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

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

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How "Family" Connections Influence Guru Succession in Radhasoami

Or, What Are the Odds that "God" Will Appoint a Relative?

I don't really know all the reasons behind why a certain successor
is chosen by a Radhasoami guru, but I do know that "family"
relations appear to play a much bigger part in the process than is
generally known. Now of course it can be argued that a prior blood
connection is merely "coincidental" to why the esteemed guru chose
his son/nephew/daughter, etc., as his/her heir. The guru in question
could argue, I would imagine, that he chose the "best" candidate
and it just happened to be the case (or the odds?) that the
successor was from the immediate family.

Okay.... perhaps..... but it does seem strangely synchronistic to
note that the vast majority of Radhasoami lineages (genealogically
connected via parampara to Shiv Dayal Singh) contain at least one or
more blood connections (ranging from sons to daughters to grandsons
to nephews).

Let's look at the current crop from the most popular Radhasoami/Sant
Mat centers in the world:


Appointed by his father, Darshan Singh (who was, in turn, appointed
by his father, Kirpal Singh).


Appointed by his uncle (via his mother's side), Charan Singh (who
was a grandson of Sawan Singh, the Spiritual Leader, before Jagat
Singh who had appointed Charan).

3. KEHAR SINGH, Tarn Taran

Appointed by his father, Pratap Singh.


Appointed by his father, Gur Prasad (who was, in turn, appointed by
his father, who was, in turn, appointed by his father, Rai Salig

5. MADHAV PRASAD SINGH, Soami Bagh (last living guru at Soami Bagh
before the impasse)

Madhav was a nephew of Shiv Dayal Singh; Madhav was appointed by
Maheshwari Devi who was, in turn, appointed by her brother, Brahm
Shankar Misra.


Okay, let's look at some historical episodes from the past:

6. NARAYAN DEI (Radhaji)

Appointed by her husband, Shiv Dayal Singh (not a blood connection,
but surely a nice family one)


We are not certain if he ever acted as bona fide guru, as such, but we
do know this: he was the son of Partap Singh, Shiv Dayal Singh's
brother, who surely acted like a guru.

Interesting Sidebar: In Shiv Dayal Singh's family, all three
brothers (Partap, Shiv Dayal, Bindraban) acted, more or less, as
gurus. Two of them even appointed their wives as successors, and,
eventually, some of their nephews and grand-daughters worked a


Now, to be sure, there are a number of lineages which don't have
overt family connections (Ajaib Singh and Sant Bani, Faqir Chand
and Manavta Mandir, Thakar Singh and Kirpal Light, Teja Singh and
Firozpur, etc.), but the majority of R.S. lineages (and,
interestingly, the ones with the biggest followings) do have some
type of family association.

A large group that doesn't have one is Dayal Bagh in Agra,
India. Yet, this is also one of the rare Radhasoami satsangs that
chooses its leaders by "election."


I wonder if the increase of property, the increase of monies, the
increase of organization tends to channel the "odds" of who will
be appointed as the succeeding guru.

Naturally, the gurus themselves will opt for a more "spiritual"
explanation for their choices ("My son or grandson or nephew or
daughter IS the Best Candidate").


But maybe it is precisely when more "earthly" considerations come to
the forefront (geez, the guru's family just happens to live right in
the middle of the ashram; if we pick an "outsider" where will all
those family members live? Is the "outsider" going to move
in his blood relations and kick the previous occupants out?) that
more "grounded" imperatives circumscribe the guru's options?


I don't know, but my gut tells me that we will start to see MORE,
not less, blood connections in the future of Radhasoami succession,
especially in the larger more established sangats (with Dayal Bagh
and maybe a few others being the "democratic" exception).


I guess Sat Purush "descends" in blood clusters?


end of part one of a continuing series

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

I want to go back to the home base now.