I've been enjoying the spirited commenting on a recent post, "Attempt to kill the RSSB guru, Gurinder SIngh, fails."
One interesting discussion topic is whether, if the guru indeed is GIHF (God in human form) as the Radha Soami Satsang Beas teachings proclaim, anyone could succeed in killing a divine being.
Someone pointed out the obvious: that Jesus is viewed as the Son of God by Christians, yet his central reason for living was to die. Michael Parenti talks about this in his book, "God and His Demons" -- which takes a strongly skeptical look at religiosity.
Nothing less than the brutal flogging and murder of the deity's only begotten son by humans allows these same humans to qualify for redemption and eternal life. Had Jesus been left unharmed to finish his ministry in peace, presumably we all would still be denied entrance to paradise.
So we owe his vicious tormentors and murderers a hearty thanks; indeed, we owe the Christ-killers our eternal salvation. It is never explained why God could not have freely granted us redemption and salvation, assuming we were deemed worthy of it, without contriving to have some of us brutalize and murder his son.
Well, religious dogmas aren't supposed to make sense. And indeed, they usually don't. True believers fail to see this as a problem, because God is considered to act in mysterious ways beyond our human understanding.
But then why do those who consider the RSSB guru to be God's right hand man, if not the highest divinity himself, think they can fathom the meaning of the attempted attack on him?
What if it was God's will, part of some larger scheme of things? Karmic, cosmic, or whatever. Or, if it wasn't part of God's plan, then why did the guru allow it to occur, given that he is believed to have the ability to know what is happening anywhere, anytime, anyhow?
Of course, these might not even be the right questions to ask. Which is my point. All we really know is what is reported to have happened:
Today an attempt on the life of Baba Gurinder Singh, Leader of Radha Soami Beas, was foiled by the Vienna Police in Austria. Police arrested four persons carrying explosives with them.
Where's the need to go beyond this? Four people apparently attempted to kill another person. That's reprehensible. Adding any supernatural conjecturing to the story merely muddies the factual waters.
Switching topic gears, but sticking with this general theme, a personal story...
As I mentioned in my post about this attack, when I was an active member of RSSB I did "security seva" (seva means volunteer work) at some large gatherings when the current guru, Gurinder Singh, toured the western United States and Canada.
When he went to Vancouver, B.C. in the 1990s, once I was given the job of standing outside his residence in the middle of the night, watching for unwanted goings-on.
My post was just twenty feet or so from the guru's bedroom window. Given how devoted I was at the time, this was a moving experience for me -- especially since three o'clock in the morning is considered to be a "time of elixir" in the RSSB teachings when spiritual currents are particularly strong.
So there I was, standing next to some bushes, alternately glancing at the street and sidewalk, then back to the guru's bedroom window. I looked at my watch, saw it was 3:00 am, and thought "It doesn't get any better than this."
Even with other thoughts going through my mind. Such as, what would I do if a van full of Sikh terrorists armed with submachine guns rolled up and heavily armed men started to storm the residence?
I don't like the idea of dying. Even less, actually dying. But there wasn't much doubt in my mind about what I'd do: attack the attackers, as best I could.
This wasn't a totally selfless decision (is there even such a thing?). Living with the shame of cowardly hiding while the guru was being attacked seemed worse than dying bravely.
I'm telling this story for a couple of reasons.
First, as others have pointed out in comments to my other post, the Radha Soami Satsang Beas guru has been threatened by extremist crazies for a long time. We can only hope that he remains safe and sound.
Second, I regularly get criticized in comments on this blog for not having given the RSSSB teachings and meditation practice a serious try. My two word response, which usually isn't quite this pithily direct: that's bullshit.
For thirty-five years I devoted myself to doing what I was told to do, and promised to do, at the time of my initiation by the previous RSSB guru, Charan Singh, in 1971.
Without going into the details, I can confidently say that my devotion to this spiritual/mystical path was considerably more serious and deep than that of the vast majority of other disciples.
To the above-mentioned critics, I'll ask a question: how many of you have stood outside the guru's window in the middle of the night, prepared to die for him? And how many of you have meditated an average of several hours a day for thirty-five years, prepared to "die" in meditation for your guru?
And that enables me to speak confidently about what my RSSB experiences taught me, because I've walked this faith's walk, as well as talked the talk.