Metaphors and ECK-truth

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

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

I want to go back to the home base now.

DOUG WRITES:

The history and lineage of Sant Mat varies greatly, depending on who is
talking about it. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the
Radhasoami Beas group claims there was an unbroken line starting with
Kabir, on to Guru Nanak, down through the nine remaining Sikh masters,
then on to another master (I forget his name right now), on to Tulsi
Saheb, then to Shiv Dayal Singh, who began the teachings of Radhasoami.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Sorry, Doug, but your information here is inaccurate.

The Beas Satsang does not connect its lineage via the 10 Sikh Gurus
back to Kabir. Indeed, the Beas Satsang is not certain who Tulsi
Sahib's guru actually was (and says so--see Puri's book TULSI
SAHIB).

You have confused the Beas Satsang here with Ruhani Satsang, founded
by Kirpal Singh.

Kirpal Singh (not the Beas Satsang) argues in his book, A GREAT
SAINT (which is the life story of Baba Jaimal Singh) that his
lineage connects all the way back to Guru Nanak.

This theory of Kirpal Singh's has been discounted by Agam Prasad
Mathur (see Radhasoami Faith) and by the Beas Satsang itself.

Kirpal Singh may believe the connection, but the Beas Satsang does
not.

Best not to confuse the two, since they are distinct entities.

Read THE RADHASOAMI TRADITION (online) and Juergensmeyer's
RADHASOAMI REALITY or Mathur's RADHASOAMI FAITH for more
information.

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DOUG WRITES:

The problem here is that Tulsi Saheb was never Shiv Dayal Singh's master.
Shiv Dayal Singh admits that he had no master, and his brother Pratap
Singh, also known as Chachaji, also says this was true. Tulsi Saheb was
indeed a Sant Mat teacher, who Shiv Dayal Singh quotes from time to time,
but this unbroken line seems to break right there.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Doug, I think you should re-read RADHASOAMI REALITY by Mark
Juergensmeyer, or better yet go to Tulsi Sahib's samadh in Hathras
(I did), since there is still a hot debate over Shiv Dayal Singh's
spiritual lineage.

Let's spell it out for our readers:

1. The Tulsi Sahibis (a group which has itself splintered into
several
factions) argue that Shiv Dayal Singh was indeed initiated by Tulsi
Sahib, but branched off and started his own group. This was
personally told to me and Professor Juergensmeyer in 1978 by the
then living Mahant in Hathras (see Radhasoami Reality).

2. Aaron Talsky (and Daniel Gold to some extent) have floated an
interesting argument that Shiv Dayal Singh may have also had a
spiritual allegiance with Girdhari Das (see Madhav Prasad Sinha's
comment to this effect) and that when Girdhari died, Shiv Dayal
Singh began his own lineage.

3. The Beas Satsang holds that Shiv Dayal Singh's guru was Tulsi
Sahib. They are uncertain (at least in print) who Tulsi Sahib's guru
may have been).

4. The Agra satsangs (I am talking about the three major ones: Dayal
Bagh, Soami Bagh, and Peepal Mandi) argue that Tulsi Sahib was
indeed
the family guru to Shiv Dayal Singh's mother/father, etc., but that
he was not the guru of Shiv Dayal himself. See Radhasoami Faith:
history and tenets by S.D. Maheshwari for more on this.

5. My postion? I don't know, but I am leaning toward some sort of
genealogical dissociation on the part of Shiv Dayal Singh (for
whatever strange reasons) from his spiritual past. Chachaji's
dumping of Shiv Dayal's documents suggests a movement to "rewrite"
Shiv Dayal's history.

My hunch is that it was much more human than present day hagiography
wants to suggest.

As for "broken" lineages, my argument has always been that the
closer you look at guru succession the more human (and funky) it
becomes. Radhasoami is a classic textbook case in the "politics"
of guru successorship (the very point of my Ph.D.).

-------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

To complicate things, Shiv Dayal Singh said, and rightly so, that the Sant
Mat tradition only existed in the form of Radhasoami, once Radhasoami was
introduced. Previous to the introduction of Radhasoami by Shiv Dayal
Singh, the Sant Mat tradition only recognized the spiritual planes up to
the Soul Plane, or Sat Lok. Shiv Dayal Singh introduced the planes above
that for the first time, which included, Agam Lok, Alaya Lok, Anami Lok
and Radhasoami Pad.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Naturally, we have to be careful about asserting what Shiv Dayal
Singh said or didn't say.

Why?

Because his writings were compiled and published five or six years
after his death. Moreover, there is a tendency in religion (and
Radhasoami is no exception) to indulge in hagiography after a
particular leader has died.

Having said that, we know that there are multiple interpretations of
what Shiv Dayal Singh taught (Sant Mat revived? Radhasoami
incarnationalism? Dissociated Tulsi Sahibism? Etc.). 

As for the introduction of new spiritual planes and the rest, it
is already known that Kabir (or pseudo-Kabir, since we are also not
certain who he was and what he wrote) talked about several inner
regions and the rest.

The incarnational view of Radhasoami (primarily held by Rai Salig
Ram, the most popular of Shiv Dayal's successors) holds that Shiv
Dayal was unique in human history.

The Beas Satsang and the Tarn Taran Satsang and the Manavata Mandir
Satsang and the Sarai Rohilla Satsang hold that Shiv Dayal Singh was
but another "Saint" in the tradition of Nanak and Kabir.

His uniqueness was not spiritual, in this sense, but in the way he
simplified the method.

My sense of these things is that we are witnessing human posturings,
whereby one guru or a group is trying to elevate its teachings above
others..... a very typical ploy of religions when competing with
other religions....

Another example of human egoism and human social grouping.

---------------------------------------------
DOUG WRITES:

At this point I should mention that David Lane has been an initiate and
student of the Radhasoami Beas group for many, many years. So, I guess we
shouldn't be too surprised that he would see things this way. But
strangely enough, David does not mention that Sawan Singh's own master,
Jaimal Singh, was also a "self appointed master", that the Radhasoami
group in Beas, India, under Sawan Singh derived their teachings from the
Radhasoami parent teaching in Agra, India, without giving proper credit,
and that the Radhasoami Beas group's spiritual lineage is also a
fabrication that contradicts the facts! Does this shock you?

DAVID LANE WRITES:

As Dick mentioned, you should read my RADHASOAMI TRADITION or my
M.A. thesis where I go into some detail about guru successorship.
This is a topic of endless fascination for me and I focused my Ph.D.
on it.

What you state here, however, is actually inaccurate and misleading.

You should read more S.D. Maheshwari, Agam Prasad Mathur, Kirpal
Singh, Lekh Raj Puri, and Juergensmeyer.

What you will find is that Jaimal Singh was actually supported
(personally and financially) in his satsang by Shiv Dayal Singh's
brother, Partap Singh (who was the first President of the Central
Administrative Council). 

Jaimal Singh was not viewed as an offshoot (indeed, the CAC gave him
their permission to initiate new seekers in the Punjab);
indeed, Sawan Singh (Jaimal's successor at Beas) was urged by the
President of CAC to continue the ministry.

Jaimal Singh and Sawan Singh even had an apartment built at Soami
Bagh so they could go back and visit with Partap Singh.

Now, it is certainly true that Jaimal Singh was a minor successor
and did not attract anywhere near the following or the publicity of
Rai Salig Ram.

It is also untrue that Jaimal Singh didn't acknowledge his spiritual
roots. Quite the opposite, since he was closely aligned with Agra
(he used to send money to Partap Singh directly).

The real controversy is not over acknowledgement but over who was
the rightful successor of Shiv Dayal Singh. That's the controversy,
not acknowledgements.....

Twitchell didn't start Eckankar and then build an apartment at Sawan
Ashram so he could hang out with Kirpal Singh. Twitchell didn't send
his Eckankar money to Kirpal Singh.

I am all for historical criticism of guru succession episodes, but
your information here contradicts the President of C.A.C.'s letters
(the very group that doesn't like Jaimal Singh).

The issue is much more thorny, much more human than you are trying
to portray.

As for my views, I think you better read what I say about Perfect
Masters and Perfect lineages; it point blank contradicts your
implications........

But this is a good discussion, so keep it up.....

thanks

----------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

and that the Radhasoami Beas group's spiritual lineage is also a
fabrication that contradicts the facts! Does this shock you?

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

No, there is no "fabrication."

It is true that Jaimal Singh was a follower of Shiv Dayal Singh and
appointed Sawan Singh (and perhaps Bagga Singh as well) as his
successor (then to Jagat Singh to Charan Singh to Gurinder Singh).

The two major points of dispute in the Beas lineage (outside of
whether Shiv Dayal Singh was a successor of Tulsi Sahib) are over
the succession episode from Shiv Dayal to Jaimal and from Sawan to
Jagat.

In each case, we have rival claimants who argue that he or she was
the "rightful" heir.

In Jaimal's case, there is no doubt that he was authorized to
initiate; the dispute is whether or not he was a genuine guru or
not.

In Jagat's case, there is no doubt that he was appointed via a will
to be the head of the Dera, etc.; the dispute, which arises from the
Kirpal camp, is whether he was a genuine guru or not.

The issue of succession is indeed quite human and I think the more
details the better.

I have been to the places you mention (and once had a nice lunch
with
S.D. Maheshwari, among others), but I know that the details will
enlighten us more, not less.


-----------------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

There is no need to go into a lot of detail here, because it is all
available in the published writings of Sant Das Maheshwari, the personal
secretary of the last Sant Sat Guru in the Radhasoami parent faith. Sant
Das supports everything he says in great detail, even showing the copies
of records kept in the Agra files, to back up his claims. 

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

I liked Maheshwari very much, but there are many different R.S.
groups--each with their own in-house historian--so it is best cast a
wide net. Yes, read Maheshwari, read Mathur, read Juergensmeyer,
read Tessler, read Kirpal Singh, read Puri.

I think the details, my friend, are very important. You will see
that the succession episodes are much more complicated (and much
more human) than you convey here.

As you know, there are tens of different R.S. groups, each with
their own interpretation of succession history.   

The more you study this stuff (and we are clearly talking about an
area I feel most comfortable with), the more you will see how human
it is.

But there is no one R.S. group as the be-all and end-all.

They may wish to convert you to that notion (from Beas to Agra), but
there are many many competing groups.

That's the underlying part that is quite intriguing and makes for a
much more complicated tale.

See my R.S. TRadition for more.....

----------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

Now the point of this is not in any way to deride Sawan Singh, who indeed
was a very special man and spiritual teacher. But we certainly have to ask
the question; What is David Lane's problem? Doesn't he see that the
spiritual teachings don't belong to anyone? That every founder of every
religion has always been accused of being self appointed? That spiritual
authority comes from a higher authority, not from a will and testament?
And that every spiritual teacher who has brought forth anything original,
or changed the spiritual teachings in any significant way, has always been
accused of fabrication and imaginary creations? 

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Doug, I don't know how much you have read of my writings, but I
would suggest that you re-read what I say in my Guru has NO Turban
series, or what I say in the conclusion to THE RADHASOAMI TRADITION,
or what I say in my many articles on Faqir Chand.

I particularly wish to point out my section on Shiv Dayal Singh--the
founder of Radhasoami--who I compare to Paul Twitchell (see R.S.
Tradition).

No, Doug, I think you entirely misread me if you think that I hold
that R.S. (Beas or any other ism) is somehow supreme.....

I don't. Please see my article, RS,INC., is not Sant Mat.

However, having said that, I most definitely do think we should
doubt and rip into "self-appointed" gurus--whether they are R.S. or
in Eckankar.

And if they do in fact "fabricate" things, let's call them on the
mat for it.

This kind of silly defense (that all gurus do the same bullshit) is
no defense.

Yes, if you think Shiv Dayal Singh is a fraud, you should rip him.

And I do think there is something amiss with Shiv Dayal's ministry
if he could cause such immediate misinterpretations over who his
guru was just a couple of years after his death. That's his problem
and he should held accountable for causing his disciples to generate
such contradictory views.

I think we let our gurus (RS or Eckankar or any ism) off the hook
way too easily.

Twitchell needs to be held accountable for allowing his biographer
to publish fabrications and then allowing Eckankar to keep the myth
up.

The same with any founder.

Hey, in more blunt terms, these God-men are doing a very lousy job
of demonstrating all-knowingness. Thus, it is not our fault that we
doubt Fubbi, we doubt Gakko, we doubt the Incarnation of Radhasoami.

I say, let's doubt some more.

Truth should be able to survive our scrutiny......


--------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

Then why did Paul change the names of his masters? Well, first of all,
only Paul can answer for himself. But from what I can see, Paul was trying
to show that the teachings of ECKANKAR came through inner connections to
the spiritual wisdom itself, and was not limited by any physical source,
including himself. And yet, when ECKANKAR entered this world, it marked a
new wave of conscious teachings being brought to this planet, and this new
wave was as significant a leap as the teachings of Radhasoami had been
when Shiv Dayal Singh had first brought them out, one hundred years
before. Four hundred years prior to that, Kabir had brought about such a
leap, which marked the beginning of the Sant Mat teachings.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

I clearly disagree with you on this issue. I don't think having an
official biographer lie for you (and then publish it worldwide) is a
mark of a "new" and "greater" revelation. I don't think giving
scanty (and contradictory) information about gurus and your past is
a mark forward.

I also don't think, to be fair, that Radhasoami is some leap forward
either. It is simply another tradition among many.

The greatest revelations I have seen in the past two centuries are:

Darwin and Einstein.

Now these two cats have really changed things......

R.S. is simply a popular form of what has been with us since we got
a neocortex.

As for Twitchell being a trailblazer, we can simply agree to
disagree.

I think Da Free John is much more original than Twitchell, for
example, though I wouldn't want to follow Da in Fiji.

If brilliance is a criteria, then I find Ramana to be on my all-star
team (to cite Jim Godfrey's apt idea of an all-star guru team) along
with Faqir and others.....

The thing I most admire about Twitchell is his creative names for
vairagi gurus....

I mean Gakko, Fubbi, Yaubl, etc., are too cool not to give Twitch
some nod for......

---------------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:


In the cases of Kabir and Shiv Dayal Singh, they both used stories and
material from the teachers and teachings prior to them, but they also
broke with those traditions, and made it clear that they were teaching
something very new and very different. This is similar to Christianity,
where Jesus' teachings refer to the Jewish traditions, yet mark a distinct
change. Mohammed made a break with Christianity, with his teachings of
Islam, and yet he still honors the prophets of the Christians and the
Jews.

When such a leap in the teaching takes place, how can it be said that
those founders received that teaching from their physical teachers?

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

I again disagree with you. To the extent that any of these religious
leaders were duplicitious or deceitful, they deserve our scrutiny
and criticism. Indeed, I don't think any of these leaders came up
with anything radically "new".

And whatever "newness" we attribute to them comes, I would argue,
from some very human causes.

I don't think Rebazar Tarzs is an explanation for Twitchell's
duplicity.

------------------------------

DOUG WRITES:

Now it appears to me that you are physically centered. This would explain
why you see "empirical" facts and "historicity" as so important, and the
"mandalic" matters as untrustworthy and secondary. You made it quite clear
that you think all inner experiences should be examined, doubted, and
challenged, which shows your distrust and weakness in dealing with
intuitive matters.

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Oh the dangers of citing Jung! (just teasing). No, Doug, I think you
are again misreading something here. To be doubtful of inner visions
and the like doesn't mean that one has a "weakness" in dealing with
intuitive matters. It could be--given your Jungian paradigm--quite
the opposite.

It could be that one has so much confidence in "Truth" (whatever
that may be) that he or she knows that "doubting" won't make such a
Reality disappear.

I don't think you know my personal history or my meditational
practices or my relationship with my guru, but I can say this:
Doubting something "physical" doesn't mean that person is "weak" in
terms of empiricism.

Einstein did that, Feynman did that, Hawking does that.....

No, doubting is simply a way of testing the reality of something.

Or, if I could invoke Pascal:

GREAT Doubt, great Faith;

little doubt, little faith.


I think you get my drift.


In any case, "personality" types should go the way of
astrology or palmistry.

For every "hit" there will be a mistake.

--------------


DOUG writes:

I think this also explains why you have misunderstood Paul Twitchell, who
is clearly an intuitively centered person. While Paul really cared very
little about the consistency of his factual statements, you mistook this
for intentional lying to gain converts. When Paul was trying to tell an
historical story for the purpose of its intuitive meaning, you criticized
his lack of historical factual accuracy. 

DAVID LANE REPLIES:

Nice try, but no cigar. Hey, tell the Army about Twitchell being an
intuitive type so that is why he had Brad Steiger make up a fib
about his war records (see Harji's own comments).

Tell Gail that Paul was an intuitive type--that's the ticket.....
Hey, I am a decade younger than I really am (see Brad, see Jack,
see Gail) because I am trying to convey the deeper meaning....

Tell that to the DMV.

Tell Twitchell's High School that he was an "intuitive" type so that
he had his official biographer lie about when he "really" graduated
(sure, Paul, 16????--try 18 to 23--see Harji).

Tell all those readers of Brad Steiger's biography that Twitchell
was an "intuitive" type and everything I wrote about him should be
taken with a huge dose of MethapHORS.......

I don't need to belabor my point.

Twitchell didn't tell the facts straight even when it had nothing to
do with "myth" or "metaphors" or "teachings."

Sorry, but I am from the school where bullshit is bullshit.......

And I would apply this yardstick of mine, by the way, to my own guru
and to R.S.

I have already--see THE GURU HAS NO TURBAN.....

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

I want to go back to the home base now.