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’.