Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: May 1997
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MICHAEL TURNER WRITES: Hi: 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. DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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. ------------------------------- MIKE WRITES: As a quick aside, David, are you famliar with an eastern female Satguru by the name of (I believe) "Mataji?" Just curious. DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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 on 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 1984...... I don't know where she is now. Quite a delight, however..... ------------ DOUG WRITES: 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. DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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. DOUG WRITES: 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. DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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 instance). 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. DOUG WRITES: 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. DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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. Maheshwari's 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?" DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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. JOSEPH WRITES: 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? DAVID LANE REPLIES: 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? DAVID LANE REPLIES: The Agra groups take a much different line than the Beas related lineages. 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. thanks
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