Imagine the Pope saying, "Jesus wasn't really the Son of God. There isn't any heaven. God is just a state of consciousness. No one divine will meet you when you die."
It'd be more than a little shocking, to put it mildly. The head of a religion almost always defends the faith, preserving the core of traditional dogma while merely making small changes in other aspects of the teachings.
But reports keep coming in that the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), an India-based mystical/spiritual organization with millions of initiates in many countries around the world, has been undermining some of the group's central tenets in his English talks.
(Read my "Has Gurinder Singh revised Sant Mat to v. 3.0" for the new version of the teachings, including the comments to that post -- which have been interesting and informative.)
Since I was an active member of RSSB for about thirty-five years, I find this transformation of what supposedly was a "science of the soul" to be fascinating.
After all, each Radha Soami Satsang Beas guru supposedly was a Perfect Living Master who had attained God-realization. When a guru appointed his successor, it was assumed that the new RSSB leader was the same universal spirit in a different body.
Because the current guru, Gurinder Singh, now is saying that God, heaven, and the savior (using Christian terms) are fictions. This message isn't just tinkering with peripheral points of the RSSB philosophy; it blows up the foundation of Radha Soami Satsang Beas' reason for being.
Namely, the assumption that initiation by a guru who is GIHF (God in Human Form) is the only way to return to God, thereby escaping an endless round of karma-powered births and rebirths. This is accomplished by diligent following of "four vows," notably including a strict vegetarian diet and meditating 2 1/2 hours a day.
The guru then will take the disciple under his wing and escort him/her through spiritual regions of reality back to the highest heaven. The promise has always been that this would take no more than four lifetimes, and almost always the guru would meet devoted initiates at the time of death, guiding them in the right direction.
Again, apparently not.
This is Big News in the Radha Soami Satsang Beas world. Except the guru doesn't allow his talks to be recorded, and he never writes anything, so the news is only slowly trickling out to RSSB disciples.
Many of whom must be thinking, What the fuck?! I put in years or decades of devoted spiritual practice under the guidance of the guru, and now I'm being told that the teachings aren't true.
Well, change happens. Join the real world. The only certainty when it comes to God and all things religious is that there's nothing to be certain about.