Here's the next installment of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas-related material that I'm receiving from my email correspondent, Unknown.
As noted previously, this material mostly consists of writings by Waking Now, a senior RSSB functionary who came to have doubts about this Indian guru-centered organization and left it in the early 1990s.
When I read this chapter of the Waking Now compilation being put together by Unknown, I thought of how the Dalai Lama wants the Tibetans in exile to be governed.
Interesting, in light of what Waking Now has written, which can be downloaded as a PDF file or read by clicking on the following continuation to this post.
Download Chapter 2-Business Practices PDF
Chapter 2-RSSB Business Practices
A look into the Beas Dera Culture
By Waking Now
I wish to recount an experience for you.
A long time resident of the Dera died last Summer.
She was an Army Officer’s Widow and had no children. She lived in a house across the Grounds from the Western Guest House and was friendly to some Westerners.
A few years ago, out of the blue, she told me:
“You know, I could be a very rich woman”.
“What do you mean”, I asked.
She said “Many years ago, Maharaj Ji (Charan Singh) asked me to Will my property to the Dera”. (She had a house which she and her late husband built in the Defense Colony, a good locality of New Delhi.)
She said, I protested and said, “Maharaj Ji, I am still very young”. He disregarded my protest and continued, “and your Will should be witnessed by (naming a Dera inner circle person of the time)”.
(She did as she was asked to do, and remained a privileged inner circle woman during most of Maharaj Ji’s reign. She told a friend of an occasion when Maharaj Ji told her, “You are spending too much money on yourself, remember it belongs to Dera”.)
“When my relatives find out, they will be very unhappy”.
“Why don’t you change your Will”, I said.
“How can I do that, I gave my property to Maharaj Ji”, she said.
Her Will is likely probated by now.
The woman was very dissatisfied in her last years. Believing the teaching that ‘All Gurus are One’ she had expected that the Successor would respect the privileged position given her by her own Guru [my insert-recurring theme ‘what have you done for me lately’]
“Where can I go now in old age”, she said to a friend.
Can her relatives make a claim that she wrote the Will under extraordinary pressure from the Godman at whose pleasure everyone lives in sight at Dera?
Some of you may guess who I am. Please use my Yahoo ID in your responses.
(responding to question about previous post)
After learning of the Lady being pressured to Will her property to the Dera, I spoke to a friend of hers. She told me that she had also heard of this from the Lady.
She said there were two opinions about what Maharaj Ji (Charan Singh) had done.
One, that He had sanctified her husband’s wealth by asking for it and had saved her from going astray in life considering that she was a vivacious and wealthy widow who could have many suitors.
And the other, that he had wanted to clip her wings and pin her down to the Dera so she could add her charm to an inner circle who met him for light entertaining chats.
RSSB-House of Sawan 1
The facts of allotment and refundable deposit are spelled out in the papers the ‘buyers’ sign. The Dera legal team is careful to get the proper papers.
What is taken away are the rights of tenure and transfer to an heir which are provided by Indian Laws.
Most people faced with the situation submit as meek followers. But litigation was started by an heir after his father died in a Dera house. However, Dera ground and legal forces were very powerful. Possession, as is said, is 90% of the Law and litigation against Dera cannot be afforded by most people.
Following such episodes, Dera decided in the present administration to no longer accept any money for the allotment of a house, so that the question of legal rights will not arise.
People who settle at the Dera are not aware of the controls they would face after moving there. I know of an old person who very much regretted selling a flat in a city and moving there. The person was no longer financially capable of moving back.
My point is that while Beas Dera has the privileges of an Indian town in terms of Government services, it functions as a Principality, House of Sawan, where the Laws of the Land are not fully applicable.
House of Sawan continued
The Sewadars who are able to attract sentimental donations are recognized.
Dera feels that as long as it can be seen to obey the letter of the Law (where did the spirit disappear from the ‘Spiritual” Institution) it can make its different claims.
So, if the solicitation does not appear in the mail or in the propaganda literature from the Ministry of Truth, the Dera does not solicit. Soliciting from the pulpit or by word of mouth does not count.
The Initiation rituals are free.
But after you come in, you yourself (no pressure, see) realize how beneficial for your spiritual progress Sewa is, and money sewa is specially beneficial (it runs the show for you) and may provide occasions to see your ‘Beloved Lord’ from a closer venue.
If the benefits to the Godman do not come in the form of a paycheck, then the Godman does not take a penny.
He and his family may receive benefits of residences, transportation, vacations from devotees, gifts from devotees, special discounts on purchases from satsangis, free labour, etc. etc. but none of it counts.
It is this type of ‘letter of the law’ approach that underpins the House.
RE: Seva Schedule/Restricted Site Access
This is the property of the Congregation (sangat) Yes?
It is paid for and is being developed by the hard work of members of the Congregation. Yes?
Then why are the members not being allowed to enjoy the property in an Owners way?.
Why such severe restrictions on the Owners?
Either come in and be indoctrinated.
Come in and join the labour force.
Are they really owners or slaves?
Well, satsangis behave like good cult members. Using their own mind would be anathema since for them their mind is the agent of Kal, the Negative power.
I came across the hidden principle of RSB recently in the book, Radhasoami Satsang Beas, Origin and Growth,
(this is the book that Gurinder asked be removed from circulation and, I think, asked that copies in the possession of satsangis be returned.)
which says “It is the basic principle of Sant Mat, and especially of the Radhasoami faith, that the Satguru, being God Incarnate, has absolute authority and power to deal with His Parmarthi (religious) property of every kind in whatever way He likes. All Bhaints (offerings) made to Him by his followers and all properties inherited by Him from His Satguru become His personal properties, and His power to use such properties is not restricted in any way.”
Then the book goes on to say “But our line of Great Masters….have never put this property to their personal use”, and talks of the formation of a Trust. How generous of them! And what according to the cult legal minds is “personal use”. Anyway, I think that some of the cult members are convinced and act as if the properties really belong to the God-incarnate.
Well, since the “basic principle” of Sant Mat is that…all properties…become His (the God Incarnate’s) personal property” , to use as he likes, aren’t questions about accountability superfluous? As long as the papers prepared by the cult legal minds are in order for regulatory agencies, the followers can have no complaints because the hidden principle clearly states that the God-Incarnate personally owns it all.
I also realized that Godman and PLM are a down grading of the Head’s declared position since God-Incarnate is the status they hold for themselves.
Note: The following section was added after the material was first posted, since it primarily relates to RSSB business practices -- rather than the issues discussed in Chapter 3 (the subject of a 1/24/09 post).
Chapter 2B-Business Dealings
This is the last chapter specifically dealing with business, then on to ‘Palace Intrigue’ and the succession/power struggles. These comments are responses to questions which I don’t have the transcript for, but informative just the same and are a bit out of sequence with sections in the previous chapter.
I think these properties are long term investments to keep the House of Sawan flourishing. The present Ruler’s acute business sense has come in very handy.
In Bombay, he pushed the Branch there to buy a hundred acres in a suburb, and then wanted the property development Sewa carried out expeditiously. The former Secretary [my insert-Mr. Babani] remained quite irked by these demands.
“Is this Santmat?”, he would say.
Land Gold appreciation is a major component of these long-term investments. The upkeep problems faced by the local management’s are simply the troubles of carrying an investment along, as well as providing a golden opportunity for the Subjects to acquire merit, until the time is right to sell, subdivide or whatever.
Re: RSSB-House of Sawan 1
The practice, as I understood it, was that Dera priced the different categories of housing on the basis of its out of pocket costs of labour and materials. This cost was the price the satsangi paid when allotted the house and that became a deposit.
When a house was taken away, which could be after some years, the original deposit was returned. But in the event, I know of cases where sentimental pressure was put by the Officers on the satsangi to donate the deposit. Due to inflation, that sum did not reflect current value, so the person forced to leave could not use that money to buy property elsewhere.
According to Indian Law, occupants of residential accommodation in which money changed hands, that is, even tenants, had rights of tenure. Dera ordinarily did not allow rights even to its ‘buyers’. Also Indian Law allowed the right of transfer to an heir. All transfers had to be approved by the Dera which left the ‘occupants’ at their ‘mercy’.
The residents of Dera do not have normal citizen rights. For everything they are at the mercy of the Lord so they live in a subdued controlled way.
Dera functions as a Principality not under Indian Laws but in practice because it has Sewadars who place the wishes of the Godman above the requirements of the Laws of the Land and the Godman accepts this attitude.
The basic human rights of free speech, or movement or personal or property security that are granted to the Citizens of India have become subservient to the rules at the Dera. Also whatever rules there are, are ensured by the Dera’s own Security Sewadars.
At the moment, Dera appears powerful enough to avoid independent oversight.
RS Cult-[my insert-this comment was in response to a naïve statement claiming diffused authority within the cult].
I do not know how familiar you are with the RSSB culture.
The diffusion of authority from the PLM [Perfect Living Master] to the lower levels has not occurred. In fact it has been strengthened by placing hand-picked loyal Sewadars (servants) at all centers. Even the preachers are selected and what they can say in the indoctrination lectures clearly defined. At intervals, edicts are passed to keep the followers well trained in obedience.
Also the diffusion of authority goes against the fundamental tenet of having God in Human Form as one’s Guru. Questioning God is akin to losing faith in God. Imagine the power this gives to the GIHF over his followers.
The Questioning member who wants to keep his self respect has only one choice in this Cult.
City Council of Petaluma Gets Hustled ‘Waking Now’ did not originate this topic, only responded to the original post. A Petaluma city council man openly provided the presentation literature that RSSB gave the council in the process of obtaining permits for Petaluma which was blatantly deceptive. RSSB indicated they were a quasi Christian spiritual group and the property would be for agricultural purposes only with a small meeting hall for occasional meetings. Then of course after the permits were granted, variances were incrementally requested and received with mega natural prepared foods manufacturer and satsangis ‘Amy’s Kitchen’ donated the property and some more to the town to help the process. I understand the same deceptive presentation techniques were employed by Haynes Park.
The nearby residents and town were entitled to know what the real intention was for the property (involving masses of people), not a bait and switch.
“Deliberate deception and misrepresentation by an individual or organization for gaining approval from public bodies would be considered a serious offense against the public good of a community….”