Science, the Seeker, and Spirituality

Author: Tony Mohorovic
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: August 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

     Science, the Seeker, and Spirituality.
     By Tony Mohorovic
     This piece focuses on my observations of Shabda Yoga as a `seeker', as 
     well as why I feel we need to be thoroughly scientific in these 
     matters. The first part involves my reasoning for the use of 
     scientific structure in order to discover `truth', so bare with me if 
     it sounds lifeless for a while as it is the basis of my comments about 
     Shabda Yoga.
     Although this might seem like a formal essay, it isn't, and you'll 
     notice much of it is from my perspective (certain frustrations with 
     Shabda Yoga will be evident, I'm sure). However, the thinking that has 
     lead to the conclusions is, to the best of my ability, logical, and 
     the conclusions should be judged on that. I'm also going to refer to 
     the Master figure as `he' mainly because the vast majority of the 
     current professed Masters are `he's' and because after a while it just 
     becomes too grammatically cumbersome to write the he/she bit (if 
     anyone out there's got a good genderless pronoun from another language 
     please tell me, it's the sort of thing I'd like to start using).
     My background? Well, I was initiated by Suma Ching Hai (when she was 
     still Supreme Master Ching Hai). It was very sudden; she was lecturing 
     in Melbourne, I was already vegetarian, yadda, yadda, yadda.
     I came across  Johnson's `With A Great Master in India' at the 
     meditation centre, brought in by an initiate who found it in some book 
     store. I was told it was Ching Hai's Masters Master, and so I came 
     across Radhasoami.
     I mainly studied the Beas lineage, but also minute portions of  Kirpal 
     Singh and Twitchell.
     And here is my main concern.
     Shabd Yoga professes to be scientific, yet there are many instances in 
     which it is clearly not so.
     I was attracted to Shabda Yoga out of curiosity, which turned into a 
     desire for `truth' (reality, or whatever else you want to call it). 
     What was it that kept my interest in this particular spiritual path 
     and not another? Simply, the apparent scientific nature of the theory.
     The necessity of scientific thinking
     Why is it necessary for it to be scientific?. Because, for me, it is 
     the most reliable tool we have in the search for `truth', in whatever 
     form. Why?
      Procedure, procedure, procedure.
     Why is it that so much weight is given to the findings  of 
     `scientists'? It is not for their conclusions or theories or findings. 
     It is because we trust the procedure; how they get to these 
     conclusions. The method is what we use to judge the validity of the 
     conclusions. That is why scientific reports are so important, they 
     outline the exact method.
     If the method is suspect, then the conclusions can't be trusted.
     Okay, but who cares about the procedure? What is it about it that we 
     trust so much? 
     We believe kangaroos have pouches because we can see them. We 
     experience the existence of the phenomena.  How do we know electricity 
     exists? Well, we experience the effect of electricity in our daily 
     lives. We might not see it directly, but we can be sure there's 
     something running around our houses doing the same things we are told 
     electricity does. Again, we experience it.
     This is not to say that the scientists can't lie, but scientific 
     procedure, and the fact that the experiments will probably be run 
     again by others, makes lying very difficult to get away with. 
     Scientists who purposefully fabricate evidence are discredited. Where 
     deception does occur, such as in the cigarette industry `we won't tell 
     them it can cause cancer' coverup, it is as a result of the powers 
     that be; the science discovered truth, the company covered it up.
     So, we don't need to ask for direct proof from scientific results: 
     `show me personally or I can't trust your findings'. Sure, unless I 
     can see it, I can't fully, truly, without a doubt, believe in its 
     existence. However, it is our trust in the procedure of evidence/proof 
     that allows us to believe in the findings.
     This procedure must be consistent. It only takes one unproven 
     assumption to turn the results around drastically. If it is not 
     consistent, then we're not going to trust this particular scientist's 
     Trust in science also stems from the consistency of science, as a 
     whole, to be true to the procedure of evidence/proof. If every second 
     scientific finding was found to be a complete fabrication, then I 
     can't say we'd accept findings as blindly as we do today. Blindly, 
     yes. We can trust the findings but that's no reason not to be open to 
     the possibility that they're incorrect.
     To some of us, the procedure of  evidence/proof seems like another 
     ideology, just another belief system as valid as any other. But how 
     are we to establish the validity of the claims if not by the tested 
     experience of the claimed phenomena?
     Okay, certain paranormal events might well have occurred, but until 
     they are tested they are claims, or stories, no matter how believable 
     they are, no matter how sincere the witness seems. Yes, it may be 
     true, but it may not be. If they are telling the truth, can we be sure 
     the experience is real? Ok, it was real enough for them, but a real 
     what? An illusion is a real illusion. One can also be conned, and you 
     don't have to be gullible to have that happen. The experience may also 
     not be what they think it is; we're prone to make our own invalidated 
     assumptions in such situations.
     The world is not round, I see it to be flat. 
     Even direct experience is not always a reliable indicator of truth. 
     Test conditions create an environment in which we can distance 
     ourselves from our own assumptions. They are supposed to make sure 
     there are no other possible explanations, and even then be open to new 
     How do scientific reports, then, differ from the reports of  people 
     who have witnessed paranormal events? Well, the events are not 
     experiments, they are events.  Events such as these can lead to 
     experiments that test the reality of the situation, but they are not 
     proof in themselves. The events occur outside of test conditions and 
     procedure which, when they are at their best, provide an environment 
     in which there can be no reasonable doubt of the reality of those 
     No, I'm not a scientist, not a professional one. I do adhere to 
     scientific thinking, though. The only professional training I've had 
     is in journalism, so if I'm skewed towards `proof' it might as a 
     result of my training (although I've never worked as a professional 
     journo). Whatever my biases, the necessity of `proof' can only be 
     discredited as a conclusion by finding fault in the argument, not in 
     the one who preaches it.
     I'm not saying that all scientific findings are true. We all know how 
     certain, apparently evident, results have found to be false. But the 
     fact is that science, by the very nature of it's procedure of 
     evidence/proof, opens itself to criticism and further testing. 
     There are no definite results. No absolutes. 
     This procedure opens the practitioner to new ideas, new possibilities, 
     and takes them closer to `truth' each time.
     The scientist is open. Their results are open . If the results are not 
     changed in the face of new evidence, then it is not science.
     A scientific theory is said to be as much -, a theory. It is as yet 
     unproven or not completely proven. Of-course, you'll come across 
     people who, despite their apparent scientific background, will believe 
     in these theories religiously (funny how we use `religiously' these 
     days). This is not true science. 
     Okay, let's get back to basics. What is it then that I mean when I 
     talk of `science'? It is the thinking process more than anything; 
     There is no sure ground to stand on. 
     I hate it, but I'm not in this to be pleased.
     What is marvellous about this sort of thinking is that it can destroy 
     itself  if necessary. I can be open to thinking that openness is 
     useless, and should be discarded. It destroys itself with its own 
     hand. It has a sort of safety net. `Faith', by itself, can be based on 
     false assumptions, and closed to even assessing the validity of those 
     assumptions. This includes a total faith in science. 
     I'm one of those people that believes there is no such thing as 
     `spirituality' as distinct from `science'. It's the same thing. Both 
     try to discover `what is'. Sure, how does one, through physical means, 
     determine the validity of experiences that are supposed to be 
     transcendent? Well, if it is true that the experiences are 
     transcendent, it's difficult in the traditional `let's do an 
     experiment' sense. Perhaps if you could verify the experiences in the 
     physical world somehow. For example, if in the 2nd level you're told 
     you can manifest Godzilla, and you do so, it might be a good indicator 
     that the level exists, and then you can at least put some trust in the 
     other visions there. Even if this isn't possible it is no reason to 
     discard scientific thinking (openness). If indeed there is no way of 
     testing the experiences, it is even more reason for critical thinking 
     because the practitioner is the only scientist there!
     This is why I consider scientific thinking as a necessity for the 
     discovery of `truth', and what led me to Shabda Yoga.  In any case, it 
     doesn't really matter what I think. The problem is that Shabda Yoga 
     groups (and I'm generalising now) profess to be scientific on one 
     hand, and on the other hand display a lack of  `openness' (the hall 
     mark of science).
     Spirituality and `openness' 
     If spiritual groups are supposed to be `scientific', then they will 
     display this openness - consistently.
     Let me give you some examples of the inconsistencies.
     Shabda Yoga gurus, generally, will not come out and say that they have 
     reached the `ultimate' and that they are one with it, and in effect, 
     conscious of their `Godhood'. If one asks a guru a direct question 
     about this, they will answer that they are merely following the wishes 
     of their Satguru and they are the servant of the Sangat. 
     There's nothing wrong with this statement per se, but they are 
     basically saying `yes', consciously or not. Why? Disciples assume the 
     guru is being humble. Humility is the mark of a true guru (this is in 
     print). Result? Disciple: `He must be a true guru if he says he 
     isn't'. Fine.
     Firstly, by saying he's just serving his master and the sangat, he 
     doesn't answer the question either way.
     If the path is indeed scientific, then the guru won't mind admitting 
     his `status' no more than a professor minds admitting he's got a Phd., 
     especially when this very example is used to explain why one needs a 
     guru in the first place (ie. `if we need a teacher in ordinary 
     sciences, then we'll need one for spiritual sciences').
     Often the new guru, on receiving his successorship, openly says he 
     does not deserve the post. On top of that he commits a number of acts 
     that would suggest he's more human than God. If you've read Beas' 
     `Treasure Beyond Measure' you'll know what I mean. Charan Singh 
     literally runs from his position, and is quoted as describing his 
     reluctance, as well as his surprise.
     If one is already in touch the `ultimate', wouldn't one already be 
     aware of the coming successorship and be more than willing to accept 
     the position? In fact, there is no question of acceptance here, it 
     just is the fulfilling of destiny. 
     Does no-one ever think the gurus are in fact telling them the truth 
     when they say they are undeserving?
     One might argue that the gurus are, in their own way, telling the 
     Sangat that they really aren't `true' Masters, but this is not enough. 
     Disciples take these instances as signs of humility, and as signs of 
     the gurus `trueness'. Why is it that we don't hear the Master say 
     `Hang on a second! I really mean it! I'm not 
     a conscious God - at least I don't know that I am, and you'd think a 
     true Master would know he was one. What? No! I'm not just being 
     humble! Hey? No, I'm not just being humble by saying that I'm not 
     being humble! Hellooooo!'
     By allowing the disciples to think it is humility, they further the 
     If  this is what is indeed happening, it is deceptive, and not exactly 
     what you'd expect from an organisation that is supposed to be 
     searching for the truth. It may not be conscious decision on their 
     part, but it is still deceptive.
     Whole lineages might be based on this. A master passes on the 
     mastership to a totally unwitting disciple, who does the same because 
     they cannot disobey the wishes of their own guru. I'd like to know, if 
     in fact they don't believe they deserve the guruship, how they can 
     allow themselves to be considered a Satguru (and  asking your 
     disciples not to address you as `Satguru' isn't going to make much 
     difference. In fact, it just seems all the more humble). Sure, you 
     want to obey the wishes of your master, but at the same time you are 
     allowing your disciples to believe in something that isn't true. It 
     doesn't take much for them to really understand you're serious. Faqir 
     Chand (a Shabd Yoga guru who admitted he wasn't all-knowing) seemed to 
     manage it, whatever his motives.
     Some argue that Faqir Chand's statements  were incorrect because he 
     himself admitted to not being able to pass a stage in his meditations 
     (and therefore was not a true guru). This may be so, but it is the 
     other Shabda yoga lineages who are making these criticisms without 
     their own guru admitting his status. Again, the guru says that a 
     Satguru is all-knowing, but won't tell us if he is all-knowing. At the 
     same time, in criticising Chand's ideas, he is inferring that he is 
     all knowing (since he is a guru of a particular lineage) without 
     having to directly say it.
     Again, there is a tendency on the part of gurus to answer questions 
     about Mastership by referring to `The Master/Satguru' or `A 
     Master/Satguru'. They might say, `The Satguru [read: True Guru] is in 
     a state of Oneness, He is beyond desires, He knows all'. May be he 
     does. No problem. But the speaker is not directly talking about 
     himself or his own attainments. However, the statement is understood 
     by disciples to be a statement about the speaker because he is the 
     guru of the particular lineage in question. On top of that, he's being 
     humble again. What more can you ask for?
     Perhaps the speaker, knowing he's not a Satguru, can only talk about 
     his master as he is obliged to carry out his masters wishes. Then 
     again, it might be a conscious manipulation of the disciples. Whatever 
     the case, disciples are making assumptions and these assumptions need 
     to be addressed by the speaker. And anyway, if I'm in the audience, I 
     don't want to know what he thinks a Satguru is, I want to know if he 
     is a Satguru.
     Perhaps the speaker, being One with God, is just being truthful. That 
     is, `I (as an individual) am not God, so I won't profess to be. When 
     this `I' is One with God, there is no more I, so I cannot say that I 
     (the individual) am all knowing, when it is not the individual that is 
     all-knowing, but God. Okay, fine, but you are still saying you are in 
     touch with that all-knowingness so how about a little proof?
     Lets say he admits to not being a `true' master. Well, it doesn't mean 
     that we just completely discount him. He may be `truer' than the rest. 
     And if he says he is in fact One? It becomes a claim, which opens 
     itself to testing. And how do you test this sort of claim? I dunno, 
     but this is not the point of the discussion. The point is that not 
     only do they preach by allowing the disciples to infer, there is, more 
     importantly, avoidance, a lack of openness.
     Alarm bells go off here.
     It doesn't mean that they aren't really true masters, they well might 
     be. But surely this is not an example of consistent scientific 
     Lack of openness = lack of scientific thinking = possible (probable?) 
     Trust is based on consistency.  I can't know someone's always right, 
     but I can trust them more if they are consistent in their thinking. If 
     there is no consistency, even in a single argument, then what is to 
     say that there aren't other inconsistencies? Consistency isn't the 
     main problem, though. The main problem is, at best, the refusal to 
     admit the inconsistent thinking. Then there's the refusal to even 
     tackle it! What we get is a brush off answer, or even a joke to which 
     many in the audience laugh a `master made a funny ' laugh, but no 
     direct answer is given.
     This is not scientific.
     Again, it's not necessarily what is said, but the consistency of  the 
     openness of the speaker.
     `Oneness' of the Satguru
     In my `seeking' I've set a number of ideals that I would need a guru 
     to have to be a true guru (this is assuming one needs a guru at all, 
     but that's another topic). You could call them conditions. They are 
     things like being vegetarian, and being completely honest and open, 
     and a host of other qualities that wouldn't be unfamiliar to any 
     seeker. Firstly, these conditions are restrictive, and based on what I 
     consider admirable from the level  I am at, but generally speaking, 
     all `seekers' search for a guru who is an exemplary individual, 
     completely `good' - no prizes for guessing that, you say. My question 
     is, why is it that we assume if a guru is `One', he will be good? Why 
     can't he be a serial killer? If he is `One' with everything, then he, 
     theoretically, already is a serial killer; all of them actually. At 
     the same time he is  the most devoted disciple, or rather, all his 
     disciples. Why is it that the individual who has just become `One' 
     must  stick to those particular qualities we consider `good'?

From  Sun Aug 17 23:50:44 1997
Subject: Re[2]: "openness" essay

     And while I'm here, why does one need a vegetarian lifestyle, etc. in 
     order to `progress'? I mean, EVERYTHING is apparently the 
     manifestation of the `ultimate', everything is equal. Perhaps because 
     certain actions scatter the thoughts? Well, what if the person is a 
     focused individual? I hear psychotic killers are quite calm.
     Okay, I might be willing to accept that `lower' acts keep you `down' 
     and hinder your journey `upward'. Yes, may be if you are working your 
     way toward the `Oneness', but if you are there already, who cares? 
     Perhaps to provide a good example for disciples? What for?  Every 
     action is equal.
     This would also mean that he might well have desires too. Why can't a 
     perfect master be rotting away on Death Row right this minute? He 
     doesn't have to be `evil', he could be anywhere in between.
     Of course, this flies right into the face of my precious ideals, but 
     I mean how would you be able to trust a guru if this was the case? He 
     wouldn't have to be consistently open. He could lie his butt off!
     Although, if he had desires and acted upon them then it would suggest 
     that he was under the control of other forces, and if he is supposed 
     to be One with god, there are not supposed to be any forces 
     controlling him, as he's supposed to be all the forces. Still, a 
     master could be just working off someone's karma by punching them in 
     the face. 
     Not that I really adhere to this thinking, it's just an idea and I'm 
     opening it up for discussion.
     Some would say I am confusing the guru's `Oneness' and the guru as an 
     individual. Well, what is the guru's state then if he is not 
     constantly in touch with the `Source'? Are you all knowing or not? OK, 
     the guru is all knowing but misheard the question just asked by an 
     audience member. So is he not a true guru then? What effect does this 
     `Oneness' have then? Or what effect does any progression here have on 
     the practitioner? Inconsistencies. Ask these questions and you 
     probably won't get any direct answers. There will be a bit of beating 
     around the bush though.
     Ok, let's assume this is wrong thinking, and I'm confusing the guru as 
     an individual with the guru as a `God', and the guru is only fully 
     `One' when he choses to lift up his consciousness. Take a look at the 
     first section of `Sar Bachan', a record of the words of the first 
     Radhasoami guru, Soami Ji. One of the first sections deals with the 
     events that led to Soami Ji's death. I'm actually going to use a quote 
     here (from the Beas version) because I feel this is an important 
     2. At 8'oclock in the morning Soami Ji Maharaj said: "Now I am 
     preparing to leave." After that Maharaj took his surat up and drew up 
     all the consciousness; only the whites of the eyes were visible, and 
     the body began to tremble. After fifteen minutes he brought his surat 
     down and then said: "The Mauj is now changed. There is yet some time." 
     Then Lala Seth Partap Singh (Chacha Ji) asked: "When is the Mauj?" On 
     which he replied: "Sometime this afternoon."
     (Sar Bachan, Beas Satsang, xxv)
     `Mauj' apparently does not have a direct counterpart in the English 
     language but roughly translates as    `will'. Now, according to Shabda 
     Yoga, the `ultimate' is formless, nameless, and, among other things, 
     unchangeable. If Soami Ji was indeed in touch with this `ultimate', 
     how is it that any sort of change has occurred? One would think that 
     he would know. After all, it is written that everything is already 
     There are a number of possible explanations. Firstly, seeing as the 
     record was written after the event, the author might have made a 
     mistake? So Soami Ji might well have been a perfect master. Well, if 
     this is the case, Shabda Yoga gurus haven't made an effort to change 
     the mistake, and you'd think someone who is supposed to be in contact 
     with the `truth' would notice this. In the case that this is true, I 
     can't say for sure if Soami Ji displayed `all knowingness' but it 
     seems to me his successors haven't.
     At the same time, I don't believe it could be a mistake on the 
     author's part. I mean, his guru didn't die when he expected to. That's 
     a fairly major event. At the very least the author would remember his 
     relief at seeing his Satguru come back again, alive.
     Perhaps it is a translation error. `Mauj' can't be directly translated 
     into English, and Soami Ji said he was preparing to leave, not leave 
     completely. It doesn't matter, something changed, and it changed in 
     the supposed unchangeable region. Whatever that something was, it 
     meant that Soami Ji was not going to die at the time he thought he 
     was. This is not even a question of `all-knowingness', we're just 
     looking at whether he had `knowingness' about himself!
     So if Soami Ji wasn't in touch with the `ultimate', and you can't go 
     any further than your guru (as Shabda Yoga groups claim) then can the 
     current gurus be `perfect' masters? This is only going by their own 
     Nitpickers guide to the galaxy
     You might argue that I'm nitpicking here. Exactly. Reality is 
     consistent, otherwise it's a form of illusion. Sure, I'm putting the 
     guru through a lot more inspection than I would a local doctor. If I'm 
     so obsessed with the idea that we should treat gurus like scientists, 
     then why all this fuss? Simply, the local doctor, or scientist has 
     already been tested and is qualified. At the same time, they're under 
     constant scrutiny. Experiments are examined and criticised, and 
     misconduct is punishable (in some cases the licence to practice is 
     revoked and they are booted out of the relevant professional 
     organisation). In other cases they are just discredited. 
     Scientists also don't profess ultimate truth (indirectly or 
     otherwise). We can't help but be more critical.
     We have no such organised tool of assessment for that particular 
     strand of science we call `spirituality'. At very least I would've 
     thought there'd be some form of assessment for psychics, seeing as 
     they actually run businesses! But somehow the science of 
     `spirituality' doesn't have to obey the laws of inspection that other 
     sciences do.
     Science and Spirituality
     We can see that, consciously or not, Shabda Yoga groups are aware of 
     the value the society places in scientific thinking. Perhaps it is 
     also an example of the value they assign to it to? Is it a tool used 
     to convince themselves? I know I've done it. If it's scientific, then 
     it's legitimate.
     Okay, may be some things are best left as they are, without scientific 
     examination. Granted, if that's how it is then by all means be that 
     way - but why claim to scientific if you are not consistently 
     scientific? Why take the label but not produce the goods?
     Simply, it is advantageous to claim `scientific' status. It is, for 
     better or worse, the accepted tool of finding truth. I've given you my 
     own reasons for my trust (faith?) in scientific procedure. However, 
     most people, generally, just accept it. They might not outwardly admit 
     it, but they will eat less animal fat because they're told it is bad 
     for their health.
     This is not just a facet of spiritual groups, but of society in 
     general. Whenever you want to claim legitimacy, you call it `logical' 
     or `rational ' or `scientific'. Economists do it, Social scientists do 
     it, politicians; anyone who's got a theory to prove does it..
     I'm not suggesting gurus are necessarily saying `Let's say we're 
     scientific so we can attract more disciples'. The idea that science 
     delivers truth is something which has been ingrained into the modern 
     mind. Much of this might well be subconscious. When you need to prove 
     a point, you move towards scientific thinking. Simple. A lot of 
     apparent lies might well be the result of  the gurus being unaware of 
     the inconsistency in their thinking. But if you are confronted with 
     this inconsistency, and you don't tackle it, then I believe it's more 
     than just an honest mistake.
     It's quite hip for any spiritual group these days to say their method 
     is `scientific'. It validates them. Of-course, once it doesn't suit 
     them anymore (ie. when they're being confronted with new evidence that 
     challenges) , scientific thinking goes out the window, ie. there is 
     avoidance of the question, or an unsubstantiated rationalisation. 
     Jumping to `faith' is another common one. 
     Then there's the old `but once we meet the Master at the third eye, 
     all will be revealed and there will be no more questioning' bit. Well, 
     firstly, how can one assume one gains `true knowledge' there? 
     Secondly, assuming you do gain `true knowledge' there, then there 
     shouldn't be any problems with the teaching on this physical level. If 
     there are problems here, how can we trust the `truth' in the 
     experiences there?
     It seems to be the involvement of `science' in Radhasoami (and 
     spiritual groups in general) has increased over the years. Just have a 
     little read of Soami Ji's `Sar Bachan' and you'll know what I mean. 
     It's full of sweeping statements, and it certainly is more `religious' 
     and preachy than some of Shabda Yoga's later works, such as `The 
     Science of the Soul' by Jagat Singh, who was a chemistry teacher 
     (??????? correct???)
     It is my belief that this is the result of the general increase in the 
     trust of scientific method over the same period of time. Does this 
     mean that the reasoning used in Shabda Yoga would be different if the 
     dominating method for the discovery of truth was not `science'? 
     In Julian Johnson's `With a Great Master in India' Sawan Singh 
     explains why he reads the texts of other religions. He replies that 
     sometimes we need to use a seekers own thinking and background beliefs 
     in order to convince (???? this is what he says doesn't he???????) 
     them. Why is it necessary to convince anyone? If a path is supposed to 
     be one of reality, then why change the method of explanation? The 
     truth is the truth is the truth. Perhaps it was necessary in the past 
     when outspoken people with differing opinions were persecuted, but 
     we're living in a different world now. Perhaps it is because people 
     today still get offended if their religion is criticised, especially 
     in areas such as northern India. Well, there's no need to criticise 
     anyone. All that needs to be done is to spell out the `truth' you 
     profess to (and if it's completely scientific, religions tend to just 
     ignore you anyway. There's no problem if you don't step on their 
     Ok, so we all tend to take into account other people's backgrounds 
     when arguing, it helps others to understand the ideas better. But 
     doing this convince someone is a little different in this case. Shabda 
     Yoga repeatedly states that it is not out to propagate and increase 
     the number of disciples, and emphasises the `When you are ready, you 
     will come' bit. There's no need to convince anyone. 
     The educated are among us
     This is an observation commonly used by disciples and gurus to make a 
     point without directly stating it: `We have doctors and lawyers and 
     University professors in our midst...' and Beas will point out that 
     one of their gurus, Jagat Singh, was a chemistry professor (or just 
     Just because there's a doctor in the house doesn't mean the path is 
     completely, consistently, scientific (that's the inference). A highly 
     educated person (even one who happens to hold a lot of status in 
     society) is a specialist. Being able to number crunch or remember 
     facts doesn't necessarily mean you can do no wrong with regards to 
     choosing a correct `spiritual' path. Sure, it helps. Scientific 
     thinking is ingrained into the student in the modern education system 
     to some degree, but it doesn't make you infallible.
     There are a lot of professionals following the spiritual groups we've 
     left behind. Hell, being a specialist in a particular field doesn't 
     really prepare you for anything other than your specialisation, 
     spiritual or otherwise. And even though scientific thinking is 
     involved in the education system, much so called `learning' is really 
     just about regurgitating already proven facts (or just familiarising 
     yourself  with the ins and outs of a particular system, eg. law, 
     economics). Considering our Universities are becoming more and more 
     `qualification' orientated, the argument that a well educated person 
     will be a critical thinker becomes less convincing.
     What matters is your thinking, not your occupation. In this regard, a 
     Northern Indian mountain `peasant'  with no formal education is in the 
     same boat as an educated specialist. Sure, the educated one is more 
     likely to be scientific, but if he or she isn't, then an Armani suite 
     isn't going to help.
     `All Masters speak of the same path'
     It's all the rage nowadays to explain that your teaching, whatever it 
     is, is the same as teachings throughout the ages. This has the effect 
     of making your path sound humble and it helps to legitimise the 
     teachings. It is said that Jesus, Buddha, and whoever else said the 
     same thing (emphasis is placed on whichever teacher is known best to 
     the particular audience). `Shabd' is `the word' in the bible. 
     Kundalini Yoga will tell you `the word' means something else. A UFO 
     spiritualist group will show you the passages in which there are 
     references to alien visitors and the like.
     This is a great method to satisfy that little bit in us that feels 
     shame for leaving a religion, and that little bit that wonders what 
     truth there is in other religious paths. `It's verified! This is what 
     he meant! Jesus,  I never really left you!'
     If Jesus (and any other teachers) meant what we're told he meant, he 
     probably would've said it. I mean, what did he have to lose? His 
     life?! Jesus apparently knew about his death anyway. If I were him I 
     would've quickly gone over the Shabda Yoga bit after the last supper 
     (time is on your side when you can't afford dessert). 
     Okay, now I'm belittling with sarcasm. Sorry, but I like to keep 
     things light sometimes.
     The speaker uses the audience's background to convince them. 
     Scientologists, for example, explain that their method of getting to 
     what they call `clear' is what buddhist monks meditated 20 years in 
     order to achieve, and you'll find numerous other examples from all 
     sorts of groups. Modern psychology is no exception either. It will 
     explain ancient myths from a psychological perspective (have a read of 
     Joseph Campell's work), and will have a number of explanations for the 
     existence of `religion' and seeking `truth' (something to do with your 
     parents, I think).
     In fact, all forms of ideologies tend to see things (past, present, 
     future) in their terms, with their own form of tunnel vision (and it 
     is from this perspective that they describe other schools of thought). 
     Sure, even `openness' is a form ideology, but I say if you're going to 
     have tunnel vision (it seems we like to think with some sort of 
     ideology behind us) it might as well be one of `openness'. By its very 
     nature it does not adhere to any particular mode of thought.
     The teaching should be able to prove itself, on its own terms. We love 
     to hear all-encompassing interpretations of history, it feels as if 
     there's some great line of truth existing throughout the ages. 
     Again, my problem is not with the ideologies, but with the lack of 
     openness within the ideologies, especially when they are challenged. 
     And if someone adheres to a particular ideology, they tend to defend 
     in the terms of that ideology instead of one of openness. For example, 
     if I am not an `open' satsangi, I might argue that my criticisms are 
     the work of Kal instead of tackling the criticisms themselves. So I 
     would prove the validity of the path by using the path to prove it! 
     That is, I'd argue from `within' the ideology instead of  from a 
     Shabda gurus do encourage people to examine the path critically, but 
     then once that is done and the seeker has decided, he or she is 
     advised should follow the master's instructions, etc. and not worry 
     about arguing anymore. This is not enough. A true path will be able to 
     withstand any new arguments that arise, and how can one be certain 
     that one has examined all the avenues in the initial study? Do we just 
     ignore new criticisms just because we have committed ourselves to a 
     path? This `seeking' is not about honour, or even keeping our word, it 
     is about discovering a greater `truth' (if the damn thing is 
     achievable). Scientists are seekers too, only that most (but not all) 
     focus on studying the smaller pictures instead of the bigger one.
     Examination of ideas, especially ones we consider our `beliefs', 
     should always be done from a distance in order to be `open'.
     Not a religion
     There is great stress on the idea that Shabda Yoga is not a religion. 
     `Religion' has become a rather dirty word with the growing trust in 
     scientific thinking. Specifically, it is pointed out that there are no 
     rituals and no need for blind faith, it is all on a `see to believe' 
     basis. It is supposed to be what religions started out as; purely 
     spiritual paths where the Master taught the pupil how to seek the 
     truth within himself. No need for any special rituals, no need for any 
     special physical yogic positions.
     However, a religion is not just defined by it's physical 
     manifestation, but by the source of the manifestation; the thinking. 
     Simply, religious thinking is not scientific thinking. It has more to 
     do with superstition and ungrounded belief (grounded only, perhaps, in 
     emotions and gut instincts. The origin of these feelings are 
     rationalised as `holy' or from the `higher self' in order to prove the 
     existence of the belief). 
     Part of it has to do with following the crowd, and tradition/


     Okay, so since I'm so scientific, why don't I come out and tell you of 
     my experiences? Well, I'm also open to the possibility that discussing 
     these experiences can hinder progress in some way (as we're told they 
     do). Even self-revelatory experiences not connected with Shabda Yoga 
     can lose their `energy' when you talk about them. It's like you're 
     telling a joke but it ends up being one of those `you had to be there' 
     At the same time, I'm open to there not being any problem with 
     speaking of your experiences. My critical faculties don't see anything 
     wrong with sharing the experience of something that `exists'. If it is 
     real then it will always be real. As you see, I'm still in two minds 
     about this.
     However, I also don't drink alcohol and the like because I'm told this 
     hinders you in meditation. I've got no ideological problem with 
     drinking alcohol, but I err on the side of caution. The idea is that 
     perhaps the people who have progressed know what they're talking 
     Then why all this questioning? Well, the questioning concerns whether 
     the masters are actually masters. There is agreement between most of 
     the lineages that alcohol, for example, doesn't help your progress. I 
     can't verify that here, but I can question the `all-knowingness' of 
     masters and other such things because I'm assessing the consistency of 
     their arguments. That is, examining whether they're being consistent 
     is something I can do at this level. Assessing whether alcohol 
     consumption hinders progress is something I am not able to do as I 
     don't have the means to test this, or the inner experience to verify 
     Giving up alcohol is not much of a sacrifice for the possibility of 
     all this being true. Committing suicide to meet an alien spaceship, 
     however, is more of a serious risk than a little sacrifice. At least 
     if I'm wrong with Radhasoami precepts I can only end up healthier!
     Like I said, I'm still in two minds about this. Discussions on this 
     topic are most welcome.
     Some might say `why argue? Just meditate!'. To this I reply `why did 
     you just read this?'. We are constantly arguing with ourselves whether 
     we like it or not. I'm just doing it in print.
     I'm not saying I know better than true masters, I'm just trying to 
     assess whether they are masters. I cannot know better than someone who 
     is one with God (assuming this is possible), but the question to ask 
     is `are you one with god?', and if so there shouldn't be any problems 
     with the teachings and your exposition on this level.
     And if all of this is completely wrong and the masters are right, I'll 
     be all the more humbler. And as for punishment, well, if I don't see 
     how someone could be punished for searching for truth.
     It's been somewhat depressing writing this. I much prefer the 
     wonderful world of the eight realms, the Satguru, the path. I get to 
     be Luke Skywalker on Dagobah with my own Yoda. But I'm looking for 
     truth, so I can't help but be critical. Reality has nothing to hide. 
     All criticisms are useless if something is real. We, as individuals 
     and as a species, have only grown through `openness', not 
     `acceptance'. At the same time, my initial conviction in this has been 
     greatly strengthened through writing this piece.
     Sure, part of this thinking simply stems from my desire to protect 
     myself. It seems the longer we live, the more we find out that people 
     and ideas are not always what they seem.
     Now if all this mumbo jumbo doesn't mean anything to you, try this 
     (it's what I really use): 
        I've been wrong so many times, and each time I felt I was more 
     right than the last, what's to say         I'm not wrong again?
        Because this time I feel more right.
     Criticisms are more than welcome. Please write in. If not for my sake, 
     then for the people being deceived by reading this. They're innocent I 
     tell you! I hope to put up footnotes in areas in which inconsistent 
     thinking is found.
     Love to hear from you.
     As the Sufis say, let's all hope we end up being `finders' instead of 
     Tony Mohorovic

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I want to go back to the home base now.