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March 05, 2012

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Have a look at this:
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2012/02/ff_jerusalemsyndrome/
These guys also see and hear things, who's to say they did not have 'inner experiences'!

Having had a chance to review Return of the One in manuscript and get the play by play of what was going on I feel free to suggest that you were treated shabbily by the RSSB intellectuals who control the book side of the enterprise.

Randy, I agree. The whole book editing/review process ended up being a lot more convoluted and ridiculous than necessary, because of religious dogmatism.

As an author yourself, and part of a writing family, you know how frustrating it can be to work with a publisher. But add in holier-than-thou'ness, and things get even worse.

For example...

As noted in the letter I posted, the plan all along was to publish "Return to the One" both commercially (meaning, available to the general public) and privately (by RSSB).

A "general public" book about a Greek philosopher can't look like it is an advertisement for a religious group. It needs to be truthful, accurate, objective, readable by anybody who wants to learn about Plotinus' teachings.

So when RSSB came up with the notion of me thanking my guru in the introduction for providing the inspiration to write this book, I balked. Big time.

I told the RSSB higher-ups (not the guru, but the publishing sevadars) that I'd always been able to write cogently about complicated subjects. I could do this before I was initiated by the guru, and I could do it after, so obviously the guru wasn't responsible for that ability.

I didn't feel that was appropriate in either version of the book, public or private. But I was open to including quotes from the guru, Charan Singh, at the beginning of each chapter -- only in the RSSB version, though. Again, it would be horribly inappropriate to include those quotes in a Plotinus book aimed at a general audience.

So this pointed to two different books. Mostly the same content, but with some differences between the commercial and RSSB versions. Made simple sense to me. However, RSSB never followed through on a promise to find a commercial publisher. I kept asking "How is this going?" and kept getting vague unconvincing replies.

As I've noted about the RSSB "Buddhism" book, RSSB has a control problem. Meaning, it wants to force other religions and philosophies into a Sant Mat mold, even when this isn't justified.

That can work when RSSB has total control over an author and his/her book, but I had too much intellectual integrity, and admiration for Plotinus, to let that happen to a Greek philosopher who I came to admire a lot.

All religions, RSSB included, have an agenda. That agenda is to
interpret the meanings of all past scriptures to make them mean what
they want them to mean.

In terms of RSSB, they need to make it appear that all past 'saints and mystics'
were referring to the SHABD and the NAAM - and that this is the inner sound and light.

The whole idea of satsang is to take scriptures and give them a new meaning.

They do this in a matter of fact manner. So when the seeker listens to satsang,
after a while he begins to BELIEVE that what RSSB is saying IS the truth.

At this point - he has become brainwashed. He is now convinced that RSSB is the truth.

But all he really has is a BELIEF - which he thinks is a FACT.

I met some muslims recently and they do exactly the same. They are 100% convinced that
it is a FACT that there is a being called ALLAH and mohammed is his messenger and the
koran is his message. Their whole life is based on this being true.

The RSSB follower is exactly the same. His whole life is based on the RSSB teachings being true.

Which is a little unnerving right now because the teachings are changing.

All religions, RSSB included, are out to convince the world that their interpretation is the truth.

Hi Brian:

You write here in the essay:
“But I fulfilled my commitment to the guru, and organization, which I was still a part of at that time. I had agreed to write a book about Plotinus, a marvelous Greek philosopher, as part of a "Mystics of the West" series.

No pay. No royalties. Just for the satisfaction of learning about Plotinus' teachings, and sharing that knowledge in a readable fashion with people who wouldn't find the scholarly books about Plotinus comprehensible.

Radha Soami Satsang Beas was invited to publish its own version of my book, editing as desired the draft I'd sent to India. However, I told the guru that I wasn't willing to dilute or misinterpret Plotinus' philosophy in an attempt to make his teachings match up with the spiritual worldview of RSSB. " (end quote)

OK, could you please explain what your original understanding with the guru was in 1996? If I understand properly, you agreed to write a book on Plotinus FOR RSSB.... So, let me ask this: Before commencing, was it understood/stated that you were entitled to reserve the right to publish it on your own? This is confusing.

OK, so whose idea was it to have 2 versions of the book (commercial and non-commercial)? It sounds like it was your idea, but not in 1996 (??) You wrote: “was invited to”….so you agreed to write a book for RSSB, but then “invited” them to publish their version, the way they wanted it? Wasn’t it always supposed to be about the way they wanted it? Very confused here. OR, maybe RSSB/guru agreed from the start that you’d retain rights, so if there was difficulty with, or long delay within, the publication’s department you could publish it on your own?

When they “put it on ice” was that just a way of rejecting the book and its author?

Thanks Brian.

But why did you insist that it must be published commercially?

I dont have a problem with that per se, but one can see why the accusations of you leaving the organisation as a result of you potentially hoping to cash in on your book are what they are all complaining about your ego for.

So perhaps you were getting tired of the group and having just spent all this time on your book, you wanted to see if it might be a commercial success, and you felt that mentioning any religious would tarnish this chance - hence you parted ways with RSSB, and hence their argument your ego is to blame...


George, that was the intention all along: to have both a RSSB and commercial version of the book. RSSB wanted that; I wanted that. It wasn't just my idea. Problem was, RSSB never made any progress on finding a commercial publisher. So I went ahead and published the book on my own after giving RSSB the manuscript.

Fair enough, but I suppose therein lies the problem, how can anything commercial have any bearing on anything spiritual? i'm not really sure i understand the motives of you or your organisation here.

The question is was the acrimony or uncomfort with RSSB over your book, the reason why you actually left?

If so, it would seem your commercial ambitions outweighed your spiritual ones, hence these chaps banging on about your ego.

George, here's some thoughts about "ego."

First, it doesn't exist, just as the Self doesn't exist. At least, this is the conclusion of modern neuroscience. There isn't something in the brain that can be identified as "ego." It's a concept -- which makes less sense the more we understand about how the brain/mind works.

(For example, read "The Ego Tunnel.")

Second, religious people use this notion in strange ways. For example, what I did was volunteer to write a book for a nonprofit organization which published its own books. From the start, this organization proposed to have my book published both internally (by itself) and externally (by a commercial publisher) to make the book available to a wider audience.

If I'd written the book for, say, the YMCA, or the Boy Scouts, I doubt all this talk about "ego" would come up. What happened is that I finished the book, gave the nonprofit organization a file of the manuscript, and told the group it had my permission to publish the book without paying me anything.

I fulfilled my volunteer part of the bargain. The organization hadn't found a commercial publisher, nor put much effort into finding one. So after I gave the book to the organization, I found a way to publish it commercially myself -- which was the intent all along. Where is the need to talk about "ego"?

Third, religious hierarchies almost always look upon "ego" in this way: it applies only to those at the bottom, not the top. I was working with people higher up in the hierarchy than I was, but I wasn't in a subordinate position to them. My job was to write the book; their job was to suggest edits, then to arrange to have the book published.

When there was a disagreement, these higher-ups were as strong in defending their position as I was with mine. Yet somehow my actions are viewed by religious believers as stemming from ego, while the actions of those above me in the hierarchy were selfless. Well, believe me, if ego exists, it exists from top to bottom in the Radha Soami Satsang Beas organization. There is no doubt about that. (The stories I could tell... but won't.)

Lastly, I find it amusing that little me, working away without pay for five years on the book, spending my own money to research and write it, supposedly is egotistical, while the guru of the organization, who flies around in a private jet, is treated like royalty, and has made hundreds of millions of dollars from his RSSB connections, supposedly is egoless.

Huh?

Dear Brian,

Although I think you did not will to do so ("[m]ysteriously" or otherwise), it appears that your above response to George achieves the self-contradictory: since "it [the ego] doesn't exist," then - of course - the cult guru "is egoless." QED (if one accepts your premise).

Personally I suggest that - although no one can place an "ego" on a table for examination - it can be said to ~exist~ as an apparent function. Such seems to have been quite apparent to you "from top to bottom in the Radha Soami Satsang Beas organization. There is no doubt about that."

Robert Paul Howard

Every spiritual organization like Christianism or Guruism or Sant-Mating clubs is a big heresy.

Why?

Heresy (from Greek αἵρεσις, which originally meant "choice")

Some clever guy made a CHOICE on spirituality matters. He has been trying to intensely suggest his CHOICE on world view, god view, mystical/spiritual view as the original view. Finally his CHOICE is forced on others.

As a FREE, thinking, logical, human being I have the universal right to deny everyone's CHOICE.

Your CHOICE is not MY CHOICE.

Brian,

I dont like to complicate things that no-one really understands. I use 'ego' in the sense that you did in your original blog post, which is ppl accused you of supposedly having an 'enormous ego'. Whether you do or dont is irrelevant to me.

I basically understand it to merely be a psychological construct for self-identity. In other words, one is doing what is good for self, for the individual to survive and prosper as best as he/she can, for I.

imo such a psychology does exist in every one of us, just as subjective consciousness exists, without it being physically locatable in any particular part of the brain. I believe religion is merely a manifestation of manmade desires and control, i.e. ego, and those in your former organisation had it too, despite their supposed teaching of the contrary. Afterall, could there be anything more ego-laden than a society based on subservience to a master or guru however self-deprecating such an individual appears to be?

However, that said there are a few very rare individuals who show tremendous compassion, and put others before themselves, without recogition or reward (power or money), and this imo is where spirituality lies, if there is anything at all to it.

George, yes, some people are more compassionate and giving than other people. However, even the supposedly "selfless" are doing what gives them the most satisfaction, what seems most right to them, what draws them into action.

Thus some people are drawn to give; other people are drawn to get. External stuff, such as money. Yet everybody is drawn to get happiness. So like you said, there really isn't any such thing as an egoless person, as we all are doing what we feel will bring us the most satisfaction.

(Of course, we can be mistaken in this, discovering that what we thought would satisfy, doesn't. But it's the feeling that counts, not the results.)

Yes it is an interesting question and perhaps some people have an ego designed to be fed by giving rather than recieving - however it is still a somewhat remarkable phenomena that some rare humans seem to exhibit which is to put others before themselves often at great hardship or suffering to themselves - and this is hard to explain in any evolutionary sense, I cannot think of any animal in nature capable of such empathy and sacrifice, as well as the opposite, total self-interest.

But to me spirituality if it exists is found in the more noble aspects of human existence such as love, kindness and empathy - in their purest for no personal gain. The experiences which transcend our seemingly baser nature and desires.

Trippin, it was RSSB's idea to have two versions of the book. As I explained, they (and I) wanted to make the Plotinus book available to a wider audience. But RSSB didn't follow through on finding a commercial publisher, and RSSB also decided not to publish the book. You'll have to ask RSSB why that was.

My suspicion is that they learned Plotinus' teachings really were quite different from Sant Mat. For example, Plotinus said we don't need a guru or master to know, or become, the One.

At any rate, I fulfilled my commitment to write a book without pay, at my own expense, working with RSSB editors -- just as I did with Life is Fair. I ended up publishing the book myself because RSSB changed its mind about wanting to publish it.

What problem do you have with that? Not that I care, really, because I'm totally happy with my "seva," as with all of my dealings with RSSB. Hope you're equally happy with your own life.

@ Brian

"My suspicion is that they learned Plotinus' teachings really were quite different from Sant Mat. For example, Plotinus said we don't need a guru or master to know, or become, the One. "

- We are all Greeks!

Hi Brian:

Still confused.


Since you had the book published, you are making money from sales. Right? (I bought 2 copies, good book.) Was it always planned that you would be able to sell and make money from the commercial edition?

I have heard the other side of the story (the Dera's) from various people affiliated with the publications dept. I am trying to get a balanced understanding.


Trippin, yes, I got back the rights to my book and switched to Amazon's on-demand publishing arm, Create Space, several years ago. So I now get all of the royalties from sales of Return to the One (before, the royalties were split with Unlimited Publishing).

From the beginning, the plan with RSSB was to have the book published commercially, as well as distributed at cost by RSSB. One option was to have the commercial publisher agree to sell copies of the book at a reduced rate to RSSB, minus royalties, of course. Then RSSB would sell those books through the organization's outlets.

I don't believe the subject of whether I'd get royalties from commercial book sales ever came up. Or at least, wasn't settled. I didn't get any royalties from the sale of God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder (which was published commercially, with copies bought by RSSB and then resold to the sangat).

So I wasn't expecting to get royalties from Return to the One, if RSSB had ended up making the arrangements with a commercial publisher. Since that never happened, and I published the book myself, naturally I agreed with myself: "Brian, you get the royalties from the book you wrote, and which you arranged to have published."

Anyway, I don't know what you mean by "the other side of the story." I've never said that I planned to make money from an RSSB-published book, so anyone who claims that is making up a story, then claiming there's another side to their own fabrication.

Thank you for clarification.

No, nobody said that you planned to make money.

What a weird situation though.

I do understand there's one particular person in the Dera's publication dept that is extraordinarily difficult to work with. I have one friend who is VERY upset with this person at the moment, and for good reason(s) as far as I can tell. So, if you had to work with this same person, oh boy, I can see there was probably a lot of friction.

Again, thanks for your frank sharing.

Brian, did you receive any response from the Godly Guru, if yes would you mind sharing.

Thanks,

Juan, I never got a response. At least, I'm almost completely sure that I didn't. Would have to look through an old file to confirm that.

many time u use thts phrase i have separated me from Radha Soami satsang Beas. Let me tell u my spiritual friend that you may separate yourself from beas but u cant be separated from Radhasoami and satsang b'cause u r a soul(radha) and God is ur soami and u r with that truth (satsang), if u understand this it ok otherwise god bless u with ur writing skills

sewadar, tbanks for your concern. But I'm not worried about me. One day the Buddha appeared in a vision and said, "Brian, your soul is embraced by the compassionate Buddha-nature."

That made me feel good.

The next day, the Buddha appeared in another vision, telling me, "Brian, you don't have a soul."

That made me feel even better. Nothing to lose, so nothing to worry about.

Relax and enjoy life. I realize, sewadar, that you enjoy clinging to dogmatic beliefs. You might consider letting go of those concepts, though.

Just a suggestion. Since you gave me advice, I figure you also enjoy getting advice.

Hi Brian :

I Really liked this part of your post "So when RSSB came up with the notion of me thanking my guru in the introduction for providing the inspiration to write this book, I balked." It shows your integrity and their fallacy.

It was their servile mentality which led them to conclude that your were being egoistic but we know that it would have been against our moral principles to do as they said.

Dear Brian - maybe to this obssessed poster of yours who keeps asking "how" and "why" you "de-converted" you can, with one short sentence, answer it and reveal more than than all your subsequent comments about it?

"I de-converted because they banned me from having the lime-light of being a satsang speaker"?

C'mon now Brian - surely this one is twitching your moderation button finger? Just a little at least?

That was an attempt at humour btw.

Manjit, before I write my sentence, show me how it is done.

Write one short sentence revealing why you have chosen to come onto this blog and leave critical comments about me, other commenters, and opinions expressed in blog posts.

Is it maybe because you enjoy attention? Do you crave writing comments which you believe show off your vast knowledge of reality that others lack?

That was an attempt at humor, btw.

Hi Brian.

Hehe. Thanks, this amused me, actually.

I'll tell you why, because I'm a human with all the many flaws of ego and characther as other humans.

I can only apologise for my feeble humanity. Seriously - I am SOO flawed it really is disgraceful. Seriously.

I would, however, contend I haven't left any critical comments about other posters here?

I will, now, I PROMISE, leave this forum alone.

I've posted in online forums (just here and Radhasoamistudies) for I believe now, 3 days consecutively.

I will, now, take another 3 or 4 year break from posting here, and a year from the mass-media outlet of Radhasoamistudies, and indeed ANY discussion with ANYBODY about these subjects that I have loved & been obssessed with since the age of 5, for another few years.

Consider me like an attention camel. A little bit keeps me going for years.

Cheers :o)

Well then, as they say, 'good riddance to bad rubbish'.

And that reminds me of this...


When I was young, my mind was a sand box, waiting to be played in, and developed by the friendliest of sages.

Along the way something happened, and my mind became the claying tool of men and women that only wished to write judgment into my pages.

As time progressed, I found that my being became an infertile soil for the seeds of doubt of my self-proclaimed, superior masters

And as my own life progressed, I followed the whims of strangers, incompetents and greed driven bastards.

My sandbox grew hard and pasteurized, lacking soul or grace.

All I could understand was the certification and license of my face.

I descended into hell.

I wrestled with the dead, the dying and the unborn.

I held myself in contempt and scorn.

Yet soon, the sun shined, and cast its bounty upon my being.

The box of concrete I had become began to sing.

Enabled, and aware, a man emerged from a mausoleum that bound a mind.

A man kicked down doors, crushed walls, and found again the place he had left behind.

The walls of doubt and oppression soon faded away, along with fear that held him at bay.

And once again I emerged; willing, awake and aware enough to make the choice of the courageous.

The question has been put forth by the chosen of a god: "are you the son of God?"

And the answer is always and forevermore... no, I Am I.


Wow Brian. This is not an attempt at humor btw.

Really look at this comment of yours, just like you look at "really, real, reality". I've changed it a bit to show how you mirrored Manjit's comment and then showed so clearly your own reflection of what you do!

"[You, Brian, write] critical comments about [Sant Mat] other commenters, and opinions expressed in blog posts.

Is it maybe because [You, Brian] enjoy attention? Do you crave writing comments which you believe show off your vast knowledge of reality that others lack?

I wonder if you will post this? Sorry, I'm being too critical and I know its my ego being reflected back to me but is it "just me" who sees this...

just me, let's play this game again...

Do you, "just me," enjoy attention? Do you crave writing comments which you believe show off your wise knowledge of reality?

Do you see how ridiculous this stuff gets?

Questioning why someone does something, like Manjit did, is absurd. He wanted me to summarize an important part of my life in one sentence.

Why? Because he believed he could do this himself, even though he obviously isn't me. I wanted to show how ridiculous this sort of Internet game is by throwing his absurdity back at him.

I enjoy substantive discussions of substantive topics. I don't like "flaming" back and forth where people insult other people, rather than challenging the positions they hold.

What I do on this blog is share my ideas about certain subjects. Rarely, if ever, do I impugn other people's motives -- especially individuals who participate in comment discussions on this blog. But I do get lots of personal insults myself.

Most of those I don't publish, because my comment moderation policy precludes over-the-top insulting. But sometimes I publish insults directed at me, in part to show how religious true believers think, and how their religiosity seemingly hasn't made them compassionate, caring people.

Hope this explains my reflective comment to Manjit. If he wants me to absurdly encapsulate part of my life in one sentence, then he should do the same.

It's absurd for many reasons, not least of which is that no one really knows why they do things: genetics, determinism, free will, karma, culture, personal needs, family history, there are so many factors that determine why each of us does what we do.

"I don't know" often is the best answer in life. People who expect simplistic answers, like Manjit, deserve to be made fun of -- in a helpful way.

Yep Brian, I do agree its annoying when some people ask a question and then expect almost a one word answer! I'm going to practice "I don't know" more often. Sorry you get a lot of insulting comments, didn't realize this because they are not published.

Thanks for your nice reply.

hey Brian,
You have got them worried. They don't want
this club to exist.

I think the stuff they have said to
you and Tara is quite funny.

Moles are like whales. They surface
on blow off alot of hot air. Then
they submerge again.

The quality of moles is really slipping
now days.

Is the best they can think of is Tara
is a CIA agent and you left RS Beas
because you couldn't talk anymore ?

I think you should file a formal complaint
with Rajinder on the quality of his moles.

Brian,
You reminded me of a Nuclear Physic who couldn' understand that Saint Charan Singh
didn't know enough of physics, . next blamed him.

I doubt Gurinder ever had heard about Plotinus.

gurinder is just following orders
and things happen around Him and in US
that he can hardly understand

But God, our non existing Source
is just using Him for Thristy
and if y'r lucke
you see this splendid source in Him

And how ?

We see , . .
but we use only an atom of that seeing power through this limited body while a whole universe is there to see
through the chakras

Same for hearing but even more because
our roots are That

And be glad that it is as is,
that Sant Mat is a technique based on Grace and Love

the SatGuru is just obeying orders
and has the Darshan of His Master?
I hope for Him all the time

ps
I'm busy to place my letters
on a blog

ps2
Is your Plotinus book in e-book ?
If he is good he is a Solopist !

Cheers for now


ps3
Now I understand better about your 'Lucifer's Hammer"
reaction
when the book was not published

and your status was diminished
around the book
if that were possible

ps4
A girl ballerina i know well sais to Charan
I'm Dancing in the Opera House Maharaji

Charan immediately :
I dance like a bear !

I hope you get that, Brian


You see..(it is not important)but the words are a little wrong.

I said to maharaji ''I am a ballet dancer'',maharaji said smilingly ''I dance like a bear..''

I liked that ! ballet was not that important anymore..after that..altough it was my profession
( I was very young in that time 20 something)

It was nice and he was idd very sweet..
I loved him not the teachings ,I found the teachings by then scary with all the ''karma things all the time.
My Englisch was not so fantastic at that time.
But I loved staring to my maharaji..

You been lucky 's' cherish it.

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