Wow, nice job, Dave.
David Lane, a.k.a. the Neural Surfer, responded to a questioning comment on one of my blog posts from "Appreciative Reader" by putting up a one page web site, The Guru Question.
I found the page most interesting, especially the part where Lane says nice things about me and this blog. For some (obvious) reason I found this particularly persuasive.
Lane is a bit more positive about the India-based spiritual/religious organization we both have belonged to, Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB). Which is led by a guru, Gurinder Singh.
We do share skepticism that the guru, or any guru for that matter, has supernatural knowledge or powers. Where we sort of part company is whether the meditation practice taught by RSSB, Surat Shabd Yoga, has anything special about it.
Leaving aside supernatural claims made by RSSB, such as that the guru connects an initiate with a divine energy at the time of initiation, the meditation methods are commonplace.
Basically, repeating a mantra and then engaging in open awareness of what is present in consciousness after stopping the mantra repetition. Supposedly inner sights and sounds may be seen and heard.
If this were an exercise in marketing, I'm not sure what RSSB's "product differentiation" is, given that many spiritual/religious paths promote the same sort of meditation practice. I find it difficult to understand why the same methods would lead to different results.
Which for me, during 35 years of daily meditation, included a better ability to concentrate, control unwanted thoughts, sit quietly for several hours, and be aware of what remains in consciousness when the outside world and inner mental chatter fade away temporarily.
As Lane says in The Guru Question:
It seems wise to me, in light of Near-Death Experiences and the plethora of other meditation accounts, to inspect how we see and hear during our inner voyages of light and sound. Then we may be able to understand why such experiences can occur to almost anybody, anywhere, anytime.
...It turns out that almost everybody has the inherent ability to see inner light and hear inner sound. Moreover, almost everybody has the capacity to have an out-of-body experience and behold wondrous inner visions. You don't need to go to an Indian guru to have such experiences indeed, you don't need to go anywhere at all.
I foundDavid s page most touching , especially the part where He says nice things about Charan and eeven Gurinder. -
I could react paragraph*wise but then concluded that I have answered everything already on this blog , , , everything yes ; in the very recent past and long ago
David might have missed some
The Faqir, Taqir, Kirpal, the ascensions depose Tulsi, How we see them All in and out of meditation ; , , the zero ability for IQ to grep a iota of it as compared with Intuition, *
how intuition can even prevent a Master to initiate a guy up to physical vomitting; How GIHFs just do their duties
About Swami Ram Das and all kinds of miracles started ( like God throwing flowers ) around such a guy,
So how it's NOT ONLY intuition but creation in excellence
Considering a miracle the equivalent of an impossibility.
One kind of anecdote concerning the TaranTaran Gurus, who later re*united with Beas,
A friend visited the Dera and takes one time a wrong door and entered a space where many guys were lying half on the ground with their thumbs on their right ears, , , some not but obviously listening to something
Their was a great feel of peace and joy
Without speaking to somebody he left and later asked someone in charge
how about [email protected] what this was
The answer was that they were all disciples of TaranTaran
and that their destination was the fourth region
from where their guru would take them together to go higher
They were all listening , accommodating enjoying the Divine Music
David made me also think about my first visit to Malaga
Some Spanish Old Ladies told me that they were so flabbergasted
about Gurinder 's appointment who in the past had always the seva of cleaning up the floor and dirty toilets
but also with his car collected old people like them
and that they always had to say : " Please Grinder ; , , put that Pop Music volume much softer
and He then did , , ,
One never know which kind guy or gurl will be a successor
and receive the gift of excellent taste in architecture
Posted by: 777 | February 01, 2015 at 08:26 AM
Some Spanish Old Ladies told me that they were so flabbergasted
about Gurinder 's appointment who in the past had always the seva of cleaning up the floor and dirty toilets but also with his car collected old people like them and that they always had to say : " Please Grinder ; , , put that Pop Music volume much softer and He then did , , ,
…….There have always been different stories regarding the greatness of these great masters, the Spanish stories will be told to sangat from Germany, France, U.K., Poland but never to people in Malaga. Maybe Even till today Babaji Don Gurinder Singh is in the seva of cleaning up the floor and dirty toilets and collecting old people in his car to satsang, but always in the Radiant Form, previously before appointment, without big beard and turban, but now with all these accessories.
Posted by: Juan | February 01, 2015 at 01:23 PM
I have an unfavorable opinion of the RSSB organization (bogus) and I do not share Lane's favorable view of the RSSB meditation practice, but I only know what my experience was and what a few others have said about it. That's it and that isn't much.
Lane may have fabulous results or not. Whatever. I plugged away at it for let's just call it a quarter century. I think it sucks. Sure I enhanced my ability to sit still for a couple of hours, but so what? I can do that anyway if I must. Simran (repeating so called "holy" names, bullshit) is one hell of a boring way to spend your time. I'd rather do taxes. They are very awkward names compared to the fluidity of other mantras I know.
I have found that body surfing yields far greater feelings of well being, spiritual attunement and just plain fun. Somehow, I think Lane does too. Fun is important. It's one of the good things in life. Fun is underrated in the spiritual world. There, fun is bad and a waste of time. Discipline and boredom are good. And then you're dead with no assurance of the discipline being of any advantage at that time.
There are better practices for me. Simran, imo, is mind numbing, not mind stilling. Too much time is devoted to it, at least in the beginning and it becomes like a pop song endlessly running in the mind very annoyingly and compulsively... "Like a Virgin, for the Very First Time"...
I prefer quietly following the breath in a pattern I don't want to go into here. Not because it is anything special. It just doesn't matter. Then, after awile, and sure as hell not two hours, I become somewhat still and perhaps intuitive apprehension might occur. Or not. But there are no rules. I do it as long or as briefly as I feel like. No guilt or recriminations.
What is apprehended? Subjective insights of the usual expansiveness, unity and light, or maybe the desire for some chips and guacamole. It varies. Maybe I just feel like getting up... Wow, here I am standing! How did that happen?
Life is like that.
Posted by: tucson | February 01, 2015 at 03:13 PM
777 I was in Malaga in1979. A group of us flew from there with Charan and his family and sangat leaders to Los Palmas, Canarie Islands..It was the only time I ever felt safe flying, how about that..Gurinder could possiblely been on that plane.
Posted by: june schlebusch | February 01, 2015 at 07:45 PM
June, I have not missed any of the visits of Charan to Laspalmas, Canary Islands, nor of Gurinder.
Though I don’t remember Charan’s visit in 1979 to Laspalmas, but Don Gurinder was definitely not with Charan.
If you can recollect, Gurinder, prior to taking charge of the Gurudom had trimmed beard and no turban.
Posted by: Juan | February 02, 2015 at 02:20 AM
Glad to read another one of your posts! So for now, it's back to taxes!
Posted by: Bob | February 04, 2015 at 04:24 PM
It's another one of your many wonderful posts and I have read most of the recent ones if not all and I must say you are a very intelligent man who knows what he's talking about. However, as much as I would like to agree with you, I can't. See I'm a seeker on this path and very closely follow it, since both my parents are initiates for almost 25 years now. My father like me is a very rational man who weighs every pro and con about everything in life before he makes up his mind about anything and for him to sacrifice everything and follow this path and still be happy is a mystery to me on its own. I've watched him for 20 years myself. The man seldom missed his meditation and is a true example what the present Guru asks from his disciples. Now I have read a few books by Dr Johnson and other authors and reading those books it's very hard to believe that this path can be a fraud, like many others are these days. But then again I personally never met all those authors and who knows they could all be lying and plus it's all their own experiences and the only way to find out for myself is if I walk on this path as guided by the master. Now, I have hundreds of questions in my mind, may it be on the existence of God or the need of a master etc. I tend to incline towards the idea of having a superior power just because it makes more sense than what atheists believe in. But again no one knows for sure. You say that you followed this path for 30 years as suggested by the master to your best ability and yet didn't find any results and thus you speak against it now. Fair enough. But then there are many who say that they heard and saw exactly what master promised and more. Since I can't believe them, I can't believe you either. Either they are lying or you are or perhaps you quit too soon or you missed the whole point and did something wrong. I will never know but I can find out for myself but then I'm afraid what if you're right and I end up wasting my youth years and regret it later. But I know this much for sure that this path seems very different than others. All the mystics and saints throughout history said the same thing and they all very strongly suggested the need of a master. That's exactly what the RSSB masters explain. Now suppose they are all wrong and you and some atheists or agnostics like me are right. What have we lost except quitting alcohol, meat, fish, fowl and mind altering drugs. it's not like the Guru charge anything for his service or asks for donations or any material things. But "IF" all they say and promise is true, boy that is some reward and I would do a hundred times more than what they ask, to get it. Forget about the heavens and higher planes, would you want to come back to this world of sorrow, pain and misery as who knows what. You could be an insect, a tree or a pig and whether you believe it or nor to me it kind of make sense. If one can evolve to be a human, why can't the same person de- evolve or degrade back to a lower species based on his actions in human life. See even if it's all a lie I'll rather stick to this path than risking coming back to this no good world again. I hope you and all the non believers are right because you guys have much more to lose than a believer of this path. I can make these sacrifices and still survive even if it's all a fraud but I don't want to be stuck here in this life cycle. That's the only thing more frightening than death.
Posted by: Gary | February 14, 2015 at 07:48 AM
I don't want to be stuck here in this life cycle.
Of course not. Sign right here and begin our course of meditation, prayer, and abstention, and you'll be well on your way to immortality and infallibility.
Posted by: x | February 14, 2015 at 08:50 AM
Seen the number of gorgeous new satsang ghars around the world , he has not changed spirit
Btw These were spanish ladies from Malaga telling me
Dear June :
You must be very old , I really hope that
that is not to much inconvenient in SA
We hear so much bad news about
Yes It's so special flying with Him I once did too in a small plane from Amritsar to Delhi never forget
It's much more simple
Most of us like to escape pain pain is in attachments and everything you lose when you think you die
Next Charan always started satsang with :
As we cannot detach, the mind doesn't know how to , , , change the bicycle for a nice car , and you forget the bicycle * the car is the sweet sweet sound : our Soul
Every human ( if not blocked by the uric acid firewall of meat ) can,
Only for being absorbed in that sound we can use some help
I wrote about here long ago how that feels but will not do more to prevent editing , , , However the beginners phase of so enjoying excludes totally the idea concept of death
Why You don't open in that sole google page the possibility to tell you some, , , things that might have escaped your mind,
Yes, everything well said and so lovingly said
And great respect for your father who obviously did much better than myself,
My own father ( not seeker even; catholic ) always said : before this your morals were ugly; so this VG system has positive influence
Also He said : I don't see wrong in Charan's behavior ( this blog didn't exist yet; Brian had still tears in his eyes , mr williams too )
A week before dying he said : "To your Gurus opinion " where will I go,
I said : "Where your heart already is"
and it was a great relieve to Him,
I LOVE YOU ALLLLL
Posted by: 777 | February 14, 2015 at 11:02 AM
Gary wrote: " All the mystics and saints throughout history said the same thing and they all very strongly suggested the need of a master."
--You are already conditioned by the dogma of Sant Mat RSSB. Understandable, as your parents are followers. You already have accepted the reality of soul transmigration and more as indicated by your comment.
Not all mystics and saints throughout history have said there is a need for a master in the way that Sant Mat does. But, yes, all mystics and saints in the Sant Mat tradition say that, of course. You might consider further study of the available widely diverse approaches to Reality.
Also, not that I was asked, if I were a seeker I would try to find out exactly what it is that would be reborn as a human, snake, bug or angel. Where is it located? What is its form and boundary? Does it have a boundary? Is it an it? You should at least be able to determine that much before you set out to save it via a master or some other method. It may be that in discovering that, nothing more need be done. If more is needed, then I think you have to find out if the master is really a master. That is a tough one. I have no idea how that would be done. This is where faith comes in.
If faith is your choice, why not Jesus? He doesn't require as much work. You can eat what you want and sleep late. All you have to do is accept him as your lord and savior and be nice. Allah and Mohammed are more difficult and have more requirements. You may even be motivated to commit atrocities in their name.
I have no answers, obviously.
Remember, as you said, you only have your youth once.
Posted by: tucson | February 14, 2015 at 01:21 PM
Hi 777 I'm 72 years old, but I was intiated at age 19, so that's a lot of years ago, but I have always felt ancient even as a child..I enjoy your comments as I know it is said with good intend although I no longer consider myself a satsangi I will always be gratefull for that experience, I am what I am now because of it..Peace and blessings to you dear brother...
Posted by: june schlebusch | February 15, 2015 at 05:44 AM
Not bad Tuscon, , , 'seems' not bad
One finds to many synchronities, up to miracles on his way
Another sees lots of light around the Guru
Another strangely falls in Love, can't help
A third waits years until he can't wait any longer
Also like Mr Luce from Venezuela
who sees all his life a nice angle-kind-person around him including help always there and then , , , , after 20 years in Hongkong his suite is spoiled and
needing a new asap
He then is allowed to go behind the store where a tailer
has the portrait of that same "phantom" on his desk
Next took the plane to Beas MaharaJi greeting him saying
"What took you so long?"
Then there are those who are deeply informed by unbelievable revelations, dreams or real strong revelations
Also there are who remember suddenly many past lifes and how they struggled like you do now in Vegas
There are also who start hearing these Sounds before initiations even from birth on
I know a lady who had nothing to do with all this , but sees a Master on the other side of the road and was struck as by lightning
There are those who find this planet a to hot kitchen
Make no problem about it
If needed , you can't resist for a second, , , , for the time being : just be nice
don't steal smiles, lifes etc because you have to give back
Seems Gurinder doesn't want others karma anymore ,,,,,,
I love you very much
Posted by: 777 | February 15, 2015 at 06:22 AM
I wouldn't call this path a dogma. It's more like a science. Study it and practice it under a teacher and find the truth for yourself. I haven't accepted anything as of yet, I simply said I incline towards the teachings and ideas of this path according to my own intellect. All this makes much more sense than believing you only live once. That way I could just commit suicide and be relieved of all pain and sufferings in an instant. It just seems too easy.
Now, I am not saying I'm a depressed, miserable guy who's childish and too weak to face the challenges of this world. I've had my share of fun. For a number of years I drank, smoked, burned and tried every other thing that one can possibly do in this world for pleasure and happiness. And trust me I didn't just try them but I was consumed by them. Even ate all kinds of flesh. But all I ever wanted was peace of mind, contentment, everlasting happiness which I'm sure we all would agree nobody can find in this world. One day I quit everything cold turkey and it doesn't even feel like some kind of sacrifice. It feels like I woke up from some kind of nightmare, now that is no less than a miracle to me.
All your questions about the soul and it's source, whether it exists or not are exactly mine. But just asking questions doesn't solve a problem. You have to look for answers and I will continue to look for them until I find out the truth for myself.You say I should be able to determine that much and please tell me how would I on my own. It is to find that answer I need a master. You are also right about finding and following the true, legit master and that is what I'm searching for. And so far I must say I'm very satisfied of the teachings of the RSSB master.
See in my case I believe in facts. I'm not much of a believer and I have trust issues. You are right faith is the foundation of this journey. At some point I have to trust someone and have faith in him. You say why not Jesus? Well, how can I trust someone with the most important treatment of my life who existed more than 2 millenniums ago. I need a Doctor now. Someone I can see and hear. All religions act as a guide book nothing more. You read them yourselves or let the priests translate for you. This is the most important driving test of my life and I have read the manuals. I can read them over and over thousands of times but only an instructor can help me pass it.
I'm not here to preach about this path. I'm merely a seeker who's asking questions. Most of you here seem more experienced in life and wiser than me. I'm trying to find anything and everything I can against this path and reason it with my intellect. Trust me I wish there is no God and this is the only life there is. Would save me so much trouble.
Posted by: Gary | February 15, 2015 at 07:32 AM
Thanks for your reply. My father once said I won't lie to you I haven't seen any of those higher realms yet. But why do you still meditate then, I asked. He said it's something I can't explain. I find happiness and peace in what I do. He said but the day I'll see something remarkable I will let you know. Even though He's the most honest man I've known all my life, I said don't bother, it wouldn't make a difference because I won't believe you. The only way I'll believe it is if I see it for myself. He said then this is the path for you my son.
Posted by: Gary | February 15, 2015 at 07:44 AM
June, Juan, 777 how lucky all of you have been for being able to get so near to your master. God bless you all.
Crying like anything.
Missing Him so much... have never got a chance to get so close to my dear Babaji.
Not getting enough time for which I want to give to.
So much consumed in paying off my worldly duties, but I think and feel it's also given by Him as sewa.
Juan, one question:
Why do you use "Don" in Babaji's name ? What does it exactly mean ?
Gary, that was a beautiful expression. Thanks for posting.
Tucson, for you (an interesting one from Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj):
"Loot sake to loot le, Ram Naam ki Loot"
"Ant wele pachtayega, Jab deh jayegi chhoot"
Loot as much as you can the wealth of the Naam when you possess the healthy body.
You will regret at the last breath when the very body will leave you alone.
Lots of Masters' Love to Everyone.
Posted by: One Initiated | February 15, 2015 at 10:35 AM
"When the Ocean comes to you as a lover, marry, , , quick, don't hesitate,
no other experience can be equal to this.
The Kings falcon for no reason has landed on your shoulder and has become yours."
Jalalu din' Rumi.
Posted by: 777 | February 15, 2015 at 11:32 AM
Cancellations of Babaji programme in April 2015 to Malaga and some other programmes as well due to health problems.
Posted by: Juan | February 15, 2015 at 12:25 PM
Gary wrote: "I wouldn't call this path a dogma. It's more like a science."
--I don't think you understand the term 'dogma', which is a belief accepted as truth that can't be proven or substantiated empirically (science) and must be held on faith alone.
Then Gary said: "See in my case I believe in facts."
--Then you need to take an objective, honest look at the Sant Mat teachings. Are they fact and not dogma?
Gary said: "But all I ever wanted was peace of mind, contentment, everlasting happiness which I'm sure we all would agree nobody can find in this world."
--Probably if you had that, all of a sudden your interest in Sant Mat would fade away. So, what you really want is peace and contentment. There may be other ways to develop those attributes.
Escape into religious faith may be a good Band-Aid. It may even serve you for life, but it could be upset at any time by the hard knocks of life.
Find a peace that is not dependent on a belief but rather in an inner stillness that may be available right now and not in some future lifetime which may or may not exist.
Gary said, " At some point I have to trust someone and have faith in him."
--I suggest you learn to trust in yourself. If you can't do that yourself, at most find a teacher who helps you achieve that in a reasonable amount of time and then says, "You don't need me anymore."
I wish you the best in finding peace.
One Initiated presented: "Loot as much as you can the wealth of the Naam when you possess the healthy body.
You will regret at the last breath when the very body will leave you alone."
--If we are honest with ourselves we must admit no one knows what happens after the last breath. It can be talked about, theorized about, believed in as faith, but it cannot be shown or known as an object or conceptualized or described. "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" takes a stab at it but it really isn't very satisfying to the living.
The only verifiable Bardot is Brigitte. I personally don't want to spend life "Waiting for Bardot".
It could be questioned whether the "wealth of Nam" via the method of Sant Mat is a worthy pursuit during a person's prime of life. It is a gamble. True, sometimes you have to take a chance in life based on faith and belief when at a fork in the road, but maybe this should be tempered by reason, evidence and experience, a worthy hunch. Some may not want to take the chance of using that time based on an abstract belief or faith, and some will. I am not trying to say what is right for everyone. I don't know that.
Posted by: tucson | February 15, 2015 at 12:49 PM
Thanks for that very complete reply to the questions I’d asked some weeks back.
Sorry for this lag between your posting that article and my replying to it. I’d been traveling, and have logged in here to Brian’s website after a good while. (Not that the Internet isn’t portable, but you know how it is.)
You know, I was struck with the very depth of your reply (in that article you’ve uploaded). I’d heard your name generally mentioned in the context of RSSB, of course, but I wasn’t really fully aware of the exact work you’ve done in that context. Curious, I clicked around a bit via Google, and find that it is you who were responsible for the “discovery” of the “Chandian effect”. (Well, it was Faqir Chand himself who was primary responsible for that discovery, of course, but it was you who made it known to the world at large.) I’d read of the Chandian effect earlier, but cursorily and without associating your name with it. In our earlier interactions, I assumed you’d read of this online (as I myself had done) or perhaps in some book : and now it turns out that it is you who actually wrote that book (both literally and figuratively)! That’s very cool! I can see how this Chandian effect is something that has far-reaching and fundamental relevance not just with respect to RSSB, but across spiritual traditions everywhere! (Potentially so, at any rate, and assuming that Faqir Chand was right, and also assuming that this is universally applicable—both of which, of course, are big assumptions.)
Now knowing the full depth of your involvement in and knowledge of this topic, I appreciate your detailed reply to me all the more. I could have asked for no better person to address these particular questions of mine!
A few observations, if I may :
1. I generally agree when you say that we do need to figure out, ourselves, our position in this whole business about spirituality (as perhaps in everything), but there’s probably a qualification that should come in here. “Spirituality” is a very vast body of knowledge (and practice). (That body of knowledge and practice may be spurious, or not—but that is a different discussion, and does not detract from the vastness of the content of this “discipline”.) I find it just a bit absurd for all and sundry to jump into the fray, imagining they’re all experts (as they often tend to do). Brian legitimately can do it (with his 30 years of two hours’ prescribed meditation every day) and extensive study, as can you yourself : but for most people, while of course they’re entitled to their opinions and views, those opinions and views have only limited relevance, unless those opinions and views are fully (or fairly fully) informed.
I myself find the cat that’s simultaneously dead and alive difficult to grok. For that matter I see no reason to believe (arbitrarily and wholly counter-intuitively, it seems to me) that the speed of light is some special number that limits the velocity of anything, anywhere (including things we do no even know of, an absolute limit). But unless I’ve learned the math, understood the theory in depth, all that, no one would take me seriously if I proclaimed to the world that Quantum Mechanics is hogwash, and Schroedinger and Einstein were misguided charlatans. Nor would I myself make such proclamations if I had my mental faculties fully in place. Why would it be any different in the case of what is generally termed as spirituality?
So, while we do need to figure out our answers to things spiritual at our individual level, we cannot (unless we’re drawn enough to this subject to pay the price of learning a good deal about it) really trust our own judgment, can we? Not unless we’ve put in the necessary grunt-work already.
As I was saying to Brian some time back (in the course of an email correspondence), perhaps we’ve reached a stage where the theist-atheist debate is passé. Outside of individual pockets of bible-thumping (or Quran-thumping, or RSSB-book-thumping) insanity, we generally inhabit a sane world. Where the camps are drawn not basis belief, but basis inclination towards this particular subject (as with any other subject). That divide (between experts and non-experts) we cannot wish away, no more here (when dealing with spirituality) than with any other field (like quantum mechanics).
(Just to clarify, I’m not batting for a spiritualistic way of looking at the world. What I’m saying is that it takes an expert to engage fully with this topic, as with any other specialized topic—to agree with, or to debunk, or to further advance.)
So we’re all “working scientists” as far as “spirituality” is concerned, only to the extent that this particular “science” draws us in enough to learn a very great deal about it, both the knowledge part and the practice part. And not otherwise. At least that is how this seems to me. (And this is not just hair-splitting. This does impact how we conduct our lives. We may choose to be uninterested and indifferent to all this, certainly : but there is a sea difference between a man ignorant of all this who chooses to reject all this—as well as a man who’s largely ignorant of all this and still accepts and believes blindly—and a man who’s taken the trouble to go in depth into all this and who from that position of knowledge takes some particular position on all this, no matter what that particular position may be—acceptance, partial acceptance, agnosticism, or total rejection—for that particular individual. I’m saying, what one’s particular position is—total belief, partial belief, agnosticism, or all-out atheism—is of far less importance than the process by which and the actual knowledge basis which that position has been arrived at.)
2. What you had to say on “inner experiences” I found absolutely mind-blowing. You chose not to dwell overly much on your personal experiences with the actual inner son et lumiere, but that’s cool. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing. I think what you’ve said here validates (in as much as one takes what you’re saying at face value—which I myself, for one, have no trouble doing) the “inner basis” of this business, at least in this particular instance (I mean RSSB). That’s saying a lot! And what you’re saying about not wanting to buy all of the theology (and the very distinct iffiness of the RSSB organization wanting to do just that, and insisting that all followers do just that) makes complete sense to me.
That part where you say, David, that everyone can access these experiences, that set me thinking. [And your school experiment was rather fascinating, if just a bit risky! :-) ] Brian, if you’re reading this, I’d love to know what you think about this : I’ve often seen it voiced here in your blog (and comments) that these experiences are not “special”, for three reasons : (a) they’re accessible to everyone ; (b) they are probably accessible even outside of this particular tradition, or for that matter outside of any tradition ; and (c) there’s nothing to indicate that they’re in any way transcendental, or anything like that. Now here’s where I find this line of thinking a bit off-key. See, you practice your Tai Chi, and earlier used to practiced Karate, right? Now you get some benefits from these exercises : (1) You enjoy yourself. (2) You feel more centered. (3) You are better able to defend yourself. (4) You become more fit. So, are Tai Chi and Karate “special”, or are they a waste of time? After all, their benefits are accessible to everyone. Those benefits are equally accessible via other disciplines. People may find their way to accessing these benefits even outside of any formal tradition or discipline. And finally, we have no proof of their giving you any transcendental benefit (like strengthening your Chi, or whatever). So is Tai Chi “special”? I think that’s the wrong question to ask, because that phrasing implies a universal answer. It’s special if you find it so ; and it’s a waste of time if you find it so. It’s a matter not of argument but of assessing one’s predilections. In fact what I’m saying was, in a way, the substance of the answer you once gave me yourself to the “spiritual question” I’d asked: and surely this simple and straightforward position settles the atheist-agnostic-theist debate that one sees played ad infinitum on these columns once and for all? (Unless one’s audience happens to be comprised of fundamentalists, in which case of course one’s position will need to be less nuanced and more brutishly definite, but this answer would not be a universal answer but would answer only in that particular context.)
David, thanks for that very interesting and detailed explanation of the neuro-physiological basis of experiences had while meditating in the RSSB tradition. Fascinating reading.
Two questions here, please : First, you mention Nad Yoga at one point. I’ve heard of it (in some cases equated as one of the main types of Yoga, along with Bhakti Yog, Karma Yoga, etc), but know nothing about it. Is Nad Yoga the same as Surat Shabd Yoga? And two : you’ve talked of Shabd Yoga “arguably dating back to the pre-Vedic period of India”. Are you again referring to Nad Yoga there, and can you tell me a bit more about this (about Shabd Yoga tracing its origins to pre-historic times)?
3. That part about your finding yourself spontaneously “speaking in tongues” (which you were discussing with Jim Sutherland in the Comments section) when you were young, that’s very remarkable. Some others may find that weird and difficult to believe, but not me : because I’ve actually seen a friend of mine (an eightyish lady, actually) have equally out-of-the-world and difficult-to-believe-unless-you-actually-see-it experiences, apparently because her Kundalini-based spiritual practices led to an awakening of the Kudalini Shakti. Now let’s garnish that explanation with any amount of salt, but the manifestations of what she experienced were very real. She was either a sweet old lady who, inexplicably and out of the blue, had picked up some kick-ass cutting-edge magic/illusion techniques, and was going to a very great deal of trouble to perform very convincing magic tricks to a very small group of people and gaining nothing in return (except I suppose some half-doubting regard) ; or else, equally inexplicably (unless you buy the Kundalini story) she’d actually picked up these “abilities”.
It’s remarkable that you’ve yourself had this experiences, and apparently spontaneously. Do you have any explanation yourself for what happened to you? Do you buy the Kundalini theory? (And also : when you actually went ahead and spoke in tongues, what kinds of explanations were offered by others—you know, psychiatrists and other sundry “experts”—for this inexplicable phenomenon?)
I haven’t yet read the link you’ve posted in reply to Jim Sutherland in your comment. If these particular answers are included there, then I’ll look them up there. In any case I’d be fascinated to hear your account of this whole business.
4. I totally agree with your assessment of Brian’s blog (if it doesn’t sound presumptuous for someone with as little actual experience in things spiritual as me to offer that opinion). Atheist blogs and websites one can find aplenty, but all that, in my view, is purely amateurish stuff. Good when evaluating (and debunking) oafish religious beliefs, but of very limited use when evaluating more subtle and nuanced aspects of spiritualism. Brian’s very real experience in these matters places him in a unique position to engage with these subjects in depth, and help us find our own individual answers to these timeless questions. Thanks once again, Brian!
5. David, after reading what you’ve written, I remain unsure of what I actually think about “the Guru question” (basis your article). You liken the Guru at one place to a surfing instructor (which clearly knocks off the turban off the Guru’s head, to use an analogy you’ve used elsewhere), but then also, later, talk of a certain focusing and channeling that the Guru can bring about in the student or disciple (which does put at least a cap, if not a ceremonial turban, back on the Guru’s head). You do say that perhaps some benefits can be had even if one believed implicitly in someone’s, well, adept-hood, even when they were not really an adept as such : and that does make some sense too : but can one get more benefit by placing this belief in someone who’s a real adept?
Let me try to phrase that question in more precise terms : You’ve personally interacted, extensively, with Faqir Chand. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you accept him to be an adept, as someone who’d progressed a great deal internally (whatever that term “internal progress” may imply). And then he ended up guiding others and helping others, et cetera, via his disciples’ inner mental projections, all that. Tell me, what do you think : Had an impostor been sitting in Faqir Chand’s place, would that impostor have been able to have that exact same effect on his disciples? What I’m asking is, disciples’ inner mental projection or no, did Faqir Chand’s own inner “evolution” have anything at all to do with this whole phenomenon (your “Chandian effect”)? Does the Guru’s own “merit” have any bearing at all on this phenomenon, or is it only incidental? I think a clear answer to this question will settle the “Guru question”. (And I realize that you cannot really offer that clear answer, but only an opinion : but that opinion is what I’m asking for. Also, if possible, the basis for that opinion.)
Thanks a lot for the time and effort you’ve already taken to answer me, David, and for that very enlightening [if Brian won’t mind my use of that word on this rationalist blog/platform, since I mean it in a purely mundane and everyday sense :-) ] article of yours. And I look forward to reading your further comments on this.
With best wishes,
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 16, 2015 at 05:33 AM
I need a Doctor now...I wish there is no God and this is the only life there is.
A psychiatrist can make your wish come true.
Posted by: x | February 16, 2015 at 08:20 AM
I guess Atheism should be considered a dogma as well since you guys believe there is no God and yet no one has ever proved that. Now please don't tell me one can't prove what doesn't exist because that's not a very satisfying answer. There is a very thin line between a dogma and a fact. Which is a fact for you might be a dogma for me and vice versa. Before anything becomes a fact one needs to have faith and belief in it. Columbus wouldn't have found what we call North America today if he didn't sail West. All Scientists start with a hope and belief before they change it into a fact.
Peace of mind and contentment is happiness. When one doesn't have any desire or fear left in life, that is true happiness. What makes us happy? Something valuable or someone very dear to us. When that dear one may it be a spouse, close friend or a dog dies, which eventually everyone does, we find ourselves miserable and depressed until off course we move on with time finding happiness in someone else. Wouldn't you agree that what we call happiness is very temporary. It comes in different spells. Sometimes lasts longer than we expect and sometimes goes away with a blink of an eye. I am certain that even if I win the $ 50 million lottery tomorrow I won't be happy because before I've even won it the thought of distributing it among my dear ones and acquaintances bother me. So many people know me and I can't make everyone happy but then it's a huge amount and they will all expect something and I don't want to let someone down but I can give it all away and will still end up hurting someone. Call it my negativity or something else. Find me one person who has no desire left in this life and has nothing to lose. One who fears nothing, not even death. The point is ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. We all want happiness and at the same time we know it's temporary still we fool ourselves by believing it might last forever.
Now I have one question for the atheists here. A man can kill hundreds of people, gets the same punishment as someone who kills just one. I mean you can't kill a man more than once and death sentence is the capital punishment so where's the justice. Who knows some might even get away with murders and rapes and live their lives happily without ever getting caught. Some are born in the slums of Mumbai, some in even worse parts of Africa where they starve to death. On the other hand we have some born in castles with a silver spoon in their mouth. How on earth am I suppose to find peace and happiness in a world like this. Doesn't the karmic theory and reincarnation comes the closest to answer this question unless off course someone has a better answer unknown to my knowledge.
Posted by: Gary | February 16, 2015 at 10:50 AM
Appreciative Reader, great response to a great reply to your questions by David Lane.
I don't have much to say in reply to your response to David's reply. Just this, I guess...
More and more, my attitude to "spirituality" (a view shared by many others, of course) is that the end of the spiritual search is a realization that there never was anything to search for.
Down deep, I think this is close to what David was saying. Meaning, there isn't a supernatural, other-worldly, divine world. There is just this world.
Further: there isn't a separate "self" that needs "self-realizing." We as humans, along with everything else, are integral aspects of an interdependent world.
Wiser minds than mine have put this as "enlightenment is realizing that there is no self." No one is home to be enlightened, in other words. No soul, no eternal drop of soul-consciousness, etc.
When spirituality is looked at this way -- and such is the way of Zen, Buddhism in general, Taoism also -- any drive for special experiences is viewed as meaningless. Such is just one more example of the "I want more, because I am a special being" attitude that leads us to always be on the path to somewhere, while never getting there.
Manifestations of this wanting-behavior include searching for a guru who has al the answers, or a religion that will provide what we believe we need and deserve.
But what if the problem is that we wrongly believe that we are a separate self that needs something other than what the cosmos is already providing?
Then the spiritual/religious search, as noted before, would just one more illusory attempt to get lasting satisfaction by accumulating just one more thing -- in this case, enlightenment or salvation.
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 16, 2015 at 01:33 PM
some here are happy
others are less
I guess we might agree on :
"We will go where our heart already is"
So Brigitte, so close ( I can walk to Her ) will be Fine
She is already an Angel
For us, , , let it be Love , not irritation
Posted by: 777 | February 16, 2015 at 02:19 PM
Appreciative Reader you say: "I find it just a bit absurd for all and sundry to jump into the fray, imagining they’re all experts (as they often tend to do)."
Jumping into the fray here. I was initiated into RSSB when I was 23 and I will be 70 this year, certainly not an expert, but maybe just a little qualified to comment?
Have you read Dr Julian P Johnson's books? I think you might have a lot in common with him. He was an intellectual, smug professor type with a superiority complex and his visit to India where he met his guru, the Master Sawan Singh had a remarkable effect on him.
There is plenty of information about him in Wikipedia, his list of books etc - Julian Philip Matthew Johnson (1873-1939)
Posted by: observer | February 16, 2015 at 03:30 PM
Hi observer, so from what I can gather you were intiated in '68, so that must have been here in SA as the big wave in the States only started in the 70ties...I would love to share somethings with you as we certainly have much in common..Would you consider some private correspondence?..If you so desire Brian has my permission to give you my email..Kind reguards June.
Posted by: june schlebusch | February 16, 2015 at 11:50 PM
PS observer as you are from Durban we might even have crossed paths as I always attended the bandars held at Chattsworth..We certainly have a knowledge of the history of Sant Mat even if as I am, still not sure "What it was all about"...If I had the ability I would love to write a book about the sociological implications of the effects it had on all of us...Perhaps some clever fellow here could do that, maybe David Lane? or even x.?
Posted by: june schlebusch | February 17, 2015 at 12:11 AM
You’ve got me wrong. I mustn’t have expressed myself clearly enough I suppose, so that you seem to have read in there the exact opposite of what I was trying to convey. (Unless you're joking, and it is I who was unable to understand your humor?) Anyway, what I was referring to there is the increasingly fashionable trend of people, with almost zero knowledge or experience, dismissing out of hand the experiences and thoughts and philosophies whose depth they would find difficult to even imagine, and far less actually understand those actual experiences and thoughts. I was referring, in short, to easily-convinced atheists. Although this would apply as well, also, to their earlier versions (who persist to this day, albeit in smaller numbers than earlier) who attempt to shove others’ thoughts and philosophies, which they’ve read about or heard of but not themselves actually experienced or properly understood, down the throats of random passers-by. And this second reference is to the loutish thumpers of “holy” books, who in my view are the spiritual brothers of the loutish burners of holy books. Both types we’ve all come across, I’m sure (and I’m equally sure we generally wish we hadn’t)! Neither reference is remotely about people on here.
I know from your earlier comments about your long association with RSSB as well as of some your experiences that you’ve talked about here. David was speaking of “working scientists”. Well, you’ve certainly put in the “grunt-work”, and you definitely qualify as a “working scientist”, at least in my book, irrespective of the actual conclusions that your “experiments” have brought to you. (And again, lest you misinterpret me there : I am not dismissing your actual conclusions, those are of vital importance in the discussion on what IS : only, it is a separate discussion from the one we’re having right now, in this comment.) In fact, as far as I can make out, most of those who comment here regularly, do speak from some real depth and real experience. As long as those conclusions come from real experience and actual knowledge, the individual conclusions don’t matter (at this meta-level, I mean—they matter a great deal when the discussion shifts to an evaluation of those conclusions) ; and out-and-out scoffers like x/cc, thoughtful agnostics like Tucson, and believers like June and 777 and you (to take some names of some regular commenters here that come to mind at random as I type this—and recognizing, also, that June and 777 and you, for example, don’t believe the exact same things), as well as our un-Pastor, we’re all equal passengers on the same boat.
I’m sorry I came across as smug. Blame my writing style for that. In practice I’m anything but. This vast mystery all around us often overwhelms me, as I try in my small way to make some kind of sense of it. Always, always with the specter of the curtains falling on this brief period of personal lucidity looming close (usually threateningly, and at some times reassuringly). I wouldn’t presume to anything approaching certainty, far less smugness. Sometimes I wish I could find my way to somewhat less of uncertainty—life would be easier and less (unnecessarily?) complex then (but also, at another level, less exciting, I suppose—and in any case, I am what I am and life is what it is). The discussions on Brian’s blogsite help me (and why just me, they help all of us who read this blog) formulate/streamline my own thoughts, and your own comments are and have been very much a very valid part of those discussions.
Yes, I’ve read Julian Johnston’s Path of the Masters. (Just that one book. I don’t know of anything else he’s written. I could try googling him, I suppose, like you suggest.) Very very interesting, and very very thought-provoking, that book of his. (And I know what you’ll think when you read this sentence, that it would be more to the point if it provoked something more than just thoughts. I agree. In the absence of actual experience, thoughts don’t amount to much. On the other hand, perhaps experiences are meaningless—as Brian was saying just now, in his last comment here? See, I’m uncertain even about this. :-) And believe me, I’m not being facetious, despite that smile.)
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 17, 2015 at 04:43 AM
That was a lovely comment, Brian.
I can think, knee-jerk as it were, of many “on the other hands” to what you say. The first of which is the observation that what you say sounds good, but is after all no more than just a hypothesis (just one of very many hypotheses going round). But then (on the third hand!) what more can any “working scientist” hope to arrive at after all, in this essentially subjective space?
Here’s another other knee-jerk “on the other hand” : Isn’t what you’re saying indicative of an apocalyptic view of spirituality? We see spirituality as a sort of panacea for all ills, a grand solution to everything there is and will be ; something that, when properly achieved, will sort of obliterate all the petty (and not so petty) irritants that the world abounds in : and when that dramatic solution isn’t forthcoming, we go the other extreme and reject it all. The frenzy of spirituality is replaced by the lassitude of spiritual disillusionment.
“Any drive for special experiences is viewed as meaningless”, you say, when juxtaposed against the possibility of no-self and, in any case, the inevitability of death. There is one big assumption here. That our life ends when it does. As you’ve said just now, and many times elsewhere. Even if that were so (a big “if”, since this too is only a hypothesis), even then : why should the “drive for special experiences” be meaningless, any more than the drive to acquire the ability to execute a spectacular overhead kick (without tearing a ligament), or the drive to bench-press twice my earlier limit, or the drive to earn five times as much money as I’m already earning, or the drive to run a half-marathon, or the drive to whatever? Why does it have to be all or none, everything or nothing? If spirituality gives me simply the ability to speak in tongues or read people’s thoughts (not that I’m claiming it does ; and nor am I saying that I personally have any desire at all to speak in tongues or read people’s thoughts), why is that “meaningless” simply because I am merely a no-self with no more than the working illusion of a self, and simply because I will cease to be when I die? If that drive is meaningless, then surely so is every other drive (beyond the drive for the bare absolute minimum necessities of life)?
By the way : I suppose you know where I’m coming from, but just to make sure there are no misunderstandings : I’m not really fighting against your position. Your thoughts are my thoughts (albeit yours are formed more completely, and voiced more clearly), and I’m merely trying to feel my way through these thoughts.
Even as these thoughts (the knee-jerk contrary thoughts) come to mind, I do sense, at bottom, something of the essential futility of all this running around and jumping around. Not a desperate or hopeless futility, but a sort of peaceful futility. Perhaps that is why many wise men retire from life (at least per the alleged history of a good many allegedly wise men)? [And of course, retirement from life can take many different forms, many of them not involving forests or deserts or even solitude!]
I fully agree with David’s description of your blog as a sort of Satsang. I don’t think he was being at all extravagant there. It isn’t too difficult to picture a group of ochre-clad (or was it yellow?) characters, with heads shaved, having just such a discussion, in some now-forgotten language (not that Pali is fully forgotten, not even close), with each other and with the un-Pastor, with the un-Pastor gently guiding the whole discussion overall and giving it direction.
That was truly a lovely comment, what you said just now. This lassitude (or, seen another way, this withdrawal from pointless frenzy), perhaps that is exactly what they mean when they say : “Before enlightenment, drawing water and chopping wood ; and after enlightenment, ditto”? Perhaps the meaning of that epigram/koan is no more than just this?
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 17, 2015 at 05:07 AM
I guess Atheism should be considered a dogma as well since you guys believe there is no God and yet no one has ever proved that. Now please don't tell me one can't prove what doesn't exist because that's not a very satisfying answer. There is a very thin line between a dogma and a fact. Which is a fact for you might be a dogma for me and vice versa. Before anything becomes a fact one needs to have faith and belief in it. Columbus wouldn't have found what we call North America today if he didn't sail West. All Scientists start with a hope and belief before they make it a fact.
Peace of mind and contentment is happiness. When one doesn't have any desire or fear left in life, that is true happiness. What makes us happy? Something valuable or someone very dear to us. When that dear one, may it be a spouse, close friend or a dog, dies, which eventually everyone does, we find ourselves miserable and depressed until off course we move on with time finding happiness in someone else. Wouldn't you agree that what we call happiness is very temporary. It comes in different spells. Sometimes lasts longer than we expect and sometimes goes away with a blink of an eye. I am certain that even if I win the $ 50 million lottery tomorrow I won't be happy because before I've even won it the thought of distributing it among my dear ones and acquaintances bother me. So many people know me and I can't make everyone happy but then it's a huge amount and they will all expect something and I don't want to let someone down but I can give it all away and will still end up hurting someone. Call it my negativity or something else. Find me one person who has no desire left in this life and has nothing to lose. One who fears nothing, not even death. The point is ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. We all want happiness and at the same time we know it's temporary still we fool ourselves by believing it might last forever.
Now I have one question for the atheists here. A man can kill hundreds of people, gets the same punishment as someone who killed just one. I mean you can't kill a man more than once and death sentence is the capital punishment so where's the justice. Who knows some might even get away with murders and rapes and live their lives happily without ever getting caught. Some are born in the slums of Mumbai, some in even worse parts of Africa where they starve to death. On the other hand we have some born in castles with a silver spoon in their mouth. How on earth am I suppose to find peace and happiness in a world like this. Doesn't the karmic theory and reincarnation comes the closest to answer this question unless off course someone has a better answer unknown to my knowledge.
Posted by: Gary | February 17, 2015 at 06:14 AM
I apologise for my knee jerk reaction to your comment. I must have been feeling over sensitive or inferior somehow. Kinda weird. Feel awful now, you have a kind heart - lots of love to you brother.
Yes, we have a lot in common. I think the 60's was a magical time and Maharaj Ji coming into my life was amazing. Wouldn't change a thing even though I am now a totally different person, more of an agnostic. I will get in touch via email :)
Posted by: observer | February 17, 2015 at 08:00 PM
I fully agree with David’s description of your blog as a sort of Satsang
It does seem, Brian, that some of your former brethren believe you are Gurinder's true successor, and that Church of the Churchless is where the astute satsangi goes these days. Anything you do to shake them only gives them greater assurance that you're the guru to go with.
Posted by: x | February 17, 2015 at 08:09 PM
How on earth am I suppose to find peace and happiness in a world like this.
Where did you get the idea that you should "find peace and happiness"? Life is what it is, not what it should be.
Posted by: x | February 17, 2015 at 08:14 PM
If the karmic theory and reincarnation teachings underpinning Sant Mat are true, then by definition those born poor or deformed or worse off must have been real 'bad' in a previous life.
It means those born into silver-spoon wealthy existences must have been real 'good' in a previous life.
This doesn't really make sense to me, because by my reckoning, you get real shits and real gems in every strata of society.
Yet it is precisely these less well-off wretches who seem to find RSSB the most beneficial. Is it not the rssb teaching that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle them for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God?
Then of course you get babies who get afflicted with some terrible illness at birth - before they've even become consciousness - what could such a rebirth ever be payment or karma for? It teaches nothing.
All very puzzling, but if karma is correct then those who struggle must truly have been real shits in previous lives, whereas those born with a silver spoon must have been very nice individuals?
Does this mean life is fair?
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 17, 2015 at 11:38 PM
Put another way - if you are born into and surrounded by fortunate circumstances and surrounded by love your whole life - is there any chance that you are going to be tempted to do any meditation or soul-searching in the slightest?
Whereas if you are constantly beset with problems, be they real or psychological, where you've been born into poverty or pain and your existence is a tortured arduous one where you are an extremely flawed individual - does it not make more sense that you may be more tempted or it may be more beneficial to do a shitload of meditation and soul-searching?
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 17, 2015 at 11:54 PM
Appreciated reader, David,
"believers like June and 777"
It's not believe, I never based myself on "believe",
never even used the word
It's KNOWLEDGE , like former incarnations plus a lot
of 100% objective stuff .
I am the only scientific one here
There is so much bad math here : like 0*1=0
Posted by: 777 | February 18, 2015 at 03:51 AM
""If the karmic theory and reincarnation teachings underpinning Sant Mat are true, then by definition those born poor or deformed or worse off must have been real 'bad' in a previous life. -""
NOO, No, absolutely NO,
There are so many up to 4th region high level entities
They begged the Almighty for access to the 7th heaven ( Zohar )
( these levels are planes of pureness of consciousness not persé locations
although jeevas (souls+ego) can instantly create certain time-space
These very high unbelievable High souls will take then all karmas ( see my college about stealing versus 'just' giving back' ),
and then find themselves born in so very deplorable positions/births
on this suitable planet , , , , like a clochar sleeping under the bridge; like an outcast in India, as a forced prostitute , etc
and so you have ALWAYS to ask yourself
about what you stated above that so & so was a bad guy gurl
Posted by: 777 | February 18, 2015 at 04:11 AM
"""Where did you get the idea that you should "find peace and happiness"? Life is what it is, not what it should be. " ""
Once, , , , after some exercises you acquire the capability to BE at most time ABOVE YOUR EYES
You feel the love at ALL TIMES completely independent from your
May all readers acquire this living most seconds like that,
above your eyes , invulnerable
Posted by: 777 | February 18, 2015 at 04:20 AM
I fully agree with David’s description of your blog as a sort of Satsang
It does seem, Brian, that some of your former brethren believe you are Gurinder's true successor, and that Church of the Churchless is where the astute satsangi goes these days. Anything you do to shake them only gives them greater assurance that you're the guru to go with.
Hello to you too, x. I’d been away for a while, and it is when I log back again here again that I realize all of what I’d been missing while I was away from here. Glad to see the old gall bladder’s working fine, and continues to pump up a steady and robust supply of bile! ;-)
I expect what you said just now (quoted above in italics) was just a general sneer (as opposed to an actual observation meant to be taken literally), just your charming way of telling me that you’re happy to see me again : but bear with me if I try, nevertheless, to address what you said literally.
A “satsang” is by no means a trademark-protected term of RSSB’s. It’s a Sanskrit word (also found in many current-day languages that are derived from Sanskrit), and it refers, broadly speaking, to a talk or discussion where things of this nature (the sort of things we talk about on here) are discussed. Of course, the word takes on different nuances basis the actual context : for instance, the RSSB folk apply a certain specialized meaning to the term. But the general meaning of that word covers all of our discussions here, including both your atheism (as long as it is based on actual reasoning and knowledge, as indeed your own atheism seems to be) and your sneers (as long as those they stay on topic as we talk of things beyond, again as your charming sneers generally are). And atheists have a long and hallowed role in satsangs. Charvac (sometimes spelt Carvac) comes to mind as example. Also the Buddha himself, although he of course was a whole different kettle of atheist.
I would say, in fact, that the very fact that you can’t take yourself away from these discussions (although you may maintain—perhaps even to yourself—that you come only to sneer), and also the fact that you often contribute very significantly to the discussion with your short, trenchant observations, they mark you out, too, as a “satsangi”—as someone who participates in satsangs—using, again, the general meaning of that word (as opposed to particular meanings appropriated by individual groups like RSSB).
Also : as I’ve already mentioned here in this forum, and in fact once specifically to you, unless I’m mistaken : I’ve nothing to do with RSSB and with Gurinder Singh Babaji. Although I have to say I am very intrigued by the Surat Shabd Yog technique, and do have half a mind to try it out myself (their organizational nonsense notwithstanding). But then I think that about very many of these “spiritual” techniques, and there’s only so many you can actually apply yourself to, so …
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 18, 2015 at 04:39 AM
"Where did you get the idea that you should "find peace and happiness"? Life is what it is, not what it should be."
because he believes in God and Love and Peace.
We will start getting the idea to explore a treasure only if we believe that treasure exists.
If we are not trying to explore the treasure means we are a non-believer about it.
Posted by: One Initiated | February 18, 2015 at 04:43 AM
It is common yogic knowledge that both light and sound can be experienced within without a guiding master. What David Lane has suggested is by no means new information.
The difference between the self yogic method of meditation and the sant mat approach lies in the speed and distance one may traverse within. The full journey cannot be completed without a competent living master.
Posted by: Santino | February 18, 2015 at 06:31 AM
George Poergie puddin 'n pie
I asked a question that if there is no God, karmas and reincarnation then why such differences in societies, statuses, behaviour. Instead of giving me a straight scientific answer, you started finding flaws in Karmic theory instead.
I'm no expert on the subject but all I said was that to my understanding it makes a lot more sense than having no explanation at all. I thought since Atheists are true students of science and believe in reason and facts rather than hearsay, they would have an appeasing theory to answer this question.
I also feel it's rather absurd that the thought of karmas and rebirth doesn't make sense to you but you're completely fine with having no answer to these questions at all. Perhaps you are a well off gentleman who has lesser worries than most thus having no concern about the rest of the world and their problems but there still has to be an answer to all this, don't you think?
You say it's precisely these less well off wretches who find RSSB more beneficial. I wouldn't completely disagree with you even though I personally know of many successful, well off individuals, who have dedicated their entire lives to this path. But yes most of them belong to poor families. I don't think demographics has got anything to with this path's or infact any path's legitimacy.
I think that metaphor of camel through the eye of the needle is quoted in Bible so it's originally a teaching of Christ. To my understanding it's just a metaphoric expression implying that everyone whether rich or poor has the right and equal opportunity to reach the kingdom of heaven. I could be wrong.
Life isn't fair but why isn't it. If that's how it's suppose to be then why do we have laws, rules, rights. Why are we such strong believers of justice, judiciary, equality, harmony. If life is supposed to be unfair then where did we get the idea of righteousness and why we go on preaching it like a Manifest. We want to be treated fairly by everyone and yet we have no problem if life has been unfair from the very beginning to some.This has to be the most irrational approach from a scientific perspective.
Posted by: Gary | February 18, 2015 at 09:10 AM
Santino wrote: "The full journey cannot be completed without a competent living master."
--How do you know the master actually is competent to help you complete the journey or that the journey actually exists?
I don't need an answer. The question is for you.
Posted by: tucson | February 18, 2015 at 09:46 AM
I'm questioning the fundamentals of karna and reincarnation.
I'm trying to understand if pol pot comes back as a turtle or a walrus and who decides this or by what laws.
I mean I can understand how Adolph hitler might return as an arse beetle, but what in the hell caused him to take immaculate human form in the first place if the laws of karma and reincarnations are the true laws of reality.
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM
Tucson I love you man I hope you are fine...
A nice hello to you too X..
Posted by: moongoes | February 18, 2015 at 12:54 PM
The atheist doesn't believe life is fair, it just is life. Shit happens.
Fairness is a manmade concept associated with notions of morality and justice.
The scientist or man did not invent this universe, he doesn't believe any conscious entity could invent such a universe. How can any entity or consciousness invent a universe with so much suffering? Man did not invent carnivores or killing - it's rife in the animal kingdom.
And this is love? How does karma and reuncaranation explain such a great loving consciousness?
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM
How does karma and reuncaranation explain such a great loving consciousness?
I don't know what "reuncaranation" is, but you could probably start a religion with a word like that. If it explained why life isn't fair, Gary would go for it, Appreciative Reader would blather exceedingly about it, and moongoes would have a video to illustrate it.
Posted by: x | February 18, 2015 at 02:52 PM
I asked a question that if there is no God, karmas and reincarnation then why such differences in societies, statuses, behaviour.
How old are you, Gary? Have you learned anything from experience? Have you never questioned the notions of God, Karma, and reincarnation? Do you just assume that these words represent realities? Has it ever occurred to you that they may be fantasies dreamed up by people who lived long before the scientific method and critical thinking came into existence?
Posted by: x | February 18, 2015 at 02:59 PM
Just for kicks:
The apparent objective universe comes into existence via duality. That is, pairs of interlocking/interworking opposites.. like the yin yang symbol. Therefore there is growth and nurturing as well as decay and killing. For one to exist there must be the other. Nirvana is entering the Void or undifferentiated state where there are no opposites to interact. No self or other. No subject or object. From "movement" in this void of stillness the universe appears via the manifestation of space/time and thus objects. We believe we are separate entities observing objects. This is maya or illusion. It is also lela or the play of the infinite. Some call it God or many other names but God is no objective thing at all. So, really, God is-not in any sort of knowable way. God has no form or attribute and it doesn't care about this or that.. It just is.. as undifferentiated potentiality or as movement in/as/of that potentiality.
At some point the time/space illusion ceases to function (death, space between breaths, etc.) and duality and objects disappear with the apparent universe. Then, God just is but there is no him/it. Never was/will be objectively...until once again "movement" occurs and another universe manifests and the formless infinite manifests as many.
Or something like that, maybe.
Posted by: tucson | February 18, 2015 at 04:28 PM
x says: "It does seem, Brian, that some of your former brethren believe you are Gurinder's true successor, and that Church of the Churchless is where the astute satsangi goes these days. Anything you do to shake them only gives them greater assurance that you're the guru to go with."
A lot of chatter about gurus on this blog but Brian as Gurinder's successor? Now thats a new slant...
Such a game you play, mr x (troll).
Just looked up characteristics of a troll: inflammatory comments; obvious glee when people reply to their disruptive comments; will never concur with those who disagree even when they make valid points; shun any conciliatory statements; never say thanks for discussion or consider what others say; love arguing and disrupting civilised conversations; keep hammering away at a point in an obsessive manner...
Posted by: observer | February 18, 2015 at 05:47 PM
Nirvana is entering the Void or undifferentiated state where there are no opposites to interact. No self or other. No subject or object. From "movement" in this void of stillness the universe appears via the manifestation of space/time and thus objects. We believe we are separate entities observing objects. This is maya or illusion.
Thanks, tucson, for making it clear what dogma you're leashed to.
Posted by: x | February 18, 2015 at 07:27 PM
Reuncaranation is what happens when my spell-checker returns as the anti-christ.
As for the scientific method, I don't really want to get into a debate as to the superiority or inferiority of science or atheism. Science has massive limits. I suspect we don't really have a clue. As for atheism I'm not really into building it up as a religion or creed, I've come to the notion that it's also pretty damn boring to watch a smug bunch of over-educated master debaters (spell-checker) to state the obvious.
What I'm trying to do is get my noggin around karma and reincaranation.
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 18, 2015 at 10:44 PM
It doesn't matter whether I'm well-off or tortured, I'm wondering if as human beings we don't naturally gravitate to certain beliefs in reaction to our surroundings.
If you were lucky enough to lead a very happy life, why would you want to escape this life, it would be heaven on earth. If you were unlucky enough to lead a tortured existence, you'd want to believe there is hope or a way out of a cycle of such torment.
If luck has nothing to do with it, then the question is who or what are the suposed natural laws of karma and reincarnation about.
So if human form is close to the pinnacle of existence, what in the hell kind of system of karma and reincarnation decided to manifest Adolph into this world, when my loving pooch, Henry, has returned with a compacted bowel.
It just makes no sense.
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 18, 2015 at 11:17 PM
Quote x moongoes would have a video to illustrate it
..moon.. yes and here it is and you guys don't need to believe this cause it already is what it is.
Posted by: moongoes | February 18, 2015 at 11:18 PM
To be a theist or an atheist, to me, are both absurd. If you knew what truth is, what God is, you would neither be a theist nor an atheist, because in that awareness belief is unnecessary. It is the man who is not aware, who only hopes and supposes, that looks to belief or to disbelief, to support him, and to lead him to act in a particular way.
Posted by: y | February 18, 2015 at 11:56 PM
y, you're wrong. Atheism is the absence of belief. It isn't a belief. That's why atheism starts with that "a" -- it is an absence, not a presence.
We don't call someone who doesn't play golf an "agolfer," because not playing golf is common. But because most people believe in some religion, society has come up with a term, "atheist," for these unusual people.
See these blog posts:
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 19, 2015 at 07:57 AM
x, wrote: "Thanks, tucson, for making it clear what dogma you're leashed to."
-- x conveniently overlooks what I wrote at the end of my little spiel...
I said: "Or something like that, maybe."
Dogma? Dogma are unsubstantiated beliefs held as facts. "Maybe" does not sound very dogmatic to me. "Maybe" conveys some doubt rather than belief.
"Something like that" does not sound very dogmatic either. So, I believe in the great religion of 'Maybe, something like that'.
Hear that folks?.. a religion you can really sink your teeth into with confidence.
x, your desire to "get" me is unbecoming and petty, and indicative of a biased and prejudiced mind, or a troll.
Posted by: tucson | February 19, 2015 at 08:12 AM
To be a theist or an atheist, to me, are both absurd. If you knew what truth is, what God is, you would neither be a theist nor an atheist, because in that awareness belief is unnecessary."
You quote Krishnamurti, y, who referred to himself as "a religious man". He believed he could perceive truth, "directly", as he put it, because he believed his brain had undergone a "radical transformation". He was grandiosely deluded and gathered quite a respectable following of people who found his certainty irresistible.
Posted by: x | February 19, 2015 at 09:04 AM
What I'm trying to do is get my noggin around karma and reincaranation.
What makes these religious notions more confounding than any others? Karma and reincarnation don't hold up under scrutiny any better than the trinity or Hell or transubstantiation.
Posted by: x | February 19, 2015 at 09:15 AM
-- x conveniently overlooks what I wrote at the end of my little spiel...
Ending a sermon with a disclaimer is convenient.
Posted by: x | February 19, 2015 at 09:40 AM
First of all Brian i am not wrong and you are again judging and making conclusions and Krishnamurti is wrong and i wanted to present what religious dogma is.
And you x smart ass exactly what you said i wanted people to see with this post next time keep your hormones in your box and know that i am not sending this quote because i follow Krishnamurti but because i rarely understand what he talks about
Posted by: y | February 19, 2015 at 11:41 AM
y, well, you posted a quote that said belief is necessary in atheism. Whereas, it isn't, since atheism is the absence of a belief in God. So unless you can show me otherwise, I still say that you are wrong. Atheism is the absence of a belief, not a belief.
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 19, 2015 at 12:28 PM
No Brian you still dont understand me i am not wrong.. Jiddu is
Posted by: y | February 19, 2015 at 12:57 PM
y, OK -- so you quoted Krishnamurti because you think what he said is wrong, and disagree that atheism involves belief.
Great. We agree about that. It's best to ignore people like Krishnamurti who use a lot of words to say not much about anything. But since you quoted him, you should have said that you didn't agree with what he said.
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 19, 2015 at 01:09 PM
Finally that is it. I wanted to show how a preset in our mind leads us to wrong conclusions. So for the next time I quote someone or mention a believer don't think that I am that..cause I might be with you and x
Posted by: y | February 19, 2015 at 02:01 PM
I like this quote of Jiddu Krishnamurti that y posted:
"It is the man who is not aware, who only hopes and supposes, that looks to belief or to disbelief, to support him, and to lead him to act in a particular way."
Doesn't this mean that someone who is NOT AWARE with only HOPES and SUPPOSES looks, either to belief, or to DISBELIEF for support in acting in a particular way.
Isn't it talking about one extreme or the other? Isn't atheism the opposite of belief?
Doesn't this mean that someone who is a disbeliever is also relying on hopes and supposes to support him, just like a believer?
Posted by: observer | February 19, 2015 at 02:19 PM
i am not sending this quote because i follow Krishnamurti but because i rarely understand what he talks about
Then why did you quote him? Were you hoping someone would make it understandable to you? How does Krishnamurti's dismissal of theism and atheism as equally "absurd" support whatever it is you're going on about?
Posted by: x | February 19, 2015 at 02:23 PM
Isn't atheism the opposite of belief?
No. Atheism is a specific expression of skepticism, doubt. An atheist just can't believe in something as far-fetched as the existence of deities.
Doesn't this mean that someone who is a disbeliever is also relying on hopes and supposes to support him, just like a believer?
The disbeliever is as convinced of the falseness of a belief as the believer is of its truth, but the unbeliever just finds it unbelievable.
Skeptics/atheists are not convinced of anything because they're not credulous enough to believe in anything.
Posted by: x | February 19, 2015 at 08:43 PM
This is beginning to sound like The Mad Hatters Party...The word "Reuncaranation" is making more sense..Mr Lewis Caroll might have been on to something I have yet to discern.
Posted by: june schlebusch | February 19, 2015 at 11:07 PM
Of all the religious beliefs that exist, it seems karma is possibly the most plausible (depending on its definition), because it's not that dissimilar from Newton-baby's notion that for every action there is an equal and opposition reaction - which also fits with our common sense understanding of everything around us - there's no such thing as a free lunch.
However, it's when karma is transubstantiated into reincarnation that my noggin spontaneously combusts.
I guess I'm trying to understand what exactly RSSB understand
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 20, 2015 at 12:18 PM
I guess I'm trying to understand what exactly RSSB understand
RSSB understands how credulous minds seek guidance from supposed masters.
Posted by: x | February 20, 2015 at 02:11 PM
"""y, you're wrong. Atheism is the absence of belief. It isn't a belief. That's why atheism starts with that "a" -- it is an absence, not a presence."""
this is great; that we all see the stupidness of our minds
to grep even an atom of what is
Only who is God, 100% absorbed , HE knows, can't tell to a mind but can dance with you
Posted by: 777 | February 21, 2015 at 03:20 AM
David wrote hilariously :
"""Very very interesting, and very very thought-provoking, that book of his."""
Except with TORPROJECT.ORG an IP would be nice !!
Posted by: 777 | February 21, 2015 at 03:26 AM
Credulous minds like Newton-baby?
Posted by: George Poergie puddin 'n pie | February 22, 2015 at 02:52 AM
Hi Brian you said "
Basically, repeating a mantra and then engaging in open awareness of what is present in consciousness after stopping the mantra repetition. Supposedly inner sights and sounds may be seen and heard.I'm not sure what RSSB's "product differentiation" is"
Well you missed reading the brochure fully :P - the repetition of words is to help your keep your mind running away, also the words are charged by powers, so that no negative energy or being can ever harm you. when one progresses within, many negative things come to stop him from going ahead, hence repetition of holy words chase them away - that is the USP :)
Also after a point, when we meet the master within, the purpose of repetition is over. Sant mat is not a unique 'type of meditation' - it is only a way of going within and making sure we are safe while we do that.
What david lane says below is 100% true. "You don't need to go to an Indian guru to have such experiences indeed, you don't need to go anywhere at all."
but we need a PLM to go beyond that !
Posted by: Tiya | November 05, 2016 at 11:39 AM