Yesterday a commenter called "BlackRose" asked the question that I made the title of this blog post.
It's impossible to know the answer.
All we can be sure of is that Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, lacks both normal human compassion and the most basic understanding of how to talk with someone who was, or is, suicidal.
UPDATE: I just made this comment to someone who tried to justify the guru's unfeeling response toward people with suicidal tendencies. I'm curious if anyone disagrees with it. It sure makes sense to me.
Dungeness, you're presuming that being "spiritual" is something different from being a decent human being. I heartily disagree. Being a decent human being is the foundation of spirituality. Absent that, it's possible to justify lies, deceit, abuse, and other things that gurus sometimes engage in.
When someone shares a serious personal problem and seeks support/advice, I've never heard a decent human being say, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself" or "That's a sin."
Yet Gurinder Singh Dhillon said those things. This shows that at least when it comes to talking about mental health issues, including suicide, the RSSB guru doesn't act like a decent human being.
Like I said, spirituality should enhance the qualities of a decent human being, not negate or lessen them. If the RSSB teachings negate/lessen those supports of positive qualities, obviously someone should run from those teachings as rapidly as possible.
BlackRose commented on a post I wrote a few days ago, "Why a guru shouldn't give mental health advice." In it I shared a tale from a woman, Sonya, who told Dhillon about her attempts to commit suicide and got a response from the guru that included these unfeeling words:
"Stop feeling sorry for yourself."
Below you can read about another instance in which the RSSB guru turned a blind eye toward someone who told Dhillon that she was thinking about suicide.
His reported response: suicide is a sin.
A few years later, this person killed herself. Neither her mother, who accompanied her to the interview with the guru, nor Dhillon, did anything to help the woman.
This is beyond shameful.
It borders on criminal negligence, failing to take the most basic steps to help someone who is thinking of taking their life. If a counselor or teacher had behaved the way the guru did, dismissing someone's cry for help with a curt "suicide is a sin," they'd be guilty of professional malpractice.
A guru should manifest the best of human qualities, not the worst. Rightly or wrongly (I'd say wrongly), many people trust what a guru says.
After all, why did this woman and her mother ask for an interview with Dhillon? Almost certainly, because they believed the RSSB guru would offer some wise words.
Instead, the suicidal woman got worse than nothing.
Compassion, understanding, empathy -- that's what she needed, along with being told that it was imperative she get professional psychological help as soon as possible. The Mayo Clinic describes what should be done if someone is suicidal.
Dhillon did the exact opposite. He didn't tell the woman to get help. He wasn't compassionate. Instead, he was judgmental. Read on for what BlackRose said:
I really resonate with this post. A few years ago my cousin committed suicide. At first it came as a huge shock as it was very sudden and I thought no one knew she was suffering. Turns out I was wrong.
Both her mother and Gurinder Singh knew and did nothing. After the suicide my cousin's mother revealed that two years prior to the death she had gone with her daughter for a private interview with him where my cousin confessed to him that she was thinking about suicide.
I did not hear this story first hand but he apparently told her that suicide was a sin and her mother yelled at her for saying such things. I do know that no action was taken.
Neither Gurinder nor my aunt told a single soul about this at the time and so no one took action to get my cousin the help she needed. If Gurinder Singh, who my cousin believed was god incarnate, was compassionate to her and encouraged her to get help she may still be alive today.
The surprising thing is that there is another satsangi young person tangentially related to the same family who I have heard is suicidal. I don't know her name or know her personally but I sincerely doubt she is being given the help she needs either because of Gurinder's denial of depression as a real thing people all over the world of any class experience.
How many people has he indirectly killed because of this? I feel deeply sad for my cousin and the other girl.
What's also disgusting is how another commenter, "Grateful one," tried to make it seem like Gurinder Singh Dhillon was blameless in the woman's death.
Below you can read a confirmation that the RSSB guru said suicide was a sin -- a horrible thing to say to someone contemplating taking their own life.
The uncaring attitude shown by "Grateful one" makes me exceedingly grateful that I no longer put any faith in gurus. True believers like "Grateful one" are unable to recognize how blind they are to a guru's shortcomings, instead going to great lengths to excuse inexcusable behavior.
As you can read below, "Grateful one" is deluded enough to argue that a suicidal person wasn't depressed or had any problems. That is flat out insane. Because devotees of the guru believe he is God in human form, they consider that the guru can do no wrong.
But he did.
Gurinder Singh Dhillon did nothing to help a suicidal woman. Yet somehow "Grateful one" believes he wasn't involved in the situation at all. That's a lie. In a personal interview he told the woman suicide is a sin, and did nothing to help her. So it is entirely appropriate to ask, how many other people has the RSSB guru indirectly killed?
Here's the comment from "Grateful one."
Blackrose, I’m sorry but I know your cousin she was a very good friend of mine and I know the entire family as well. Yes she may have mentioned to her mother that she had these thoughts but her mother did not take it seriously as she never thought she would do it and I also know for a fact that Babaji was very sympathetic to her situation and told her clearly that suicide is the biggest sin and one should not do it.
She even asked this in a q and a and I heard his response myself as I was there. Your cousin(my good friend) was neither depressed nor had any problems. I find it’s very easy to blame someone else(in this case the master) for what she chose to do to herself.
That is very wrong as he was not involved in this situation at all. Your cousin wasn’t initiated or followed the path or any vows so how can this be related to the Master or his teachings? I know first hand because my friend stayed with me and we talked about it. This is the problem with these kind of comments where people write whatever they want which is non factual and only hearsay and many people tend to believe.