THE KIRPAL DEBATES: Lane returns serve to Neil, part three

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: May 1998

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


     In Crisis and Renewal, it was my intention to indicate that by
utilizing a view that was more inclusive of a broader range of biographical
and background information, Lane's thesis in his book, seemed narrow at
best. I have attempted a view that incorporates the recurrent and central
themes of this tradition in order to better understand the mystery of
succession. I applied reasoning that begins with the experience of the path
as described by some of its well known modern exponents, and seeks to find
the meaning of historic processes from within the logic of that experience.
This is empiricism in a nutshell, ie; reasoning from experience.



No, this is not empiricism in a nutshell, Neil.

Quite frankly, you merely argued from your own belief in Kirpal
Singh and tried to find arguments which dovetailed (and/or
substantiated) with your (and his) view of succession.

AS SUCH, that alone makes it valuable and interesting, but as
an extended and open-ended argument it is nothing of the sort.

Now on the same page, I don't think that my book is the be-all and
end-all of succession histories. And I would readily confess that
the book is quite narrow in its import.

But your claim that you are talking empirically or "broad based"
is patently untrue.

Tell me, Neil, where and when do you DISAGREE with Kirpal Singh's

Now that would be interesting.

As for me disagreeing with my own guru and his lineage, I have done
it repeatedly.

Sorry but your claim for objectivity is severely hampered by your
own inability to call into question your own guru and his take on

Nice try, though.



     Lane has categorized the difference between our views as
mystical/inflationary vs. reductionistic.  What he means is that my view is
airy-fairy ("imaginary", "mystical", "inflationary", "childish") vs. his
that is grounded and rational. This is notably similar to the manner in
which he applies his categories of guru succession rhetoric in The
Radhasoami Tradition to Kirpal Singh, ie; to diminish and dismiss.  In my
view, the mysticism of Sant Mat deserves a central place in any discussion
of this tradition.



Again, if something is indeed imaginary then reductionism will show
it to be so (not otherwise).

As for some of your views being childish and inflationary (your
words), I quite agree.

But so you see that I am not merely being condescending, I think
many of my views are that way too.

Quite frankly, I think we oftentimes become prone to silly thinking
when it comes to gurus, to succession, to mysticism.

That is why being brutually skeptical can help us out of this
naive impasse.

That which can survive our rationality will be better suited because
of such scrutiny.


TESSLER writes:

      The last paragraphs of the main text of my book considers the tension
between the humanity of the successor and his spiritually awakened state at
the time of the succession.  For me personally this was a powerful insight
and realization that brought together many of the historic events and ideas
discussed in Crisis and Renewal.  Lane calls these very same closing
paragraphs "gibberish".  This is most interesting: one man's revelation is
another man's gibberish. This tells us a lot about the kind of terrain in
which this discussion is occuring.



Go re-read what you wrote in your original paragraphs.

I called them gibberish because they were unclear and immature.

So is much of our thinking on mysticism, including my own at times.


      As a social scientist and proud reductionist, Lane allies himself
with the likes of E.O.Wilson, one of the father's of sociobiology, where
man is merely a collection of neuro-chemical events thrust forward by
evolutionary impulses.  (Former M.I.T. history professor, William Irwin
Thompson, offers an interesting critical analysis of the ideas of Wilson,
in his book, Time Falling Bodies Take To Light).  Lane looks at the parts
and always tries to find the human and/or physiological reason that suits
the reductionist paradigm.  Perhaps this is why Lane falls increasingly
into venomous criticism and cynicism.  When you have torn the parts to
pieces, what is left?  Reductionism and spirituality have never kept good



No, Neil, you have it backwards.

Spirituality should EASILY survive reductionism's demands.

To the degree it cannot is to the exact degree that such mystical
claims are inaccurate, misleading, and untrue.

In other words, TRUTH (whatever it may be) should easily and
confidently withstand the assaults of reason.

That some of our "visions" of Truth fail this litmus test speaks
volumes about what is absent.        

Reductionism can only reduce that which CAN be reduced, not that
which cannot.

A simple point that you repeatedly overlook.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that R.S. gurus talk way
too much about themselves and that ego (versus humility) seems to
hold sway.

Unless of course, we wish to "legitimize" or "rationalize" away the
very obvious appearances of ego.

You seem not to like reductionism because it offers a much simpler
(and I would suggest comprehensive and accurate) description for
what is going on in R.S. guru circles.

I am not trying to be invective or mean-spirited.

I am, on the contrary, simply trying to call a spade a spade
and not some divine love goo.


TESSLER writes:

     However, when it comes to Charan Singh, Lane puts away Occam's razor,
puts aside his role as the Hiraldo of Sant Mat, and essentially ignores my
discussion of the very detailed, vivid testimony on his asension to the
Beas gaddi and the period of his guruship.



No, Neil, you are wrong on several fronts here. First "Hiraldo" is
spelled "Geraldo" (I know because, oh no! the horror of it, I was
on his upscale show, NOW IT CAN BE TOLD!).

Second, I have already used Occam's Razor on my guru and his
succession and have repeatedly told you so.


I take my guru as Purely HUMAN.

Thus, I see guru succession at BEAS in HUMAN TERMS, even when it
comes to my own dearly liked guru.

Now, in contrast, Neil, can you see KIRPAL's succession in PURELY

Your argument (not mine) shows clearly that you CANNOT.

I can publish the harhest criticism of my own guru's lineage on the

Can you do the same?


Why Not?

I have an answer: you, not me, are unwilling to use Occam's Razor on
the very thing which you love and admire.

I understand that, but you are misleading if you think you are being
somehow objective and critical in your reasoning about Kirpal.

I am much more critical of my own guru and his lineage than you....

And, ironically, you know that but are unwilling to acknowledge it.

You see, Neil, I think it is perfectly appropriate to love one's
guru and still be able to point out the faults and the humanness
(and I do mean humanness, not some rhetorical gloss over).


TESSLER writes:

  Clearly these two tracks are
inconsistent, and for me undermine in so many places, the worth of his
response simply because they define it.  It is certainly true that Lane's
arguments in favor of the Beas view of Baba Sawan Singh's succession are
better served by the most literal, reductionist rendering possible.


No, Neil, it is simply called something much more mundane:


Go read that EARLIER will of Sawan Singh's where he himself STATES

And guess what?

Sawan does exactly that; just like he said he would.

Your argument overlooks the obvious and looks for the "secret", the
"hidden"--none of which is convincing or persuasive.

I don't need to tell you that.

90% of Sawan's following already did that when they accepted Sawan's


TESSLER writes: 

However, it just happens that to support his views, he must discount Sant
Mat in all its essentials.



No, I just have to confess the obvious:



     There are rare times when Lane's rationalism draws forth points that
are unique and interesting - truly representative of the human perspective.
An example would be the idea that Baba Sawan Singh tolerated a will for
the maintenance of Beas, while quietly directing his "true" successor
elsewhere, an implication of the Kirpal Singh succession argument. To
Lane's rationalism, the very idea that Baba Sawan would leave tens of
thousands of disciples in ignorance as to his spiritual succession is just
cause for a fit of profanity and derision.



No, it is just a cause to call a spade a spade.

Sawan wrote TWO wills (the first one which you seem not to doubt)
says he will appoint his spiritual successor via a Will. Which Sawan
eventually does.

Then 90% of his following do that.

Your theory is that Sawan consciously LIES to his following (you
know, those naive people who don't know better) and his family and
his friends and his close associates because he favored Kirpal but
didn't have the chutzpah to simply say so.


The common sense version MINIMIZES IT.

Yours involves a conspiracy; 

my involves a simple re-telling of the apparent facts, including
signed and notarized documents.   

i have proof to show you (Sawan's wills, etc.);

you have "stories".


TESSLER writes:
This becomes, by extension, a
proof against Kirpal Singh's succession.
      The only problem here (besides a significant amount of evidence that
this is exactly what Baba Sawan Singh did), is that such a move by the
guru, from one center to another, occured in a majority of cases.



Again, you are making leaps both in fact and in logic. First, you do
not have a significant amount of evidence for Kirpal's claims. You
have, instead, a lot of stories (mostly generated by Kirpal) which
show him in a favorable light.

Beas has something much more simple, yet much more profound:

SAWAN'S OWN WORDS, notarized and legally probated, which show that
he appointed Jagat Singh.

As a corrollary, we also have 90% of his following aligning with

Second, you have already assumed a certain version of lineage that
is in favor of Kirpal's succession but which is NOT actually a case of
"true and objective" history.

I will show you point by point your assumptions in the following


E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.