Recently I got an email from someone who shared ideas about Sant Mat, the Indian philosophy I used to believe in. My correspondent also asked me some questions. Here's what the person said, in italics, and my responses, in regular type preceded by a "ME."
A lot of this won't make sense to anyone who isn't into the intricacies of the Sant Mat teachings. But quite a few visitors to this blog are, so I figured that I might as well share the comments/questions and my responses.
I have been initiated for about 4 to 5 years now, and there is nothing that makes better sense than Sant Mat, as far as spirituality is concerned.
ME: I used to think that myself. Now I doubt it. But spirituality is a very personal affair. Whatever works for you, hold on to it. What doesn't, discard.
I should say that Life Is Fair is one of the books that I swear by. It makes sense and explains a lot of things or rather it opens the mind somewhat, so I don't think you should beat yourself up for writing it because even the most perfect book has its negative aspects. It should teach you though not to be too eager on the computer keypad.
ME: Well, Life is Fair was edited, re-edited, and re-re-edited. Both by me, and quite a few RSSB publications department reviewers. So whatever I don't like in the book now wasn't caused by over-eager writing. Rather, my views have changed on certain subjects. I'm no longer so eager to conclude that what I believe, or want to believe, really is true. I'm much more comfortable with simply saying "I don't know."
You raise a lot of legitimate concerns though concerning BEAS, because I have always wondered when I read Sar Bachaan as to where "our" lineage of Masters originate because Swami ji does not make a mention. It would be nice to get a history on Jaimal as to ascertain where he falls in, and why he regarded himself as a Master. In a letter to Sawan he mentions that he sent a lady (is it Swami ji's wife?) to take Sawan across the three regions; I have always wondered why he didn't do that himself, but maybe there is a logical explanation.
ME: I don't think logic is what's needed. Logic can be used to justify anything. Just look at all of the Christian logical arguments for believing in the Christian God. Evidence has to support logic. Otherwise logical assumptions can't be trusted. This is why science works, and religion doesn't.
You question the 10% percent [of souls] that have to go back [to God] (is it really 10%?). I too have my reservation on that, but maybe again there is a logical explanation for that.
ME: Again, logic isn't the issue. The real question is whether consciousness survives death, whether reincarnation is reality, those sorts of things. This requires evidence, not logic.
I don't find the whole "science" to be a sham as when collaborated with Eastern and Christian content, it does prove somewhat to be something worth "looking" into".
ME: Of course. Anything is possible. But not everything is true or real. We can fit together stories that make sense to us, whether religious or otherwise. This doesn't make that true or real, except in our own mind.
Have you done any research on vegetarianism as to ascertain it relation to Karma? I find Karma the explanation to make better sense than the big bang theory.
ME: Not sure what you mean. The big bang theory has lots of evidence behind it. Karma, in the sense of cause and effect, is obviously part of how the universe works. But "supernatural" karma isn't proven. It's a hypothesis.
If Swami Ji was a real Master, then following his real lineage wouldn't be altogether futile. What do you think of that? Apparently the Agra sect were building a tomb/memorial which is not very much in line with the Masters' teaching; that is why I didn't bother researching the Agra lineage. What do you think of the Agra lineage?
ME: I have almost zero interest in Sant Mat history. What's the point? It's like delving into Einstein's childhood life in an attempt to determine whether the theory of relativity is true. Truth, pretty much, stands on its own. There's a world apart from the human brain. The quest of science is to understand that reality, using the human brain. Our own internal world isn't very relevant to that quest, except insofar as (obviously) the human brain is how we experience everything, including the outside world.
I have never come across Kabir talking about the sixth Word. Can you help me with that. If the five names belong to Kal then does it matter?; considering that Sohang and Satnam are beyond Kal. Am I wrong there?
ME: I have no idea. This sort of question isn't very interesting to me, though I can understand why it is to you. Every religion is interested in its own history. I have just about zero interest in the history of Christianity, and the same level of interest in the history of "saints."
What is the truth in that when a "real" Master initiates you, it is compulsory that you see the light. Doesn't it make sense that you need a guide when traveling unknown territory?
ME: You're assuming the territory exists. You're assuming there is something beyond this world that can be, and needs to be, explored. This is an example of how logic fails. You're assuming the Inner Light exists, and that Inner Realms exist, then asking how one goes about experiencing the light and realms. In my opinion, the basic question is whether these things exist at all.
I'm sorry that I should give you so many questions as I was not initiated by you, but you have been there a while and you wrote one of the books so I guess I am not totally out of place when I hold you somehow "responsible."
ME: Questions are good. No reason to apologize for them. Keep on questioning. This includes questioning your own questioning. Ask yourself whether your questions are the best ones. Are there more fundamental questions that need to be asked and answered before your questions make sense?
Here's an explanation of what I was thinking about when I wrote those last sentences. I'd just been reading a section in my new favorite book about the brain and neuroscience. The author gives examples of how the left hemisphere of the brain looks upon the world.
It likes logic, even when a premise doesn't make sense. For example:
1. All monkeys climb trees.
2. The dog is a monkey.
3. The dog climbs trees.
The obvious response here is, "But the dog isn't a monkey!" Iain McGilchrist, the book's author, writes:
When asked if the conclusion is true, the intact individual displays a common sense reaction: 'I agree it seems to suggest so [by logic], but I know in fact it's wrong [by experience]'. The right hemisphere dismisses the false premises and deductions as absurd. But the left hemisphere sticks to the false conclusion, replying calmly to the effect that 'that's what it says here.'
So Sant Mat, along with all religions, has it's own left brain logic. For example:
1. A guide is good when traveling unknown territory.
2. Superatural spiritual realms are unknown territory.
3. A guide is good when traveling in spiritual realms.
The logic is fine. The premise in 2 and conclusion in 3 are highly questionable.
This is why I recommended that the person who sent me the email question more deeply his/her questions. If they are founded on false premises, it's the premises that need to be questioned.