Having been an active member of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) for about 35 years, I follow goings-on with RSSB when they come to my attention. That includes news involving the current RSSB guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon.
On November 26, 2019 I wrote a blog post, "Shabnam Dhillon, wife of RSSB guru, has died." I included a Business Today story about her death which said in part:
Shabnam Dhillon, wife of Radha Soami Satsang Beas head Gurinder Singh Dhillion, has passed away in London. She was 57 years old.
According to a statement before Delhi High Court, Shabnam went to London on November 12 for treatment of gastric troubles. She and other members of the Dhillon family had been summoned to appear before the court in person in relation to the Daiichi Sankyo case.
As per the filing, Shabnam had undergone abdominal surgery in United Kingdom on November 20. She later developed some complications post surgery. She breathed her last at an England hospital at 3:00 am IST.
On October 14, 2022, last month, I wrote another blog post about her death, "Shabnam Dhillon's death leaves questions unanswered." Here's one question.
I'm pretty sure that there never has been any description of what the post-surgery complications were. So that's one question.
...Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that an autopsy was performed, and her body was cremated in early December of 2019. It'd be interesting to see Shabnam Dhillon's death certificate (if that's what they're called in Great Britain) to learn exactly what the complications were that caused her death.
If any reader of this blog lives in Great Britain and is willing to obtain a copy of the death certificate, please do so and email me a scan of it.
After I made that request, someone figured out how to get a copy of the death certificate and left a comment with that information. I managed to set up an account with the General Register Office and ordered a copy of Shabnam Dhillon's death certificate.
It came yesterday. Here's a scan. My comments are below.
The death certificate says that she died at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. It looks like Luton is close to London, so the Business Today story mentioned above had that more or less right.
It's a bit curious that her usual address is shown as 6 Church View, Clapham, Bedford, Bedfordshire. That's the most expensive property in the area (I want to say zip code, but that's a USA term). I thought the RSSB guru and his wife were usual residents of India.
Her occupation is Housewife, Wife of G S Dhillon, Spiritual Master.
The death certificate was registered by Emma Whiting, Senior Coroner for Befordshire and Luton. An inquest was held on April 23, 2020, about five months after Shabnam Dhillon died. According to Wikipedia, an inquest is held when a death is sudden or unexplained.
Whiting's conclusion was that she died after developing septicaemia following a complicated medical procedure.
It seems that she went to England for a revised bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery makes changes to the digestive system in order to help someone lose weight.
Naturally it's sad when a 57 year old woman dies. I find it especially sad that Shabnam Dhillon died because she wanted to lose weight via surgery. I'd envisioned her going to England for treatment of a medical condition.
Though I guess she did have a medical condition of sorts, since the 2019 bariatric surgery was "revisional," which I gather means necessary to fix a problem with the original surgery.
Lastly, all the time I spent as a member of Radha Soami Satsang Beas taught me that the RSSB guru is viewed by devotees as having mystical knowledge akin to that of God -- since the guru traditionally is seen as God in Human Form.
There are many stories of previous RSSB gurus saving their disciples from harm by intervening in some way. That obviously didn't happen in this case, since the wife of the RSSB guru traveled to England for surgery and ended up dying from multiple organ failure.
I no longer believe that the RSSB guru is anyone special. So I just see this as an unfortunate death caused by a surgical mishap. But those RSSB members who believe the guru can save them from misfortune should remember that Gurinder Singh Dhillon wasn't able to save his own wife.
Meaning, in my view, he's just an ordinary human being like the rest of us. That makes his wife's death sad, not anything with spiritual significance beyond the usual meaning of an untimely death.