This is a call for a return to honesty. Here I express some of my observations about the teachings of pseudo Light & Sound groups that have appropriated and modified India's Shabda Yoga tradition -- the Path of the Masters. In very much the same way Native American teachings have been ripped off by white suburban "shamans" charging big bucks for culturally appropriated beliefs and practices, some have thought it possible to separate the Teachings of the Masters from the Masters themselves, and the Path that's been faithfully communicated from one generation to the next for thousands of years now. Of course there are many other modern examples that one could point to of human beings hacking away at the roots of life in the name of convenience and "progress."
With this short article I'm making the assumption that most of its readers are already somewhat familiar with various paths that claim to represent the Light and Sound teachings (Surat Shabda Yoga). Here I'm communicating my own views, not on behalf of any Eastern organizations, though I suspect, generally, most initiates of the Sant tradition would agree with the points I have made. It is my prayer that "the sins of the fathers" will not be visited upon future generations here in the West, that the lust for power and money, the intellectual dishonesty, the manipulation of people, and the cover-ups that some have been willing to tolerate will not be swept under the rug, or forgotten. For the genuine Path of the Masters must always be a Path of ethics, honesty, and truthfulness. In the Sant tradition God is often called "Sat," meaning "Truth", and a genuine "Sat-Guru" is thus, "a Guru of Truth," a Messenger of the-God-Who-is- Truth. The leader of a spiritual movement must always be the embodiment of Truth. Without a competent Master, a spiritual movement will not be capable of being an instrument in the world for the Positive Power (God).
The Sikh Bible of India begins with the words "Ek Ong Kaar Sat Naam" meaning, "There is one God, Truth is His Name." (the Jap Ji or Morning Prayer of Guru Nanak). God is Truth, and the Way back to God is through the Expression or Manifestation of Truth. The Morning Prayer is the first book of the Adi Granth , sometimes called the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the great Holy Book of the Sikhs and Sants (Saints), written in the Gurmukhi language of Northern India.
I won't be "naming names" here, just focusing attention back where it belongs.....upon the
principles of the classic Sant Mat tradition of India. It is also my prayer that more and more
souls can find their way through the labryinth of new age philosophies that have abandoned
ethical values -- they seem to desire not only to strip the earth but also the higher planes, of
ethics and God. May seekers after Truth discover a place of healing, of well-being. May
genuine mystical experience prevail, the kind that leads to the realization of the Beloved Lord of
All Souls, the Ocean of Love.
In the early 1960's there was a certain "metaphysical" and science fiction writer; he was an
initiate of Sant Kirpal Singh (a Master of the Light and Sound). In his earlier works, this writer
often mentioned the name of his Master. In fact, he wanted Master Kirpal to publish a
certain book of his. But the Master refused to publish this book --- he perceived that it wasn't
accurate, and didn't represent real mystical events. To make a long story short, this ambitious
writer then decided to break away from his Master. Eventually he established himself as the
leader of his own group, covering up his past connections with Kirpal Singh and Sant Mat. He
proceeded to delete Kirpal's name from all his books, replacing it with a fictitious name, an
imaginary "Tibetan master." This "Tibetan master technique" has been used over the years by
many as a way to create legitimacy out of thin air, the thin air of the Himalayas! Because
this rather elusive "Tibetan" has no forwarding address, or is forever "in seclusion" atop the
steep Himalayas, it's never possible for anyone to ever check out the bold claims of the teacher.
In these cases: there's never anyone else who has gotten on a plane (in the physical
plane!) and flown over there to sit at the feet of this "master," and never any words of the alleged
"Tibetan" have ever been published by an earlier group of disciples anywhere on earth! Cover
stories of "a Tibetan who appointed me to be master to the West" are intended to obscure the
reality that the ambitious teacher doesn't want to "come clean," doesn't want to tell us the truth
about his (or her) background, doesn't feel comfortable disclosing where he or she really got
the teachings from.
What an insult these lies are to our intelligence> What an insult to the suffering Tibetan people
and the real Lamas of Tibetan Buddhism! Furthermore, how could a genuine Master lie
thousands of times in books, on tapes, before public gatherings??? This is not a proper
foundation for a spiritual path. > A genuine Sat Guru would never be a liar and a charlatan. In
Sant Mat the Path wasn't born yesterday --- it didn't begin with one man and his typewriter.
Initiates have personal access to the history of the tradition
Honorable teachers have nothing to hide, and nothing to be ashamed of.
Another thing to watch out for is the "reincarnated dead guru technique." Occasionally pseudo
gurus desirous of creating legitimacy for themselves will imply that they are the reincarnation of a
past Saint. They argue, "You accepted him, so why not accept me, too?"
A few years back someone was claiming to be the reincarnation of Huzar Baba Sawan Singh. I
don't believe the claim is genuine since their teachings are dramatically different from Sawan
Singh's and the Sant tradition on a number of fundamental points. Does the master have a
multiple personality disorder? Would a Perfect Master need to argue with himself? In any event,
in the classic Sant Mat tradition self-proclaimed gurus aren't recognized as legitimate. One
cannot simply become a Master by self-proclamation, declaring oneself to be the supreme
master of the Western Spiral Arm of the Milky Way. In this Path there's one Master at a time
serving as the Spiritual Head of a specific Community or Mission. When the current Living
Master is about to leave the body, they will usually recognize and apoint the new Master. The
current Master appoints the next one. This approach of Sat Gurus recognizing Sat Gurus
(Truth recognizing Truth) is part of a system of "checks and balances," so that the torch of
spirituality gets passed only to a worthy recipient, or recipients if there is to be more than one
successor. (Occasionally a Master, thinking about the future of the Path, will appoint someone
to start a new Mission in a different location. For instance, Baba Jaimal Singh went to the
Punjab.) This approach, despite human nature, has served the Sant tradition amazingly well
over the years.
The Sufi Mystic Sultan Bahu once said, "There are few genuine disciples. People purporting to
be masters perpetuate themselves with false promises. They exploit their followers to satisfy
their greed." Bahu also warned his students to watch out for false teachers who want to be
masters over others even though they've never been faithful and loyal disciples themselves.
Being chosen to be a Master is just about the rarest event in human history that one could wish
for! So ambitious leader-types bent on appropriating various aspects of the Path that they find
attractive, come to feel that they need to reinvent themselves. After all, this is the only way
available to them to become a guru of shabda yoga! So they attempt to create for their
followers the myth that they somehow have become "a living master of the Light and Sound." If
the teacher's past associations were made public, it might prove embarrassing and undermine
his or her authority as a "spiritual" leader. The awful truth could be revealed that one's teachings
were stolen from someone (or someplace) else, that there are other competing Masters and
Paths out there which the faithful could start checking out. Troubled or disgruntled followers
might even decide to defect to the original Light and Sound group of the teacher.
Indeed, they sometimes do just that! Can you imagine how upsetting it must be to learn that your
guru, instead of being master of the cosmos, is actually a dropout disciple of some other path?
Rogue groups have desperately tried to cover their tracks. But in the end, the Truth always
We're entering into a "new age" of information. It's increasingly becoming more and more
difficult for unethical leaders to plagiarize the books and teachings of Sant Mat without
detection. And to further complicate matters for them, the number of initiates of real Masters
continues to rapidly grow in the Western countries. This has dramatically changed the situation.
Sant Mat is now as much Western as Eastern. There's no longer any "need" (if there
ever was) for pseudo sant mat to exist. In my opinion, pseudo sant mat, an experiment begun in
the 1960's, has failed and is beginning to finally fade away.
Click here for Part 2.
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