Doubting One's Guru: a reply to Daniel Caldwell

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

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


In light of what Dr. David C. Lane believes about the nature
of reality,--- the most famous mystics, yogis, saints and seers
are all a bunch of fools and/or deceivers of the first order.


Plato was wrong on many things, so was Socrates, so was Rumi, so was
Shiv Dayal Singh, so was Sawan Singh, so are you and I.

Yet, that does not mean (as you wrongly imply about me and my
writings) that such saints or mystic do not have positive
contributions to make.

I most certainly think they do, but that does not mean that we
cannot be skeptical or critical or doubtful on a large number of

Go back to your original point about Babaji.

I simply asked him to "SHOW UP."

There is nothing wrong with that, as you yourself indicate that you
are not certain if he exists or not.

Being doubtful or being critical does preclude one from finding
valuable or insightful things about certain teachers.

I still read Plato, though he has many scientific things wrong.
I still read Aristotle, though he was wrong about the solar system.
I still read Sawan Singh, even though he was wrong about the
authorship of Anurag Sagar.
I still read Charan Singh, even though he doesn't know science very
well or that he mistakenly believed that Shiv Dayal Singh didn't
smoke a huqqa.
I still read Faqir Chand, even though he was naive about physics and

I still even read "me" (see Dick's repostings), even though I
indulged in silly transpersonalisms that were neither accurate or

I still read Wilber, in sum, even though I may disagree with him.

Critical discrimination, Dan......


Think about it folks!  Dr. Lane can write almost laudatory 
articles about three great mystics of India for *Fate* and ten
years later in light of his current thinking, these three seers---
Yogananda, Sawan Singh and Ramana Mahrishi---are either
deluded fools and/or charlatans who have, in effect, deceived
thousands if not millions of people.


You better watch your overstatements here, Danny boy, since it makes
you look downright silly.

What did I say that was negative about Yogananda?

I simply asked for some fudging proof about Babaji's physical

I am quite open to have Babaji over for cokes.

As for Ramana Maharshi, I have a deep admiration for him (and still
read him almost daily).

Does that mean I cannot disagree with him at points?

Is this an either/or thing with you Dan?

Because for me (contrary to your puff piece here) it is not.

As for Sawan Singh, I deeply enjoy some of his writings.

Does that mean that I cannot have a contravening view in some areas?

Faqir Chand deeply loved Sawan Singh, but he disagreed with him at

Is it that difficult for you to understand this?


And although Dr. Lane
has repeatedly spoken of the love he has for his own deceased
guru, what must one conclude about Charan Singh in light
of what David Lane has written?  If we are NOTHING BUT material
bodies living in a material world, Charan Singh was either greatly
deluded himself or guilty also of deceiving thousands and thousands
of disciples. 


Do you have reading problems Danny?

I have continually said on this newsgroup that "I don't know much"
and have called myself, more or less, a mystical agnostic

To unpack that for you (since your sense of fine-tuning seems to
have gone on vacation) it means this:

I am not sure, not certain, though I clearly see advantages in a the
empirical approach, since it (in contrast to its spiritual
counterparts) tends to ADMIT its errors and be willing to CHANGE
over time.

To invoke Occam's Razor or Hume's Maxim does not mean that ONLY
Materialism is true (I simply don't know that), but rather to
think rationally and critically and economically about issues that
tend to get inflated with both hype and hyperbole.

What I have written about Charan Singh can be applied to any or all

Let us be critical and discriminating.

We can still honor and respect those things which we admire or are
impressed with (I can list some amazing things about him that I
deeply honor and admire), but that does not mean that we cannot 
retain our critical faculties and ask some deeper and tougher

You seem to have a problem with one simple point:

I think all gurus, including my own, should be viewed with

That skepticism will not "debunk" the true things about them, but
only those features which are less than true, less than real, less
than honest.

What's wrong with thinking critically and deeply about the very core
of our beings?

I happen to think it is a very positive thing.

It also does not mean, as you so wrongly state about me, that we
somehow know the Absolute and Final truth.

Anybody who knows me well knows that I always state the same

"I don't know much."

But in that littleness it does not mean that I have to believe
stupid or silly things in order to keep my religious faith afloat.

Remember Danny:

little doubt, little faith;
GREAT doubt, GREAT faith.



And poor Paul Johnson.  He could have saved himself tons of
effort and time researching Edgar Cayce's readings.  We all must
know what Dr. Lane thinks about Cayce's readings and the 
alleged paranormal information contained in those readings.
Last time I personally talked on the phone to Dr. Lane he
had not a good word to say about Cayce.  In fact, his remarks
were quite negative.  None of the "evidence" provided in
the Cayce readings could possibly pass the standards set
up by Dr. Lane.  Evidence, I shouldn't even use that word!
No doubt, Dr. Lane considers the whole mass of Cayce's
 readings as mere "stories".


Yes, Danny, and Paul Johnson (to his excellent credit) asked me to
"critique" his manuscript from my "skeptical" position.

He even asked me to write a section for it, even though it point
blank contradicted his views.

That is the wonderful thing about him and why I am always happy to
correspond with him.

We can disagree with each other and not get stuck with silly and
ridiculous rejoinders (huh Danny?).


he Cayceites are no less gullible than the poor Eckists,
Theosophists or the millions of other poor deluded fools who
have believed in various paranormal claims and/or  the tenets of
any religion upon the face of the planet.  Surely this must be
true if Lane is correct in his thinking.


Well, Danny, do you believe in Thor the Thunder God?

Do you believe that Zeus is still atop Mount Olympus?

Yes, many of things that we believe in religion turn out on closer
inspection to be wrong, inaccurate, exaggerated, misinterpreted and
the like.

Yet, we can still be open to many things while retaining a critical
and discriminating edge.

Paul Churchland has written an elegant essay on this very point,
wherein he talks about eliminative materialism and folk psychology.

What he points out is that our ancient mythic conceptions may have
been the best models at the time that we had but later on we grow
out of them and develop finer tuned models with better predictive

I think the same holds for religion as well.

I certainly don't believe in Creationism, though it is clearly
spoken about in the Old Testament.

I certainly don't believe in the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus,
though it is clearly written about in the New Testament.

I certainly don't believe in the Flower Resurrection of Kabir,
though some stories speak of it.

I certainly don't believe that homosexuality is against nature,
even though some R.S. gurus have said as much.

What this means, Daniel, is that like science (which can over time
change and alter its view) we should allow religion to ADMIT its
weaknesses and its mistakes.

Why is that so difficult to acknowledge?

Remember, my skepticism does not mean that I somehow know the Truth,
but rather just indicates that I won't settle for models that I
sense are less than complete.

And clearly R.S. and religion needs some wholesale questioning and
doubting, don't you think?

We can ferret through the stuff that is crap and that which may be


That is why I declined to "debate" and "discuss" the claims
of Madame Blavatsky with Dr. Lane.  What "evidence" (that
might even seem to support Blavatsky's claims) would pass
the tests and questions of Dr. Lane?  All we have are just
stories. If the BEST research by parapsychologists cannot
pass the Lane test, why even discuss personal or historical
examples of the paranormal with the good Dr?  Dr. Lane 
says he is open to the paranormal, but isn't it strange that
apparently NOTHING up to this point in time passes
Lane's standards.  NOTHING.  Everything is somehow
. . . . flawed.    Of course, Dr. Lane will probably deny these
observations.  No doubt, he will say I am overstating the case.
Isn't it good to doubt, to question?  he will reply.  Etc. etc.


Geez, Danny, I guess you want a cheap conversion?

Sorry, but I think Truth will be able to survive the questions asked
of it, even by those who don't know much.

Dan, you have not cited evidence in your replies. You have simply
debated the issue of proof and my standards.

Let me repeat again:

Read the fudging five digits and I would be impressed!

Have Babaji show up at my house and I will apologize.

I am all for being wrong (it would be truly groovy to see Rebazar in
the physical--I am serious), but that does not mean that
I have to be a cheap slut and sleep with shit as evidence.

No matter how much I love my guru, I am willing to be skeptical and
critical of him.

What's wrong with wanting evidence?

What's wrong with holding out for higher standards?

If the paranormal is true (along the lines you mention), all the
doubting will simply make the case STRONGER, not weaker.

Is truth such a wimp that it needs cheap converts?

Yes, we should take God to task.......

Read Nietzsche, Dan, it is really refreshing.


As they say in Texas, each tub stands on its own bottom.  David
Lane can believe whatever he chooses to believe.  He says he
is open to the paranormal but is he really?  Does anyone really
believe James Randi is open to the paranormal?  Can I sell
you a bridge in Brooklyn?  


Dan, are you now practicing as a psychologist?

What you fail to realize is that if I am proven wrong (that Babaji
exists, that Rebazar exists, that soul exists, that OBE's can show 
objective and truthful reports, etc.), I WOULD BE STOKED.

Do you really think it is easy for me to criticize my own guru?

Get a clue, Dan.

I am only asking these tough kinds of questions because I really do
want to know what is true, what is real, what is happening.

I may be dead wrong and I would be the first to celebrate.

Now, Dan, let me ask you:

Would you, likewise, "celebrate" if you found out that you were
wrong about Madame, about the paranormal?

I know I would be happy to be wrong;

Can you honestly say the same?

You seem to forget that I wrote glowing transpersonal articles in
the 1980s and I seriously STILL practice shabd yoga.

What has changed is that I have read more widely, thought more
deeply perhaps, and gotten more skeptical.

I have seen lots of BS in the shabd yoga world (from Thakar to
Michael Martin) and that has seasoned me over the years.

I don't regret the change at all.

Truth will shine all the more because of such tests, because of such

Relax, Dan.

Reality will win in the end, not our puny versions of it.


Eckists, I have some advice to you.  Don't waste your time in dialogue
with Dr. Lane. If no one ever replied to his endless stream of verbiage,
maybe he would go away and "harass" some other poor group of "gullible"


Harass? Geez, Danny, just because I take the time to reply to almost
every question or note that comes my way does not qualify for such 
adjectives. Perhaps you are confusing me with your own situation?

Ask Paul Johnson, Dan, about harrassing......

As for me, I try to reply to whatever one asks.

Just as I am doing with you right now.

Lest you forget, bro, YOU asked me to respond to YOUR question on

Endless verbiage?

And I thought we were friends?

just teasing.


Why doesn't Lane try to open the eyes of those millions of
deluded Radhasoamii followers?  Lane could produce a couple of cheap paperbacks
and flood India with copies. . . .


Do you have any idea of my history with R.S. Beas?

It simply amazes me how little you know and how quick you are to
make these grandiose sweeping statements.

But I should thank you, actually, since it gives me another
opportunity to list what I have written that is critical about R.S.
or shabd yoga in general.

1. For over a decade I worked on Juergensmeyer's study of R.S.
Lest you forget, Juergensmeyer is NOT a satsangi and his work is
critical (at times) of some very orthodox issues.

I gave him COUNTER-arguments to PRO-R.S. positions.

I set up Juergensmeyer's interview with Faqir Chand (he didn't know
about him); I gave Juergensmeyer copies of some of my S.D.
Maheshwari material (anti-Beas, by the way).

In 1981 I published at my own expense (and against the wishes of my
own satsang) the LIFE and WORK of BABA FAQIR CHAND which is a
radical critique of the cardinal item in Sant Mat:
the all-knowingness of the guru.

In 1981, I wrote my MA thesis on the genealogical history of R.S.
even though it was not welcome by Beas.

Throughout the 1980s I wrote a number of articles on Faqir Chand and
his radical insights for Laughing Man, for the Journal of
Transpersonal Psychology, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and
FATE, even though I was told by Dr. Narang and others at the Dera
that I would be doing NO service to Sant Mat.

I spent several years researching my PH.D. dissertation which
illustrates, quite graphically, the utter humanness of guru
succession in R.S.

It was published by Garland in 1992 and is MORE widely available in
public and university libraries than my work on Eckankar.

Do a fudging altavista search on Radhasoami, Danny bro (you are a
librarian, you know how to do it) and see whose name shows up most.

Quite frankly, I have written more skeptical pieces on R.S. than
anybody on the NET, even though I have gotten scores of letters from
those in my own Satsang asking me to DELETE it.....

Daniel, you simply don't know what you are talking about here.


or open the eyes of those deluded Yogananda
people.  Why waste all your talents, energy and time on those poor Eckists? 

You apparently do have problems reading.

If you look at my vita, I have written much more on R.S. than any
other group, including Eckankar.

My M.A. and PH.D. theses are on Radhasoami, not ECKANKAR.

"ALL your talents?"

Hmm..... you better read some other sections of my website besides
Eckankar, bro.......

I spend comparatively little time on Eckankar.......

I just write really fast, bro.


Maybe Lane  will become so engrossed in doing "puja" to his new gods Crick,
Churchland, Randi, Blackmore, etc., that he will forget about alt.religion.
eckankar and other paranormal groups.


Geez, is this how you "meltdown" after debates?

Dan, YOU were the guy who ASKED ME to debate this issue ON THIS
forum (go check your records).

I have always thought of you as a rational and reasonable guy, but I
think Paul Johnson has you pegged much better than I ever suspected.

I love debating Dan, but ad hominen silliness loses the focus.

You can also indulge in name calling, if you wish, I shall not mind.

What you seem to forget is that I am comfortable reading

Crick, as well as Daniel Caldwell, as well as Blackmore, as well
as Kabir, as well as Steve R., as well as Yogananda.

I like the wider view, don't you danny?

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.