Here in the United States, candidates for a high political office typically have to answer many questions from citizens and journalists. The background of the candidate is looked into. The sources of their income are divulged. They're asked their opinion on important policy issues.
This is as it should be. A person who wants to occupy a high-ranking position needs to show that they deserve the public trust before asking citizens to vote for them in an election. That's how democracy works.
But when it comes to a person seeking initiation from the guru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, a religious organization based in India, it is very difficult to get answers about the personal life of the guru, who currently is Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
That bothers someone who recently sent me questions that they think should be asked and answered by the guru. Here's what they said. I corrected some typos and translated a few words in an Indian language that would be unfamiliar to most readers. The Dera is the RSSB headquarters in India.
Brian, I've been wondering about a subject for many days: that there should be a dialogue between the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) guru and potential disciple from both sides and not from one side only.
For example, at the time of applying for initiation in India, questions are asked from only the guru's side. If the applicant has any questions, he does not have any solid means of knowing the answers, while every potential disciple wants to know the complete information about his future Guru.
Most of the time information regarding the RSSB guru is being denied by the Dera authority on the basis that the personal information of the guru could not be revealed.
Whenever a person goes to the Dera to apply for initiation, some questions are asked of that person. Like, when did he give up meat, fish and eggs; do you smoke or use alcohol; how many talks given by the guru have you attended; what is your education qualification; what work do you do; how much money do you earn; are you married; why do you want to get initiated; is there any other devotee in your family, etc.
These same questions are asked many times of different persons applying for initiation. However, no questions are asked of the guru who is going to give the initiation, while transparency should be maintained equally from both the guru and the disciple.
There are some questions which I believe every disciple deserves the answer to before initiation.
Has the guru ever eaten meat and eggs?
Has the guru ever taken any kind of intoxicant: alcohol, drugs, etc?
Has the guru had a physical relationship with anyone other than his wife before or after marriage?
What is the educational qualification of the guru?
What is the value of the ancestral or personal property owned by the guru?
What is the source of the guru's income?
How many people are in the guru's family? What sort of work do they do? What are the sources of their income?
How much income tax was paid by the guru in the most recent year?
Has any criminal case been registered against the guru in India or outside India?
Is the guru a party in any court case?
How many hours usually are spent each day in meditation by the guru?
Does the guru claim that he has access to Sach Khand [highest heaven]? Does the guru have the ability to take his disciple to Sach Khand?
Has Gurinder Singh ever lied after becoming the RSSB guru?
The sevadars who cook food, do cleaning or do the guru's personal work at the Dera, are they paid by the guru, or by the RSSB trust, or is free service taken from them?
How many sevadars are appointed by the RSSB trust at the houses of the guru's family members and relatives? Do they work for free or are they on a salary?
Regarding the helicopter which is used on various satsang tours in India by the guru, who is the owner of the helicopter and who bears the expenses of the helicopter like pilot's salary, airport rent, petrol etc.?
Does the guru also use the helicopter for his personal trips? If so, then who bears the expenses?
Who is the owner of the private jet which is used by the guru?
Who bears the expenses of private jet foreign tours?
Does the guru also use the private jet to meet his family in England or Singapore? If so, then who bears the cost?
Who bears the expenses of the guru's clothes, food, personal needs, expensive cars etc.?
Has the guru accepted any gift (money, expensive item, land) given by any disciple or relative?
Who can become part of the RSSB trust? Is it allowed to a common poor RSSB disciple to become part of the organization as a trustee? What are the requirements to become a member of the RSSB trust?