Here's a mildly-edited email from someone who asked me some provocative questions about Charan Singh, a Radha Soami Satsang Beas guru who I was initiated by in 1971, after which I followed his teachings for about 35 years.
This person apparently sent me an email, rather than posting the message as a blog post comment, because he thought I might be offended by what he said about Charan Singh.
Since I'm not -- and in fact enjoyed the message a lot -- I'm sharing it here. Following the message, I share my response to the questions about Charan Singh.
I was just now going to put in a comment asking you something, but I thought it might be better to write an email instead. It is clear that, notwithstanding your disillusionment with RSSB, you still have a great deal of affection and respect for your Guru, Charan Singh. And what I’m asking may seem disrespectful to Charan Singh, at least apparently, although I need hardly add that disrespecting him is not my intention at all.
Anyway, whatever, I thought it better to write a private email to you, asking you about this, instead of posting on your blog a public comment that apparently calls out someone you still hold in affection and regard.
You say this in response to a reader in the Comments section : “Jen, currently I believe Charan Singh was a good person who did his job as Guru the best he could. I don’t believe he possessed any divine qualities. He was appointed to be the RSSB guru. As a faithful disciple, he carried out that role diligently.”
How do you square those two apparently contradictory views about Charan Singh? How could he have colluded in this hoodwinking of innocent followers, and still have been a “good person”?
See, a follower or a disciple can be mistaken. But surely Charan Singh himself knew that he was not the “God in Human Form” (if indeed he wasn’t)? There is no question of doubt there. I may be unsure of YOUR status as the Big Sound personified, but not about MYSELF, surely?
This recalls a piece you’d written long back, about Jesus being one of the four Ls (Legend, Lord, Lunatic, or Liar). With Charan Singh, the Legend option does not hold, right? So if he wasn’t the Lord, and if he wasn’t a Lunatic, then he surely has to be a Liar? A cheat? And a liar is not a good person, a cheat is not a good person! Unless you mean it in the sense of smuggler-or-thief-or-killer-or-swindler-with-a-heart-of-gold, something like that? (And I’m guessing you don’t really mean it in that back-handed and snide way!)
Had he been fully honest, Charan Singh would have left people in no doubt at all that he was not “God in Human Form”. An honest person in his place would have screamed from the roof-tops, a hundred times, a thousand times, again and again till people listened, that he was NOT “God in Human Form”. You know, like Jiddu Krishnamurty dismantled his Star organization, and relinquished his gilded God-throne. But no, what did Charan Singh do? He colluded with that GiHF trope, implicitly if not explicitly he left his devotees with that idea, that he was indeed GiHF, that he was indeed some kind of a superhuman.
You say he “carried out the role diligently”, “as a faithful disciple”. Why would he do that? Before he became Guru, I can understand his acquiescing to the organization’s dictates ; but what about after he became Guru? Why on earth would he agree to continue with the bullshit, after knowing fully well that it was bullshit fair and square? A full-on disciple might collude in something that seems unclear or wrong to him, because he thinks he himself is mistaken or unknowing, and he’s assuming (or hoping) that his Guru is the Big Sound, or Son of God, or whatever.
But after someone has been appointed the Big Sound (or Son of God) himself, then he can have no doubt that he is living a lie, can he? Maybe in the initial days or first few months, he may still be in doubt, maybe he’s thinking, ah, early days yet, perhaps I’ll be hit with divine light soon now. But when well into his tenure as Guru, he still does not clearly and decisively declare to one and all that he is NOT who his followers think he is, then he is either truly divine (or thinks he is, although he isn’t actually, which would point at delusions, at psychiatric illness), or else he is a dishonest dissembler.
How do you reconcile your opinion that Charan Singh was not divine, with your assessment of him as a “good person”, given your opinion that he was NOT GiHF? Your position does not seem quite logically consistent, at least not when one takes those words at face value.
P.S. Like I said earlier, I mean no disrespect at all to Charan Singh. Nor is this an idle question. (Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong as such with idle questions!) I myself currently follow (or try to) three different spiritual traditions (just their respective meditation techniques, without necessarily subscribing to all the surrounding mumbo-jumbo of theology and rituals). One of these three traditions is theistic, and makes claims for one individual as the Big Noise (much like RSSB does).
Now I try to keep a fully open mind (or so I hope), even as I seek my (experiential) answers via these three traditions, and this gentleman is, to my mind, either truly a Big Noise, or else he is not quite honest. I don’t see a third way out (other than the “lunatic” option). Hence my question to you about how you see your ex-Guru Charan Singh. I’m seeking your personal answer to a question that is very close (at least potentially) to my own personal position, so as to help me arrive at my own personal answer to my own personal question.
Well, here's my basic answer to the question posed to me: How could Charan Singh have colluded in this hoodwinking of innocent followers, and still have been a “good person”?
I've pondered this quite a bit over the years.
Charan Singh was supposed to be God in Human Form, someone who possessed divine powers, such as being able to transcend ordinary space/time and journey to higher regions of reality, along with possessing the ability to communicate with each and every disciple through his astral or causal "radiant" form.
I agree with the message above that it is virtually 100% certain that Charan Singh wasn't who the guru was claimed to be. And since Charan Singh knew himself from the inside, seemingly he would have known that he wasn't God in Human Form with divine powers.
So how could a seemingly kind, honest, and generous Indian man, Charan Singh, allow himself to essentially live a lie for the 39 years he served as the Radha Soami Satsang Beas guru?
I've come to two possible hypotheses. They're described in blog posts. One is that Charan Singh was a loyalist, as I said back in 2006 in "Who is the guru?"
So I muse over my recollections of Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh, trying to decide whether they’re best described as liars, lunatics, or the Lord.
None of the three appellations seem to fit, lunatic least of all. Each of them clearly was/is of sound mind (Charan Singh died in 1990). They could be liars, but their essential good-heartedness and decency argues against this. On the other hand, their evident imperfections prevent me from grabbing onto the “Lord” hypothesis.
Is there another L-word that better fills the bill? One springs to mind: loyalist. Perhaps when a successor is appointed to fill the shoes of a highly-regarded guru, loyalty both to his predecessor and to the surrounding organization prevents the newcomer from crying out, “Hey, I’m not God! I’m just a man filling the role of a guru.”
The other possibility involves another L-word, as I said in a 2015 post, "Let's add a new L-word to 'Who is the guru?' possibilities."
But an essay by Michael Shermer in his Scientific American "Skeptic" column suggests another possibility. In "Lies We Tell Ourselves: How Deception Leads to Self-Deception," Shermer says:
Trivers’s theory adds an evolutionary explanation to my own operant conditioning model to explain why psychics, mediums, cult leaders, and the like probably start off aware that a modicum of deception is involved in their craft (justified in the name of a higher cause). But as their followers positively reinforce their message, they come to believe their shtick (“maybe I really can read minds, tell the future, save humanity”).
Click on the link above to read the full piece by Shermer. I'll also include it as a continuation to this post.
Desperate to find an L-word to add to the liar, lunatic, Lord, or loyalist possibilities, the best I could come up with after a brief look at some online thesauruses was to substitute "legerdemain" for self-deception.
It seems to fit, as rarely used as the word is.
1. sleight of hand.
2. trickery; deception.
3. any artful trick.
So let's add a likely option that answers the question, "Who is the guru?" Legerdemainist. Which actually is a word.
The guru tricks himself into believing that he (or she) is God. Or God in human form, after being viewed as divine by fawning followers. This act of self-deception further bolsters his standing among devotees, as Shermer explains.
As Abraham Lincoln well advised, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Unless self-deception is involved. If you believe the lie, you are less likely to give off the normal cues of lying that others might perceive: deception and deception detection create self-deception.
Naturally I have no idea if Charan Singh actually tricked himself into believing that he was God in Human Form and possessed divine powers. But Michael Sherman's essay offers some good reasons why this could have been the case.
Everybody is prone to self-deception. Why not gurus also?
Looking back when I first heard about Master Charan from my brother who went to India and was initiated at the Dera in the 60's (he was 7 years older than me) I never once thought of the Master as being GIHF, so this could be a cultural thing, programming from the religious faiths because I have never been that kind of religious person. Also, I had no expectations. I felt appreciative and thought of the Master as an example and the path as something that gave meaning to my life.
There is a short video: Maharaj Charan Singh Ji: Q&A Pain of Separation (Bireh) (4:37) where he talks about Mira Bai.
I have lived in three countries and nine different towns/cities and I look at my life (karma?) and often wondered at this feeling of separation, not belonging, and hearing Master say that there is an appreciation in the separation of love, a pleasure in the longing for union. I get it now. So really, each of us experiencing our own individual path in our own way, if we have been attracted to some religion, or spiritual path, is there still a residual longing inside that wants to become whole, complete..
Posted by: Jen | May 01, 2016 at 02:40 PM
""With Charan Singh, the Legend option does not hold, right? ""
NOT RIGHT at all
The evidence with Charan is much more than legend :
IT IS ACTUAL, and actually provable
and I gave in this blog the way how to do that
but almost nobody does that because they like better the dark way of filth, gossip and
self degrading accusations
Not only witnessed about Holy Charan being at two geographical places at the same time
for over an hour
but also gave I the name and of a french journal which produced an impossible miracle
Apart from this INK_ON_PAPER PRINT in that journal "NICE-MATIN" , . . our life is completely filled with DAILY 'impossibilities' and so are the lives of millions of disciples
For the Sat Gurus themselves :
Yes , like any disciple and I think endlessly more ; their lives are filled with these mysterious events
to the brink
but they don't speak , . . while in the presence of ravissant Sound
and Light of incredible pure-ness,
they indeed feel as Guru Nanak repeatedly said and so LITERALLY
The Lowliest of The Lowly
Charan : "Who can be proud in the presence of so much Power"
Posted by: -- [email protected] | May 02, 2016 at 04:18 AM
Thanks for your response to my question, Brian, via this post.
I guess I should have known better than to imagine that you, of all people, might be uncomfortable answering an honest question in public, no matter that the question might apparently point fingers at him whom you still hold in regard. No harm, then, in my answering to your post via a public comment now. And without any further disclaimers about not implying disrespect and only looking for answers.
Your answer makes sense, of course. I’ve seen you present this point of view before, in that earlier post of yours that you’ve linked here. And I suppose it may well be impossible to move to a more precise answer to the question I asked, bar the extreme measure of capturing some Guru, injecting them with some truth serum, and then hypnotizing them as well. Which, being decent civilized people, not given to violence, not to mention people who’re wholly powerless to do that anything remotely like it, we’ll have to forget about.
Your answer makes sense, Brian, but I’m not fully satisfied with it. I’d like to point out just why, if I may. I realize not all questions necessarily have answers, at least not answers immediately forthcoming, but I’ll be grateful if you can clear these questions up for me.
(1) THE “LOYALIST” ANSWER :
That answer inevitably leads one to ask further, “Loyal to what? And why?”
Loyal to the organization, to RSSB? Again, as I understand it (from the outside as it were, never having been part of RSSB), the core of the devotee’s involvement with RSSB is the Guru, and the promise of all that is promised via the Guru, here and hereafter. The Guru is the whole fulcrum, the whole core, of the RSSB idea. For the Guru himself, after he’s spent, say, a year or two at the helm, that fulcrum, that core involvement, is no more, because he’s seen for himself that he cannot walk on water or bring dead men back to life. (Unless he’s truly all he’s blown up to be, or at least partly that, in which case we need a different post, perhaps a whole different blog, to address that possibility.) Leaving aside that parenthetical improbability, the Guru finds himself in an organization that, as he now finally knows at first-hand, lacks the whole central purpose he’d always attributed to it. (We’re now talking of this “loyalty” business, in isolation as it were.) So would a decent, intelligent, and honest person continue to be loyal to something he now knows is defunct, empty? Somehow it seems unlikely.
So my counter-question to the “loyalist” answer is : Loyal to what? And why?
THE “LEGERDEMAIN” ANSWER : “Everyone is prone to self deception”, you say, and ask : “Why not Gurus also?”
That question was asked rhetorically, but I’d like to address that question literally if I may, and put forward two reasons why not, two reasons why I’m not happy “allowing” Gurus the leeway for self-deception that we give to all other followers of religion.
(2) There’s a big line that you cross when you graduate from believing in the Son of God, to believing that you yourself are the Son of God. If your small child firmly believed in Santa Claus, you’d not worry unduly, or worry at all. But if your small child started believing one day that he himself is Santa Claus, and starting looking for his reindeer and his elves in the backyard, then you’d probably go right off and book an appointment with the psychiatrist in the local hospital. Correct? Here you’re moving right into “lunatic” territory, albeit the lunacy is restricted to this one single topic, and your child (or the Guru) may function normally in other respects.
Why this sudden change in our opinion (as regards the child’s sanity, or the adult’s sanity) when he graduates from believing in the Son of God, to believing himself to be the Son of God? I can hazard two guesses : FIRST : The first case, believing in the Son of God, is far more ubiquitous, and the sheer numbers, and the sheer ubiquity, lead one to redefine what we might otherwise label lunacy. And SECOND : There is a qualitative difference here. Reason takes a bloody beating when you believe blindly in the Son of God, but it’s still living on, even if barely, even if painfully : but when you start believing that you yourself are the Son of God (without being able to turn water into wine, et cetera), then Reason has simply given up the ghost. At least as regards that particular issue. Call it “focused psychosis”, or some other fancy medical name, maybe with some Latin thrown in, but decidedly some kind of psychosis. So it seems to me.
So yes, “good person” probably, but perhaps one who is, let us say, not quite well. Agreed?
(3) The final argument, that “The guru tricks himself into believing that he … is God, … after being viewed as divine by fawning followers”.
That might work for lesser men, for your run-of-the-mill psychic and spiritist and table-turning riff-raff, but would it really work for an evolved Guru?
Now when I say “evolved”, and talk of the Guru’s superiority to “lesser men”, I don’t mean any supernatural attainments or superhuman powers. I merely mean someone who’s generally honest and sober and balanced and decent at least at a superficial level (as the average revered-by-many Guru or Pope is, unlike your average psychic medium), someone who’s read a good deal and is generally knowledgeable, someone who’s intelligent and wise (witness the Guru’s many speeches and books, which generally resonate with large numbers of people -- an ignoramus or a fool could probably not have pulled it off), and, most importantly, someone who is very self-aware and extremely introspective (as someone necessarily must be, if they meditated for four hours every day for many years over much of their life -- just as someone, anyone, must necessarily be extraordinarily buff and extraordinarily fit if they pushed weights for four hours in the gym every day for years and decades together, at least if those long hours in the gym haven’t led to a heart attack -- I mean, have you seen Schwarzenegger’s nowhere-near-impressive photographs when he was sixteen or seventeen years old, the “before” snaps, before he starting pumping iron?).
Somehow that kind of a dumb and un-self-aware reaction, of ending up believing oneself to be something one is not, seems very unlikely to me, when we speak of an evolved and self-aware person (“evolved” and “self-aware” in the mundane sense I discussed just above).
Would you, too, agree that this looks unlikely?
And if we push out these options, then we’re left with exactly two further (and final) options. Either the gentleman in question is truly the Son of God (or at least a Third Cousin of God -- the “Yoda” option! -- which, in terms of probability, is quite as outlandish and improbable), or else he is … not quite honest. A swindler, plain and simple (albeit with a heart of gold, and with courtly speech and manners). I see no way around that conclusion.
Not that I’m happy with that conclusion. At a gut level (leaving aside reason -- and also leaving aside unthinking piety) that sounds unlikely (the “dishonest swindler” option I mean), when we’re talking of a basically decent and honorable person.
Which is why I don’t know quite what to think, when thinking of someone like Charan Singh. Not him specifically, but people of his type, decent people who nevertheless declare themselves Son of God (implicitly if not explicitly).
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | May 02, 2016 at 07:42 AM
""With Charan Singh, the Legend option does not hold, right? ""
NOT RIGHT at all
No, I only meant that since Charan Singh was very much our contemporary (most of us), of our own time, the truth about him cannot be dismissed as being lost in the mists of time. He's no legend (in the sense of myth), no unverifiable story, unlike Jesus.
Did you just say that you know of Charan Singh having been seen at two different places at the same time? Can you talk in some detail about this? (Or, if you have already commented about this, can you please put in a link here, so we can check it out?)
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | May 02, 2016 at 08:05 AM
Appreciative Reader, you lump all gurus into the same category (your understanding of gurus). It seems according to your perspective a guru is someone who is misleading people with lies and deceit.
You project so much of your own beliefs or so called understanding onto something you know absolutely nothing about, you say: "...never having been part of RSSB)".
Other projections: "the Guru finds himself in an organization that, as he now finally knows at first-hand, lacks the whole central purpose he’d always attributed to it." and "So would a decent, intelligent, and honest person continue to be loyal to something he now knows is defunct, empty?"
Another projection of yours: “The guru tricks himself into believing that he … is God, … after being viewed as divine by fawning followers”. You also say "There’s a big line that you cross when you graduate from believing in the Son of God, to believing that you yourself are the Son of God".
You really do not have any idea of what the RSSB gurus teach or what the followers believe. So, who are you to judge!
Posted by: Jen | May 02, 2016 at 03:26 PM
Apparently - according to a lot or research - we have evolved brains that in trying to make sense of life we are regularly subject to hallucinatory, illusory and delusional thinking. It would appear that our minds make up a huge amount of stories and beliefs just to help us exist in a rather complex and insecure world.
It perhaps boils down to our attempts to maintain and justify the existence of what may be the illusion of being a mind and a self. Do we simply just strive to give our lives some added significance that in reality does not exist - apart from what the accumulated information we call mind assumes?
Posted by: Turan | May 03, 2016 at 03:02 AM
Someone else has probably said this, apologise since haven't read all the comments:
To my knowledge none of the recent RSSB masters have ever stated that they are 'God in human form' even though others have claimed that status on their behalf. My point here is that - same as you, same as me - what else can they be but 'God in human form'?
Perhaps then, the only difference, as Nisargadatta et al would say, between the guru (Master/teacher) & shishya is that Guru knows it (or, hopefully, knows it) while you & I are still ignorant of that fact. We just need to remember that ignorance does not last for ever!
This 'God in human form' notion of RSSB, if we let it, just bogs us down, ties us in intellectual knots. Perhaps we should just let it go. Thank Guru for the simran/mantra. That alone - so we are told - will take us to the place where no other but Sat Guru resides. Then problem solved. For, there is no other but Sat Guru, 'I am', and whatever we may think/intellectualise about in this form as to my status/your status /guru status has no relevance at all.
Posted by: JJ | May 03, 2016 at 03:47 AM
Well said JEN , very well said
Visualise this whole universe in macro, in dark space/energy terms, and microcosms
For the original Deity, . . this is peanuts
AND NON IMPORTANT , Only LOVE flashes in there ( Compassion + Empathy )
That LOVE is the identification of a rare Real Sat Guru
Those who get the Grace to Absorb , they know , they really feel, they will be absorbed
Interpretations are for the fall . . You can only live IT
Posted by: 777 | May 03, 2016 at 05:52 AM
Hello, Jen. You're right, I know far, far less about RSSB, about Charan Singh, and about Gurinder Singh than many of the regular readers at this website. And no offence meant : I was only trying to suss out in my head something that troubled me (something which Brian has addressed, both here and earlier, but which I couldn't follow to my full satisfaction).
See, here's my quandary. Forget Charan Singh, I don't want to hurt your feelings by apparently criticizing him, but let's simply talk of Guru X. Two possibilities : (a) he's who he says he is, and who everyone says he is ; and (b) he isn't the Son of God (or whatever).
If you believe Guru X is really the Son of God, then that's the end of the discussion, as far as you are concerned. Right or wrong, you've answered the question to your satisfaction, and have no further need to engage with the discussion. But suppose he isn't? What then? It is this option (b) that I was trying to understand more fully.
Brian's explanation (basis Michael Shermer) actually would apply perfectly to someone like Jesus. (Again, assuming option B.) Again, no offence meant to those who believe in the Christ, but if you assume for the sake of argument that he wasn't the Son of God, then that explanation works for him, uneducated as he was (except perhaps in Judaic theology), as far as we know, and not particularly knowledgeable (again as far as we know). But someone like Charan Singh, or rather, someone educated and knowledgeable and deeply introspective and meditative like him, our Guru X? For someone like him, that explanation doesn't feel quite right, at least so far as I can figure out, as I've tried to explain.
There are many like Guru X around, for whom one explanation is that they're truly some kind of Superhuman. But if not, then what explanation works? That's what I was trying to figure out to my satisfaction.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | May 03, 2016 at 06:41 AM
JJ, you wrote:
"To my knowledge none of the recent RSSB masters have ever stated that they are 'God in human form' even though others have claimed that status on their behalf. My point here is that - same as you, same as me - what else can they be but 'God in human form'? "
To me this is disingenuous. The RSSB Masters certainly had no trouble allowing it to be claimed on their behalf in the older books. Of course, of late it has been (strategically?) changed in said books to Living Master. However, disciple's often assume the guru is now simply being humble or maybe careful when he allowed the "Perfect" accolade in the books and satsangs too to be discontinued. Disciple's apparently do not stop and consider that it was changed because it was never true. And if the guru is imperfect, what does that mean, then? Does that mean you can not fully trust him? Does it mean he might sleep with your wife, your daughters, or worse? Does that mean that he is still humanly lying, cheating, lustful, given to bouts of anger and resentments? Does it mean that he can be just as greedy and meanly self-interested as the next human? When a small rock hits the windshield of a car, how long does it take until the whole glass is riddled with cracks? OK OK so he isn't "Perfect" he is just "A Master". Master of what, then? How much imperfection yet still be entitled to the designation of "Master"? It is an important question.
The publications department changed the Perfect Living Master classification in the books. Sigh and rolling eyes here. Overseeing said publications department is the responsibility of the guru, right? The accolade "Perfect" was in the books at one time. Seekers and disciples read the books. That is why "others have claimed" it. It was in the books. They assumed the books were accurate. So who is responsible for us believing the books were accurate? We were. Or:
“Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Posted by: Dan Boon | May 03, 2016 at 11:18 AM
My approach to Sant Mat is that its got nothing to do with "who is the Son of God or not" - thats about belief and judgment. People like to label, define, use some title such as GIHF or PLM and then when they discover that their expectations have not been satisfied they condemn the guru.
I prefer to rely on my own experience. The mind plays its tricks and I waver a bit on the path but I stick to the principles as well as I can and follow the example of the guru. I can't fault Charan, I certainly don't think he was a fake, he was simply doing his duty and he did it well and I love my memories of him.
You have a religious background and thats okay. My journey is about self discovery and its a beautiful path because its about discovering who we really are.
Posted by: Jen | May 03, 2016 at 08:05 PM
So many times I heard people say : I would give so much ( everything) if I could
meet Jesus ( like to live at that time )
If it would be possible I don't think they would start thorough psycho-analysis on Him.
Or they might , - after all they are human and might start a blog
In the meantime I trust I.R. will have found my former comments with google
Its a real great way of our Maker to hide Himself in ourself
and less as He does in The Saints.
The more One wis witnessing and absorbing The Light, the Less She feels about the 'self'
and then one really means the expression "I am The Lowliest of the Lowly"
In the meantime many disciples actually SEE that tremendous Light flowing out of Him
and the Sound which He really is ( from the disciple's perspective, like Mozart and Rembrandt )
Posted by: 777 | May 04, 2016 at 03:26 AM
Hi Brian, I like the following description of Charan Singh much better than the negatives ones posted in this thread. I don't know who wrote it, but I saw it soon after Charan had died and saved to, and added it to my blog. I think it describes this man much more accurately than the critics do here.
Mystic Who made a Difference: Charan Singh
A MYSTIC is neither a necromancer nor a spiritual solipsist, not even a theologian, adept in the art of séances, mediums and the like, but the one who has a direct experience of the Eternal Being, who has tasted the elixir of divine knowledge without making any formal use of his ratiocinative faculties, and who, by his sheer grace, can illuminate human minds enmeshed in gross ignorance. Maharaj Charan Singh, the fourth spiritual Master o[ Radhasoami Sat-sang, with its headquarters at Beas, was a selfless mystic the Logos in human form , whose mind and soul remained attuned to the Supreme• Self, even while he was performing his duties in the terrestrial region.
But he was no ordinary mystic, who, in his bid to merge with the divine nature, would don the garment of a hermit and lead a life, of quietude, or go on demonstrating his Psi abilities of ecsomatic experiences to win accolades from people around. Rather, he preferred the life of a householder, in the true Tradition of Bhakti reformers, without making any high claims about himself. "'The doctrine is not my own. Every mystic has been giving us the same teachings", he said. His spiritual attainment did not turn him into a recluse or a religious salesman, but activated his propensity to serve humanity as per the requirements of time. He was both recipient of Supreme Knowledge, and the agent for its spread among a large section of people both in India and abroad.
Even Though comparisons between god men may look odious• if not supercilious, as They are shaped in different milieus and cater to the varying needs of human beings, ordinary mortals like this author- may not be able to restrain Themselves from making such a venture.
Maharaj Charan Singh did not like Satya Sai Baba, materialize things from air such as cardamoms, candies, watches or Vibhuti to leave a magical spell on his audiences, because he disapproved of psychism as a means to restoring faith in things supernal. Such actions, he argued, left a very injurious effect on the mind and the will power of tile performer, without helping him in any way. The Maharaj was never a Socrates to his detractors like Osho Rajneesh, but a Buddha in whose presence all questions and misgivings melted away. He remained virtually non-controversial, and never entered into the ping-pong of debate, even though he was a bachelor of laws, and once a practicing lawyer of standing.
Unlike Jiddu Krishnamurti, he did not always employ a strict philosophical idiom, with its ontological and epistemological ramifications, during the course of his talks; the reason being that his audiences included people of all types, ranging from the strictly academic to the completely illiterate. Nor did he agree with him that one could gain realization without the guidance of a guru.
In physical appearance, Maharaj Charan Singh was perhaps the handsomest of them all -- his face emitting pink, and his superb carriage and erect backbone giving him a majestic look. Like Osho and Krishnamurti, he had a sparkling pair of eyes which appeared to he soaring high into tile sky, trying to unravel the mystery of the universe. Hia- bearded appearance reminded one of the seers of your wondering in the Himalayas, And even of Mahesh Yogi, although the latter did not support a headgear. But he was no whirling dervish, nor a holy man in saffron or gaudy apparel. In his simple attire he was a veritable image of serenely which fascinated one and all. His musical voice and rhythmic movements reminded one of Swami Vivecananda, and in more recent times, of Osho and Chinmayananda. His large following was matched only by that of Satya Sai Baba and Dada Ji.
Maharaj Charan Singh was tile spiritual Pied piper who did not merely enchant the people by the music of his soul, but also taught them how to blow their own "pipe", and hear the divine melody eternally resounding within them. In the process, a cult grew around him but he did not, at any stage, wished to be apotheosized. He never allowed anyone to touch his feet because of his firm faith in the dignity of man. Nor did he spend a single penny of the organization which he headed for his personal use. He transformed tile dilapidated Dera of Baba Jaimal Singh into a virtual township, and provided it a holiness and sanctity which goes with the name of ancient cities like Benaras and Hardwar, sans their dirt and dust, and occasional inhuman practices.
If one were looking for a place where one can find spiritual solace as well as the basic amenities of life at the minimum price, where one can find the spirit of sewa at its best, where politics and commercialized activities are discouraged, where no distinction is made between man and man, where people belonging to all religions socialise in a more or less brotherly manner, and where the presence of the Master can be felt even in his physical absence, one should immediately turn to Beas.
During the spiritual stewardship of Maharaj Charan Singh (1951-1990) the Derv presented a supreme example of how community work could be done in a voluntary way, on such a large scale, and how religion could be put to better use for serving humanity. The functioning of langar, or the community kitchen, and Maharaja Saran Singh. Charitable Memorial Hospital, built at a cost of more than Rs 9 crore, with the physical, mental and material services of devotees, is a clear case in point.
Maharaj Charan Singh's teachings were so simple chat even the man in the street could grasp them, without making much effort. Based, as these were, on his own spiritual experiences and the discoveries of saints and seers in the realm of being, they were neither characterized by vaguer eclecticism or mystical imagery, nor by metaphysical jugglery. He laid emphasis on the essence and not on palliatives or platitudes. There was no place for bigotry or fanaticism in his thought nor for meaningless rituals or superstitions. He emphasized that religious intolerance was born of sick minds, for did any holy man ever try to divide humanity?'
"Every saint has the same message to give, and' the same ' teachings to impart.... No perfect Master comes into this world to create a religion ... to 'set one nation against another, or one religion against another. They come only to show us the way which leads us back to our original home. After a Master departs, people generally turn to rites and rituals, and give his lofty teachings the form of an organized religion. Then we become bigoted, we start fighting and quarreling with one another, and tile real teachings of the saint are soon forgotten," he said.
The predicament of man was that even though he reflected the light of the divine being, he had come under the spell of the vicious tendencies of the mind and forgotten the real purpose of life. Man had failed to see the ephemeral nature of sensory pleasures and the dangers inherent in the proliferation of ego. As a result, he was cut off from the audible life stream or Shabad, and had lost sight of his divine home and divine origin.
Like a psychologist, Maharaj Charan Singh laid bare the intricacies of the human mind which had the bad habit of flitting from one object to another, and yet remaining unfulfilled. "We contact the outside world through the mind and the senses, but the tragedy is that the mind itself has been enslaved by the senses and has thus acquired a downward tendency. Fond of pleasure by nature ... no object in the world can hold it for ever, or even for any length of time. If we can withdraw it from the outside world and make it "go in", it will catch the divine melody which is echoing in all of us," he explained.
The fickleness o[ human mind cannot be adequately checked by ritualistic observances, austere discipline or penitential deeds, even though these may have a tranquilizing effect. But how long can sedatives work it the basic problem persists? "The fire is only covered with ashes and will flare up again when the wind of the (five) passions blows". Only by entering a no-mind state, can man hope to alleviate his bruised spirit and gain peace in turn. That can be possible by raising one's consciousness to Trikuti, by way of Nam Bhakti. "We do not have to go far to find Nam",he said. "It is within us. That part of the body from the eyes upwards is the seat of Nam. There are nine openings, or doors, in the body from the eyes downward. It is through these that the mind spreads out into the world. It should not be permitted to roam about there. It must be withdrawn from the world and the nine openings, and brought back to 'Tisra Til', the 'Third eye', which is the seat of the mind and the soul, and held there."
The tragedy of the majority of people was that they failed to distinguish between Varnat-mak Nam and Dunyatmak Nam. The former, signifying words that could be uttered or spoken (viz. Rams, Krishna, Wahe guru, Allah), served onlyas to concentration, and from age to age, and unity to community. The latter,on the other hand, represented the unspoken and the unwitten word, and could lead one forth supreme realization. It transcended pace and causation, and yet had a local habitat within us where it could be contacted. The Maharaj admonishedthat devotion to Varnatmak Nam to the exclusion Dhunyatmak Nam led to partisan cries", "bigotry" or fanaticism", while devotion to Dhunyatmak Nam made us rise above "castes and creeds, wars and strifes", for, in that we saw "the divine in all.
The sound current variously referred to as Shabad, Dhun, Akashvani, Kalma, Kun, Bangillahi, Nad-i-Asmani or the Logos, in different religious traditions found an able exegete in Maharaj Charan Singh who described it as the substance of existence. But realization could not be achieved by browsing through books, undertaking fasts of pilgrimages adopting a peculiar life or visiting places of worship. It is within oneself that one must seek Him.. Unlike orthodox Sikhs, he laid emphasis on the need for a spiritual Master, who could,’ through Nam Dan lead one towards the path which connects the soul of the disciple to the sound current.. Initiation was not a shallow ritual or a ceremony of sorts, but the birth of a new soul. He, however, made it clear that it would be futile to expect miraculous results immediately after initiation. Since the secret of withdrawing the consciousness to the eye center before linking it to the word lay with the perfect Master, it was expected of the devotee to have an ardent faith ii him, , and to follow his teachings without any inhibition or hesitation. Maharaja Charan Singh often quoted from the Bible and the Adi Granth to prove his point. "He that bath seen me bath seen the Father ... Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me", says Jesus Christ. Guru Aryan Use corroborates the idea thus: "Within me the Father has revealed Himself; Father and Son have met and become one. Says Nanak, when the Father is pleased, the Father and the Son are dyed in one hub."
Sat sang, or true association with the Master was essential for cleansing one's mind of all imperfections, for achieving inner harmony, and for acquiring the attitude of a gurmukh who lives unsullied in the world as the duck remains in water. However, the highest form of Satsang was to be one with one's inner self. Jealousy, pride and ego were poisons, more dangerous than the venom of cobra, in so far as the spiritual ascension of a person was concerned. The only antidote to these "substances" was Simran•and Bhajan. The former involved the repetition of the Five Holy Names according to the prescribed technique revealed to the disciple at tin time of initiation. The latter signified meditation, during the course of which one did simran and dhyana (contemplation), and listened to the Eternal Sound. It may be noted that while in the Yoga and Tantra schools consciousness is normally awakened by piercing subtle centers, one by one, starting with the Muladhara, the Radhasoamis begin with the Ajna Chakra deliberately ignoring the lower centers, and focus their attention between the two eyebrows.
Maharaj Chran Singh, like most Indian seers and philosophers, believed in Karma - the Universal law of cause and effect - according to which man was punished or reward (led for his bad and good deeds, respectively, and continued to undergo the process of birth and death till his account was cleared. "Every one wears the . letters of Karma, be he' prince or beggar, rich or poor, man or woman", he said. "It is Karma which keeps us in the prison of flesh. If we do good deeds, we may be born as princes or rich men; but this does not bring about liberation from the wheel of birth and death. Instead of being 'C' class prisoners, merely become 'A' class prisoners; but we are still in jail." The union of the human soul with the sound current alone can nullify the cycle of karma.
All this should not he taken to mean that Maharaj Charan Singh's gospel bordered on fatalism. In fact, held, that the doctrine of Karma was not against "making any effort", nor did it promote exclusion from family or societal responsibilities. In a letter to his disiciple he once wrote, “My advice is that you go on honestly and conscientiously with your work ... It behooves us, to live and act in such a way that we may not feel ashamed before Him." He asked his disciples to refrain from alcoholic drinks and other intoxicants as also to take a purely vegetarian diet. the reason being that stimulants and animal food were baneful to spiritual growth, and sometimes wrecked even the physical organism.
Maharaj Charan Singh brought about a metamorphosis in the life of a large segment of his initiates. Not that, all of them became able to open their third eye, but they, at least, learnt the true art of living. Many among them ceased to be drug, addicts, alcoholics, wife-beaters or peddlers in illicit and inhuman trades. Many others experienced the spiritual ecstasy they had so ardently desired before coming under his spell, and for the attainment of which they had moved from one spiritual preceptor to another. At a time when mankind is undergoing a climacterically phase, Maharaj Charan Singh's words instantly echo in my mind:
"Please remember that peace lies within you and not anywhere outside. Live harmoniously, - love each other, and follow the principles of give and take, forgive and forget, and you will find how happy and peaceful your life will become ... The root of all troubles lies in the mind within you, and wherever you go, you will carry it with you ... We are not to run away from, life like cowards, but to face it like the brave, ignoring and overlooking faults and weaknesses, and treating life's turmoil’s with indifference."
Posted by: Jim Sutherland | May 06, 2016 at 11:52 AM
As far as I am concerned the likely answer is probably in the following piece though many will find it socially unacceptable.
Posted by: Robert Searle | May 09, 2016 at 03:16 AM
Thank you Jim for that article about Charan Singh, I've saved it so that I can read it when I need to be reminded. I'm so grateful I was initiated by Charan, especially the way things are unfolding now with Gurinder, makes we wonder where its all heading, in the future a world wide religion perhaps.
Posted by: Jen | May 09, 2016 at 05:25 PM
A few years now have I visited this Church of the Churchless blog.
Sad to see old initiates posting heated debates on this blog. Initiates whom somewhere along the line have either lost some faith in their Master, or in the Teachings of the Gurus.
So finally I have some words that may be useful to seekers, and/or senior initiates who frequently bless this site with their wisdom. Even senior initiates who may have become disenchanted over the years.
With that said I want to first address this loss for an 'L' word to discribe a Sat (meaning true) Guru (meaning light-giver).
My teacher being the current Shri Gurinder Sigh Ji Dhillon. But 'T' is not the letter in question, 'L' is. So I volunteer the word Leader as it closely relates to the definition of guru.
As taken from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary:
b : one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent
Found here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guru
Next I want to point out a page from a book. The first book authorized by the Beas gurus to be released to the western world. And to people like myself who grew up in ghettos filled with flying bullets and gang violence. The name of the book is THE PATH OF THE MASTERS written by Julian P. Johnson.
I'm not sure if senior initiates who visit this blog have heard of, or even read this book as its first edition dates back to 1939.
I bring up this book because in my experience with sharing it with the learned and the unlearned, most pick up the book and right after reading the title proclaim, "Eureka! I am the Master." Then they put the book down to never read any further.
This folly upon many are what the book constantly warns about, if one takes the time to read many of its underlining points.
For example, I found a link to an online pdf of a copy of Dr. Johnson's book. On page 236 (285 in the pdf) Chapter III THE MASTERS AND THEIR DUTIES 9. POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE VERSES BELIEFS. Second to the last paragraph of that part nine Dr. Johnson exhorts a challenge given by his Great Master Sawan Singh Ji,
"Last of all the Great Master himself lays down the challenge to the whole world to come into the laboratory of individual experience and experiment, and prove for themselves the truth of the teachings of the Saints. That must constitute the final test, and the Master wel- comes such a test."
Hopefully this pdf is still uploaded for reference for this comment. As I have no interests at this site or any claims on the content of the site -pdf file found here: http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/pathofthemasters.pdf
Lastly, to sum things up. That whole chapter on THE MASTERS AND THIER DUTIES is well worth the read. As this path is like being led by a teacher who will ultimate give us a grade A through F at the end of our lifelong course in our struggle to purify the taints on our souls (spirits). But we must be honest and if ready, take to this challenge wholeheartedly and remember we are the student, and keep our egos in check of envy of the Leader (Teacher) of the class. The one who has earned the right (degree) to be called Master.
Posted by: Karim Rahmaan | May 10, 2016 at 12:46 AM
GIHF , a soft approach,
Although incomprehensible, we perhaps could see it like this
Lets suppose the GHIF hears the Anahab Shabd constantly
somewhat before appointment
Now, . . He or She is in a position to accept or not this heavy appointment
and starts thinking about it
Charan was hiding Himself for a month
He sees Himself with His mind and maybe with some higher mind and concludes he is not The One ; like Nanak said "I m the lowliest of the Lowly"
Beside an increasing Sound Level which influences His decision
Serendipities come in too and on a bigger scale than any of us, disciples ever have/had
Like me , after posting here sometimes I had the thought : "Very clear was this, Well done" .
Next no the Same second the TV in the middle of a movie I am not attending, the TV screen is blocked -
I hear that the sound stops - I stand up to look what happens , . . .
and there is a text displayed on the screen - ( the last image before the signal blocked )
and I read : " You are just a messenger, . . nothing more "
I took my Galaxy and made a photo of that screen, anybody who likes to see can ask and will mail , I send the image file "
So besides of the level, intensity , sweetness etc, of the Shabd which is never the same
-it is a living thing : like the 5 words
the former Master has so many ways to communicate , apart from showing Himself with Radiance, but not everybody
can endure that ,
it's not sure the "candidate”-Master at His appointment
has ever seen, what so many most analphabetic initiates already see .
( not to speak about millions, . . really going to see the radiant Light IN HIM, . . . that must be strange ! )
and YES Jim
it's an ON GOING PROCESS as You said and the end is terrific in terms of GIHF
and the new Master gets used to all these treasures and beauties to come
being at times so amazed about God's workings
to keep us humble
Perhaps only RSSB initiated will catch my drift ( as humble as i can :-) today
We are ALL messengers One to Another
Thank You for the subject_lines, Brian
The term GIHF is valuable only for the disciples who see that He really is
It's a wonderful way for The Great Spirit in everybody of us to participate in creations
Love and Sound to all of You
Posted by: 777 | May 11, 2016 at 09:28 AM