l am awestruck. I bow down before the glory. I marvel at every inspired word. No, I'm not talking about God or a holy book. I'm extolling a comment "j" left today on a recent blog post.
Here it is. (UPDATE: it seemed obvious that this comment is fictional, but in case anyone thinks it is real, it was made up -- though there is considerable truth in the fictional exchange.)
The guru being referred to is the leader of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), a religious organization based in India that I belonged to for 35 years until I deconverted. The comment is absolutely right-on as regards some of the contradictions and absurdities in the RSSB teachings.
It should appeal to anyone, though naturally it will resonate most with those who are familiar with those teachings.
If you aren't, know that shabd refers to a supposed divine power/energy that manifests as sound and light -- a sort of universal mystical consciousness. Charan Singh was the RSSB guru prior to the current guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
Questioner: Are you saying you have actual powers that make you the most evolved spiritual person in the world? And that only you can guide me to the True God?
RSSB Guru: No, the real guru is the shabd.
Questioner: Then who are you? What is your role?
RSSB Guru: I am merely doing the work that my guru dumped on me.
Questioner: I feel that your answer begs the question. Do you have actual powers of a guru or not?
RSSB Guru: Everyone who wants to find God needs a Spiritual Master to guide them on the Path.
Questioner: Okay, well, are you saying you're such a Spiritual Master?
RSSB Guru: The real spiritual master is the shabd. People who wish to find God need to take initiation from a competent Spiritual Master.
Questioner: So you're saying that if I take this initiation from you, you'll guide me on the inner planes and back to God?
RSSB Guru: Not necessarily. First of all, only marked souls are eligible for initiation. If you're not a marked soul whose karma it is to be initiated, I can not accept you.
Questioner: You're saying you have the spiritual powers to determine who is favored by God to return to God?
RSSB Guru: I do not say that. It is everyone's karma as to whether they are fit to be initiated. Karma is everything.
Questioner: Let me try another question. Are you saying that initiation by you is necessary to return to God?
RSSB Guru: RSSB teaches that all religions teach the very same spiritual truths. I am claiming nothing special. In fact, you'll see spiritual quotes on the RSSB website from Mother Teresa and Iggy Pop. And notice the statue of the Buddha right behind me. We are merely a philosophical organization, not a religion.
Questioner: I see. Then which sant mat guru today is your spiritual equal? Rajinder Singh perhaps?
RSSB Guru: Please do not ask me to give my opinion on any mystics or their teachings.
Questioner: Huh? I thought you just said that all religions are the same, and that "karma" (our efforts) are everything in the journey back to God.
RSSB Guru: No, the teachings of Sant Mat require that one be initiated by a genuine guru.
Questioner: OK then, who is a genuine guru? Can you name one?
RSSB Guru: Yes, Charan Singh ji Maharaj.
Questioner: OK fine. But can you name any genuine gurus outside of your own line of spiritual masters?
RSSB Guru: All saints and mystics teach the same spiritual truths.
Questioner: Fine, then just name one who you'd certify as being as authentic as yourself.
RSSB Guru: You see, we must all make our own spiritual search to choose an authentic guru.
Questioner: But doesn't the RSSB website strongly imply that you are one of these authentic gurus?
RSSB Guru: I am merely the leader of the RSSB organization, and it is not a role of my own choosing. RSSB is a philosophical organization, not a religion. I make no claims for myself.
Questioner: But by accepting the role of Perfect Master, aren't you implicitly making the public claim that you indeed are a Perfect Master?
RSSB Guru: You see, the real Master is the shabd.
Questioner: OK. How about teaching me this technique of getting the shabd?
RSSB Guru: Oh, I could teach the mere technique, but real contact with the shabd requires initiation from a Perfect Master, otherwise the special mantras will have no power whatsoever.
Questioner: Alright, fine, I'll take this initiation then. Will you initiate me now?
RSSB Guru: Now (much laughter). No, you need to get sponsored by an RSSB member and follow 3 vows for a year. Then, maybe I'll initiate you once the paperwork is complete. Bear in mind that once you receive initiation you must accept me as your spiritual master -- a "Godman" in fact -- for the rest of your life.
Questioner: Excuse me reverend sir, but I don't think so.
RSSB Guru: Too bad for you then. There is no other way back to God.
Questioner: But I thought you just said? Nevermind.