The Guru Has No Turban: Part Three

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

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


toward a new understanding of "Perfect" Masters





I have yet to meet a Perfect Master who has a "perfect" mind. As
Wilber once rightly stated (I am paraphrasing): "I have never seen
a perfect guru run a sub 4 minute mile with his 'perfect' body
or explain Einstein's theory
of relativity with his 'perfect' mind."

Faqir Chand point blank stated that he "didn't know" when his form 
appeared to disciples worldwide, whether in meditation, in times of
distress, or even in dreams. Faqir argued that these projections were
products of one's own mind (lower or higher, dream or astral, etc.)
and that the guru herself does NOT consciously project in the mind
of the neophyte. Indeed, the guru may not even have a clue that the
disciple is thinking about him/her.

I recall getting a phone call from a Catholic woman in Oklahoma, I
believe, who got my number from the editors of FATE magazine.
Apparently, she had been praying/meditating one day and she had a
vision of a guru with a long white beard and turban who informed her
that she would learn more about him that day. Later she happened to
pick up a copy of FATE magazine which contained an article I wrote
entitled 'THE ENCHANTED LAND' which described my visits with various
shabd yoga gurus in India. When she saw the picture of Charan Singh
that accompanied the article she was thrilled, since--as she
alleges--it was this same Charan Singh who had appeared to her
during her prayer/meditation.

So enthralled in fact that she tracked me down and asked for more
information. Being somewhat skeptical by nature of transpersonal or
paranormal happenings (even when connected with my path), I advised
her to write a letter to Charan Singh about it and ask his opinion.
She did and a few weeks later he wrote her a long reply in which he
stated that the vision was, more or less, a projection of her own
mind and that he had nothing to do with it.

I realize that Parapsychological and Occult literature is replete
with "knowing" bilocations, but my hunch is that even if we accept
some of these as authentic (and that is, of course, a huge leap;
better to closely examine the conditions and the context surrounding
the transmundane happening), the vast majority of inner visions and
the like are indubitably linked with our own (and not some exterior)

I don't think the Virgin Mary is on hold right now waiting to be
called so that she can make an appearance on a flour tortilla
(thanks Homer for the lead) somewhere; moreover, I don't think
Elvis is hanging out at the end of the tunnel to greet his followers
(hey, he's too busy making Velveta cheese sandwiches on Wonder bread
at Jim Morrison's Circle K). What you see is what you bring to the
neurological/mystical (you choose) picnic. The Galaxy of Cosmic
characters, I would imagine, are not baking pie waiting for some
glub from Duarte to have a car accident just so they can make a
"Divine" appearance.

Now I could be wrong, so if St. Christopher or St. Xavier shows up at the door in
the next few minutes before I finish this essay I will make certain
to write down any words they wish to convey..... Hey, I hear the
door knocking right now..... Bummer, it turned out to be some
computer zealot who didn't realize he had to pull open vs push open
the door.
But, wait, he is wearing a red robe and has short cropped black hair....
Nah, his accent sounds like he's from Kentucky.... He sounds like
Julian Johnson on helium.....

Oops, got sidetracked again.
Now this whole issue hovers around a more cardinal principle in
shabd yoga: the apparent "all-knowingness" of the Perfect Master.

In my twenty plus years in this field I have seen nothing of the
kind. I have seen, of course, some really impressive people and some
really beautiful acts of kindness (free food, free hospitals, free
eye camps, etc.), but I have yet to see an airtight case for
"all knowingness." I have seen too many examples of unknowingness
and no facade of "humility" can fully cover it up.

And that is not to fault the guru in question (since in some cases
he or she was chosen for the role against his/her will or desire;
just read Treasure Beyond Measure for an illustration of this), but
the theological constraints which do not allow for letting the guru
be just as he is: a human being.

It is their "humanity" manifested in good acts or kind gestures or
selfless service which is truly impressive, not the unproven idea
that they are All-Powerful and All-Knowing.

If such gurus are, in fact, All-Knowing they do a lousy job of
showing it.

How else can we explain the following:

1. An esteemed Master mistaking Disneyland's fake flowers for real
ones (this interesting moment is captured on film).

2. A Master addressing a woman as sir, only to be corrected by the
woman in public.

3. A Master instructing a woman in a letter to talk with her college
teacher before writing him in the first place. (The glitch here is
that the woman did talk with me first and I told her to write to

4. A Master forgetting that the person he is talking with had
already been initiated by him (He queried, "How do you know the
five names if you have not been initiated?" His reply, "But I was!")

5. A Master incorrectly stating facts and dates of history, only to
be corrected by a member of the audience.

6. A Master writing about a genealogical connection between gurus
and stating it as fact only to have future scholars prove that the
assertion is historically impossible.

I could go on, and these are merely minor incidents to be sure, but
the list of examples is huge.

Of course, all of this is "normal" if we accept the idea that the
guru is human. But it becomes downright strange if we think the Guru
is All-Knowing because then we are stuck with lots of explaining to
do (Ideological Work 101!), the very thing we shouldn't have to do
if the Guru demonstrated his/her all-knowingness.

And the claim that the guru is merely being humble just doesn't pass
the litmus test, because more often than not that simple humility
can be re-translated as outright lying.  

I have talked with lots of shabd yoga gurus in my time and though a
few are genuinely brilliant, it does so happen that even their
verbal responses are error prone.... Again, completely normal IF
we accept them as humans; completely AB-normal if we think they are


according to this author




1. THE UNKNOWING SAGE: The life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand.
[It is not an exaggeration to say that Faqir has single-handedly
exposed the most pernicious secret in all of gurudom.... The
unknowingness of the guru]

2. TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE (Charan Singh's surprisingly revealing
memoir--written by Shanti Sethi--which was published just months
before he died. Read it very closely and you will see how radical
and Chandian it is, especially in light of other Beas books)

3. HOLY EPISTLES, volume One and Two, translated by S.D. Maheshwari
(Soami Bagh, Agra). Say what you might about Maheshwari's biases,
but this two volume set shows how human gurus are and how petty they
can sometimes be. Particularly interesting is the ongoing feud
between Partap Singh and Rai Salig Ram. Fascinating inside gossip
supplied by the key players themselves in early R.S. history.

4. HEART TO HEART TALKS, volume one and two, by Kirpal Singh.
Read very closely and you will see the humanity that reeks
throughout the text. You will also get a glimpse of the inside 
dope on other gurus/paths..... So very human but fascinating.

5. THE DIARY OF SAHEBJI (Anand S(w)arup of Dayal Bagh), several
volumes. This is a classic which was written in the 1930s. If you
have any doubts about the "humanness" of a shabd yoga guru, this
will seal the deal.




I just don't get it. If the Perfect Master is one with Anami Purush
(the Transcendental Lord), then why does he give a crap about some
junky property in Agra, India?

You see, there has been a decades long legal battle (and occasional
fist-fight) between two Radhasoami groups (now known as Soami Bagh
and Dayal Bagh) in Agra, India, over worship rights at Shiv Dayal
Singh's samadh.

They have gone to Indian courts over this matter for some fifty plus
years; it makes the length of the O.J. trials seem like nano-seconds
in comparison. 

And what are these "lineages of Perfect Masters" fighting over?

real estate

That's right, who owns what and who has the rights to utilize such.

Hey, I have been to Soami Bagh and Dayal Bagh and let me tell you:
it's not La Jolla, my huqqa smoking chums.

It's not even El Cajon.

It's dirt and lots of it.... Okay, there is this half-built samadh
that is a wanna-be Taj Mahal that is probably never going to get
finished..... but who cares?

Geez, if you have access to "ALL" the REAL STATES (pun intended) of
EVERY Known and Unknown Cosmos, I think it just might be possible to
practice a little "detachment" and let go of the spiritual parking
lot, huh?

The fact that these "Perfect" Masters are NOT letting go of the
lawsuits or the real (I am tempted to say "illusory") estate speaks
volumes to me personally. It sounds awful human to me and no matter
how you slice it, the Soami Bagh/Dayal Bagh duel is human greed at
its worst, except that its disguised under "spiritual" worship

Typical human stupidity cannot be acknowledged for what is in these
turf wars. Instead it has to be dressed up in theological garb as if
the Ultimate State of the Cosmos really depended upon some shitty
piece of property in Uttar Pradesh.

You know it is time for a Sant Mat Group to call it quits when it
has to spend much of its time suing others over property rights.
I would be impressed if just one of these groups would say,
"Hey, you take the fudging land; we'll meditate instead."
Hasn't happened, though; I guess those "inner" lights just don't
compare with that water view over the polluted Jummna. Gotta have
that unobstructed vision of the Baby Taj...... yea, right.

And if these guys can be so anal retentive about a dirt lot, then I
am downright scared to hang out with these luminaries in Sach Khand.
I can see it now:

"Hey, Kabir, get your hands off my Guru Wha Chew or I am going to
kick your shabd filled agam butt all the way to Anami Lok, where
you are just some nameless glob of infinite light. Dig?"

"Woe, Nanak man, I told you that if you tried surfing at my
Celestial Bhanwar Break that I was going to take you to the
Court of Sat Purush.... And, by the way, is it true you smoked a
tobacco pipe when you were on earth?"


Oops, get lost in strange sub-references again.         

If Sant Mat is a structural science (an inherent higher
potential within every human being, regardless of
caste/creed/race/cola affiliation), as the various "Perfect" Masters
proclaim, and not merely a cultural club to win property and
influence friends, then they should start acting like it.

Lighten up about the world-wide build up of property.

Lighten up about trying to "trademark" shabd yoga terms (yes,
even certain groups in India are following the capitalistic model).

Lighten up about trying to "control" the free flow of information
(just try reading the history of shabd yoga from one of the
respective lineages..... Tell me how much you "learn" about the
other groups. Not much, I can assure you.).

Lighten up because according to your own philosophy, the ultimate
goal is NOT this place, but it radical transcendence.

If transcendence is the case, then it is a bit mind boggling to see
how much concern there is in "trademarks," "property rights," "money
seva," and "litigation over willed estates."

To be sure, I understand why organizations indulge in such actions,
but I don't think it exemplifies the "universal" teachings by trying

If my metaphorical friend Kabir was to reincarnate again
(literalists beware, I am indulging in a parable) and he saw what
has happened, I get a sneaky suspicion that he would be the first
to throw rocks at the ashram's wall, perhaps shouting cryptically:
"What does real estate got to do with going within? What do
trademarks got to do with perennial truths? Why are Perfect Masters
suing each other and their disciples in courts?"

He may just say, "Hey, shut up and meditate."

end part three of a continuing series

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.