Multiple Initiations?--Agra/Beas Controversy

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

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As I recall, both Sant Kirpal Ji and Maharaj Charan Singh Ji stated that 
if you have been initiated by a Living Master and have developed to the 
point of having solid contact with his/her radiant form within, then it 
doesn't matter if that Master has departed the physical universe.  On the 
other hand, if you are still striving to make the inner reality tangible, 
then you should give your love and devotion to his/her successor.  In 
either case, it doesn't hurt to remain a satsangi and honor and love the 
current Living Satguru of your initiating Master's lineage.


Actually, Mike, the Beas related lineages argue that one's
initiating Master (sound initiation, that is) is responsible for the
inner guidance of the initiate, even if that initiate has NEVER seen
the radiant form.

I point this out since this is a sticking point between the Agra
lineages (except Manavta Mandir) and the Beas lineages. Jaimal Singh
(the founder of the Beas lineages) argued AGAINST the adoption of a
new successor as a NEW GURU. Indeed, the Beas Gurus have stressed
that the initiating Master (sound initiation) is solely responsible
for the inner development of the disciple.

Naturally, the successor is supposed to help the disciples of the
former Master, but he is not to replace him.

Now having said all that, it should be pointed out that there are a
few grey zones in all of this. First, when initiation was divided
into two (a practice no longer utilized at Beas), it could so happen
that if an initiate had ONLY received the Names (and not the Sound),
then he would seek out the New Successor as GURU. The argument,
arcane as it may be, is that the SOUND initiation is the primary
one and whoever does that IS the Guiding Guru.

Thus, it so happened in the lifetime of Jagat Singh that several
seekers got the "Sound" initiation from Charan Singh and thus
looked to him for their dhyan.

Second, Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh have stated that if a
disciple has NEVER seen the physical form of their initiating
Master, they may (if they so desire) perform the "Dhyan"
(contemplation--a compoment of the BEAS meditation technique)
of the Successor.

This seems to be quite significant in light of "proxy"
initiations--where disciples of a Guru never saw the physical form
of their guru during his lifetime.


Now the Agra lineages (relating back to Rai Salig Ram, with the
possible exception of Shiv Brat Lal/Faqir Chand) argue the OPPOSITE.

They argue, more or less as you have mentioned Mike, that if one has
NOT stabilized the Radiant form within (access to Trikuti, let's
say), then one SHOULD contemplate the Form of the Successor and SEEk
his refuge, EVEN if one had seen the physical form of their
initiating guru.

This is a very controversial point in R.S. circles. The fun thing to
do is to read Bachan 250 of SAR Bachan Prose in both the Agra and
Beas versions and compare/contrast them.

Also, it is helpful to read S.D. Maheshwari's books and
compare/contrast them with R.K. Khanna's TRUTH ETERNAL.



As a quick aside, David, are you famliar with an eastern female Satguru by the name of (I believe) "Mataji?"  Just curious.


Naturally, the honorific "MATAJI" is quite common in India since it
means--more or less--"Mother dear."

If you are talking about the woman I met in 1981 at Manavta Mandir,
she was an initiate of Faqir Chand. I had met her prior in 1978 and
my second visit to Hoshiarpur the Head Administrator--Dr.
Jaura--introduced me to a woman he claimed was a "saint." He called
her "Mataji."

I wrote about her in THE ENCHANTED LAND (see Dave Rife's home page).

I liked her very much, but I am told that she is no longer housed at
Manavta Mandir.

Dr. I.C. Sharma, the main successor of Faqir Chand, apparently
didn't like her much.

Sharma's secretary even threatened me with a lawsuit (can you
believe it?--Faqir Chand would have rolled over in his grave!)
over a glowing article I wrote on her in FATE magazine back in the

I don't know where she is now.

Quite a delight, however.....



I know that Lane has studied this stuff better than I, but let me answer
your questions from what I know.

The two initiations that Charan Singh is talking about are first, that of
the holy names, and the forms to be contemplated on each of the five
planes, up to and including Sat Lok (Soul Plane).  The second is the
initiation into the sound current, Shabda, or what ECKists call the ECK.
In other words, the first initiation is more like a prepatory initiation,
similar to the first initiation in ECKANKAR. It is the second, or sound
current, initiation that connects Soul to the returning current.


Yes, Doug is right on the money here, except that I am unclear about
what he means by the "forms to be contemplated on each of the five
planes." There are no forms to be contemplated, except that of the
guru. The various lights and their colors are mentioned and some
distinguishing features of the five main planes, but as for
contemplation there is only one thing enjoined: The Guru's Face.


This means that if a chela gets the first, but not the second initiation
before his Master departs, he would still need to look to the new Master
for his second initiation. Now, that's my understanding, and I will defer
to David's answer, since I'm sure he knows this better.


Yes, Doug, you are correct here. If the Sound initiation (or second
initiation) has not been secured, then the neophyte looks to the
successor as his initiating guru (he can do his dhyan, for

This practice of separating the initiation into two parts (which
appears to have been prevalant in Jagat Singh's short tenure) has
since been DIScontinued at Beas.


The other point that David was making, however, and I'm not sure that you caught it, was that the Agra branches don't agree with the Beas branches on this point. The Agra branches believe that until the chela has established themselves in the purely spiritual worlds, they will need to look to whoever is the living Master. If the Master who initiated them has left this world, then they need to look toward the current living Master for their guidance, until that time when they have reached beyond the dual worlds. The Agra branches believe that the living Master is spiritually no different than the one who came before, only the outer form has changed.  Isn't it interesting that even though Lane has shown that Paul Twitchell studied with Kirpal Singh of the Beas lineage, that Paul would bring out ECKANKAR that was more in agreement with the Agra lineage on this point? I've been enjoying your discussions on this subject.


Yes, I am glad that you picked up on this point Doug. It is true
that the Agra lineages (related to Rai Salig Ram) and the Beas
lineages (related to Jaimal Singh) DISagree over this very issue.

Indeed, it has been a source of controversy for many years.

If you read the Agra versions of Sar Bachan Prose by Shiv Dayal
Singh (specifically Bachan 250) and the Beas versions of Sar Bachan
Prose by Shiv Dayal Singh (again, Bachan 250), you will notice that
they are DIFFERENT.

For more on this intriguing theological debate, read S.D.
TRUTH UNVARNISHED (two volumes) [representing the Soami Bagh/Agra
camp] and TRUTH ETERNAL (one volume by R.K. Khanna) [representing
the Beas/Kirpal Singh camp].


It is also true, however, that this very issue has become much
greyer in Beas than one would suspect, especially given Gurinder's
recent directives on the formal practice of dhyan.


JOSEPH P. writes:

Thank you for providing these citations. They're helping to clarify this
issue for me. Kirpal's use of the word 'Re-Initiation' indicates that
this matter may be related to the practice in most Sant Mat groups of
giving only one Initiation covering all the Inner Planes, since no one
would expect a chela to retake an Initiation just because the Initiating
Master dies.

Given this background, when Singh says:

    "251. The rule in sant Mat is for a disciple to get all the help and
    advice from the living Satguru and also to render him service, but
    the Master who initiated the disciple continues to be the Master for
    that disciple and will guide 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."

it seems to me that the rule specified in the first clause (which you
didn't see fit to quote) is very close to a requirement that one have a
Living Satguru. Otherwise the question arises "From whom does one get
all this help and advice and who does one serve?"


No doubt the successor helps the old initiate, but the point remains
the same: the Initiating Guru (sound initiation, when the practice
was divided into two sections) remains the Guiding Guru, even after
he or she dies.

At least that's Beas' theological twist on it. Agra has a much
different take on it.


This raises some interesting questions:

1. During the time when the former Master, Jagat Singh, I assume, gave
two initiations, what happened to those chelas who had the first part
but not the second before the Master died? Did they get the second
initiation from the departed Master or from his successor?


Doug has given quite a good answer to this, but to reiterate the
point: if the disciple has not received the Sound Initiation, he or
she must (according to Beas' theological spin here) get it from the
CURRENT living guru, which in this case would be the successor.

The one who performs the SOUND initiation is, according to this
belief system, the GUIDING guru.

JOSEPH Polanik WRites:

2. A while back you mentioned that while most Sant Mat groups had only
one initiation, but some had two and some even had three. The same
question arises with these groups. With regard to chelas who have not
had a full set of initiations when the Master dies, who gives the
remaining initiations, the departed Master or the Living successor?


The Agra groups take a much different line than the Beas related

For a more comprehensive look at this interesting issue, read
S.D. Maheshwari's R.S. FAITH: History & Tenets and R.K. Khanna's
Truth Eternal and Lekh Raji Puri's RADHA SWAMI TEACHINGS.


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