The Dera and Its Info-Cops

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

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


Dear William:

No, I didn't miss your point; I understood it too well.

My website is none of Radhasoami Satsang Beas' business or concern.
The fact that they would even attempt to "censor" my academic and
critical studies of Sant Mat saddens me deeply. It also reflects
very poorly on them as a "scientific" path. The "controlling" of
information is the first signs of a cult, especially when that information
is from an academic focused on historical analysis. Radhasoami Satsang
Beas should not ask its membership to "police" the work of other
satsangi academics. I would hate to see Radhasoami Satsang Beas begin to
act like Scientology.  

If you take a close look at my website you will notice 
It contains many of my published writings over the years. 
I, not R.S. Beas, retain the copyright thereto.

1. The Radhasoami Tradition (which was a book published by Garland
Publishers in New York and already available worldwide)

2. The Enchanted Land: A Journey with the Saints of India (which contains
articles that I wrote for FATE and other magazines in the 1980s and
also available worldwide)

3. Critical essays dealing with a number of historical episodes in
Radhasoami, Sant Mat, and Shabd Yoga history.

As you know, I have been doing this kind of work since I was 19 (I am
now 40).

There is nothing "promotional" about my critical work on Radhasoami.
It is, rather, part and parcel of my own academic work and has been
for some 20 years.

Charan Singh knew this and in a letter to me back in the mid-1980s 
point blank said, "It was never my intention for you to give up
your research work. As I said before, it is good research."

You may also observe that I touch on many issues in Radhasoami--many
of which have nothing to do with Beas, per se (such as Soami Bagh,
Dayal Bagh, Tarn Taran, Firozpur, Faqir Chand, etc.).

I would hate to see the Dera attempt to squelch the free flow of information
by academics or scholars. Such efforts, naturally, contradict the 
purported claim by Radhasoami Satsang Beas to be a "science" versus
a dogmatic religion.

"Science" works precisely when information flows freely and across all
cultural barriers. Moreover, it is also vitally important that critical
histories of Radhasoami (from a variety of perspectives) be allowed to
be aired and discussed. Any attempt to stop such open communication 
by one particular party is doomed for failure. It is also a prime
indication that R.S. Beas needs to mind its own business and stop
interfering with the life and work of those who would "think" for

When I was initiated in 1978 (the same year, I believe, as Gurinder
Singh), I took four vows.

I never vowed to give up my critical mind; I never vowed to not
write or think deeply; I never vowed to succumb to group or mythic 

I never vowed not to use the Internet.

Sorry, but the Dera is just plain wrong if they are trying to stop
me or anyone else from writing informed and critical histories of 
shabd yoga, Sant Mat, or Radhasoami, particularly when those studies
are not in any way "promotional."

Finally, I have already received many letters from various satsangis
around the world attempting to get me "off" the web.

Such efforts are at best misinformed and at worst a sad testimony 
to the "science" of Radhasoami.

Since you are going to send this to the Dera, please tell them to
mind their own business and stop asking satsangis to act as 

Let Gurinder Singh write me, if he so wishes. We can have a 
healthy disagreement over this.

Thanks and do keep in touch,

David Christopher Lane


On Tue, 25 Feb 1997, William wrote:

> David,
> I think you missed the point. Baba Ji is not happy that there is any
> material about RSSB on the Web - for the reasons spelled out. He wants
> all such material removed from the Internet.
> What do you say?
> William
> ps I will copy your reply to the Dera.
> David Lane wrote:
> > 
> > Thank you very much for your letter. It surely has been a long time
> > since we communicated. I hope all is well and that your web business
> > is flourishing.
> > 
> > I am very happy to note that you appreciate the unique nature of my
> > work on Radhasoami, Sant Mat, and Shabd Yoga.
> > 
> > Feel most free to contribute any academic material that you think may
> > be of value.
> > 
> > Keep in touch,
> > 
> > thanks,
> > 
> > david lane
> > 
> > ----
> >
> > email for PGP Public Key
> > 
> > On Mon, 24 Feb 1997, wpryor wrote:
> > 
> > > Dear David,
> > > The content of this email have been approved by the Dera.
> > >
> > > We spoke many moons ago, about I know not what...
> > >
> > > My business is now as Managing Director of a Web Publishing business
> > > (
> > >
> > > I was at the Dera last Christmas. Baba Ji spoke out about the Web with
> > > some force in December. He is concerned that RSSB should not be
> > > promoted, discussed or argued over on the Web. He talked about such
> > > activities trivialising the path and he does not want curiosity seekers
> > > turning up at satsang or the Dera - only real seekers. He says that
> > > people should only ask for initiation when they can resist it no longer.
> > >
> > > Anyway, Mr T.K. Sethi, who runs the Department of Overseas Satsang
> > > Centres has drafted the following and has asked me to send it to anyone
> > > who posts RSSB material on the Web.
> > >
> > > "We have recently come to know of the pages posted by yourself on the
> > > Internet concerning the teachings of the Radha Soami line of Masters and
> > > Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
> > >
> > > "While your enthusiasm and desire to share these teachings with others
> > > is appreciated and understood, Baba Gurinder Singh Ji has requested that
> > > we do not make use of the media - whether the Internet or any other form
> > > of mass communication - for the public promulgation or discussion of
> > > Sant Mat.
> > >
> > > "He has pointed out that we are not interested in collecting large
> > > numbers of members, but only in reaching the most sincere of seekers.
> > > "True seekers will find their way automatically to a Master when the
> > > time is right. Advertising of any kind is unnecessary and serves to
> > > diminish rather than do justice to the teachings.
> > >
> > > "Whatever publication of these teachings is thought necessary is handled
> > > by the various Radha Soami publication departments. The presence of
> > > other paths and philosophies on the Internet should not act a spur to
> > > present the teachings of our own Master in the same way. Moreover, it
> > > would be very easy for discussion, comparison and even argument to take
> > > place which would be in rather poor taste.
> > >
> > > "Please do not feel disturbed at this letter. It is natural to want to
> > > share with others that which we value most. All the same, others may not
> > > respond to our enthusiasm in the way we intend. It would be much
> > > appreciated therefore if you could remove the pages from the Internet as
> > > soon as possible.
> > >
> > > "With kind regards..."
> > >
> > >
> > > I am well aware that the above is aimed at a different kind of Web
> > > posting satsangi than yourself, and, as far as I can tell, those that
> > > had pages with the above kind of material have all removed them (as a
> > > result of requests from the Dera via satsang).
> > >
> > > I know that you are both an initiate of Hazur and an academic who makes
> > > his living studying the Radha Soami tradition. I also understand that
> > > you post the kind of material you do on the Web, not for the reasons
> > > touched on in Mr Sethi's letter, but in the academic tradition of
> > > wishing to stimulate debate, discussion and understanding.
> > >
> > > But the fact remains that your site - other than those of the various
> > > Kirpal Singh descendants and Eckankar that refer to Baba Jaimal Singh
> > > and the Great Master - is the only one on the Web that refers directly
> > > to Beas and the recent three Masters there.
> > >
> > > All I can do is lay before you the present Master's wishes in the matter
> > > as expressed in the above letter and ask you to consider the best route
> > > forward.
> > >
> > > I look forward to hearing from you.
> > >
> > > William Pryor
> > >
> -- 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Weavers of Fine Web Sites and Makers of Online Catalogues 
> William Pryor, Managing Director, 
> Arq Ltd, The Old Post Office, Bath, BA1 2EB, UK
> phone: +44 (0)1225 312391           fax: +44 (0)1225 312561
> ###########################################################

DContent-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Dear William
thanks for your recent note, William.

However, I must say I am bit surprised by your "copyright" concerns,
since you clearly breached my own rights for such when you wrote to me
the following: "I will copy your [David Lane's] reply to the Dera."

Now, my dear William, did you expressly ASK MY Permission to do such a
thing, or did you rather merely "assume" such?

Personally, I could care less, but since copyrights and their enforcement
now seems to be an issue with you, I thought I would demonstrate your own
self-serving hypocrisy.

Moreover, you never did state that the letter was confidential or "yours"
since you instead stated that it was "approved by the Dera."

FOR that very reason, William, I posted your letter.

I wanted my readers to know what the Dera was trying to do in an
underhanded and silly way.

Before you start worrying about copyrights, start worrying about MINE

Oh, by the way, are you going to copy this letter and send it to the
Dera too?

Grow up,


E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.