THE KIRPAL DEBATES: Lane returns Tessler's Serve, part two

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.
     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.



Reductionism does not mean (as Neil wrongly infers) that we have to
dismiss or diminish something that is true and evidential on some
higher level.

No, only those things which CAN be reduced or explained by a simpler
line of explanation fall under reductionism's purview. Certainly one
can imagine any host of experiences or ideas or worlds that could
not be reduced or explained away.

Occam's Razor doesn't mean that all truths are simple. It means that
with all things being equal opt for the simpler explanation first
(provided that it really does explain the given phenomena). 

I am all for mysticism's claims being proven true, but I won't succumb
to such transpersonal hopes when the evidence is LESS (not more)
than forthcoming.

As for "dismissing" or "diminishing" Kirpal's or Neil's claims, I
have this naive confidence that Truth (no matter what form it may take or
not take) will eventually win in our discussions. Thus, only those
arguments can be dismissed or diminished which ARE INFLATED. The
outside reader will at least have MORE information and MORE
interpretations in which to make his or her appraisement.

To summarize once again my view:

The gurus (all of them under discussion) are much more human than
we usually acknowledge. We can see such humanness quite clearly in
succession disputes.

Where Tessler sees (and reads) a mystical context, I see instead a
very human and political context.

Now it may certainly be true that there is something transrational
or transrational in Sant Mat, but such a divine rupture (if it were
true) will be better served by our skepticism than by our wholesale

In other words, the transrational (whether it be in the form of
gurus or teachings or experiences) should be able to withstand the
assaults of reason.

To the degree that it cannot (and I am suggesting that much of Sant
Mat Can NOT), then Occam's Razor and Hume's Maxim and good old
common sense will amply illustrate THAT.

It doesn't take a neurologist to see that much of what passes as
spiritual discourse is merely political jockeying.