Christians might be surprised to know that Jesus is alive and well, right here on Earth. Not the historical Jesus who died on the cross several thousand years ago, but other humans who share Jesus' divinity, his "son of God" status.
Such is the teaching of Sant Mat movements.
They're based in India and have an affinity with Hinduism and Sikhism. A central Sant Mat tenet is that God-realization requires initiation ("baptism") by a perfect living guru who is considered to be God in human form.
Just like Jesus!
Which makes these Sant Mat movements appealing to people who want a personal relationship with a Jesus figure, but prefer someone they can physically interact with, not a son of God who has departed heavenward.
He's billed as a spiritual master "dedicated to helping people realize themselves as soul" who "grants seekers a firsthand experience of their soul by putting them in direct contact with the Light and Sound of God."
Sounds like a highly elevated dude. If you were a disciple of this supposed modern-day Jesus, you'd expect that Rajinder Singh would demonstrate divine qualities -- such as exceptional love, compassion, wisdom, understanding.
Heck, probably even omniscience, since Rajinder Singh is a manifestation of God's creative power.
However, below is the story of someone who experienced a disappointingly ordinary Rajinder Singh. This person emailed me a few days ago, recommending some books I might like, and mentioning three and a half years of Rajinder Singh discipleship which ended after a shocking encounter with the guru.
Here's the tale:
Hello there Brian. About Sant Rajinder Singh Ji:
The feeling or belief that has been cultivated in these spiritual paths/organizations is probably familiar to you. That Indian guy is supposed to be a Perfect Master! A living Jesus Christ! Am I right?
I don't want to speak at great length about how and for what reason I was initiated, it is not relevant. The NEGATIVE shock for me came 3 years ago. It was a incident that put Rajinder Singh's godman properties to the test and opened my mind for good. This guy is the clown of the town.
May 2009. My late beloved father is sick. He has been diagnosed with lung cancer. I bought a ticket and visited the "living Christ" in Prague, Czech Republic, for some advice (chemo or alternative ways of healing, etc).
In the usual satsang setting Rajinder Singh meets with every one of the satsangis [disciples] at the end of the meeting. I was waiting for him to come in front of my seat. Beside me there was a young German couple with a bunch of photos of their new car. Right next to them I was holding a tiny photo of my dear father. My mind was in a storm.
Now watch this sequence in your mind:
-- The "master" came in front of the Germans.
-- They were flooding him with silly questions about the purchase of their new car and were asking him dozens of questions about their new house!!! PATHETIC waste of about 7 minutes. Rajinder Singh, the Indian 'master', gave them some replies and dealt seriously with them. I was saying to myself: "What the hell am I doing here?"
-- Finally "He" finished with them, and greeted me as he was passing quickly to the satsangis next to me. I called out "Master, wait!"
-- I stood up. I passed him my father's picture, saying that my father was sick. I didn't have a chance to describe my father's medical situation.
-- As a supposed god-embodied and partially omnipotent guru he could have spent more than 20 seconds with me. He could have asked me more questions about my problem, if he had really understood my critical situation. From the pain in my eyes any good psychologist would be curious to ask me more questions!
My heart was aching like hell. As a living Christ he could have said something more divine or insightful or spiritual to someone who was intended to feel death in his family.
Do you know what he did say during the 10 seconds he stayed with me and looked at the picture? "HE WILL BE/FEEL BETTER!" He said that my father would feel better or something like that. My personal Jesus devoted 10 minutes blessing the German car, and gave me a shitty FAST FOOD answer, full of generality and emptiness.
Because my father was not in terminal stage at that time, he was driving, eating etc. He was feeling good.
December 2009. My dear father died. As a family we gave death a great battle. I discovered that my father was a saint/martyr who endured pain and suffering. Probably I lost precious time with mind trap by believing in promiscuous miracle working. But now I feel more free and powerful than ever.
It was nice to have a word with you, Brian.
Sententiously: In my darkest hours, Rajinder Singh, my personal godman, that well-fed jerk, uttered a sentence of four words and left. A three year long misconstruction had finally collapsed to pieces.
"I think the world has had too many perfect masters, and popes, and mahatmas, and other such pretenders. Finding a perfect master is ideal only if your desire is to become a perfect slave."
--Robert Anton Wilson
Now, I'm sure devout Sant Mat followers will excuse Rajinder Singh's behavior in various predictable ways. (For over thirty years I was a devoted member of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, another Sant Mat group, so I'm familiar with these rationalizations.)
No one can judge a guru's actions.
The guru was testing this person's faith.
Gurus act like ordinary human beings to mask their divinity.
Expecting attention from the guru is an act of ego which won't be rewarded.
God, and gurus, behave in mysterious ways.
The father did "feel better." After he died.
Here's the common denominator of these excuses for a guru acting like a jerk: there's no way to know whether a Sant Mat godman is a divine being from his outward behavior or statements. Well, this is the same as saying "the existence of God must be accepted on faith."
It turns out, then, that Sant Mat and Christianity indeed are much the same. But not in the way Sant Mat says -- that both religions are founded on teachings from a Son of God.
Rather, the divinity of gurus like Rajinder Singh is supported by just as much evidence as exists for the divinity of Jesus: zero. These gurus are just ordinary guys who sometimes act like jerks.
Like the rest of us.