Recently I wrote two blog posts about the notion of a guru being God in Human Form. First, I said that this makes no sense. Then I said that Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) does teach that the RSSB guru is God in Human Form.
Since some regular commenters on this blog are familiar with the RSSB teachings, I was surprised with the pushback that second post got. Even though I'd provided quotes from two previous RSSB gurus saying that, indeed, the RSSB guru is God in Human Form, for some reason this obvious fact was being denied by a few people.
So here's even more definitive proof. I've given away almost all of my RSSB books, but I kept a 1973 first edition of "Philosophy of the Masters (Abridged)" by Sawan Singh, a RSSB guru who often is called the Great Master.
Understand: I'm not saying that this section below, which was titled Master is the Lord, is true. After 35 years of being an active member of RSSB and writing several books for the organization, I now have big doubts about the RSSB teachings.
Instead, I want to lay to rest any doubt that the RSSB guru is considered to be God in Human Form. Sawan Singh makes this crystal clear. If the current guru, Gurinder Singh, is teaching something else, that could be because he doesn't believe in the RSSB teachings, as I noted in another blog post.
I've boldfaced passages that relate most closely to the guru is God in Human Form teaching, and a related concept -- that no one can know God without being initiated by a Perfect Living Master. Shabd is a supposed divine energy that manifests as sound and light.
Back in 1970, when I first learned about the RSSB teachings, I viewed the following as an exciting invitation to undertake what's been called the Journey of the Soul. Now, though I wish it were true, I see little reason to consider that it is. Further, the idea that there's only one way back to God, that possessed by RSSB, strikes me as cult-like, since this is a claim that all religions are false except RSSB and related Sant Mat teachings.
Here's what Sawan Singh says. Or as his name is shown in the book, Huzur Maharaj Sawan Singh Ji.
The perfect Master is the Lord in human flesh. He is the Shabd personified, "the Word made flesh." Unless we are familiar with the human Master, how can we realize His subtle form, which is the Shabd? The Shabd and the perfect Master are the two means of taking the soul to its original Home.
No one but the Master can reveal the secrets of Reality, and without Him no one can gain release from the bondage of mind and Maya. No one can meet the Lord except through the Shabd, and it is only the Master who can connect the soul with the Shabd. This is the only purpose of their manifestation in this world.
Human beings are endowed with the gifts of intelligence and discrimination to a far greater extent than all the other creatures in this world. All other creatures are, therefore, not worthy of our devotion. Actually, devotion to them would pull us down.
The relationship between beings of the same species has a great deal of power in this world for creating love and attraction. We are on the physical plane, and we can only love one who is also on this physical plane. We are human beings and we should love only a human being.
We have not seen the Lord. How can we offer our love to Him? In other words, it is clear that in order to love the Lord we must love Him through one of his manifestations. Such a man is the Master.
The question arises, why should a man worship another man? The answer is that there is a great difference between one man and the other. A Master has assumed the form of a man, but he is not an ordinary man. Internally He is always in conscious contact with God.
To our limited understanding, the Master may appear to be finite. Actually, he is Infinite. He is the medium for attaining God-realization. He is the medium for taking us from the physical to astral, from astral to causal planes, and even further up -- stage by stage -- to the Unlimited Power above, by means of his instructions and discourses.
If one were to assert that he worships and contemplates on the form of God, which is omnipresent, it can be said that at the most he contemplates on the form of a vacuum or of the ether. Besides, it is not visible to our sense of sight and it will not be helpful in awakening in us the currents of spirituality.
A Master has two forms. Externally he is a human being; but internally he is, in fact, God. He is in the form of a human being outside; but he is God in man, or God plus man. He has contact with human beings on one side, and with the Lord on the other.
From this point of view he has two aspects. One is that of a human being, and the other is that of God. His real form is Shabd. Shabd creates the physical body and dwells in it. "And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
A Master is the medium through which individuals are connected with God. In other words, God, Shabd, and Master are three different forms of the same Lord. If we offer devotion to Shabd in the physical form, which is the Master, we are then immediately connected with the Lord inside.
Devotion to the Master is, in fact, true devotion to the Lord.
A study of the ancient history of India will reveal that in prior ages education was imparted by the Masters in places far removed from human habitation, and the student was wholly occupied physically, mentally and spiritually in the service of his Master. Later this type of education began to disappear slowly and in its place idol worship started.
In the present age, such rendering of service to the Master has altogether disappeared except in the case of a rare few. Now God Almighty, in His abundant Grace, has sent His own Incarnations into this world to preach the doctrine of Master-Disciple Service. This tradition of Master-Disciple relationship continues today.
The perfect Master or Sat Guru has a very clear inner vision and can at once see who is fit for this Path. Those that are ready are accepted. He, in His grace, chooses them and makes them followers of the Truth.
When our soul grows weary in its search for the Lord, and is anxious to return to its home, when our eyes long to see the Lord and we hunger for Him, then, in order to fulfill our intense desire, He incarnates as a perfect Master or Sat Guru.
In order to release the seekers from their bonds He himself comes as a redeemer. He gives the seekers instructions according to their development, and connects them with the Lord.
The secrets of spirituality, or of the practical means by which the soul can become united with the Lord, are given out by a living Master only. This teaching is imparted through an unspoken language. There is no spoken language by means of which it can be imparted. Religious books merely give a few hints about the ascent to the spiritual regions.
The scenes witnessed by the soul with the help of the Master in the subtle regions cannot be fully described. The books, being inanimate, cannot help the soul in its ascent. In the writings of the Saints there is a reference to internal experiences.
The bliss of these experiences can be had by internal progress and not otherwise. It can be achieved through the Sat Guru only. It cannot be had by reasoning. Holy books and scriptures describe it to a certain extent only; but it cannot be experienced except through a living Master.