Kirpal Singh Defending Himself: David Lane's Reply to Tessler's study, PART THREE

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

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

OA  writes:

Part Three


      Lane's emphasis is on the manner in which a succession claim is
supported as determined by the position of the claimant after the death of
the preceding guru.  How might the claimant's approach be prefigured in his
personality, personal history, or by other circumstances prior to the
succession period?
     Another point: when looking at the larger historical context of a
given succession period we also discover the impact of various
personalities close to the guru.  These are persons who have high positions
in the administration or otherwise work closely with the Master.  During
the succession crisis some may be concerned with their position in any
future administration, some perhaps have designs on the guruship itself,
others are concerned with a stable transference, still others with the
future disposition of valuable properties, etc.  The diversity of agendas
and the organizational influence of various individuals may play an
important role in how the guru chooses to make his succession known, though
it would not affect who he chooses.



Yes, and this is another way of saying that the guru is playing

Boy, I would be impressed if these gurus would show some real
chutzpah and stop playing such silly human games and just be
straight, huh?


OA  writes:

     The two most successful Radhasoami branches in the world today are

Radhasoami Satsang Beas, presently under the leadership of Maharaj Gurinder
Singh Ji, and Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission under Sant Rajinder Singh Ji.



Are you sure of this Neil?

Compare Dayal Bagh's resources and influence with Sawan Kirpal
Ruhani Mission.

Moreover, compare other R.S. groups with Sawan Kirpal Ruhani

You may be surprised.

Moreover, what criteria are you using here for "most" successful?

If you are talking numbers, maybe Thakar has a larger total number
of initiates than Rajinder, huh?

Be clearer about what you mean by successful.

I don't deny that Darshan and Rajinder were successful, I just
question your unstated assumptions for what you mean by success.


OA  writes:

Both teach identical methods of meditation, trace their lineages to Hazur
Baba Sawan Singh, and have achieved a level of international growth far
exceeding any of the Agra branches.



Identical methods of meditation?

Are you sure?

Tell us about dhyan in Ruhani and tell us about dhyan in Beas.

I am curious......

As for "international" growth, Ching Hai and Thakar Singh have done
quite well too, huh?


OA  writes:

  This fact alone makes their common
origins an interesting matter for review.  A discussion of the events
preceding and following Baba Sawan Singh's passing illuminates many issues
of Sant Mat succession as well advancing our theory of its uncommon,
unpredictable nature.
      Although Lane details a few of Kirpal Singh's writings regarding his
claim to the successon of Baba Sawan Singh, he then goes to some pains to
discount them or cast them in an egoistic light, indicating Lane's basic
impression and prior allegiance.



Quite the contrary. I quote Kirpal Singh himself.

If you wish to blame egotism, be sure to lay on the doorstep of the
guy who makes "claims" for himself in his own voice and by his own
"quotes" of what his guru did ot didn't say.

I merely pointed out what he said.

As for my "prior" allegiance, I well understand your concern and
I agree that it is important to counter-balance it.

But lest you forget, I CONTRADICT my guru's own lineage and his
own theology.

Do you do the same?

OA  writes:

  Juergensmeyer passes through these
significant events with a more or less perfunctory review.  He is more
interested in Radhasoami as an interesting contemporary religious movement,
much less in its internal politics.  In neither case has the treatment of
this period been adequately detailed.



Yes, the more information we can get the better.

Right on.


OA  writes:

     In the case of Jagat Singh and Charan Singh analogous material is even
sketchier.  The accounts of Jagat Singh's discipleship reveal a
disciplined, rather austere man, with great devotion to his spiritual
practice and his guru.  There are stories of his life, but very few
relative to the length of his discipleship (he was initiated in 1910,
indeed most of Hazur's administration were early initiates).  His record of
service at Dera and the positions he was given by Hazur indicate Hazur's
trust and willingness to invest him with significant responsibilities.
Charan Singh's background and the circumstances of his succession will be
reviewed later.



You are ignoring the obvious here, Neil.

Kirpal Singh wrote MORE about HIMSELF than either Charan or Jagat.

And BECAUSE of that we have some details about Kirpal Singh (by
Kirpal Singh) concerning Kirpal Singh....

Think it through.


OA  writes:

     Rai Munshi Ram's Urdu diary accounts of Hazur's last days has
interesting references to Kirpal Singh which are largely missing from the
English translation.  Indeed, throughout Munshi Ram's book there are
various references to Kirpal Singh as well as to his son and eventual
successor, Darshan Singh, which never made it to the English translation
titled With The Three Masters.



I like this point but I wish you would tell us here what was stated
that was absent in the English translation.

These are important points and I commend you for bringing this out.


OA  writes:

    In brief, the Beas view is that the will of Baba Sawan Singh dated
March 20, 1948, clearly and unmistakably expresses Baba Sawan Singh's
wishes regarding succession.  This is regarded as a natural progression
from previous documents drawn up by Baba Sawan Singh in which he had named
Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh, vice-president in charge of the administration
of the Dera with Baba Sawan Singh as president.  Daryai Lal Kapur, the
chief Beas polemicist of this period, states that with the administrative
plan documented in September 1947 "it became evident to many of us that
Maharaj Ji had decided to appoint Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh as his
successor." He also asserts that "Many advanced satsangis had known much
earlier that Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh would be entrusted with the duty of
satsang and initiation."21 However, no accounts are offered to substantiate
this claim. [21 - Ibid. p. 207]
      Although S.B. Jagat Singh was accepted as Baba Sawan Singh's
successor at Beas, he out-lived his guru by only two and a half years.  The
tacit assumption, implicit in several stories, is that Charan Singh was the
ultimate successor of Baba Sawan Singh, S.B. Jagat Singh serving as a kind
of bridge, while young Charan Singh presumably continued to mature.  Though
there is no objective evidence for this line of reasoning, when Baba Sawan
Singh said that his successor would come with "ten fold powers and grace,"
as reported by Kapur,22 one could hardly imagine that this referred to S.B.
Jagat Singh, who only briefly presided over a fragmented and ailing
administrative structure and remained in the long shadow of his
predecessor. [22 - Call of the Great Master. Daryai Lal Kapur, RS Satsang
Beas, 1972,  p. 134.]



These are good points here, Neil.


OA  writes:

        The main competing view is that Kirpal Singh was the sole spiritual
successor of Baba Sawan Singh, having been groomed over the entire period
of his discipleship, and verbally designated six months prior to Baba Sawan
Singh's passing, shortly after the will was
written regarding Dera administration in late September 1947. Furthermore,
a number of factors led Baba Sawan Singh to order Kirpal Singh to leave
Dera Beas after his passing.
    This is the outline, and from here Lane rightly points out that in due
course one camp stood on the legal basis of its succession, while the other
emphasised spiritual competence to support its claim.



Glad that we can agree on this.


OA  writes:

     "I may mention to you today one incident.  There are always
controversies going on. In my own life, Master once ordered me during his
lifetime to initiate about 250 people in the monthly gathering.24 [This was
not the first or last time that Baba Sawan Singh had asked Kirpal Singh to
give the initiation instruction in his stead.  According to the account of
Iqbal Kaur in The Ocean of Grace Divine, Kirpal Singh was asked by Hazur to
initiate a group of ten seekers at Lahore in 1936.  She claims to have been
a witness to this event.  Apparently, because it occurred at Lahore, the
action did not receive the wide notice or strong reaction of the later
event described in this selection.] Those who were after the Mastership
became worried:  'What is going to happen?  Everything is gone from our
hands.'  They made parties and spread a great deal of propaganda against
me, in writing, through letters and this and that thing.  I was true to my
own Self.  The Master had ordered me to do it; and to give talks at satsang
places, attend the poor, the sick, the needy, everyone.  Even when I left
the office, I used to be attending the sick until eight, nine or ten
o'clock at night, and sometimes even later than that.
    "The Master had ordered me to do it; and letters about me, written by
the parties concerned, began to pour in, in all languages, from different
towns.  They were all about the same subject: 'He's such a man; he's such a
man; he's such a man.' And Master also knew about the letters.  There were
heaps of letters from all around.
   "My Master had always asked me, when I went to see him, 'Well, come on,
please, and give a talk.'  And what did I do?  He was sitting there, and he
made me sit near him, like a son or a student.  I would speak my heart to
him--I would open my heart to him in a heart-to-heart talk--and the people
    "But they had arranged it so that for eight months regularly I was not
permitted to go near the Master, not even to talk to him.  So much
propaganda was being carried on!  But I would just look at his eyes, and
that was sufficient for me; because eyes speak more than words.
    "My Master used to go to the hills.  My elder brother went there (I did
not even tell this secret to my brother.  Why complain of the Master and
his disciples to someone else?), and I simply asked him, 'When you find
yourself all alone with the Master, simply ask him if there are any
drawbacks or if there is anything I've done wrong...I may have erred
knowingly or unknowingly.  Just talk with the Master.'
    "When my brother came back, I asked him, 'Did you ask the Master about
it?'  And he said, 'Yes.'  The Master said, 'I know he has done nothing
wrong, either knowingly or unknowingly; but strangely enough, so much water
passed over his head, but he never came to me to tell me about it.'
     "So naturally, when Master returned--I never asked any time from my
Master--I said, 'I want a few minutes with you.'
    "'Oh, yes, you're welcome.'
    "When the day had passed and it was about nine or ten in the night, he
sent for me and said, 'Close the doors.'
    "I was with him, sitting by him.  I told him, 'I did not come to you
because I know that you are in me and seeing my every action--watching my
every action and also the trend of my life: you know where I am going.
That is why I never came to you.'
    "He was all wroth.  He said, 'Those people have created so much hell.'
     "I said, 'Well, I have not come for that.'
     "What did he say the next day?  I used to always sit at the back25,
just watching.  He sat on the throne--the pulpit--and said, 'Well, Kirpal
Singh, come on, give your talk!'
     "And those around him who were making parties said, 'No, Master, we
won't like to hear him: we would like to hear from you directly.'
    "He said, 'No, he will talk.' They insisted very much.  And still he
ordered me: 'You come here and talk to them.'
     "Strangely enough, the tables were turned in one night."
(Talk given Nov.11, 1963, Louisville, Ky.)
[25 - Radha Krishna Khanna, LL.B., writes about Kirpal Singh, "When He went
to Beas, He made it a point to sit in the last row at Satsang, while I, as
an unregenerate soul...used to think, 'Well, I've come from more than two
hundred miles to see Hazur, and attend the Satsang, why shouldn't I avail
myself of the best place so that I can hear every word?'  And I used to sit
in the first or second row.  Actually, whenever I sat behind the first row,
the Master used to beckon me to come and sit in front.  Well, once I met
Maharaj Kirpal Singh; we had been talking to each other for some time and
when we went to the place where the Great Master was holding Satsang, I
thought I might also sit with Him.  And there I found that I had a better
darshan of the Master in the last row where Kirpal Singh was sitting, and I
also heard more of the Satsang!  Now I was astonished..." (Glimpses of a
Perfect Being, from The Ocean of Grace Divine, Delhi, 1976)

     Beyond its immediate utility to Kirpal Singh in making certain points
to his sangat on controversy within the group, this remarkable historical
anecdote indicates that within the inner circle of Baba Sawan Singh's
disciples there was aggressive jealousy, intrigue, and a serious concern
over who would inherit the guruship, and presumably control over the
millions of rupees worth of properties that went with it.



No, Neil, it tells us that Kirpal Singh "believed" and "perceived"
there was aggressive jealousy within the group. As such, then,
it tell us more about what Kirpal Singh "perceived" than what was
necessarily happening, since Kirpal is talking about his OWN

Though I don't doubt there were such "human" things happening (and
Kirpal's recollection of it sounds awfully human to me as well), we
have to be careful and not "generalize" from one person's account
and then by extension say "There WAS intrigue and so on...."

These are unnecessary additions made to look factual, when--in point
of fact (watch the pun--they are merely one guy's OPINION.


OA  writes:

      In a talk given to a small group on July 21, 1974, one month before
his passing, Kirpal Singh alluded to another incident:
     "In the time of my Master, many people hankered after the Mastership
after Him.  One even made Him sign a paper reading, 'This is the follower.'
They prepared the whole thing.  He was an advocate...he died.  There are
so many others too.  Master always used to refer people to me.  They
wondered, 'How, how can that be?'  So one day He called me and said, 'I
have just issued all my duties except Initiation.  I vouchsafe this to
you.'  No one son would like his father to be suffering.  I shed tears.
This is selection - no voting...." (Sat Sandesh  Dec. 1975)
     The incident alluded to probably took place during the severe illness
of Hazur while at Dalhousie, September 2-19, 1943.  Rai Munshi Ram writes,
"During this period the Master was seriously ill at Dalhousie.  By the
eighteenth He was feeling much better."26 [With the Three Great Masters.
Munshi Ram, R.S. Beas, 1974, p. 129.]



Of course, Kirpal Singh never hankered for guruship, right?

Better to have him say that others hankered for it, even though he
himself claims to be the ONE true appointment of Sawan Singh....

I find this whole quote ironic at best.

Oh the joys of guru rhetoric.

Put the others down while putting our SELF up......

Take Kirpal out of the equation and put any other guru in it and you
will see the rhetoric in a new light:

A guru legitimizing his own candidacy.

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I want to go back to the home base now.