The Paranormal Debate: Part Two

Author: David Christopher Lane and Daniel Caldwell
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: June 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


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 

"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??


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

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

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.


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."


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.


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.


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

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

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

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.) 


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. 


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.


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!!


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).


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?  


All generalities are false, including the one I just made.

I agree with you here, Daniel. 


And when he describes "a handful" of gurus who really "know", WHO DID HE HAVE IN MIND?  WAS
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? 


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.


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


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).


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.  


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.


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."


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

Very good, Daniel, and I commend your new found skepticism!

Now apply it with equal vigor to Theosophy, Babaji, and the

Charan Singh deserves it, just as much as Babaji.


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?


There are a number of skeptical books on Radhasoami, including
Charan Singh.

Here are a few:



RADHASOAMI REALITY (certain sections)


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

(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.


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?  


If the guru makes the claim, he should be able to "prove" it.

Otherwise, the guru in question should cool it with making the

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.


 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."


Yes, I asked Charan Singh point blank a number of times about such

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).

 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.


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.


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.


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.

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.