of one "brother".
But what if this IS about "following the DERA model" and children of the original satsangis misunderstanding what had originally been paid for? If in fact they were only terminating a lease-holding, Wakingnow is using incorrect terminology which then makes the gurus/Dera look money-grabbing.
My guess is that the Dera was more concerned about control of who are the residents rather than money.
The question then arises why didn't the Dera just financially give them the market price for it?
Well my hunch is that this is where all the conflict lies.
The market price had probably increased more than the Dera offered to reimburse, and they probably took the line that they had no legal need to do so if they did in fact only lease out the property. They probably thought along the lines of: 'why give the sangat's money to individuals who shouldn't be expecting to make a profit out of RSSB satsanghar property anyway. They were privileged to have lived there at all.'
Wakingnow said it split the family. One side looking down on the side that wanted to take legal action.
So I don't think this is as clear cut as Wakingnow makes out. And why I am guessing along the lines I have just written.
Take the bit about the lawyer getting an affidavit from Babani that he had never announced the flats were for sale.
That tells me a lot about what the dispute was.
One side saying 'we all thought we had bought the flats, you should give us the market price'.
The Dera side saying "No, you only paid a deposit on a lease-holding, here's your deposit back."
If that is what happened I would expect the Dera to be generous and strive for harmony.
Wakingnow did write that the Dera were "...trying other settlement tactics". So maybe they were.
Yet Wakingnow implies that the tactics are unpleasant, coercive etc. But who is to say?Maybe they were not?
I DO find it all a bit sad and sordid.
Wakingnow obviously does also,
and so do the families who feel they lost out financially.
But then it seems, so do the family members (the ones who didn't fight this) feel about the ones who did.
i.e everyone thinks its the others who are at fault.
Human nature again: 'I'm all right, its all the others'.
My guess about this is that the Dera stuck to a principle, and sounds like they could have been more generous over a misunderstanding. So no brownie points to them for that. But perhaps no wilful or legal wrong-doing as Wakingnow suggests.
Regarding the committee member saying "Dera is wrong there".
Babani saying "Now Dera is making a fool of me. I will show them."
To vague to know what exactly is meant or referred to here, if we go by my guesswork of the other side to this story, may not be so damning.
1. The most challenging thing for me in the whole series of Wakingnow's posts is that Babani met lawyers who said he could only get an interview AFTER he had signed away any rights of ownership to the land he had donated to the Dera forty years before.
2. And the suggestion that Babani had lost his enthusiasm for the Path in his last months and that he didn't react with more repugnance to the suggestion he leave the RSSB institution.
Babani was tempted to leave the institution of Radha Swami Sant Mat? Wow!
As for Wakingnow being pressurised to delete his posts. I didn't read it that he did.
Rather the posts were causing "unease" in his own circle of friends and relations. Which is hardly surprising.
And that he deleted them to keep better relations with them, which also seems quite a normal reaction.
Well. That's my take on it all this day today.
Ask me in a week I might think differently after it has percolated through the old brain cells.
At the moment I give the Dera the benefit of the doubt on a lot of this, but do regard the situations as very human and a bit sordid.
Charan did say this is what happens when movements start owning property. He was right on that one at least :-)
All the best
Posted by: Mystic Bumwipe | January 17, 2009 at 11:29 AM
Adam, I hear you. I just blurted out in my comment what I was feeling at the time, an immediate sharing. Sometimes it bugs me when people assume they know what's inside my head, whether it's my wife or anyone else.
Heck, I barely know what's going on inside me. Other people...much less so.
You raise an interesting point, one which philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, and such debate. Are values relative or universal? Is open sharing, or free speech, or democracy, or whatever something universally desirable or a personal preference?
I guess I lean toward the universal, because relativism disturbs me. You know, saying "Hey, Hitler was just doing what he thought was right in killing the Jews. Who can say what's right or wrong?"
My Taoist side also likes to look at the natural world as a reflection of how we humans should behave. Nature doesn't censor, wall off, silence. There's an open exchange of information, limited only by the laws of nature. Interrelationships are ubiquitous.
So I'm inclined to argue that sharing, openness, communication -- these are good things, no matter who we are or what culture we come from. But you're free to disagree: that's part of communicating.
Posted by: Brian | January 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM
It's been a while since I posted so here's warmly wishing everyone a very happy 2009 in these turbulent and crazy times on planet Earth :-)
I've read the above post: ‘RSSB Business Practices Chapter’1 and as someone who works in the media a few things concern me if I read this account wearing my journalist's hat:
As Brian pointed out, the truth and authenticity of the author’s claims can't be corroborated due to the anonymity of the sender.
The author has also not sworn a legally binding oath / affidavit stating that their disclosure is true. Surely the sender - Waking Now - should feel confident and courageous enough to sign his / her name as no personal threat has been stated to the best of our collective knowledge? Generally speaking, the anonymity of a source is required when the consequences of identity disclosure would be personally hazardous. How is this the case for Waking Now?
What does the document contain? It presents accounts of co-ersion and misappropriation of private property. If all of this is in fact true, why has the aggrieved family not contacted any one of the law departments at universities in Mumbai, or NGOs that offer pro-bono legal services, and instigated litigation proceedings so that justice may take its course?
Reading ‘RSSB Business Practices Chapter1’ I was struck by the fact that if this was a piece of journalism the editor of the publication would be obliged to corroborate the facts presented there in through consultation with other independent sources - in this case, the plaintifs themselves - lest the newspaper be liable for defamation. Usually such an account would also be accompanied by a right to reply, in this case RSSB. As such, it reads more as here say, I’m afraid, than legally compelling evidence.
Lastly, has Waking Now contacted RSSB and asked for a response directly and if Waking Now feels convinced of the voracity of the claims has he/she assisted the aggrieved family in obtaining legal reparation?
A useful comparison is the Wikipedia website WikiLeaks. The corporate and government whistle blowers who post on this site present details in their documents - dates, names, sources - that make their statements verifiable and legally valid.
Any kind of anonymous "he said", "she said", third party accounts in which no detailed particulars around names and dates are provided creates a haze in which conjecture can flourish. Legally speaking, fact and not conjecture, would be the allies of truth.
All the best, with kind wishes, C
Posted by: Catherine Muller | January 25, 2009 at 09:55 AM
Catherine, this isn't a legal proceeding. Waking Now simply has reported some observations based on personal experience. Given this person's intimate knowledge of RSSB affairs, having been a high-ranking "sevadar" in the organization, those observations carry with them considerable credibility.
Also... I find it interesting that you want so much proof of these allegations, when RSSB (along with every other religious group) offers up so little proof of much more significant allegations -- chief among which is the "allegation" that joining the group will lead to eternal salvation.
Aren't you equally concerned about documenting the truth and authenticity of those claims? You seem to be demanding much more from Waking Now than you do from the RSSB gurus. Meaning, each is making statements based on supposed personal experience. If you trust what the gurus say, then you also should trust what Waking Now says.
I like your journalistic frame of mind. I'd simply suggest that digging into the credibility of sources, and being skeptical of first person reports, has to apply to RSSB itself just as much as to those who critique this organization's business and other practices.
Posted by: Brian | January 25, 2009 at 10:35 AM
Hi there Brian,
I'm replying as a journalist not as a lawyer. I'm asking for verifiable facts as anyone would on any story: who, what, where, when, how, why?
The story concerns misappropriation of property so therefore it really does have clear legal implications and thus my questions hold good. Surely it would be for a judge to listen to the family's story and make a ruling?
In terms of RSSB as an organization, I will say this: you should know that I live my life according to my first-hand experiences alone. What I base my spiritual practice on, as I've said before on this forum, is the fact that I love my daily meditation because when I sit I can cope with the world. When I don't sit I cope less. It is like honey for the brain, Brian. Medicine for my soul. I can't comment on anyone else's practice or anyone else's soul. Really, it's none of my business. You know, when people say RSSB is bunk it does not upset me. That's their perception. How can I deny them their point of view? But someone saying 'Any organization is unethical' in no way changes what I do every morning.
I'm of a different generation to you and Waking Now and I have never cast myself as a group member or a group player. What matters is if my practice makes me feel closer to God / Creator / Source / Love. That's all I'm interested in.
In terms of Waking Now I simply say: if you feel there has been a genuine injustice do follow all recourse available to you both institutionally and as per your legal rights as a citizen and the rights of the parties concerned.
I do believe that what goes around comes around. One sees this principle demonstrated in daily life all the time. There's nothing mystical about it. Therefore, if there has been true injustice the law of cause and effect will set the consequences in motion.
All of that said, as a rational person who lives in the world of daily news reporting, I remain steadfast in my questions re Waking Now's document because as a testament we're denied relevant facts.
All the best, C
Posted by: Catherine Muller | January 25, 2009 at 11:37 AM
Sorry, I see I skipped one of your points.
In terms of the question of "how do you know you're guaranteed salvation after death?" - you know what, it's not a question that bothers me and I'm not hung up on the notion of salvation which is very funny to me personally because I see my life on Earth as about a set of journeys that I chose and that I'm a willing participant in.
The concept of salvation suggests a judging G_d / Creator which I find very amusing. If the Universe is energy - light and sound wave forms as physics teaches - then where's the judgement? Isn't it all about vibrations that are subtle, loving, radiant versus what is heavy, depressing, destructive and chaotic? Actions that take you closer to the positive spectrum are beneficial. Actions that take you away are pointless.
What matters to me is what is in my heart and mind right now: if you are a lover of animals; a lover of humanity; a lover of nature and the Earth; a lover of the creative force of Universe; then I don't care whether you're with Sai Baba, RSSB, Kundalini, Buddhist, Tao, Talmudist, Shamanist, Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Eckhankar, or whatever ...
In terms of any conjecture about what happens when I die, I live my life by Martin Luther's dictum that "Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow I'd still plant my apple tree today".
It's living right now - and meditating right now - that I focus on. Sanskrit is a form-sound language and for me the vibration of that mantra is filled with a positive spectrum.
Posted by: Catherine Muller | January 25, 2009 at 12:23 PM
Catherine says: "It's living right now - and meditating right now..."
-- I think this says it all.
Posted by: Jayme | January 25, 2009 at 11:16 PM
i would like that whom ever has written and mentioned about the babani story would give me his contact number o want to speak to that person..and would witness whether he has the courage to talk to me or not...let me hear the truth form the voice..
as any tom dick and harry can post in blogs
Posted by: Account Deleted | January 26, 2009 at 10:04 AM
You really do need to be far more specific. I think I already told you that the last time I commented to you. But you are still making the same mistake:
You asked regarding whom "mentioned" about "the babani story"... well that could be any one of several, many people here. So why don't you indicate more clearly and specifically just who it is that you are referring to.
And also btw, in case you don't realize it Manish, YOU yourself are just another "tom dick and harry" posting comments on a blog... and what info have YOU contributed here? Nada.
So don't come off with such an uppity demanding atitude. Nobody here owes you anything. Who the hell are you anyway?
Whatever may be discussed here... you will just have to take it or leave it.
Posted by: tAo | January 26, 2009 at 04:30 PM
its nice to see people acting like my child..someone like TAO..he always repeat whatever i see..
its nice to see atleast you r trying to imitate me..
"You really do need to be far more specific."
I was very much specific i was looking for BABANI's Story writer,if you cant understand dont reply to my comments,better stay away from it.
"I think I already told you that the last time I commented to you. But you are still making the same mistake:"
You r not yet so grown up that you can point at me saying i m making mistake..who the hell you are you silly to tell me saying who is commiting mistake...
"You asked regarding whom "mentioned" about "the babani story"... well that could be any one of several, many people here. So why don't you indicate more clearly and specifically just who it is that you are referring to."
What do u mean several many ....why dont you people come out with your contact numbers and faces..
why choosing the path of cowards..dear..
grow up child..
face the world with courage.
"And also btw, in case you don't realize it Manish, YOU yourself are just another "tom dick and harry" posting comments on a blog... and what info have YOU contributed here? Nada."
And thanks for repeating my words for me..
people love to imitate me and learn from me..
its all gods grace..by the way sorry i forget
u never believe any god..
for u guys jesus god and all matsers are bullshit..
because u people believe you all have born by urself..
still you people are spreading bullshit for no reasons..dont know why you silly making this sin..
"So don't come off with such an uppity demanding atitude. Nobody here owes you anything. Who the hell are you anyway?
Whatever may be discussed here... you will just have to take it or leave it."
First of all you are no one to say me that what kind of atitude i shud carry here ..i have my own liberty 2 say what i know and what i feel..
And you are no one to decide abt my perceptions understand..
onething is true...
you all guys are just spreading bullshit..
stop it soon..
this is not a rite thing to do..
Posted by: Account Deleted | January 27, 2009 at 07:47 AM
No one here is repeating you, or imitating you. I am most certainly not imitating someone such as you.
Nevertheless you are apparently continuing to misunderstand the info that Brian has so kindly posted here (from/via Unknown) of the Waking Now & Mr Babani story regarding the dealings of the RSSB.
In that respect, you are obviously somewhat confused. I have attempted to clarify that to you, as well as suggesting that you be more specific concerning who your comments are directed at, as well as what your questions are.
But in reponse to my honest communications to you, you have shown a particularly poor attitude and disrespect. So that leads me to conclude two things: One, you apparently do not understand the subject matter (ie: the Babani RSSB info) nor do you understand the sources of that info (ie: waking now via unknown); and two, you are behaving more or less like a petty demanding and impudent troll - especially when I simply tried to get you to clarify yourself and what is your point.
Howeever, I am now no longer interested in dealing with jerks that have lousy attitudes like you do. You are obviously not interested in considering any of the RSSB Expose info that has been presented here lately... nor are you here to discuss it openly or rationally. You are obviously just another blind knee-jerk troll for RS. So therfore, you can take YOUR bullshit, and stuff it.
You said: "I was very much specific i was looking for BABANI's Story writer"
-- That had already been made quite clear from the get go. So just go back and read unknown's comments... minus your shitty attitude.
"You r not yet so grown up that you can point at me saying i m making mistake..who the hell you are you silly to tell me saying who is commiting mistake."
-- You quite obviously made a mistake - you have somehow misundertood the information that has been presented. And btw, I am quite sure (as is evidenced in your various comments) that I am far older and far more mature than you are. You are behaviong here like a impudent juvenile punk, and an internet troll.
"What do u mean several many ....why dont you people come out with your contact numbers and faces..why choosing the path of cowards..dear..
grow up child."
-- Thus is not some inquistion, you stupid little twerp. And there are no such "contact numbers", or "faces" to divulge. No one here, including Brian the author of this blog, owes you anything. This site is simply a private/personal blog which also happens to include a provision for guest comments. So YOU are actually the one who needs to grow-up. Your type of rude and demanding attitude is not welcome here.
"And thanks for repeating my words for me..
people love to imitate me and learn from me."
-- No one here imitates or gives a damn about your stupid "words", nor has anyone anything to learn from such a blatant asshole like yourself. You have made a fool of yourself, and you've done all by your own self. No one here is to blame but YOU.
"i forget u never believe any god. for u guys jesus god and all matsers are bullshit."
-- Fyi asshole, I don't believe or dis-believe... and other folks, they no doubt have their own various opinions. Moreover, the only "bullshit" here at this juncture, is the very obvious negative bullshit (aka troll-shit) that coming from YOU Manish.
"you people are spreading bullshit for no reasons..dont know why you silly making this sin."
-- There is no such "spreading bullshit" in our considering of the info that has been presented here recently. Nor is there any so-called "sin" in engaging in free-speech and free discussion. But sadly, your mentality seems rather narrow and close-minded and apparently awfully judgemental.
"no one to say me that what kind of atitude i shud carry here ..i have my own liberty 2 say what i know and what i feel."
-- Just as others have theeir own "liberty" here as well. So you should treat others as you would have them treat you. Don't come off with such a demanding and impudent attitude as you have, and don't give me your crap unless you want it thrown right back at you.
"you all guys are just spreading bullshit..
stop it soon..this is not a rite thing to do."
-- That is merely YOUR opinion. And contrary to your mentality, open discussion is definitely always the RIGHT thing to do.... and also, my opinion is that YOU are the one who is full of bullshit. Because thus far, you have offered nothing positive to this discussion. And that is evident in your attitude as shown in all of your comments here.
And if you don't want to hear or read revealing information and/or criticism about the RSSB, then you are free to go elsewhere. No one is forcing anything upon you. And so you have no right to demand anything from anyone either. If you don't like or agree with the info presented here, then simply 'don't come 'round here no more'.
Posted by: tAo | January 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM