A few days ago "Tanvee" left a great comment on a recent post, "More weird news from the world of Radha Soami Satsang Beas."
It deserves to be upgraded to its own post, which I've done below. This is a thoughful, well-written look at how the RSSB way of life can turn into a hypocritical, judgmental, rigid, dogmatic pseudo-spirituality.
What is said below fits with my own thirty-five year experience with this Indian religious-mystical organization, which is currently led by Gurinder Singh Dhillon -- who has grown wildly rich while serving as the RSSB guru.
Being married into an Indian Radha Soami Family:
I came from a happy, nurturing and fun loving family, with a conscience to live an ethical, righteous life, but not religious. We are at best agnostics and my father leans towards being an atheist. Born Hindus, we were never told to follow any rituals and my mother constantly reminded us that like one chooses his/her name, geography, profession, spouse; similarly he/she has the right to take up a religion and spiritual way of life at any stage.
And I did decide to marry this person from a family that was blindly Radha Soamiites. All conversations started and ended on Babaji and Maharajji.
All social conversations were looked down upon because they were not religious enough to suit their palate. It was tough to dine together because all they did and made people do is to read labels of products so that they were not consuming any egg, meat and alcohol ingredients. Their presence till date is socially discomforting not because of the choices they make but more because of the noise they make in exercising their choices.
From reading and forcing me to be part of prayers to insisting that I go for satsangs, I was every living minute being forced to live the power of the so called Guru and convert from a religion less life to a Radha Soami life. Almost like they were doing me a favor by bringing me to light from darkness. The air was always heavy with this pseudo spirituality. They didn't laugh, they didn't enjoy a light moment. Just a silent sense of superior existence.
They didn't discuss religion, rapes, riots and give a perspective to anything. It was always a safe silence, muted existence and a constant determined push to make me a radha soami. There were days when I was woken up at 5am to drive my mother in law to her satsang. And as we reached the venue, I would be pushed to walk in to hear the golden words but every time I resisted. In 45 degree Celsius heat of Delhi, I sat in the car waiting for her.
My logic was simple, If 30 years of blind following has made you what you are, I rather not hear this guy for a minute.
I saw the family as strongly materialistic. Less sensitive about people and their resources and a constant need to fulfil their own agendas in any given environment. I found them clever, selfish and unethical. Every thing they did was an effort to show someone down. I also saw them quite unsure of their stance. They weren't rooted in their philosophy and the philosophy was more a cover for appearing happy, spiritual and giving.
It took me time but I maintained my stance. I still find them so miserably living a life that they weren't meant to. But I do think we all have a choice in how we live.
I met a lot of so called spiritual people through my immediate family. They are all in a miserable journey of hypocrisy. Some honest enough to let you know that they were volunteering at Beas because it is a good, safe, retired life with state of art medical services and everything else taken care of. There was another guy in his late 40s who was phasing down his own business to move into Radha Soami volunteering full time.
I probed him on the reasons and he was honest enough to tell me that he had two daughters going to senior school and if he becomes a full time volunteer, the girls education will be fully sponsored by Babaji in any foreign country. He also mentioned that old age was comfortable in Beas and what better post retirement life could he get for himself.
I have nothing against cults and religions of the world. I know we all will choose our journey but if the journey is about throttling other peoples lives, then it hardly is a spiritual way of life.
If 3 other people have to disturb their schedule for your satsang, it is not a satsang. If you plan to plant pictures of your babaji all over the house, it can't make you spiritual. When you are spiritual, you don't have to go about coaxing people to convert to becoming a satsangi, they will ask you they reason for your glow & inner light. And if it doesn't, then stop fooling people. You came to live on this earth your own reality not someone else's.
Babaji, your are a rich guy taking charter flights across the globe, wearing pashmina shawls. Your son is a CEO and may become your successor too. I know you have taken the middle class of India by storm. Your satsangs leads to the worst traffic jams and the largest carbon footprint in Delhi. Why do these people need to see you and hear you?
I have in so many years not come across a single educated enlightened person from Radha Soami Satsang. If you do come across one, let me know. I go for SN Goenka meditations- Vipassana. He is still not my guru but he has given me the science of meditation. He doesn't want followers, he doesn't want to make it a religion and he doesn't want meditators to keep coming back for the 10 days vipassana course, if they have learnt the science of meditation.
Do you have the power to be SN Goenka? Or is this blind following by unvirtuous souls the only way you make money? Why not do some good and giving to people who refuse to follow you. You have made your millions but a lot of people will lose their sons and daughters because their blindness is not letting them love and accept unconditionally.