Below is an interesting comment from Ned that he just left on my recent post, "The arrogance of believing you're a chosen one, RSSB variety or otherwise."
I agree with Ned. We all want to feel worthy. But religions preach about how fallen and sinful their devotees are, then boost their ego by telling them they are "chosen people."
He's absolutely correct when he says that a core teaching of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, the Indian religious organization led by a guru I once belonged to, is how special and chosen RSSB initiates are.
This isn't something devotees make up. They're told it over and over in books and talks.
For example, a children's book that I once owned (believe it is called Journey of the Soul) shares the RSSB teaching that souls used to reside with God, but were sent to this lower region of creation for some reason. Nine-tenths of the souls were happy to go.
One tenth weren't, because they wanted to stay with God.
That one tenth supposedly now is being brought back to God through initiation by a Perfect Living Master, or God in Human Form -- which is how the RSSB guru is described.
Can't get more special than that, though I'm sure Jews, Christians, Muslims, and members of other religions would disagree. Here's Ned's comment.
Georgy wrote: "Some ppl have more of an ego than others - some think they are better and special - but that’s precisely what the guru is trying to help you overcome. The Nazis also thought they were special, as have most of the biggest c**nts in history, that’s the one thing they all have in common."
The Masters teach that they have come to bring certain souls back to Sach Khand. Not everyone; only those who are tired of this world and ready to go home. That means that initiates are separate from the rest of humanity. They are special because everyone else is still happy stuck in the cycle of re-birth, but the initiate has this realization that there is a better world and they know the Way.
You can find this statement over and over in Sant Mat. So the idea of being special and chosen is not due to egotism. It is part of the teachings of Sant Mat. It actually plays on that person's ego.
What spirituality and religion is selling is self-worth and belonging. As social animals, we all need that. The problem with most paths is that they start with the premise that you are somehow inferior and alienated.
You need to believe something, do something, or know something in order to become worthy. Religious leaders and spiritual teachers play to the most vulnerable in our society because of their backgrounds-- people who already feel like nobody cares and nothing they do matters.
And the "worst c*nts in history"-- authoritarian regimes-- all played that game. The Dear Leader is perfect and beyond reproach, to be worshiped, loved, feared. They gave everything to the party and the movement, and so should you.
Self-interest gets put down a lot in spiritual circles, but I think we all are running on it-- even the most altruistic. It feels good to help others; there is this idea that you are a good person.
People who suggest you eradicate your ego only see that as a better way you can serve their interests. If you follow self-interest far enough, though, you see that we are all interdependent on each other. So then acting in a way that only serves you and harms others isn't in your best interest. "A rising tide lifts all ships."