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.

TESSLER writes:

     An aspect of Charan Singh's succession that is of great significance
but has received little or no discussion is the fact that he was entirely
uninformed of his destined role prior to Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh's
passing.  This has now taken on something of the character of a tradition
with his own succession by Gurinder Singh, who was similarly uninformed.87
[ A description of Maharaj Charan Singh's last days, the writing of his
will, and Gurinder Singh's inaugural address, with striking similarities to
Charan Singh's own, were distributed in a memo released by the Dera
secretary on July 20, 1990.  Also found in the second edition of Treasure
Beyond Measure. pp. 284-293] In both these instances a legal document was
the sole  vehicle of succession.  In other words, there is not even a
suggestion of prior verbal authorization or spiritual transmission from the
living guru to the successor.



Actually there are a number of "stories" but isn't that precisely
the problem that a WILL tries to alleviate? That is, a Will certifies
in a Public Way what the guru intended.

Stories are just that: stories.

Of course, in Kirpal's case that is  mostly what you are left with.....
Except that those stories are "inflated" to be something a bit more.

I am sure Neil that if you dug around the Dera enough you would find
lots of stories about Gurinder this or Gurinder that or Charan this
and Charan that.

Now it would be quite easy, I am sure (you have done a good job with
Kirpal "stories"), for an interested Gugu-ite or Charan-ite to do
the same.

But what the Will does instead is save people all that trouble.

It publically and legally states what the Guru intended.

Saves lots of hassles.

Just go ask Rajinder Singh.

His father made duplicates of his Will nominating him and put them
around the world.


TESSLER writes:

     It must be emphasized that it is apparent from Charan Singh's account
that not only was he uninformed by Jagat Singh, but he also had received no
inward, spiritual forewarning.



Well, go re-read Treasure Beyond Measure and see what Charan Singh
states about driving to the Dera and having to pull to the side of
the road. He inwardly sensed that Jagat had died.

You can really "inflate" that story if you wish.

It is ripe for the offering.


TESSLER writes:

  This has important  implications for our
understanding of Sant Mat and succession, particularly as framed through
this specific lineage.
     Is it assumed by Beas that some successors become God-realized after
their succession, and that it is possible to be God-realized and unaware of
one's destiny?  Would the truth be veiled from one who is supposed to be,
or soon become, an incarnation of truth?  What advantage would fall to
Jagat Singh or later Charan Singh in leaving the scene without at least
conveying their intentions regarding succession to the individual
concerned?  There could be no question of a gurumukh refusing his guru's
order.  On the other hand, it would certainly be rather awkward for the
previous guru to justify his designation to his successor who has little,
if any, spiritual advancement.



Better yet, Neil, go ask this question:

How is that Sawan Singh (somebody you think is genuine and somebody
who happens to be Kirpal's guru) goes to Chachaji and ASKS for HELP
from a Soami Bagh sadhu?


Sawan Singh states that he lacks the power to initiate.

He even requests that some sadhu from Agra be sent to DO the

Instead of trying to figure out the paradoxes of gurus you don't

Try figuring out the paradox of one that YOU DO TRUST.


TESSLER writes:

     Let us recall that first-hand spiritual experience under the direct,
unmediated guidance of an advanced and hopefully fully realized living
adept is the very essence of Sant Mat discipleship, if not mysticism
generally.  A succession based entirely on a will is at odds with this in a
similar way to religious doctrines based entirely on the scriptural records
of spiritual adepts of the past; both are divorced from their living roots
in the living Master.



Nice jump in logic here, Neil. What you fail to mention is that a
WILL can simply be a PUBLIC way of conveying a Guru's wishes. As for
the "direct, inner experience," isn't it one of Sawan Singh's key
features that a guru WHO does KNOW DOES NOT claim to know???

Go re-read Johnson's second objective incdice of a Perfect Master (he
got it directly from Sawan). Anyone who claims excellence lacks such

In other words, if a guru claims to have direct spiritual insight
then that claim in and of itself can be taken as conclusive proof
that he does NOT have it.

When a guru claims that so and so said such and such to him we then
have to rely on "his reportage" (NOT on the guru's).

Thus, we then have this funny situation of a guru making claims for
himself (the VERY Thing Sawan and Johnson ARGUE AGAINST).

Thus, whether Jagat or Charan tell stories about their inner
competence is not the issue (since then we would have to rely, more
or less, on their "bragging" about that which is supposed to be
quite INTIMATE).

The real issue is what the PREVIOUS guru says about the Successor,
NOT what the successor "CLAIMS" his predecessor did or did not say.

In other words, those who know, don't say;

Those who don't know, say lots.

Or, in this new frame of yours:

A successor appointed by a public and legal WILL is saved lots of
bragging, whereas a successor appointed "secretly" or "privately"
sure does have to talk about himself lots....

You take the Will as precluding "inner" experience, whereas it
could be quite the opposite.

Go back to my infamous sex example (try reading THE LOCKER ROOM OF

If you are getting laid, maybe there is no need to talk about it
to those who are not, huh?

Maybe a bit of silence and a bit of humility is a tad more regal
than long expositions about how one is sucking Sat Purush's toe....

I think you get my drift.

In any case, just because a guru "claims" inner access does not mean
by extension that he has it.

Or, more pointedly, just because a guru claims to be humble doesn't
mean he is, right?



Documents can be forged or falsified.



But "stories" are fail-safe?

Hmm, what's better:

a publically executed Will signed by the previous Guru appointing
the successor and legally witnessed,


a guru who claims to have gotten "via the eyes" (though there were
no witnesses) and then goes on about all these inner stories that
nobody can verify?

Look, Darshan surely did write a WILL on behalf of his son.

All the stories in the world are LESS than that one simple act in
getting people to "agree" on who was his successor.

He learned from the Beas rule.

So, it could be this simple, Neil:

Sawan appoints Jagat by a Will so that OTHERS may know his wishes,
including Jagat.

Jagat appoints Charan by a Will so that OTHERS may know his wishes,
including Charan.

Make it simple for all concerned.

As for forgery and the like, I am much more concerned about how
"stories" can be invented, especially when there are no other



  They are inherently tainted by the uncertainty of second-hand evidence.



But "stories" are first-hand evidence?


All we get in the Kirpal narratives are SECOND-hand (to us).

We have to rely on Kirpal's filter.

In the case of Sawan's TWO WILLS we can at least rely on SAWAN's

Moreover, these Wills can be further substantiated by all the
stories you wish, Neil.

Try hanging out at the Dera.

They got hundreds of stories (just like the ones you tell about
Kirpal) about how Jagat was to be appointed or how Charan was to be
appointed or how Gurinder was appointed.

But these stories have one thing that Kirpal's lack:


Stories PLUS Wills.......

And, in addition, we have the added bonus of Jagat and Charan
not wanting to talk about their inner attainments.

Geez, we finally get two gurus who follow that VERY incdice that
Johnson and Sawan said was so important:


Of course, that's what Sawan says.

Better go argue with him about his criteria.


TESSLER writes:

If the successor has not had verbal instructions and advanced spiritual experience
during the lifetime of his guru, if his entire authority is derived from a
document, how then does such a succession accord with the mysticism of Sant



You are making assumptions that orthodox Beas-ites would not make.

They clearly think their gurus are advanced.

The difference between them and Kirpal is this:


You seem to think that if a guru talks about inner experiences or
inner revelations or outer confirmations or fill in whatever blank
you want, then that guru is "enlightened" because he or she says so.

Geez, with this "high" standard then Thakar Singh is genuine, Ching
Hai is the Supreme Master, Paul Twitchell is a Living Vairagi
and John-Roger Hinkins is the Greatest Mystical Traveler of them

Each one of them make SELF-proclamations.

What is really unique in the guru world (a rarity among rarities)
is the guru who puts him or her self down (not up), a guru who
does NOt talk about his inner attainments, a guru who does NOT
want to be a guru.

You seem to think that talking about one's self is a form of 
succession verification, whereas those who resist talking about
themselves (inner or outer) is somehow a sign that they lack
such inner insights or acknowledged successions.

I don't know about you, but sometimes the sweetest things are NEVER
conveyed, NEVER talked about.

Or, a lesson I learned from sports,

let OTHERS doing the praising of your talents.

it is much more impressive.

Michael Jordan doesn't have to "prove" his talents by "talking" or
by "stories."

He simply DISPLAYS IT by playing.

Likewise, less talk, more action.

Perhaps that is what Charan and Jagat were trying to convey:

less talk, more action.


TESSLER writes:

Let us review Kirpal Singh's position with regard to the transmission
of spiritual authority.  Kirpal Singh affirms that there is a verbal
command from the departing guru, often well in advance of his passing.
There is some evidence for this in recent Sant Mat history.  According to
biographies, Baba Jaimal Singh received his commission several years before
Soami Ji's passing.  Kirpal Singh states that his own verbal authorization
was given almost six months prior to Baba Sawan Singh's passing.



Hmm, now we have to rely on Kirpal's stories again.... of course,
talking about himself once again.

Would have been really easy for Sawan to have PUBLICALLY and
UNIVOCALLY stated that Kirpal was the successor.

Sawan didn't and thus wrote TWO WILLS mentioning Jagat.

The result?

90% go to Jagat

10% go elsewhere.


P.S. Jagat clearly knew he was going to be appointed. Just look at
the Wills--they were each signed several days BEFORE Sawan died.

The earliest Will was a number of months before.

We even have "stories" of Jagat trying to resist it, as well.....

Or, is it that only Kirpal stories count and not Beas'?



     Even more significant is Kirpal Singh's unique assertion that the
complete power to function as the living Master is passed in each
generation from the eyes of the Guru, to the eyes of the chosen disciple,
the perfect receptacle.  This is a logical extension of the tremendous
importance accorded in Sant Mat to darshan, particularly defined as the
eyes to eyes meeting with the Guru.



Yes, "unique" assertion by Kirpal is right, Neil, since Kirpal seems
to have been the one guy who has elevated his pet theory into a
theological principle for all times and places.

Now there are several problems with "passing through the eyes"

First, almost ANYBODY can claim it.

Second, there are no WITNESSES as such.

Third, what happens when the successor is congentially blind?

Think Gharib Das, who was blind and who acted a guru.....

Or, are you saying that if you are blind you cannot be a guru?


TESSLER writes:

In several accounts it is said that
Tulsi Saheb did not "depart this world until Swami Ji had arrived and been
blessed with a last penetrating look."88 [Tulsi Saheb: Saint of Hathras. RS
Satsang Beas, 1978,  p. 8]



Of course, this is NOT what the Tulsi Sahibis claim.

They claim, instead, that Shiv Dayal was a break-away successor.

Some also claim that he paid allegiance (for a while) to Girdhari
lal, one of Tulsi's disciples in Agra, and treated him more or less
like a "guru." (not my words, but Shiv Dayal's nephew).

Oh, the rhetoric to support are varying cases.....

Mostly straw.


TESSLER writes:

     Kirpal Singh was adamant that succession was not passed through
documents.  "[The mastership is not passed on] through papers or through
legal documents; It is through the eyes, through the attention."89 [Sat
Sandesh.  June 1976, p.8]



Of course Kirpal Singh would say this.

Sawan left him off his Wills in terms of spiritual succession.

You should also keep in mind that Beas also doesn't think that
succession is passed through Wills.

Wills are merely Public Testimonies for what Beas' gurus/followers
think is an INNER event.

In any case, you are still stuck with TWO wills mentioning Jagat
and Kirpal's attempt to argue otherwise.

If we accept Kirpal's argument, then we are left with no public
or legal testimony and 90% of the sangat is CONSCIOUSLY deceived by
Sawan Singh.

That's your theory, that's Kirpal's.

In other words, Sawan deceived his sangat.

The opposite theory is that Kirpal is the one who is deluded.

The fact that the CHIEF supporter of Kirpal's ministry is Madam
Hardevi, the same woman who fought tooth and nail for the gaddi
after Kirpal's death, only to appoint THAKAR SINGH (the kiddie
abuser)! suggests to me that Kirpal was indeed quite deluded.

Or, to be more polite, quite human.

Lest you think I am guru bashing..... 

I think ALL gurus are quite human.

Some are just more conceited and deceptive than others.


TESSLER writes:

This was sometimes interpreted somewhat
simplistically to mean that a guru would not use documentation to name his



Hmm, is that what we call it now?

How ironic it all is that Darshan Singh, Kirpal's chief successor,

What happened to all that "inner" talk or "through the eyes."?

I will tell you what happened:

Darshan realized that a WILL is a very public and helpful way to

It is little wonder, therefore, that there has been essentially NO
succession dispute AFTER his death, while there was a HUGE dispute
following Kirpal's death.

Beas, of course, from Sawan onwards has already learned this lesson
and for that reason has NOT had a serious succession dispute, even
including Kirpal (since his branching off only took less than 10% of
the sangat).

Again, the point is obvious to Darshan, Kirpal's son:


It has been obvious to Beas since 1948.


TESSLER writes:

However, in the light of Beas succession patterns, it would
make better sense to interpret Kirpal Singh's words as a literal assertion
that the actual transmission of spiritual authority is not achieved through



Again, you are overlooking Beas' own views.

They too argue that WILLS are outer confirmations of inner events.

The point being that WILLS make public that which is usually only
known privately.

The difference between Kirpal and Charan (to demonstrate a striking
dissimilarity) is that Kirpal likes to talk about his spiritual
mastership, whereas Charan literally disdains doing so.

You take the former as indicating spiritual enlightenment.

I see it as something much more rudimentary:

Kirpal has ego problems.

That, naturally, offends you, but I have witnessed Kirpal's tendency
to brag about himself repeatedly in his books, ranging from this and
this award (he got), to the celebration of his birthday, to the
election of him being the "president" of the World Fellowship of
Religions (an organization he STARTED!).

I saw it first-hand with Darshan Singh (a nice enough person), who
talked for 3 STRAIGHT HOURS about how good he was in his office
work, showing me almost every single letter of recommendation he

What awards he received, who thought he was hot in poetry, and so

It was embarrassing to me.... since he wouldn't stop talking about

Okay, he's a nice guy, but geez the ego festival was amazing....

If "I" talked just 1/10 about myself the way Darshan talked about
himself to my students they would tell me to shut up and cool it
with the ego trip.

But when a guru does it we are suppose to think he is humble.....

Geez, like God comes down on the planet and really gives a fudge
about getting the Mayor's key to the city?????

Or about some self-aggrandizing newspaper clipping in some obscure
newspaper in South America that praises one's poetry????

You get my drift.

These gurus love to talk about themselves, and Kirpal did the same
and Darshan apparently even more so.

You think that is enlightened.

I think it is human insecurity.


TESSLER writes:

  This does not mean that succession could not be affirmed  by a
will.   In the case of a will it is merely a confirmation by the Master for
the sangat's benefit so there is no confusion.



Hmm, go to Dera, Neil.

You just summed up their position.


TESSLER writes:

The difference between these interpretations is more than academic, as
evidenced by the great controversy after Kirpal Singh's passing, when
Darshan Singh cited, among other things, a will in which he was named as
the spiritual successor.  This was taken by some Kirpal Singh initiates,
particularly outside India, as sure evidence that Darshan Singh was not
his successor.  However, detailed testimony by R.K. Khanna and B.S. Gyani
supports the contention that Kirpal Singh did, in fact, have a will written
stating that Darshan Singh was his spiritual successor.  Both have left
documented accounts regarding the will, its preparation in 1971 by Radha
Krishna Khanna on the instructions of Kirpal Singh, and its conveyance back
to Sawan Ashram by Gyani Ji, who read it during his return to Sawan Ashram.
Gyani Bhagwan Singh retold the story in detail to Arran Stephens and
myself during our interview with him at Sawan Ashram in 1988.  The will
itself has a strange history and never played a significant role in Darshan
Singh's succession.  The original was apparently lost and a purported
second draft did not come to light until the early eighties, well into
Darshan Singh's ministry.



Hey, Neil, was the Will of Kirpal's ever probated?

Did it go through the legal system and get certified?

I say this, because Sawan's DID.

Also, can we see a copy of this Will?

I would be interested to read its contents.

Sorry, but Kirpal's logic seems a bit skewed.

Seems like he realized that Sawan's last two wills really do
help minimize confusion, whereas Kirpal's testimony only ADDED to


TESSLER writes:

One has the impression that its creation was a half-hearted effort on
the part of Kirpal Singh, very likely written to satisfy Radha Krishna
Khanna and perhaps others who were concerned by Kirpal Singh's advancing
age, and were insisting on the need for documenting his wishes regarding
succession.  There was little attention given to its careful preservation



Hmm, i love how these gurus fall prey to the whims of their would-be
associates, even when it point blank contradicts their previous

Can't these gurus just ever be straight forward?????

Why such kow-towing to disciples who only confuse matters?

Oh I see, the KaL thing again, huh.......


TESSLER writes:

Furthermore, in the last months of
his life, Kirpal Singh referred to his succession more or less cryptically,
never mentioning his will.  During a talk with western visitors exactly one
week before his passing, Kirpal Singh stated, "When your friend comes today
in a white suit, tomorrow in yellow clothes, third day in brown clothes,
would you not recognize Him?  I hope you recognize and do not discard Him
[chuckles].  That's all I can say..."90 [Sat Sandesh.  Oct. 1975, p. 27]
This is another instance of intentional ambiguity which led to a tremendous
crisis in the sangat but important opportunities for renewal of the



Important "opportunities" for the renewal of the organization?

How lame is this......

Thakar Singh gets Sawan Ashram, Thakar Singh gets Manav Kendra (at
least both temporarily), and Thakar Singh gets to ABUSE hundreds of
women, hundreds of children, ALL In the name of Kirpal.

And you know what, Neil, Thakar Singh didn't have to happen.

You call Thakar an "important" opportunity?

I call him the worst scum bag guru on the planet that Madam Hardevi
and Kirpal Singh (yes, I blame Kirpal directly--he could have made
it clearer that Darshan--if it was Darshan--was to be the successor)
could have easily avoided thrusting upon us.

Kirpal didn't do us a favor. He did us an insult.

Yes, I think these gurus should be held accountable not only for
their "pluses" but for their negatives.

And Thakar Singh is directly connected to Kirpal's ministry and
he is a guru that shouldn't have been allowed to roam freely under
Kirpal's "name"--especially in light of Madam's powerful role at the

Sorry, Neil, but guru succession can be made a helluva lot simpler.

You call it "Kal" forces.

I call it stupidity.


TESSLER writes:

     When Darshan Singh himself was preparing to leave the body he
explained to several of his staff members that although the transference of
spiritual power takes place through the eyes, he was going to write a will
only as a confirmation to the sangat, as he wished for a smooth transition.



"Smooth" transition via a Will.....

I like it....

So did Sawan.

That's why he wrote TWO of them.


TESSLER writes:

In the case of Darshan Singh every precaution was made to insure that the
will's authenticity would be unimpeachable and that its wording was
     Between the two lineages -- that of Jagat Singh and Charan Singh, and
that of Kirpal Singh -- we can now see that there are markedly differing
views on the transmission of spiritual authority.  On the Beas side,
documentary evidence of the previous guru's wishes is considered a
completely sufficient vehicle through which the successor may both learn of
and derive his authority.



Again, a nice jump in logic here Neil, but actually quite

Go talk to Dera authorities. They think the Will is a public
testimony to a spiritual event.

The difference is that the gurus are silent about that spiritual
transmission, knowing fully well that any "talk" about it is merely
painted cakes: nice to look at but nothing to eat.

Or, talking about inner realities doesn't convey them.

So the gurus more or less shut up about it.

You seem to think that talking about it (lots) is somehow "clearer"
to the would-be disciple.

The TWO WILLS are sufficient for a public confirmation.

For personal confirmation, something much more private is necessary.

Try belief, faith, and experience.

And all three are extraordinarily variable.


TESSLER writes:

     In the view of Kirpal Singh, succession is based on the human and
spiritual attainments of the gurumukh disciple, consummated by a
transference of spiritual empowerment through the eyes. The succession is
affirmed on the physical plane by verbal orders from the living guru.  On
the other hand, the current Beas view of succession taking place without
the successor having any prior knowledge or verbal instructions or
transmission of spiritual power, would seem to stand in contradiction to
what we do understand as central aspects of the Sant Mat tradition
generally: specifically, direct inner spiritual experience confirmed
verbally on the human plane by the Living Master.



Nice try, but again no cigar.... Since Sawan Singh CONTRADICTS your


After he was appointed to be a guru by Jaimal Singh,

Sawan goes to Agra to tell Chachaji that he LACKS SUFFICIENT POWER
to initiate.

INDEED, HE DOESN'T want to work as a guru.

In point of fact, even asks for a "sadhu" to come to the Dera to
conduct initiations.....

Oh, sorry, Neil.

If you want to blame the Beas gurus for their paradoxical way of
talking, then go to the one who is to blame:

SAWAN himself.


E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.