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June 12, 2022


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Hi Brian,

This is the best expose on Dera liars.

Very interesting though little instructive.
I met satsangis
from a former Rosecrusian background
which told me,
the Master had taken Jesus in the 3-rd region
and brought Him to Satch Khand

Keep in mind that SK is the expression
to indicate the highest Level
of Consciousness
Appparently , there are exceptions on
the neccesity to meet a LIVING Master
in the FLESH
but it can be a case like Charan said
placing a disciple in one of the lower regions
where the satsangi can be picked up later.
Still keep in mind the regions are
At least HE knew about The Holy Ghost
specific Levels of Consciousness, levels
of Love


Often are prostitutes remembered for their
good feel of Holiness kike
Tulsi Sahib saying at Kumnla Mehla :
The first of these people coming by who will reckognize me
for What I AM, . . .
I will save.
next a luxury carriage stopped
and a beautiful Lady fell at His feet

Few Gigolos aare mentioned in litterature

That made for gripping reading!

First of all, Brian, kudos to your correspondent for that beautiful summary. It is a fairly complex plot, and yet he summed it up with an admirable economy of words, without taking anything away in the retelling from the sheer drama of it all.

And that apart, of course, kudos to David Lane for neatly tying down the different strands of what had happened a fairly long time ago, from accounts and documents that must not have been very easy to come by. A neat investigative effort, the book itself, going by your correspondent's summary.

I suppose what really happened is lost forever now. Beyond the investigative effort in this book, I don't think any more comprehensive details will be available even in the Dera itself, given that it was so long ago, and all the people concerned are long dead.

(I suppose one possible lead that one might check out further if one wanted to find out more about what happened, is to further explore the Paul Petzoldt angle. After he returned back to the US, he and his wife may have left documents and journals and letters; or maybe talked with friends and family who in turn may have happened to document some of that in letters and journals; and it might be possible, perhaps, to track some of that down. On the other hand, David Lane may already have explored that angle in his investigations, and detailed out in his book, and your correspondent may simply have left that part of it out of his summary. Which is fair enough, there is only so much that a brief summary can accommodate.)

Tragic, what happened to Julian Johnson. I've not read all of RSSB literature, and no doubt they have lots of others books that talk about their faith, but I found Path of the Masters very interesting reading, and I doubt they have any other book that so comprehensively summarizes all of their faith and their practices and beliefs. What seems a real pity, is that the poor man apparently did not live to see his book --- no doubt a painstakingly executed labor of love --- actually published.

I did not enjoy path of the Masters at all. It did nothing to draw me to the path. I didn't like Johnson commenting on other faiths.

I enjoyed Autobiography of a Yogi, and With A Great Master In India much more.

Yep, I remember being very impressed with Autobiography of a Yogi, more so because I came across it back when I was still in school I think, a much more impressionable age.

Hadn't heard of "With a Great Master In India", that you mention here; and I quickly looked it up, which led me to the Wikipedia entry on Julian Johnson (that I hadn't checked out before this). It's mentioned there that apparently his wife Elizabeth wrote an autobiography. Which last, I suppose, might be of use to someone interested in digging more into the hows and the wherefores of JJ's death.

No, scratch that last. I'd misread the brief entry about JJ's wife's book in the Wiki entry. It wasn't an autobiography, it was actually her biography; and what's more written by Julian Johnson himself, so that it cannot possibly add anything to how he died.

Here is a website that provides more detail about Julian Johnson and his books.
The free PDF of Johnson's death is also linked here at well.


Julian Johnson's great-granddaughter contacted me after she read the book on his death. We met at my house in La Quinta a few years back and she shared with me a treasure trove of materials that she inherited. These included a series of handwritten letters, pictures, and more. We met again a year or so later and have been in contact.

There were some plans for her to write an extensive biography of her great grandfather.

BTW, Paul Petzoldt was initiated and talked about his inner experience during meditation.... he lived to a ripe old age and I think was traumatized by the whole endeavor. It is briefly described in the book as well.

Thank you for that link, David, and further for the link, embedded in there, to your book itself.

(Julian Johnson's two books, Path, as well as Great Master, also appear to be linked to in there, which is cool. I've got Path of the Masters, but it might be interesting to check out With a Great Master.)

"Elizabeth spent the rest of her years close to the Great Master and then died from dysentery."

This story is very sad.

"..is one of the five deadly enemies of the soul.
2. KRODH, anger, is the second of the deadly five. Its action is to stir up strife, cause confusion and scatter the mind. Then it cannot concentrate..

..The two cannot go together. Anger destroys peace, neutralizes love, engenders hatred and turns individuals and groups into enemies..

..Anger is the extreme opposite of love.."

-Dr. Jullian P. Johnson
The Path of the Masters - Twelfth Edition, Ch. 6, Sub. 7

Elizabeth was a wack job from everything I’ve read, and I read David Lane’s book along with other accounts.

But that shouldn’t surprise us. So many of the people in the different RSSB Master’s inner circles aren’t people that we would want to be around for any amount of time outside RSSB.

The “Inner Circle” is the worst. They only serve to cover up and make excuses for these so called Masters who claim to be God in human form.

Of course she was crazy. Everyone in the inner circle is completely nuts.

And the whole Jesus story is just mad bull shit.

All of the so called “inner experiences” that RSSB initiates claim to have are mere hallucinations.

And I think Jesus was talking about his own mother, Mary. NOT Julian Johnson’s mother. 😂

Just re-read this thread again, both Brian's post (comprising his correspondent's summary), as well as browsed through that lovely link David Lane has posted here. (For which thanks to him, once again, for making both his own book, as well JJ's two books, so easily and freely available for everyone to read.)

One more time, I was struck with how beautifully Brian's correspondent has summarized this complex plot, in brief, while at the same time making the account both gripping, as well as charming in its depiction of life at the Dera. And I love his understated sense of humor. For instance, this sentence from his account had me LOL-ing away, with its pithy delivered-with-a-straight-face humor: "The reason for the heated arguments is either about the raising of the kundalini or Elizabeth’s cooking." (!!!)

When you think about it, the reason for the unfortunate fight that resulted in JJ's death is pretty much birzarre. Guy jokes about a kick in the butt sending your kundalini soaring; to which apparently devout lady takes such strong exception that she starts screaming and picks up a shotgun to kill, or at least threaten, our would-be stand-up comic. And then this innocent bystander gets punched in the face, or pushed, and then falls over, hits his head, and dies. And not to forget the shady would-be successor-to-Guru trying to cover the whole thing up by gaslighting away. Unfortunate, all of that, absolutely, without a doubt; but pretty much bizarre.

I'm looking forward to reading the book itself, when I have time, that David Lane has so kindly made available for us here.

@ AR

Hahaha ... it reminds me of an "hysterical" reaction of a young lady, when i knocked at her door in the dera ... or when I happende to phone one in my country even one minute before or after 9 PM ... hahahah [western] sat sangi women can indeed act and react "hysterical"

Hi, um.

Sorry, what was the 9 PM thing? Didn't quite get that part. Why 9 PM?

@ Hahaha ... AR

In order to get up in the morning at 3 am to meditate, one is advised to go to bet at 9PM.

Have you ever heard an annoyed voice on phoning some one around dinner time?
Making yourself feel the most miserable person on earth?

Hahaha ...

@ AR

Those that are christians will live the practice of Sant Mat in a christian way.
Those that are born in the USA will do it the american way. etc.
The previous guru would joke people about for that reason and had a special guesthouse for the people from South Africa and an guest house for the western followers in general to keep them away from socialising with the indian inhabitants ... hahaha ... and for a good reason ... hahaha .. to much of that interaction would interfere with the goals why people should come to the dera.

It is my personal point of view that people in the west have hardly an idea of what sant mat is all about, they have no idea about Bhakti and concepts of guru etc as it is no part of their culture.

In India everybody, growing up is a guru ... your parents, your teachers etc etc. and from early age they are trained how to use this way of social cultural interaction.

Very, very sad story indeed.

A woman initiate is confronted by a married man. And Sant Mat doesn't raise, nor teach a Kundalini method.

Then the man threatens a woman by saying hell kick her in the rear to help her learn its effect? Glad he admitted his joke was a mistake.

And why was his gun in her kitchen, or food area, or quarters? Or did he bring it with him and set it down, as he confronted a woman? Brave kundalini obsessed mountain man!

The woman following Sant Mat method must have been so frightened that without her husband there yet, picked up the rife to bop the unruly man.

Then in his escape he runs smack into her husband on the way back. Possibly accidentally collided, or worse. Then gets off scott free.

Super sad, the only good thing was man got to go back to kundalini and chitlins after it all.
(From my vantage point of course)

"The book tells the story.."

Mystery is in the title, and leaves it open to many an interpretation. Even the laws of the land weren't sure. RSSB representatives must have tried to accommodate the meat eaters to the extent of their vegetarian reputation. Obtaining meat at the nearest market just for them, I could only imagine. I can't even remember how to properly cook meat myself since it's been so long.

To me, it also looks like the good people of RSSB went so far out just to welcome people who could have hunted, killed, and prepared their own dish able to survive great mountains. RSSB paid unduly, for their kindness to accommodate. Boy I've had that happen to me. Even currently they must suffer rumors, while the present Master is still going all out like in All Star Superman during Covid-19, what a story.

In the '80s I used to go to home satsangs in the Midwest and occasionally the representative would attend. On one of these occasions he said he had a letter that Dr. Johnson had written but he could only read it out loud and couldn't let anyone make copies of it. It sounds like the same letter. I remember thinking at the time, 'This is pretty wild, Dr. Johnson and Jesus having a little chat in the upper regions and Dr. J. returns with a status update.' Of course today you can go to YouTube and listen to everybody and his brother describe their NDE's so I guess times haven't changed.

I have a satsangi friend who for a couple of summers had Paul Petzoldt for a boss. In his younger days my friend lived in Colorado and worked in Outward Bound where Paul was overseeing the teaching of outdoor skills to young people. Paul first climbed the Grand Teton Peak when he was 16 while wearing cowboy boots and almost every year after that up into his mid-80's. He was quite the interesting character!

For someone who climbed the Matterhorn twice in one day from two separate sides, taking on the job of shooting rabid dogs at the Dera with a shotgun probably didn't phase Paul Petzoldt in the least.

I believe in David's account there wasn't anybody who wanted to use the shotgun to kill the occasional rabid dog that would show up at the dera so Paul said that he would do it. This was the reason the shotgun entered the picture in the first place and whether it was loaded or not will probably never be known. I'd highly recommend reading David's excellent book so you can make your own decision about what might have happened based upon the available documents and eyewitness testimony he provides.

If you'd like to learn more about this larger- than-life figure a good book is "On Belay, The Life of Legendary Mountaineer Paul Petzold" by Raye C. Ringholz. It's an excellent biography of Paul, and chapter 6, 'Intrigue' in India', is a fascinating account of the author's version of events surrounding Dr. Johnson's death.

I didn't know this before I read the book, but the term 'on belay' is one of a group of verbal alerts that Petzoldt developed and organized into a standardized format for mountaineers. The use of these over the years has no doubt saved many lives.


"The Mystery of Dr. Johnson’s Death: A Scandal in the Punjab by David Christopher Lane. The book tells the story about the death of Dr. Julian Johnson at the Dera in India which the RSSB.." (original thread)

Summary of this mystery novel?
Boy I favor more factual books made by personal knowledge, or first hand experience. But I did use to read about legends, perhaps 23 years ago.

"I'd highly recommend reading David's excellent book..

..Of course today you can go to YouTube and listen to everybody and his brother describe their NDE's so I guess times haven't changed."

Posted by: Kevin | June 14, 2022 at 10:50 PM

What is all this talk about the 'Masters Orders' to 'Never speak online about Sant Mat', or to 'Never share inner experiences with anyone'.

I always wondered what Baba Ji and Maharaj Ji meant when they said not to share Sant Mat experiences.

Well, I know everyone has the right to their own opinion. So I can only share mine;

If I haven't practiced what I preach, how can I really teach or even share?

So yes! Satsangi brothers & sisters shouldn't share Sant Mat if it doesn't really float your boat -I believe.

Only my spin, no references this time, you must look it up yo' selves!

Masters' orders

Money was said to be the key reason why Petzold didn't get along with Elizabeth Bruce. Apparently, Petzold owed money to Julian Johnson, how much I'm not sure, but it was a bone of contention between them.

The shotgun was dera property and used to kill wild dogs, a dera policy which seems to conflict with Charan Singh's many comments to satsangis that it's grossly inhumane to put down a suffering pet.

There doesn't seem to be any evidence that Petzold and Johnson were enemies, and so the idea that Petzold "murdered" Johnson doesn't seem credible to me. Bear in mind that Johnson didn't die from blunt force trauma of a punch but from a cardiac event largely due to his age.

Paul Petzoldt recalled this near the end of his life, talking about a meditation experience he had the Dera, apparently after he got initiated.

"When I [Paul Petzoldt] went into a trance I was sort of floating around in this beautiful land with the most pleasant sensation, much more pleasant than anything I’ve ever had before or since. Sex, marijuana—I smoked once when I was in college in the 1930s, nice alcoholic glows that I’ve had, standing on top
of mountains, moments of triumph, any of those high spots never compared. I’ve been ill at times, had a car wreck one time where I had to take some opiates of some kind, and this was a nice, warm cozy feeling, but nothing compared. It was beautiful, good, just a complete release and something you wanted to do again. You would naturally bring yourself out of it. It wouldn’t last very long at first. Some of these people could do it for hours. I stopped because I was afraid of it. I could get hooked on this. This was something terrific.”

The tragedy of Johnson's death is that it all could have easily been avoided.

As the conclusion states:

"Tragically, Paul Petzoldt deeply admired Dr. Julian Philip Johnson and never intended to kill him. He considered him a friend and a mentor. A simple argument evolved into something much worse and created a mystery that still haunts the memories of all those involved."

Another great book I found here from David C Lane is Exposing Cults: When the Skeptical Mind Meets the Mystical . I have put it on my next to purchase list. I hope it will shed some light on how seekers searching for the truth and answers get taken advantage of.

In regards to the RSSB and Dera and the situation that happened in 1939. It they went at that time to such great lengths to cover up a crime, what has transpired since then at the Dera that we are not aware of?
Makes one wonder how many skeletons are in that closet. But just as the sun comes out each day, so will the truth.

It's beyond ironic that the most glowing and eloquent testimonial of the Sant Mat meditation experience comes from a non-initiate who had a hand in the death of Sant Mat's foremost Western author.

@DC Lane "The tragedy of Johnson's death is that it all could have easily been avoided."

How? Even if you remove Petzold, the sevadars who climbed on Petzold's back, the shotgun, and Mrs. Johnson from the event, The 71-year-old julian Johnson died from a cardiac event that was likely imminent. Perhaps if Johnson hadn't followed a vegetarian diet his heart would have been in better shape to withstand the shock of Petzold's body check.

From The Mystery of Dr. Johnson's death:

"Even here Patricia’s narrative is amended by her husband
who alleges in an interview with Raye Ringholtz that only
he shot the rabid dogs that would on occasion intrude



upon the colony: “I had this shotgun, which was given to
me by the head of this group. We kept it loaded at all
time, because they had outbreaks of rabid dogs. Nobody
there would shoot them because they’d have to take their
karma, so he didn’t have anybody to shoot the dogs. That
was in the dining room in the corner, a double-barrel
shotgun loaded all the time. If someone reported one
[rabid dog], I’d grab that and run out and shoot them.”
Given Petzoldt’s own claim that the shotgun was his and
that he was the only one willing to shoot virulent dogs, it
lends credence to why Donald Elliott, Bhagat Singh, and
possibly Dr. Johnson tried to wrestle the gun away from
Paul Petzoldt since he, not Elizabeth Bruce, actually knew
how to shoot and kill.

This, of course, doesn’t exonerate Elizabeth Bruce, but it
does better explain why the Dera residents may have
feared Paul Petzoldt, who was much younger, much
stronger, and much more skilled with weaponry than they
were. In other words, fear seems to have been a
motivating factor all around, including Paul who believed
that Elizabeth Bruce was going to shoot him."


This strikes me as a somewhat Saul Goodmanish reading of events. Some comments:

1) "Given Petzold's own claim that the shotgun was his." No, Paul Petzold states here that the shotgun wasn't "his, but was "given to me by the head of this group." That is, Petzold doesn't state that he owned the shotgun and brought it to the dera. He says something very different; he says that"the head of the group" had given him the gun (to use) to kill rabid dogs on the property.

Who was this "head of the group" Petzold was referring to? If it wasn't Sawan Singh himself, it was surely one of Sawan's chief officers, and with Sawan's knowledge. Shotguns are loud after all. It seems strange to me that this highly intriguing comment of Petzold implicating the dera's guru was completely glossed over and somehow morphed into Petzold owning the gun.

If Petzold's account is to be trusted, it likely means that Sawan Singh was the owner of the shotgun, and Sawan personally (or by proxy) gave the gun to Petzold to use to kill dogs. On the other hand, if Petzold was somehow the gun's owner, this would have been big new and likely have come out in the trial.

The likelihood that the shotgun was RSSB property adds to the weight of the dera's unease about the case.

2) "Given Petzoldt’s own claim that the shotgun was his and
that he was the only one willing to shoot virulent dogs, it
lends credence to why Donald Elliott, Bhagat Singh, and
possibly Dr. Johnson tried to wrestle the gun away from
Paul Petzoldt since he, not Elizabeth Bruce, actually knew
how to shoot and kill."

Again, it was not Petzold's claim that the gun was "his."

As for the rest, the idea that Paul Petzold was the only person present who knew how to shoot and kill is frankly preposterous. Anyone who has ever seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon knows that a gun works by pointing the end with the hole at the target and then pulling the gun's trigger. The argument also seems based on the strange prejudicial notion that because Petzold shot one or more rabid dogs, he was also fully committed to killing any number of humans at the dera. In fact, there was no reason to believe Paul Petzold was a violent man. The heir apparent guru's comments to the contrary may be sincere, but then again they may be the rationalizations of a satsangis who has no problem protecting one of the brethren by assaulting an outsider.

It bears repeating that it was Elizabeth Bruce who grabbed the shotgun and pointed it at Petzold. I don't think it can be stressed enough that if you point a gun at someone, they have the right to defend themselves, or at least take the weapon away from their assailant. And also, that 2 satsangis battered Petzold as he tried to take the lethal weapon away from the person who was threatening his life. There's no report of Petzold striking back at the satsangis in kind for their blows. Somehow Petzold's restraint after having a shotgun aimed at him, and then being under attack by 3 or more people has become twisted into Petzold being a murderous bad guy, the satsangis justly trying to prevent a mass shooting. Rather outlandish I'd say.

Paul Petzold's character may not match up with that of the esteemed Julian Johnson. But a person's character matters not at all when his life is being threatened. While there's no doubt much that we don't know about this case, given the evidence we have only one person that clearly deserves blame for the death of Julian Johnson: his wife. She is the one who started the assault that led to the unfortunate outcome. She did it with a shotgun, and she was aided by the violent actions of other satsangis, one of whom was in line to be guru. I think this was clear to Sawan Singh and his dera officers.

The gift of gold jewelry to Petzold's wife seems to back that up.

No Risk of Nukes as long as Putins 5 children are alive !!!
. . . but NOT so if he is on SSRI medication like prozac
and 100 equivalents
like the german co)pilot and ALL, yes really ALL school shooters
These drugs take totally compassion away
also for one-sejf, his kids
- hence no depression, nothing to worry
and the do the worst with pleasure

"No Risk of Nukes as long as Putins 5 children are alive !!!"

Why didn't I think of that? Thank you!

Thank you Brian for educating me on something I was unaware of.
It was ALSO great to hear from David Lane in the comments.

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