Author: David Christopher Lane & Joseph Polanik Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: May 1997
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JOSEPH P. QUOTES AND THEN COMMENTS: David Lane wrote: > > There is a very interesting dialogue/debate brewing about > Sathya Sai Baba. I have included the first few installments > of it on the Neural Surfer. > > http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane/point4.html > > Look under the Guru Depository section which is near the end of > point4.html. JOSEPH P. WRITES: FYI, Dave, you could give the exact URL that would allow the visitor to land right in the document. Is your way of doing things a way of making everyone wander thru your anti-Eckankar section just to get to the anti-Sai Baba section? This limp style of citing an URL promotes a guilt by association impression. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, Joseph, I just refer to point4.html in general since the whole section deals with various cults and gurus. Nope, I didn't have any ulterior motive in mind. But I am open to new suggestions so I will try my best to give you exact coordinates in the future. > It raises all sorts of intriguing questions about guru/disciple > relationships. JOSEPH P. WRITES: All you've done is expose a certain guru as a degenerate. Although that is certainly a valuable piece of work, you've not raised any questions about the Guru/Chela relationship itself. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I do think it raises issues on the guru/chela relationship since none of us really do know the "full" story of our gurus (including me), and thus it is interesting to view how various sides "see" and "argue" about Sai Baba's interactions. This is not fundamentally different (in terms of structural replies) from how we may see Joseph Smith and his numerous wives, or Shiv Dayal Singh's huqqa smoking (especially among those who think it didn't happen), or Twitchell's plagiarism, or Darwin Gross' womanizing (ask Harji about that, for example), or Da Free John's partying on Fiji, etc. What the Sai Baba debate reveals (explicitly, I believe) is how disciples--in general--tend to react to "bad" news. Clearly, there are exceptions, but I do think the ongoing debate (there are a number of new replies--back and forth--on this subject about Sai) is pregnant and full of suggestive leads for would-be devotees of any guru. I know it has been for me personally. JOSEPH P. WRITES: So, Dave, you found and exposed a guru who conducted himself badly. How does that raise questions about the Guru/Chela relationship itself? And what are those questions? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Very simply: Do we REALLY know our gurus (good or bad)? If not, then Sai's secret side could--potentially--be illustrative of the secret side of any one guru (and I am not suggesting the same sort of sexual funkiness, but anything which is not publicly displayed or acknowledged and would rankle the disciple's peace of mind). I find the Sai debate indicative of a much larger problem in the guru/chela relationship and that centers on: How much we DON'T really know about our gurus. And I would say this about ALL gurus, with no exceptions whatsoever. I find this "limited knowledge" and our reactions to various revelations from this closet very interesting and very instructive. For that reason, I think much can be learned from this Sai debate, regardless of whether or not we think our gurus are squeaky clean. Hey, I used to think Frank Gifford was squeaky clean too....... --------------------- JOSEPH P. WRITES: So there is bound to be a certain amount of cognitive dissonance here which gets resolved by an application of the 'Last Man Standing' principle: Tear down all other gurus and you won't have to abandon your fixation on the memory of a dead one. DAVID LANE REPLIES: First of all, Joseph, go back and read the Beas-related books (including Kirpal Singh's) about the idea of "One" guru. You seem to have either misread or misunderstood a very basic point about how to view the successor of one's guru. He or she is not a "new" guru to the disciple, but rather strengthens the relationship one already has with his/her initiating guru. No need for a second initiation; no need for a new guru. The successor helps the disciple in his already established relationship; he does not replace it. Read Charan Singh on this subject or Sawan Singh or Kirpal Singh. This "last man standing" idea is silly. Hey, I miss my brother Michael (he's dead), but that doesn't mean that I have to tear down all other brothers so I don't have to abandon my fixation on the memory of a dead one. Given your line of reasoning, Rumi was an idiot (geez, Rumi, get over that fixation on Shams of Tabriz... move on, dude..... Get a new guru, bro.... And hey, Rumi, cool it with that longing stuff). I will always miss my brother. I will always miss my father. I will always miss Charan Singh. That's the nature of being in love. Charan Singh missed Sawan Singh very much and said so to me (even getting quite emotionally touched in the telling) just six months before his death in 1990. Gurinder Singh, Charan's successor, didn't write to me: "Hey, bro, I am the new guru. Now adopt me." Instead he wrote, "the death of Huzur Maharaj is the greatest tragedy of our lives." (personal letter; note he said "our"). It is for me. Yet, that is also a source of great love and great longing. I wouldn't replace it for a second. Ask Rumi to give up his longing for Shams. Ask Mary Magdala to give up her longing for Jesus. Ask me to give up my "missing" my brother Michael and your words will fall on deaf ears. The same with my love and longing for my deceased guru. I could care less about the theology (though it too supports my view on this) of Sant Mat, since I care about the humanness. ------- As for "tearing" down all "other" gurus, I think you fundamentally misunderstand me. Faqir Chand point blank contradicts Charan Singh, yet I published Faqir's writings in the West (and continue to do so). One can love one's guru while still being critical. I think there are many mothers, I don't think my mother is the only one. The same with gurus. I just argue for a critical posture--of whatever guru. ---------------- Joseph P. Writes: You are evading my point by changing the subject. A few years ago, the voters of the District of Columbia elected a convicted coke user (Marion Berry) to the position of Mayor of the City Council. However much this may reveal about the reaction of disciples to "bad" news about their chosen candidate, it says nothing about the relationship between the citizen and the city. In particular, there is no suggestion that we can dispense with city governments because each person is his/her own governor. David Lane Replies: Your analogy does not fit. How do you "know" that we cannot dispense with gurus? What may be viewed as necessary by one party, may be viewed as unnecessary by another. One may wish to take a wife or a husband, but it does not mean that everyone must. To be sure, one may adopt a guru and be proud of it, but it does not follow that it is an ontological pre-requisite (except, of course, in the books of guru movements). JOSEPH P. WRITES: Well, then, if we uncover any of these suggestive leads in the relationship between Lane and Lane's Guru, would that be an instance of Socratic style spiritual midwifery? Let's see if our efforts result in a healthy insight, a stillborn speculation or a partial birth abortive rumor. In "Numinous Neurology" [http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane/maynew.html --- see how easy that was!] you wrote: "I was never really attracted to "Shabd Yoga" theology, as such. As I have often stated to myself and others, I love Charan Singh, DESPITE (not because of) Radhasoami. What this means, of course, is that I was attracted to the person first and all the rest was filler for me. For others in religion, it may be the opposite: he or she loves their guru or leader BECAUSE of the teachings or the path or the way....." You have on several occasions stated that you miss Charan Singh very much and never made the transition to accepting someone else as your guru. Now, the various strands of Sant Mat say that a guru is necessary. For example, Kirpal Singh: "The need of a Guru or Master is absolute, and there can be no exception to the rule." [_The Spiritual Path_ p 117] DAVID LANE REPLIES: First of all, Joseph, I think you misunderstand a basic point in the Beas related literature (including that of Kirpal Singh). In these Sant Mat related movements, the argument is for ONE guru, not many. Once a disciple is initiated by a genuine guru (given the respective lineage's criteria) there is no need whatsoever to adopt a new guru. Indeed, it is argued that it is wrong. So in Beas related movements, the disciple follows only ONE guru (namely the one who initiated him), even after the guru dies. For instance, in the Beas literature, it is stressed that a disciple should only do dhyan (contemplation) of his initiating guru (if he has seen him) and NOT of his predecessor or his successor. So your point that I didn't adopt the new guru is wrong from the theological perspective of the Beas group. Yes, the successor is a help, but he is NOT a new guru to the disciple. That relationship, according to the books, is singular (not plural). The successor, it is argued, helps the disciple focus his love and devotion to the guru who initiated him (not to switch it). For example, Charan Singh didn't adopt Jagat Singh as his "new guru". Sawan Singh was his guru and until the very last year of his life, Charan Singh deeply missed Sawan Singh. I know because he told me so in a public form. I asked him in 1989 (December, some six months before his death): "What do you miss most about the old Dera?" Charan Singh replied: "I only miss the Great Master [Sawan Singh]." He didn't say, "Yea, and I miss his successor too. ------------ As for me, let's forget this Sant Mat rhetoric for a second. My brother Michael died in 1991 unexpectedly. I loved him deeply. I am not looking for a "new" brother, nor do I have any desire to go searching for one. I miss Michael. That was unique. Okay, the same (for me) with Charan Singh. I am not looking for a new guru, nor do I desire one. I miss him. That was unique for me. When you read Rumi, he longs for his beloved. When you read Mirabai, you find the same. Read Mary of Magdala (or at least the "story" related about her). She misses Jesus. It is really quite simple and is not that complex. I miss my brother, I miss my father, and I miss my guru. I am not asking for replacemnts, nor do I desire them. They were unique to my life experience. I don't mind the pain associated with their lost; it is part and parcel of who I am. ------- So this question of adopting a new guru is moot for me personally. It is also moot, by the way, according to the Beas books. The successor offers guidance, he does not offer himself as the New Guru to the old disciple. That relationship is unique. ------------ JOSEPH P. WRITES: I was quoting Kirpal Singh, but I don't think you addressed this issue. Here's the quote again: "The need of a Guru or Master is absolute, and there can be no exception to the rule." [_The Spiritual Path_ p 117] Nowhere (so far as I can tell) does Kirpal Singh give any indication that an exception to this rule protects the chelas of a departed Master from needing a living guru. In fact, he stresses the need for a Living Master: "In like manner, the aspirant who seeks inner spiritual mastery must seek the aid of one who has already mastered the way. All his readings of scriptures, all his thinking, can at best lead to a single conclusion, provided he is sensitive to the point involved: the need for a living Master. Without such a Master he cannot even understand the true import of the revelatory scriptures." [_The Spiritual Path_ p. 34] However, it is possible that I don't have a representative sample of the writings of Kirpal Singh. So, if you are claiming that Kirpal Singh supports your claim that a departed Master remains the guru of his chelas, would you kindly quote the passages to which you are referring me? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, Joseph, Kirpal Singh supports my claim. Or should I say the reverse: I read Kirpal Singh first and therefore understood what he claimed? Here's just one quote among many on the subject: "No, it is NOT AT ALL necessary to have Re-Initiation after the passing of the Master who originally initiated an individual. IT IS HIS SOLE RESPONSIBILITY to lead the soul once initiated by him back to the Home of his Father." (Spiritual Elixir, Volume One, page 56)." ----- JOSEPH P. WRITES: Perhaps you should simply quote the passages wherein each of them states that there is an exception to the requirement of a Living Master in the case of the chelas of a departed Master. You should already be familiar with the writings of Charan Singh and it would save the rest of the newsgroup a possible wild goose chase. DAVID LANE REPLIES: First of all, you were the guy making the claim about what Kirpal Singh taught and you got it wrong (see above quote, for instance). Second, if you read the Beas-related books it is quite obvious how the disciple is to view the successor. Indeed, this very point is one of the demarcating lines between the Agra groups and the Beas groups. But to satisfy your request. Here's a quote from Charan Singh: "79. The Master or the Sat Guru who initiates a disciple, FROM THE MOMENT OF INITIATION, does ALWAYS take charge of him and keeps on watching...." (Light on Sant Mat)" "251.... But the Master who initiated the disciple CONTINUES to be THE MASTER for THAT disciple and will guide the soul on the Inner Planes EVEN THOUGH HE MAY HAVE LEFT THE PHYSICAL BODY. Yes, Master Jagat Singh, who initiated you, IS STILL YOUR MASTER>" ------------ There are tens of quotes like the above from Sawan, Kirpal, and Charan. The idea of a living Master is to get initiated by one, but once initiated that Master remains "living" to the disciple, even after death (that's the Sant Mat theology via the Beas line). This has been very clearly stated in the literature. -------------------
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I want to go back to the home base now.