Sant Mat, the Internet, and Science?

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: September 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.

Dear satsangi:

I deeply appreciate your concern and the time you have put into
replying to my letters.

I also realize that you don't want to disobey Gurinder Singh's
orders yourself. I will perfectly understand if you don't write
back to this letter of mine.

I just want you to know that I have no ill feelings towards you
whatsoever. I can appreciate what you are trying to accomplish.
Below I have included your letter, with my attached commentary.
Hopefully, it will better clarify my position.

YOU WRITE:

Dave


Having written my message to you that I don't want to enter into a
discussion of the Dera on e-mail with you, I feel myself compelled

>But I know Charan would tell me to be critically minded--he told me that
>repeatedly for five years before I got initiated and he told me that
>after I was robbed by J.R. personally.
My comment is this.  You say that Charan Singh told you to be critical
before you got initiated.  Gurinder Singh says exactly the same thing, but
he adds that once one has made the decision to follow the path and asks for
initiation then the critical faculty has no more place.  Rather it is a
time to squelch the arguments that the mind throws up because after all it
is the mind that interferes with our spiritual progress.  Who knows more
about what is best or us, we or our guru?  I guess the question then arises
who do we think our guru is?  Just an ordinary man?  If we truly believe
that our guru is a God realized Soul and is in fact God made flesh, then
surely we have to bow to his superior knowledge of what is best for us and
for the rest of mankind.  I have no real understanding of why Babaji wants
us not to talk about Sant Mat on the web or on e-mail, but I have to
believe that he knows something that I don't.  And if you truly believe in
the tenets of Sant Mat, then you know as well as I do that there is no
difference between Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh, because the real master
is Shabd, and clearly if you have the capability of meeting your own Master
through meditation, then obviously Gurinder Singh (Huzur's chosen
successor) already has and is following his orders.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

1. Jagat Singh says that 90% of spirituality is clear thinking--this
is both before and after initiation. The Masters have never said to
give up critical thinking after taking initiation (this is a
misreading
of the literature). What they have stated is that once you have
taken
initiation it is time to do the practice. Just as in science once
one
becomes convinced of theory, then one does the experiment. But no
scientist gives up critical thinking when doing the experiment.
No, we should become better critical thinkers (not less) due to
Sant Mat.

I am not questioning the practice of meditation. I am questioning
the infrastructure of a group that would have some of its members
write letters to "police" the information flow given by a free
individual, especially when that information is of a historical
and critical nature (check the website again--it is not a
promotional
piece for any one thought--geez, I even have an Atheist book online
and feature it prominently).

If Sant Mat wants so badly to be called a "science" and not a
dogmatic
religion, then it better start acting like one. Please tell me of
one science where the free flow of information is squelched?
Where heathly debate is collapsed? I can name lots of dogmatic
religions, however, who engage in the same type of behavior.

Now to the point of how we view the master. I must tell you in all
frankness to read the Sant Mat literature more carefully. Tulsi
Sahib, the guru of Shiv Dayal Singh, says "I will NOT believe
my guru until I see the truth with my OWN eyes."

Blind faith has no place in the guru/disciple relationship. You
mention the nice story of coloring your prayer mat in wine if the
guru so desires, but I don't think you have really thought out the
consequences of what you are saying.

Do you know that another Sant Mat guru--with the same type of
rhetoric--has beaten women and sexually abused them and allows
the blindfolding of children in his ashram? When his disciples
are confronted with this, they say just as you do (indeed, they
quote the same passage) and say the Master is Perfect and must
know what is right for us. By the way, the drinking of wine
is prohibited in Sant Mat, so how does one justify the nice story?
By claiming the guru is perfect and must know.

Yet, as you even state about Gurinder, he says that we don't know
about the status of our own lineage. Well, let's go right to the
jugular: we don't know of the status of our own guru. We may believe
lots of things, but we simply don't utlimately know the ontological
status of our own guru. As Charan Singh told me, "It is
intellectually impossible to believe that the guru is God."
These were his own words.

Thus we must always make critically minded decisions in light of the
guru's behavior. If we don't, then you get thousands abused by the
likes of Thakar Singh (just check out chapter five of my R.S.
Tradition for the horrors inherent in this type of thinking). No
we should retain our critical discrimination (our "clear thinking"
as Jagat Singh said).

I know how much I love Charan Singh, yet that love does not mean
that
I have to give up that obstruction known as my brain just because
I want to go directly to my heart. There is such a thing as
"intelligent" love.

The gurus do make mistakes and this is one thing that should be
publicly broadcast. If you don't believe me on this, just listen
to the tapes where they have been wrong on dates, on names, on
history, on monetary speculations (read Treasure Beyond Measure--
my all-time favorite book).

I can list a whole series of them for you, but let me just give you
one that I know of:

Charan Singh said on tape that Shiv Dayal Singh did not smoke a
huqqa (a tobacco pipe).

He is just plain wrong.

Shiv Dayal Singh did indeed smoke a huqqa; i even have a real
photograph
of him doing just such a thing.

I don't blame Charan and I don't try to cover it up with some lame
and cultic explanation. 

He just didn't know the history as well as others, perhaps. Or, 
just maybe he was being diplomatic and did not want to offend
his audience. But in either case, his answer is empirically wrong.

Now having said that, we must always keep in mind that we must
be intelligent followers of the guru, and not sheep-like or
herd-like.

Yes, Gurinder Singh was indeed appointed by Charan Singh, but that
does not mean that he cannot be wrong on certain points and that
he does not need or deserve healthy criticism from time to time.

You must be aware that With a Great Master in India by Julian
Johnson
contains many racial slurs and is quite anti-Jewish in its
sentiment.
Indeed, it has a Nazi-like rhetoric to it that is quite disturbing at
times.
Yet it was published under Sawan Singh's authority.

Today, you can't find those same racial statements. Why?
They have been edited out. Why again? Because there were
critically minded Jewish followers who objected to it.
Thus the deletions.

This Dera would be better served by thinkers, by doubters, than
by a bunch of synchophants who are merely scared of reincarnation
rhetoric.


A SATSANGI WRITES:

As to being critical about other religions, I know that Master does not
like us to do that.  At the Dera someone asked whether Christ had been a
Perfect Living Master.  Babaji said that we are not in a position to judge
who is or who is not.  How do we know, he said that the Radha Soami line of
Masters are PLMs?  We cannot know without going inside.  Discussing it
doesn't take us anywhere. We cannot know with our limited intellect.  But
as Babaji said, these gurus and masters are all higher than us, and so
deserve our respect - as do all human beings irrespective of whether we
agree with their opinions or the way they lead their lives.  In the
November Central RS Newsletter, there is an excerpt from a letter sent to
representatives about the quality of satsangs.  In it, point 4 says: "The
speakers should avoid criticism of other religions and faiths.  The
emphasis should always be on our strength and not others' weakness."


DAVID LANE REPLIES:

No, it is better to be critical of Radhasoami, which I most
certainly
am. It is also good to be critical of the gurus' authority, as well
as be critical of ourselves.

I don't criticize religions because I think Sant Mat is true. I 
criticize all religions, when necessary, because that is exactly
what we should do.

Read Davidson's new book on Jesus. It is highly critical....
especially
if one happens to be a fundamentalist Christian.
Path of the Masters is outrageously critical of other religions--
indeed it is even arrogant.

Read the criticism of Agra R.S. groups in our books--it is blatant.

This rhetorical device just does not hold up.

To be sure, Sant Mat should stand on its own legs, but to give
up the critical mind is silliness.

Radhasoami deserves to be critically analyzed.... If you don't
think so, then please by all means read about Thakar Singh.

I am the guy who first went public about his transgressions.

I am very very happy I did. I know of several women whose lives
were literally saved because of it.

Give up the critical mind?

How do you think I became convinced of Charan Singh?

Grace, yes; critical thinking, yes too.


A SATSANGI writes:

It seems to me that critical analysis of other religions is fun and
interesting and stimulating to the mind.  That is why we do it.  I am
enjoying writing this message and I know that my mind is pushing me to do
it even though last night I said I would not. But, the bottom line is what
do I want out of this life? Do I want to be born again or do I wan to go
back to Sach Khand?  My personal feeling is that if I want to go home I
have to believe in my Master's instructions and if he tells me to "dye my
prayer mat in wine" then so be it.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

You should re-read what you just wrote. It sounds no different in
form or context than a fundamentalist Christian. Do you really think
that the guru is going to send a person back a life because he or
she uses the internet? Or, more bluntly, that he or she uses their
BRAIN?

What kind of fear tactic is this? 

Guru authority is potentially the most abusive authority around.
I know from which I speak (having received personal death threats
from another shabd yoga guru, John-Roger Hinkins--the guy who also
robbed my house)

There is nothing wrong with the mind, per se. But there is something
wrong with not using it.

That's the scariest proposition of all..... Just watch the video
where Thakar Singh blindfolds kids and beats them.... They use
exactly the same wording to defend the guru.......

I realize that Charan and Gurinder are not abusive in that way,
but that does not mean that we cannot disagree. 

It is Gurinder who is trying to get me off the web, not vice
versa (remember that---it is very telling indeed).

A SATSANGI WRITES:

In your message you also said:
>This has got to be one of the toughest things for me to go through,
>especially given my great love of Charan and Sant Mat......
Why do it, then?  You don't have to do it.  Your web page could be
simplified to remove all reference to the Beas line of Gurus. You could
remove explicit reference to the teachings, such as chapter 4 of the
Enchanted Garden.  You could take out everything about surat shabd yoga and
focus on other mysticism.  You could even get rid of the web page
altogether.  Or you can continue going  your own way using as an excuse
your arguments about the importance of allowing the free flow of
information.  Maybe you are right, maybe there should be a free flow of
information, but does it have to be you, an initiate of Charan Singh, who
has to make that information available? There are plenty of non-satsangis
out there who share your views about Sant Mat.  Why not let them inform the
public?

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

I don't think you know my background that well so I understand why
you
may have written the above. But if you knew my background better
you may change your tune.

Gurinder Singh in 1990 in a personal letter to Michelle Lopez told
her that "David Lane has a deep understanding of Sant Mat" and that
she should come to me for advice on any questions concerning it.
Charan Singh also said the same thing and told me "It was NEVER
my intention for you to give up your research work. As I told you
before, it is GOOD research that you are doing."

Well, I am no different in 96 than I was in 90 in terms of my 
understanding of Sant Mat.

And I will tell you one thing: My website is none of Gurinder
Singh's
business. It has nothing to do with promoting Radhasoami Beas, and
the fact that he or any of his disciples think they have the right
to tell me to take it off indicates or suggests to me that 
Radhasoami needs some cult counseling.....

I am not writing the Dera and telling them what they should do
and threatening them with karmic retribution.

This website contains my books on the subject which have already
been published and circulated worldwide. This website contains
most of them in verbatim form. My Enchanted Land contains my
articles, not Dera's.

It is absolutely none of Dera's concern. That they think it is
scares me.... It scares me because they are lying to their
following.
Don't tell people Sant Mat is a science, when it does not act
like any science that we know of (no email? no websites? no
intellectual discussion? give me a break).

I have seen the Dera be dead-wrong before (don't forget, they backed
down on that woman's dissertation; how do I know? I was on her
committee!).

Charan Singh would never have asked me to do this and if he did
I would have publicly and openly disagreed with him.
That's how much I loved him. I loved him so much that I had the
balls to disagree with him.

Loving somebody and kow-towing to his or her every whim is not love.
It is called belonging to a cult.

Read Treasure Beyond Measure very closely; you will see how
intelligent love acts.


Then you said
>Gurinder has an incredibly tough job.......... But that does not mean
>that we cannot simply disagree.
No, it does not mean you can't disagree, but does the disagreement have to
be so public?  The question that comes to me here is who is disagreeing
with whom?  Remember that the law of karma is inviolable.  What karmic
debts does an initiate create by overtly disobeying the requests of a PLM?
Babaji has said to me personally, that the Lord does not forgive everything
that we do in this lifetime. That's what scares me about what you are
doing.  Are you prepared to pay the price? I am not. I have heard too many
stories about satsangis who have deliberately gone against the Master and
had very horrible illnesses to contend with at the end of their lives.
Remember the three gifts of the master: poverty, illness and dishonor.
Which gift do you prefer?

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Dear satsangi, please re-read what you just wrote. It has the same import
of any fundamentalist that I know of--Christian or Muslim or Jewish.
Do you really want to believe such things?

Do you really think so poorly of Gurinder Singh that anyone who
disagrees with him (and because of that conviction does something
different) gets "karmically burned."?

Geez, I have students of mine in college who disagree with me all
the
time. I don't threaten them with damnation or another round on the
karmic wheel..... We just disagree and I appreciate that. I like
when students rip me.

Charan Singh said, "critics are our best friends."

He meant that too.

I could give a shit about illness or bad karma or another fudging
life.
Why? Because I am not disagreeing with Gurinder because I am just
a naughty satsangi. I am disagreeing with him because I think he
is just plain wrong. That's it.

I am not telling him what to do, yet he has you and others trying to
tell me what to do.

Think about that, contemplate that.

That's called a cult, if you could see it from an objective
perspective--especially when this website of mine contains MY
writings!

A SATSANGI WRITES:

If I were you,I would write to Babaji and ask for his advice about how to
change the web page so that it continues to do what you want it to do, but
does not contravene his wishes.  But here I go again, trying to tell you
what to do.  Gotta stop that.

DAVID LANE writes:

NO. Let Gurinder Singh stop making his disciples do what he wants
done. If he wants me to shut it down, then let him write. I will
tell him point-blank that he is wrong and we can have a healthy
argument about that.

Gurinder Singh should stop interfering in the lives of those who
happen to think differently than him.

I am genuinely appalled by this tactic of the Dera to "control"
information, because that is exactly what is happening; and in the
process making people like your good self act as "cyber" cops in the
name of the Guru.

It is revolting on a personal level, it is revolting on a social
level.

I never thought I would see the day that the Dera would try to
"trademark" names to protect their property and self-interest.
But they are doing it as we speak. How do I know?

Their lawyer called me and asked for advice. Why? Because,
ironically
enough, I have a legal claim for many of the terms they want
trademarked. Why do I have such a legal claim? Because I appear
to be one of the first to appear on the Net with my book.

Do I want such trademarks?

Absolutely not.

Yet the Dera does.

Do you really think this is what Sant Mat is about?

Property, money, trademarks, and policing information?

What would Kabir (my metaphorical friend) have done if he
were alive today?

I think he may have thrown rocks at the Dera and told them
one simple piece of advice:

shut up and meditate. Let people live their own lives and let
satsangis think for themselves.......


A SATSANGI WRITES:
By the way who is the JR who robbed you?  I am not an American (...
actually) and don't know about all these American gurus.  I assume that is
who he is/was.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Yes, he is an American guru who offshooted from Eckankar but who now
claims that he was given authority by Sawan Singh to initiate souls.
He threatened to kill me because I exposed the fact that he had
embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars and threatened the lives
of his former followers.

You see, I won't back down when I think something is wrong.......

A SATSANGI WRITES:

I hope that I haven't totally pissed you off with my comments, but you did
ask and I (my ego) had a lot of fun thinking about it.

Take care.

A satsangi


DAVID LANE REPLIES:

No, not at all. In fact, I am very grateful for your commentary and
I realize how tough it must be to deal with somebody like me. You
might have thought it would be a relatively easy affair--just notify
Lane to get off the web....

Please know that my harsh words are not really directed at you per
se, but at the rhetoric that is used in Sant Mat circles to justify
the type of behavior that I find cultic......

As always feel most free to rip anything I say. If you write
Gurinder Singh, you can also say that you tried your best but
this Lane boy is under the sway of the Kal.

I shall not mind. Like I said (and I literally mean this):
I love my guru so much that I can openly diagree with him--
I love him that much....... I am serious.



David Lane

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.