Author: David Christopher Lane and Daniel Caldwell Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: June 1997
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DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: In the 1989 edition of THE UNKNOWING SAGE, David speaks of the claims of his *own* master Charan Singh. Charan Singh was once asked the question: "Is the physical Master aware of all the initiates' inner experiences?" Charan Singh answered in part: "The physical Master, of course, is aware of all that." David Lane commented on Charan Singh's reply as follows: "Charan Singh's answer demonstrates that the outer master *does* know about his visionary manifestations." What "physical" and "outer" Master is Charan Singh and David Lane referring to? The *physical"* Master Charan Singh himself?? DAVID LANE COMMENTS: In the earlier editions of THE UNKNOWING SAGE I did NOT present the evidence for "knowing" bilocations. In the later editions, I added several sections (including Ramana's "conscious" experience) to contravene Faqir Chand's statement about all gurus being "unknowing." I presented these "knowing" bilocations to show that there are reports of them. It does not mean, of course, that they are true. Indeed, I am more and more skeptical of the fact-value of these reports, but I felt that I should at least present the counter-argument to Faqir's position, especially in light of Dr. Narang's severe criticism of me for even publishing the Unknowing Sage. Quite frankly, I don't think we have sufficient evidence to warrant that Charan Singh "knew." I would suggest, perhaps to your shock, that we merely have lots of nice stories. As such, I think much more "testing" would have to be done. Thus, to underline my point, I would NOT exempt Charan Singh from my increasing skepticism (no matter how much I may love him). Same holds with all gurus or all psychic claims. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: David Lane also relates his own personal "story" about Charan Singh: [Is David's "story" similar to the ones about Babaji?] "Charan Singh. . .chooses disciples for initiation by simply looking at them. I have personally seen thousands of people file directly in front of Charan Singh and in a matter of a few seconds he turns his head to the left or to the right, indicating whether the seeker was accepted or rejected for Nam-Dan. It is obvious, even to outside observers, that Charan Singh is basing his choice upon a higher criterion--a transcendental insight into the very soul of the would-be disciple. Needless to say, it is an awe-inspiring sight, and one which I confess is beyond my limited comprehension." DAVID LANE REPLIES: This recollection of mine is NOT evidence of any paranormal powers, even if I wish to believe such. It is rather a story among many that should be inspected much more skeptically and much more critically than I did back in the 1980s. Again, I have become more skeptical over time, even of those things dearest and closest to my own bone and heart. I think it is entirely fair game to question the whole "knowingness" implication in the R.S. guru lineage, including the implicit claims made via Charan Singh. No guru should be exempt from such scrutiny. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: In the same chapter, David goes on to write: "The value of Faqir Chand's revelations of ignorance is that most gurus (I am tempted to say *all*, except a handful in the world) in India and elsewhere are in the same lot, but falsely parade their attainments to sincere, if gullible, disciples. . . ." David Lane didn't know Babaji's address but he did know Charan Singh's address! Did David Lane (the great "tester") ever ask his own guru for some evidence, some kind of proof of the claims he was making? Did David ever demand or even just ask for some kind of proof from Charan Singh? If so, what was Charan Singh's reply? Notice that in THE UNKNOWING SAGE, David does *not* present any ADDITIONAL evidence concerning Charan Singh's claims. Even in 1989/1990 when I first read this section, I thought this "lack" of evidence was puzzling and wondered if there was more to the "story" that David Lane was not sharing with his readers. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, Daniel, you are correct to be skeptical. I didn't present sufficient evidence, but rather attempted to illustrate a different side to the Faqir Chand story. This was prompted by the criticism I received from the Dera for aligning myself with Faqir's unknowing hypothesis. When I asked Dera officials about it, the pat answer was: "The guru does know." When I asked Darshan Singh directly about it. He said: "The guru does know." I don't think ANY of the stories I presented in the new introduction to UNKNOWING prove anything as such. They are indicative stories, perhaps, that may warrant further inspection. But you are quite right: they are NOT proof and they shouldn't be seen in total as such. Personally, I find myself more and more in agreement with Faqir Chand on this score (a point which you duly noted by excerpting the footnote in that same essay, wherein I state that I have yet to see an airtight case for psychic powers..... And this, naturally, would include even my own dearly loved guru.) DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Notice in the above statement, David wrote: "It is obvious, even to outside observers, that Charan Singh is basing his choice upon a higher criterion--a transcendental insight into the very soul of the would-be disciple. . . ." "It is obvious. . . ." To whom? Was it obvious to David Lane? It would seem that David believed at the time that Charan Singh was capable of "a transcendental insight." I assume David Lane means by this phrase the obtaining of "real" and "reliable" information *not* available to an ordinary person. Did David have any real evidence that this "obvious" conclusion of his was true. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Paul Kurtz was right about his criticism of me. I was invoking too much "transpersonalism" without the necessary evidence. I think you are right on the money here, Daniel: I don't think I provided anything near sufficient evidence. I merely presented a story that should be heavily "doubted." I have gotten more skeptical in the meantime. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Of course in 1997, David probably has a totally different "take" on Charan Singh's ability to have "transcendental insights" into the "very soul" of the seeker!! DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, you are right, I do. Try reading the book TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE (the last book published right before Charan Singh's death). It strongly indicates a "Chandian" unknowingness that I should have been much more aware of, but wasn't. It details many stories concerning Charan Singh's unknowingness. It also happens to be my favorite Charan Singh book (outside of Die to Live). DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Notice also in David's statement that he was more than willing to conclude that "most gurus. . . FALSELY parade their attainments to sincere, if gullible, disciples." What evidence did he have for this SWEEPING statement? Had he thoroughly investigated the numerous Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and other gurus throughout the world? Or was he just jumping to conclusions? DAVID LANE REPLIES: All generalities are false, including the one I just made. I agree with you here, Daniel. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: And when he describes "a handful" of gurus who really "know", WHO DID HE HAVE IN MIND? WAS CHARAN SINGH ONE OF THESE GURUS? And had David tested this "handful" of gurus in order to assure himself that they were not also guilty of falsely parading their attainments to gullible disciples? If the vast majority of gurus are guilty of such "deception", why did David believe that these 5 or 6 gurus were any different? Or is David also to be counted among the "gullible" disciples who have been "deceived" by their gurus? DAVID LANE REPLIES: I too, Daniel, should be counted among the gullible. I think that's what learning is all about: we get more seasoned over time. Although I dearly love Charan Singh, I would not exempt him from the same tests that I argue should be invoked with any "psychic" or "knowing" claim. As I have stated repeatedly, I have definitely gotten more skeptical over time. I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: In light of David's current "belief" (?) that he and everyone else are "just" bodies with no "souls", what can he possibly conclude about Charan Singh's claim that "the physical Master" [i.e., Charan Singh himself] is aware of his initiates' inner experiences? DAVID LANE REPLIES: I am not convinced by the evidence--at this stage--that the physical master does know. Indeed, I think what has been presented as evidence (even by me in earlier articles--see The Enchanted Land Preface, for instance) by the various R.S. gurus is neither compelling or overwhelming. Nice stories, suggestive stories, perhaps, but just that: stories. I could be dead wrong and would really like to be, but as you pointed out that does not mean that I should forego my rational or skeptical mind just because I happen to love my guru deeply. Indeed, it is precisely in that very relationship, where I should show the most "doubting" (in the healthy sense of the term). DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: David Lane doesn't have many choices! Either (1) Charan Singh was having *deluded* "impressions" [i.e., not transcendental "insights"!]; or else (2) Charan Singh, too, was guilty of falsely parading his attainments to "gullible" disciples. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, and that is why we should by hyper-skeptical of such claims. I think it is perfectly appropriate for me to "doubt" whatever implicit or explicit claims Charan Singh made. That's fair game. I would not exempt him from any of the proposed tests or doubts. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Picture in your mind the crowd of "thousands of people. . .[filing] directly in front of Charan Singh. . ." Quite a spectacle! But is this spectacle any better or worse than, say, Sai Baba materializing objects and ash in front of a crowd of thousands? I think I know what the Amazing James Randi or what Paul Kurtz would say about *both* gurus and *both* crowds. And I don't think they would choose the words "awe-inspiring sight." DAVID LANE REPLIES: I agree. Indeed, there is a lovely book on the psychodynamics of guru meetings by a noted psychoanalyst in India, who examines Charan Singh and his effect on thousands. I think is quite right to look for a more common or mundane explanation. Very good, Daniel, and I commend your new found skepticism! Now apply it with equal vigor to Theosophy, Babaji, and the Paranormal. Charan Singh deserves it, just as much as Babaji. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Please note, I am *not* claiming that Charan Singh was a fraud or even deluded. I don't know. And since I know from my own personal experiences that one can be aware of "facts" when "out of the body" that can later be confirmed, I am more than willing to believe that Charan Singh might also be able to do something similar if not something on a larger and far grander scale. I have at the present no evidence one way or the other about Charan Singh. Has David Lane or another writer published anything else on Charan Singh and his claims? DAVID LANE REPLIES: There are a number of skeptical books on Radhasoami, including Charan Singh. Here are a few: HUNTING THE GURU IN INDIA by Ann Marshall THE WORLD OF GURUS RADHASOAMI REALITY (certain sections) CORRESPONDENCE WITH CERTAIN AMERICANS TRUTH UNVARNISHED (the previous two are by S.D. Maheshwari) The book (whose title I forget) by the Indian psychologist who analyzes Charan Singh and R.S. from a Western psychological paradigm. (I can name some more, if you wish). You may also refer to my series THE GURU HAS NO TURBAN, etc., which raises a number of critical points. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Getting back to the subject of "testing," I know that Charan Singh died in 1990 and is no longer available for testing. But what about his successor Gurinder Singh? DAVID LANE REPLIES: If the guru makes the claim, he should be able to "prove" it. Otherwise, the guru in question should cool it with making the claim. That, I would argue, applies to each and every guru--including Gurinder Singh. Otherwise, we are left to a merely faith based approach to Sant Mat--the very antithesis of what these R.S. gurus are attempting to convey (R.S. as science, etc.). Good doubts, good questions, Daniel. I agree. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: We don't know Babaji's current address. But I would think David Lane knows Gurinder Singh's current address and residence. Has David in the last seven years ever approached Gurinder Singh and asked the guru for a little evidence to support his "claims"? Of course, it is possible that Gurinder Singh has made no similar claims to those of Charan Singh. . . . .Maybe Gurinder Singh is the "Guru with No Claims." DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, I asked Charan Singh point blank a number of times about such claims. As you may know (and as a close reading of TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE will attest), Charan Singh never felt comfortable being a guru, and was forced into the position. He called it the "saddest day of his life," and his "execution." He repeatedly stated, "I am NOT what people take me to be." "I am stone idol in a temple....etc." Apparently, Gurinder Singh also didn't want to be a guru either. But I do heartily agree that they shouldn't make claims without proof or evidence (or, at the very least, a method by which we could attempt to "test" them). DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: In this case, has David asked Gurinder Singh if he knows about his "appearances" to his disciples? But IF Gurinder Singh also claims "to know about his visionary manifestations" to disciples, it should be fairly simple for the present Radhasoami Master of Beas to know what number would be posted in David's house. Is Gurinder Singh willing to take the 5 digit number test? Why test a bunch of Eckists when you can test a Master? Why doesn't G.S. also submit to Randi's test? Gurinder Singh can succeed and win Randi's $100,000 prize. David might be convinced (?) and the money could go to charity! But if Gurinder Singh declines such "inconsequential" testing, let us not be surprised if Babaji declines being interviewed on CNN and tested like a guinea pig in a laboratory at some U.S. military base. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I applaud your efforts here, Daniel. I agree. If the guru makes the claim (whoever he may be--including Gurinder Singh), then they should be open to have those claims tested publicly. If not, perhaps they should cool it with making the claims...... Bravo, Daniel, I like this line of inquiry. DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: If Gurinder Singh declines to be tested, what are we to do??!! Are there any other Masters willing to be tested? Michael Turner, are you willing to be tested by Lane and Randi? I know that what I have written above may seem somewhat harsh but I think I have succeeded in making a few valid points. DAVID LANE REPLIES: You have argued well here, Daniel. I agree with your skepticism and your doubts. Yes, we should apply the same level of "doubting" to each and every guru, even the one closest to my heart. Keep up the skepticism...... It is precisely the thing, I believe, necessary to open up Pandora's Box.
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