As noted in my previous post, devotees of various Indian "Sant Mat" movements believe that the gurus who head up these groups are GIHF -- God in human form. If such were true, Jesus is alive and well in various bearded, turbaned male bodies.
Including that of Gurinder Singh, guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB). I was an active member of RSSB for over thirty years. Near the end of my involvement with the organization I had quite a bit of personal contact with Gurinder Singh.
I had several private interviews with the guru, and met with him in some other group sessions. We also corresponded by mail about several books that I wrote under the auspices of Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
Recently I've been resonding to emails from someone who is highly interested -- perhaps "mildly obsessed" is a better way to put it -- in learning details of how and why I de-converted from the Sant Mat belief system.
I've told him that why? is a problematic question when it comes to complex human behavior. None of us is privy to the unconscious workings of the brain. Yet neuroscientists know that most of the why's behind the what's of our actions and thoughts aren't available to conscious awareness.
I can give reasons for what I do, as can you.
Whether those reasons bear much resemblance to brain-based reality is a whole other matter. So I've told the guy to read the posts on this blog in the "Radha Soami Satsang Beas" category to understand my viewpoint on the "why?" question, realizing that it's impossible for anyone (including me) to know exactly why I do the stuff that I do.
However, another question I got asked is easier to answer: what was the last communication I had with Gurinder Singh before I departed RSSB for other spiritual locales? Rummaging through my Return to the One files yesterday, it didn't take me long to find the April 17, 2003 letter to Baba Gurinder Singh ("Baba" is a term of respect).
Now, I realize that the letter won't be of much interest to anyone other than those who are curious about how my book about Plotinus ended up being published by me, rather than RSSB, or are into the whole guru-disciple thing and want to see how a disciple (moi) speaks to a guru about a volunteer task he's taken on.
I hadn't read this letter for many years. Perusing it yesterday, I was impressed with myself. I'd forgotten how generous and respectful I was right up until the end of my relationship with Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
In the letter I talk about how files of two books have been given to RSSB: Return to the One, and a rewrite of God's Whisper, Creation's Thunder -- which was distributed by RSSB until the publisher went out of business and new copies of the book became unavailable.
Brian-bashers, who are heard from regularly in disparaging comments on this blog and emails to me, have this notion of my Enormous Ego firmly in mind. They like to believe that I left Radha Soami Satsang Beas because the organization wouldn't go along with my egocentric efforts to have the Plotinus book published exactly as I wanted it.
After about seven years of research, writing, reviewing, and copious re-writing, the letter to Gurinder Singh shows that I happily gave RSSB Return to the One to publish, or not, as they saw fit. After this book was put on hold by RSSB for nine months, and didn't show any sign of coming back to life, I decided -- entirely reasonably -- to go ahead with publishing the book on my own.
But I fulfilled my commitment to the guru, and organization, which I was still a part of at that time. I had agreeed 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.
So kudos to me. Re-reading the letter, I come off sounding even better than I'd remembered. I love me! (If that's a sign of ego, so be it. Long live ego, and long live love.)
Here's the letter:
Download April 2003 letter to Gurinder Singh