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May 13, 2020

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Bravo!!

@ I still talk to him. But in a different fashion now. “How’re you doing, Asshole?
@ Don’t like that name? Well, either you’re God and am aware of me speaking
@ to you, or you were a fake and aren’t aware of anything now that you’re dead.
@ So, if you’re God, come and talk to me now that I’ve got your attention...

I think you've uncovered the "secret". Any so-called Guru anointee
needs to be a friend to his adoring masses first and foremost. You
can kid around with a true friend, unload fears, doubts, drop the
phony-baloney "Guru-Ji's" , ignore social distancing,.. go right
ahead. Tell him off. Friends share things.

It's cathartic. Like a parent who finally reaches a breaking point
and scolds his child. Only this time it's a role reversal. A variant of
"Hey, I expected so much more of you. And I only tell you this out
of love." Don't worry. Friends can take it.

It's even better if it ends in laughter. Or at least with a wry smile.
At yourself, at God, at fakes and fakery. Enough humor and it
quickly turns to true friendship. A conversation with God has
to be good for something after all.

Great article!
Thanks

Brian,

Then perhaps you should write to Beas and have that book Life is Fair pulled since you wouldn't want to
lead people to such a path.

Or, perhaps you have already informed Beas?

lifeisfair, I'm very much pleased that I wrote Life is Fair. Note that it is listed in the right sidebar of my three blogs, though obviously the book is only available via Radha Soami Satsang Beas. I also feature the book on my web site, brianhines.com

Being able to write the book was deeply meaningful for me. I believe it was a phone conversation with Faith Singh, the RSSB books coordinator at the time, that I first heard why a book about karma and vegetarianism was desired.

Faith told me that Charan Singh, the RSSB guru who accepted me for initiation in 1971, had always wanted a little book that he could hand out to people who wanted to know why they should be a vegetarian. Since I had fond memories of Charan Singh (though I only saw him in person once, when I went to the Dera for two weeks in 1977), it was deeply moving to have this seva opportunity.

So I threw myself into writing the book, which took quite a while. Among other things, I spent many hours sitting on the floors of bookstores, thumbing through cartoon books, looking for cartoons that would fit with themes in Life is Fair. Anyway, hopes this explains why I will always have fond memories of this book.

As you may be aware, Life is Fair turned a Bollywood actor into a vegetarian, which made me feel great, having been a vegetarian for fifty years myself. See:

https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2013/05/i-changed-a-bollywood-actors-life-turning-him-vegetarian.html

"I think you've uncovered the "secret". Any so-called Guru anointee
needs to be a friend to his adoring masses first and foremost. You
can kid around with a true friend, unload fears, doubts, drop the
phony-baloney "Guru-Ji's" , ignore social distancing,.. go right
ahead. Tell him off. Friends share things."

Nice. No true Saint wants to be put on a pedestal. But true or otherwise we must reconcile with the version we find inside ourselves. I don't have to call Him Asshole if I can just walk away. But if He's still there, right inside me, and I haven't actually walked away at all, and he's still there, nagging me with thoughts of how much I hate Him, then Asshole it is.

Reconciliation is inevitable with your own self, however that is symbolized within you. When you find you just can't get rid of Him, that's you.

But naturally there is a bit of back and forth. That's a real Saint. Not someone so far away, so Holy and Sacred they are actually unaccessible. No progress will be made that way.

But we are the ones doing that. All that adoration is really pushing Him away. Because He is us, our true self. Our only self. Not anyone or anything wise.

It's nice if the physical Saint could just walk away from that terrible role. But when in Rome you must speak Roman. He came here to be our brother. That was the original idea.

But that hardly matters when we find ourselves living with the Inner version. And craving His company.

And nothing happens until we clear the air within ourselves.

But to really be my brother, the version inside me is going to need to listen to my complaint and work with me. Not ask me to degrade myself, or engage in corrupt activity. Not going there.

I can't hide it anymore and I shouldn't. And the fact that He is there means He is now my prisoner! I can do to Him whatever I want. After wearing that out, then, He really is always still here. Still here inside me. That's when we become brothers. And more than brothers, One.

"Life is a foreign language.
Everyone mispronounces it."
Christopher Morley

If this essay were written by a life-long atheist or a Buddhist, it would carry more weight.

Didn't we all join sant mat as adults, and of our free will? If we all accepted the concept of the Godman as theologically valid and took initiation, then doesn't that make us all "assholes" every bit as much as the guru?

Sant mat theology on the Godman concept is a bit tricky. Charan Singh "maharaj" spent 40 years arguing that "the real guru is the shabd" every time anyone tried to corner him on whether he was promoting himself as a Godman. Was this Charan giving his honest opinion, or was it a cowardly dodge? Who can say what Charan actually believed about his ultimate status as guru? By the same token, who actually knows what Gurinder believes about his role as Beas' guru?

Go back to sant mat theology as it was laid out in Sawan's time. The offical Beas doctrine is that every guru since Shiv Dayal is more or less channeling Shiv's Incarnational power. That is, no Guru in the Beas line is claiming to be anything more than a channel, a stand-in and access point, as it were, for God's power. Again, isn't that what Charan always maintained? From the time he took the gaddi, he only claimed to be fulfilling a role that was forced upon him. And on that note, let's remember that both Charan and Gurinder had the Godman role thrust upon them. Neither were upstart gurus like Da Free John or any of the myriad other holymen of this era.

Still, I can understand the argument that anyone who accepts the Godman role, however nuanced the theology or how much good works they do, is dishonest to at least some degree. And some Godmen are more a-holish than others. Think of Paul Twichell who plagiarized and lied to establish his Godman authority, or those Godmen who abused followers financially and sexually.

But if accepting the status of Godman makes the Godman per se an "asshole," then it follows that his followers are likewise assholes for believing him.

Perhaps asshole is a conclusion that needs to be rethought a bit. Those who spent decades in RSSB bought the Godman concept just as the present Guru did. Why is he solely to blame for his apparent extreme spiritual hubris, and not you?

j, views change.

I was 22 years old when I was initiated. I'd only read a few books about the RSSB philosophy. After 35 years of being an active member of RSSB and having fairly close contact with the current guru, Gurinder Singh, my knowledge was much greater.

So it is a specious argument for you to say that I shouldn't change my mind about RSSB after more than three decades of exposure to the organization, the gurus, and the Sant Mat teachings.

J we are all to blame for being ignorant.
But if day after day you claim to be in a role that has the power of God, and refer to your predecessors in that role as God, then its a bit disingenuous when confronted to say "oh no, I'm no different than you, I'm just doing the job I was appointed to do."

If you are no different than me, then get off the fucking stage and take off the fucking costume and forbid people to speak of you as anything other than their friend.

And accept the blind and disabled as your special children equal to everyone else, equally privileged to your company, time and friendship without any discrimination what so ever. Get rid of the ceremony of initiation that presumes and promotes you are God creating a spiritual caste system. This is Pagan idolatry.

If you really understand love and God, eliminate these barriers as if some limitation of God necessitates them. It's a game. And your sincere meditation will show you this.

Or go on inventing excuses for these filthy and godless practices. They are not the Sangat's fault. They are enabled and perpetuated by the Master who continues to engage in them.

Atheism is far more spiritual in decrying this system of lying to ourselves and worshipping an idol than RSSB, because of its very structure and practices.

Well, then Spence and Brian, aren't disciples that write books that more or promote RS teachings responsible (at least to some measure) for leading people to these very "assholes?"

Why the exemption?

Hi Lifeisfair,
I'm not sure you read what I wrote
"we are all to blame for being ignorant."
Each of us carries the responsibility of our own choices, and the responsibility to act on what we see and understand. As Brian Ji points out, that is an active, continuous process of growth. Some of the teachings are quite beautiful. If you read Life Is Fair there is much in it that is elegant and encourages personal responsibility.

Over the years we learn. And rather than ignore those subtle and maybe not so subtle urgings of our conscience, and observations of our thinking mind, we should listen, understand the truth in them, and take responsibility to act upon them. We should not honor traditions that keep us from God.

When you see a process that is flawed and not growing, a false representation, idol worship, discrimination, it is appropriatie to call that out. And of course the Captain of the Ship must be the first to assume responsibility for all things under His or Her command. When they don't make a point of doing that, and instead blame others, then they earn a new title.

It is wrong to pretend you have the power to initiate souls, wrong to pretend you are God in human form, and wrong to pick and choose who is worthy, leaving the blind, disabled and others locked out of that intimacy with God and His inner companionship. It's just plain wrong, and the one most responsible for perpetuating this pagan idolatry and prejudice is the leader in the costume.

Meanwhile many who do not fit those prejudices enjoy a much closer intimacy with the Lord than those initiated who perpetuate this false caste system.

They see God in every spring flower, in the love and companionship of their dog, in every autumn leaf. They realize they are in God all the time, right with everything around us, and each living thing they understand is moving forward. God teaches them all the time, and they are brought into the company of others further along, who have gone the whole journey, here helping others. They are blessed to be realized souls without ever having to think about who is initiated and who isn't. They are born into this condition. They may be blind and disabled as well. Anyone and anything that loves the Lord goes there.

To try to insert a person or organization into that, as a barrier charging you with the cost of your attention, create certifications, initiations, it's like charging for clean water, when this Water has been provided free for the asking and naturally available most everywhere. And people available to teach you about it, help you develop your own connection, without any titles, without a fan club, without conditions. Good already has Good organization, His Church, and you are already in it. If a child in Church knows a little more than his or her fellows, they share it. They don't build their own exclusive club around their tiny knowledge.

Inserting yourself is like creating a damn and charging the village downstream for water. It's an abomination to God.


"J we are all to blame for being ignorant."

If so, and if the concept of Godman is so obviously reprehensible that anyone who believes in it in any measure is an "asshole," then it follows that every ex-satsangi needs to take responsibility and make amends to everyone they helped brainwash.

I don't see that happening on this forum. It seems to be easier to just blame the Guru for (as far as we know) believing precisely what we used to believe about the Godman concept.

Here's what's obvious to me: Charan and Gurinder were both born into cultures -- a family even -- where the Godman concept is accepted as valid. Neither Charan or Gurinder cooked up the concept, it's at least hundreds of years old in North India. Neither did they get the title of Godman through some kind of political machination. Both Charan and Gurinder were appointed to their roles, apparently without any prior knowledge that they would be successors.

That was their world. Then we came along as adults, hungry for finding a Godman, took initiation, and stayed active initiates for decades.

How about taking personal responsibility for that choice instead of laying all the blame on the guru for hoodwinking you? Why imply that everyone who believes in the Godman concept (from Sant Matters to Christians) is somehow an "asshole" for their theological beliefs?

Ex-satsangis, you chose this path, and you freely chose to believe in the Godman concept. If you feel you made a mistake, there are better ways to deal with it.

j, you don't seem to believe in the power of learning from our mistakes, and then telling others about what we've learned, so they can avoid the same mistakes.

That's why I started this blog in 2004 and have kept it going ever since. I wanted to share with other people what I've learned about the downside of embracing a religion, such as Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), and of trusting in a guru who really isn't who he/she claims to be.

It's akin to a whistleblower revealing problems at a government agency. I ended up having close contact with the higher-ups in RSSB, including the guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon. That gave me a close-up view of the organization that most devotees lacked.

So I felt, and still feel, a duty to tell others what I have come to realize about the danger of blind faith and accepting dogma uncritically. Those other people may not like what I have to say. No one forces people to read my blog posts or to agree with them. That so many do shows that truth-telling has a certain power, an attractive force.

As the saying goes, "Speak truth to power." I've been pleased to do that, and I will continue to do that.

J you wrote
"How about taking personal responsibility for that choice instead of laying all the blame on the guru for hoodwinking you?"

Let my suggest an alternative way to look at this. Those who have acknowledged from there experience that this is fake are taking responsibility by saying so. We're all learning.

But the person who perpetuates this false system is not acknowledging. That's where the title comes in.

Anyone, in any culture, that perpetuates a falsehood, even though it may have started in ignorance, should at some point acknowledge this and step outside of that false system.

Why not? So then that brings up the billions of dollars involved, the family networks, the overlap of friendship, business, charity and corruption.

There are reasons to keep up the Falsehood. But doing that persistently becomes lying.

So if you are still lying to yourself or others, then you can say you are an asshole. And if you are finally telling the truth then you have grown out of that.

I was 22 years old when I was initiated. I'd only read a few books about the RSSB philosophy. After 35 years of being an active member of RSSB and having fairly close contact with the current guru, Gurinder Singh, my knowledge was much greater. So it is a specious argument for you to say that I shouldn't change my mind about RSSB after more than three decades of exposure to the organization, the gurus, and the Sant Mat teachings."

I doubt believe I've ever faulted anyone for changing their mind about sant mat or any religion.

But I believe your essay is making the specious claim that anyone who believes in the Godman concept is an "asshole." That is, you're not merely telling the world that you no longer believe in sant mat. Fair play to you for that. But you've gone beyond explaining that you no longer believe and are making the assumption that everyone who does believe is an "asshole."

This to me seems presumptuous, over the top, and not a little bit hypocritical. After all, you admit you took initiation as an adult and stayed active in RSSB for 35 years.

Your argument that the guru (always Gurinder of course, never Charan) is an asshole is based on the presumption that he fully knows that he's a fraud has no right to be a sant mat guru. The problem with that is there's no conclusive evidence that either Charan or Gurinder knew they were frauds and went right on gathering initiates.

Do you feel duped? Join the club! It's natural to feel that way. I was initiated at 18 in a sant mat spinoff and spent years deeply resenting the guru for his blatant lies and self promotion. But this wasn't an RSSB guru who was born into a royal sant mat family and was appointed successor. For all you or I or any of us know, Charan and Gurinder deeply believe in sant mat's Godman concept. We may, of course, change our minds and evolve to reject that belief. But those who were RSSBers for decades might do better to take a broader look at their former beliefs and where they came from. Simply putting all the blame of the Guru and everyone with theist beliefs has limited usefulness.

j, did you read the blog post I wrote in 2006 before commenting on it? Sounds like you didn't. I don't mind reasonable criticism of what I write, but when someone like you puts words in my mouth that I didn't say, I find that offensive. Stick to what I said! Nowhere in the post do I say that believers in a guru are assholes. Nowhere, not once. Here's all of the "asshole" mentions for your enlightenment:
---------------------
If someone is considered to be God in human form by their devotees, yet knows that they don’t deserve that divine title, what should we call them? I suggest, “Asshole.”
---------------------
Which brings me to the question with which I began: is the guru a God-man or an Asshole?
---------------------
However, upon further reflection I’m beginning to think that loyalist and liar belong together in the broader “Asshole” category. This reduces the choices to two: God-man or Asshole, assuming that lunatic doesn’t fit.
---------------------
On the other hand, if the guru really isn’t God, I don’t see how he deserves any other title than Asshole.
---------------------
I still talk to him. But in a different fashion now.

“How’re you doing, Asshole? Don’t like that name? Well, either you’re God and am aware of me speaking to you, or you were a fake and aren’t aware of anything now that you’re dead. So, if you’re God, come and talk to me now that I’ve got your attention. If you’re not, then Asshole is the perfect name for a man who claimed to be a Perfect Master for almost forty years, but knew that he wasn’t."

It’s a conundrum. I don’t know which is true: God-man or Asshole.

Brian wrote :
I only saw him in person once, when I went to the Dera for two weeks in 1977

me:
Great figure is that
and
What great smile of Gurinder in that photo above.

Isn't it marvellous the ONLY way to SEE. is
inside by stopping the 'bull shitt thoughts

Indeed, if it was common the whole planet would come,
SK overloaded
and creation would end
This will happen while U happen to be reborn sir

77

@ ... you're dead. So, if you’re God, come and talk to me now that I’ve got
@ your attention. If you’re not, then Asshole is the perfect name for a man
@ who claimed to be a Perfect Master for almost forty years, but knew that
@ he wasn’t.

Asshole's answer: "I'm dead but look on the bright side. You can't
be scammed again. Well... until you fall for another schmuck's
line, that is. In my defense, I did say follow the path and perfect
your mindfulness. Then you'll see the truth within. You'll save yourself
at least and, hell, you could even start a blog and warn others too.
Lots of lives saved if they'll listen.

God-man's answer: Yeah... what he said. Well, he didn't exactly.
I moved his pale, dead lips to make a point. It's one of God's perks,
you see. But, I digress. He's absolutely right and so are you. Proof of
the pudding is in the eatin' and not blind faith in the costumed guy
on the stage. It's too bad it takes a puppet show and lots of achy
-breaky drama before you walk outta the theatre. No, there are no
refunds. Remember, you signed a waiver. How many times I gotta
say it: Go within. It's recorded.

"But I believe your essay is making the specious claim that anyone who believes in the Godman concept is an "asshole." "

I don't know what Brian was saying, but I'll go on record as believing that statement. There's nothing specious about it.

People who believe that they're so special that they have exclusive access to gods on earth are assholes. Not a really tough statement to digest unless you're an asshole yourself.

What i dont understand is, why dont these indian godmen go to the monks and try to initiate them. They already basically live off the 3 vows. Why try to coax all the other worldly people?

@Dungeness

Do you follow RSSB or a different RS? Just curious...

Hi Sonia,

Charan Singh initiate but Ishwar Puri Is my favorite online speaker.

Ah, but we coax ourselves. That is how gurus get an audience.

Look at it today in the USA. How many Americans (from non-satsangi families) are getting initiated?

Almost nothing compared to the 1970s and 1980s.

Why?

Ah, other interests and thus not seeking out gurus. The spirit of the age today is technology!

Hi Sonia,

Charan Singh initiate but Ishwar Puri Is my favorite online speaker.

Posted by: Dungeness | May 17, 2020 at 10:05 AM

Cool. Thx

Why?

Ah, other interests and thus not seeking out gurus. The spirit of the age today is technology!

Posted by: techguru | May 17, 2020 at 01:29 PM

I think there’s a great deal of searching for “spirituality” in the USA not cult leaders.

Gurus are not a part of the American psyche. Not spiritual gurus or god men. It’s a foreign concept here. It’s weird.

The only reason there were initiated in the 70’s and 80’s is because people were still influenced by the hippie movement.

Even then, initiates made up a minuscule percentage of the US population.

It’s not a part of the American psyche. Christians are very anti anyone claiming to be God. Jews and Buddhists kinda got their own thing and I’m pretty sure Muslims consider god-gurus to be infidels. 😂

In India you can’t go five miles without running into a gurus. India has THOUSANDS of god-men spiritual gurus. It’s part of the Indian culture. In India people choose a guru like Americans choose a local church to attend.

The two cultures will never be very much alike when it comes to spirituality.

Excellent points by J.

All logical and unemotional just piercing right through all the nonsense.

Ain’t the truth a wonderful thing - and yet he gets shouted down.

I was starting to stereotype Americans as a nation of crackheads and assholes, But good to see a brother from another mama in cyberspace.

Radha Soami is a cult which has been riddled with controversy from the times of Baba Jaimail singh, who was well known for his devious ways. A wrong path to walk on from the days of Sawan singh till the times of today with the latest crook in question Gurinder Dhillion who has single handedly exposed his disgraced rs cult to the masses. A path wich leads, straight to Hell. Asshole!

This RSSB cult, now a religion, has millions of blind followers that really have no idea why they are following this path and a so called self proclaimed guru GSD. If they look outside the box they will see it's just empty, and has nothing - and they have a nerve to market it as a science???? Its nothing but a trap and a waste of your life and the sangat have sadley been conned by a trickster

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