JOEY WRITES: Coming from your mouth, this borders on incredulous. Over and over again I've seen you state that inner experiences are little more than illusions. Now, perhaps you think that only the inner experiences of Eckists are illusions and that those of other paths(like the ones you describe above) are genuine, but it seems to me that you have stated on a number of occasions that you yourself believe that such experiences have no value in determining the validity of a religion. So for arguments sake (at this point) I'm going to assume you have had no inner experiences----NONE. That all you are doing by your intense study of many eastern religions, metaphysical teachings, and spiritual paths is examining them and their followers as a scientist would do by observing ants in a box, poking them once in a while to get them to react. Since many paths, expecially the ones you seem to comment about the most, have an extreme emphasis on inner teachings and since you are convinced that such inner communication is mythical, it only stands to reason that your observations are irrelevant. Your opinions, of which your writings are full of, can be likened to a blind art crtic in his description of the "Mona Lisa". You can go only by what someone else has said. You have NEVER observed first-hand. And just as a blind man can never see the beauty in the "Mona Lisa" and marvel at its timeless relevance you will never understand the love and loyalty of a student with their guru and God. Any "observations" and intellectual comments you make about such matters are least to those who have experienced it first hand. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Quite frankly, Joey, I don't really understand the context of your reply. I was simply pointing out the theological differences between the Agra and Beas schools of thought in the Radhasoami tradition. Anyone else could illustrate them to you as well (see Doug's commentary for instance). It is not a question of whether I have inner experiences or not (see my article on THE LOCKER ROOM OF JUNIOR HIGH MYSTICS in the shabd yoga section of the Neural Surfer: in this particular instance, since all I was doing was answering Joseph P.'s query about multiple initiations and the idea of the Living Master in Beas related satsangs. You can just read the literature directly (see Maheshwari and contrast him with R.K. Khanna, for example). Now let me take up your criticism--which is often repeated on this newsgroup--about Inner Experiences being key in Eckankar, Sant Mat, and other shabd yoga groups. I have never doubted that people have "inner" experiences. People do from all walks of life. What I question is the ontological interpretation of that given phenomena. In light of Faqir Chand, Charan Singh, Ramana Maharshi, Patricia and Paul Churchland, Francis Crick, and my own (to contravene your claim) "experiences", I tend not to impute too much "ultimate" importance upon NDE's, OBE's, or Inner Visions. They occur, no doubt, in the course of one's life and meditation, but so do many types of visions in THIS very plane of existence. My hunch is that we are better off "doubting" the ultimacies of our visions (from whatever source: sociological to political to scientific to mystical) and then being open to more resilient paradigms or models that may--given time and space--transcend our earlier notions of what may or may not be true (including, of course, this very last sentence). Yes, by all means enjoy the vision of Fubbi, or Nanak, or Homer Simpson. But, I think it is also beneficial not to take such apparitions too seriously. I enjoy my nightly dreams, but I also enjoy waking up and knowing that whatever I "saw" was merely a dream. Okay, there are a few dreams where I wished I didn't wake up...... But I have already been accused of passing on Guru Porn, so I will keep silent. Doubting one's visions will only make such visions (if true, if real, if permanent) more vivid and more clear (not less). But if such visions are not true, or permanent, or real, then our doubting will reveal the "temporal" nature of that vision. In science, it is called skepticism; in mysticism, it is called progress. --------------------- GREG WRITES: Michael Turner and David Lane have recently exchange comments that included asking about the identity of a teacher named Mataji. David mentioned that he knew of one who had been a follower of Faqir Chand and therefore *might* be in the Shabd line. There is a teacher by that name, an Indian woman in her 70's (regarded as a saint (or more) by her followers), who teaches something she calls Sahaja Yoga. This appears (to me) to be a variety of kundalini yoga and shaktipat initiation unrelated to Shabd Yoga. She still might be the woman David Lane remembers. She's been around the world with increasing notice during the '90's, and her international organization has struck roots in the former Soviet Union. The Web pages dedicated to her are, in fact, English language mirrors of russian sources, reversing the usual pattern. The English site is located in Delaware and the address for those interested is <>. There are pictures there, so maybe David can id her. I checked it out because she is coming to Berkeley soon and I plan to see her at that time. My opinion from the website is that she seems to be a religiously bigoted, profoundly anti-Western and barely coherent crank, but that may come in part from multi-level translation problems. As I said, whatever her history, I doubt that there is anything here of interest to folks concerned with Light/Sound paths, but anyone who wants to can email me, and I'll let you know my impressions after I see her. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, the Mataji I met was a different person. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Indian gurus utilizing the honorific of Mataji. Not dissimilar to the increase of "Sri" in the West.