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Undoing the Damage of Rogue Light & Sound Gurus -- Deviations From The Path, Page 2



The first rogue Light and Sound group got started in the 1960's. Its founder severed all contact with Master Kirpal Singh of the Ruhani Satsang. Since that time several other new Light & Sound groups have turned up. These got started in the same way, were founded by teachers who broke away from the first break-away group --- schisms of schisms if you will! Unlike the Sant tradition which has a type of "apostolic succession," a stable line of Masters going back hundreds of years, in this new "Westernized" Sant Mat, so far anyway there hasn't been a single example of a guru appointing a successor. There have been arrangements, self-proclamations, schisms, and even coup d'etats, but never any smooth transitions from one generation of leadership to the next.


These groups teach that Sant Mat should be practiced differently in the West than in the East; that the vegetarian diet is an "Eastern cultural thing," that long periods of meditation, love and devotion for God, the morality and ethics of the Masters, are all "arcane Eastern" concepts which are totally irrelevant to "out-of-body travel" and therefore, ought to be tossed aside. However, in inner space there's no such thing as "East," or "West." Truthfulness and ethics are absolutely essential for the spiritual journey. Inner and outer peace are inseparable. If one encounters genuine Light on the inside, how could this possibly lead one to practice darkness on the outside? People who are merely supernatural thrill-seekers can easily be duped, it would seem.

The struggle between ego and spirit is a universal one. The Science of Spirituality is something that people of all races, genders, religions, and nationalities can practice. The idea that spiritual principles are different in one place than another is a phony argument. What's really going on is that the spin-off groups in question are attempting to "market" watered-down teachings in hopes of attracting more followers, especially from the new age movement. "I'll have a small order of fries, a burger, an out-of-body experience, and a coke to go, please." But this strategy hasn't accomplished very much.

Living Saints aren't out to simply "fill seats" and create a large organization which charges money for initiation. This is the unpardonable sin in Sant Mat. Enlightenment can neither be bought nor sold. "A genuine Master doesn't live off the earnings of his followers." This principle is designed to keep the Path pure. For if there's the added pressure of a big organizational structure which needs to be supported, then the focus shifts away from purely spiritual motives to getting more and more and more donations. "Success" and "failure" are the same thing if the Teachings of the Masters have been forever corrupted, or lost in the process.


Originally, Christianity was a Jewish movement of Palestine. And then a guy by the name of Paul came along and became the self-appointed leader of a new branch of the faith called "Paul's Church of the Gentiles." The leadership of the Hebrew Church didn't see Paul as a genuine spiritual successor to Christ and disagreed with many of his teachings. Paul's church was: largely "out of the loop," didn't speak the language, didn't have much first-hand access to the Jesus tradition -- they didn't have copies of all the collections of sayings of Yeshua and other documents, and wasn't fully aware of the mystical teachings that the Jewish Christians practiced. They also weren't faithful to the vegetarian diet. (The Jewish Church was vegetarian.) Much of this knowledge was unfortunately lost along ethnic lines. After a few short decades the Greek and Latin speaking Christians of the West, filled with much sectarian pride and anti-Semitism, were compmletely unaware of hos different their Christianity had become from the original Jesus movement of the East -- of Palestine. They had become complete strangers to the original teachings and the original line of Masters that communicated them. Something, in other words, had gotten lost in translation, somewhere on the long, bumpy, dusty road from Jerusalem to Rome.

Since the 1960's we've witnessed in the US the very same kinds of problems with Light and Soundism during its formative period: false claims of gurus, dumbing down the teachings to make them more "appealing" to the less mystically-inclined mainstream, denying or excusing past cover-ups and deceptions, being unaware of some key mystical practices of the Path, lack of curiousity about where the Light & Sound teachings actually came from, lack of access to documents that would reveal the original, unadulterated teachings, going from a purely vegetarian diet to meat-eating, and other major changes in ethics that are much more in conformity with the ethos of pop culture than with Sant Mat.

Even now, quasi gurus still venerate the writings of the 1960's author I mentioned, even though they've been made aware of the false information they contain!


Teachers in the break-away groups almost always rationalize that the vegetarian dietary practices of the Sant tradition are merely "cultural" rather than spiritual, that the vegetarian teachings of the Masters and Mystics are not to be taken seriously. Apparently there's no danger of rogue teachers plagiarizing passages from The Path of the Masters by Julian Johnson on this subject!!

The reality of the matter is that Sant Mat is a vegetarian Path primarily for mystical, spiritual, and theological reasons. The Masters teach that foods are of three kids: Satvik, Rajsik, and Tamsik. This last category of foods, which includes all flesh foods, is to be completely avoided. Satvik, the first category, includes: grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and dairy. Satvik foods are considered by Mystics to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual experience. The bad karma and other negative effects of flesh-eating darkens one's vision of inner Light, interfering with meditation.

It's interesting to notice that the Satvik diet is also: the life-extension diet, tne anti-cancer diet, the diet for antioxidants and most of the other plant-based nutrients, and the diet of the Light & Sound mystics, East and West.

The notion that vegetarianism is confined mostly to India is yet another falsehood of pseudo sant mat. It is true that many conventional world religions here in the West condone flesh-eating, but if you do some comparative mysticism you'll soon discover that the esoteric traditions which have practiced Light mysticism, Sound mysticism, and Ascension mysticism through higher planes of heavens are in agreement about the need for mystics to abstain from the flesh. The list of Western vegetarian paths includes: Pythagoreans, followers of the Hermetic philosophy of Egypt, the Sethians, Theraputae, Essenes (and other Light-mystics within Judaism), the original Jewish Christians (see The Gospel of Jesus -- In Search of His Original Teachings , John Davidson, Element Books), the Gnostic religions, Manichaeans, some Catholic monasteries, monasteries of the Orthodox Church -- including the great mystery school atop Mount Athos in Greece, and the Sufi mystics of Islam who practice Zikar of the Spirit, Light, and Sound.

Master Kirpal Singh: "Those who take up the practices concerning the lower centers in the body, do take meat -- the Mohammedans and people of other religions also. But those who are anxious to rise above body consciousnes and go into the Beyond have of necessity to eschew all that. This is the Path I have put before you. Liberation or salvation is something which starts only when you rise above body consciousness. For that reason, vegetarianism is the first essential." (The Night is a Jungle) Herbs really are magic healers!

Kabir says, "The man who eats meat is a demon in human form. Keep away from him -- his company will ruin your meditation." (Kabir: the Weaver of God's Name , RS Books) The harshest words that Kabir ever spoke were directed against the slaughter or consumption of animals.

A Western Master of Sound & Light by the name of Pythagoras once said, "Our Earth has abundance of such pure and harmless foods and there is no need for us to partake of meals for which blood has to be shed and innocent life sacrificed."


A spiritual practice quite popular in the Western Light & Sound groups is the "Hoo Chant." It was another teaching introduced to them via Julian Johnson! In his 1939 book The Path of the Masters, Julian Johnson quotes several paragraphs from Chapter Eight of Hazrat Inayat Khan's book The Mysticism of Sound, Servire Press -- a volume in the Sufi Message Series featuring a compilation of Sufi teachings on Sound, inner and outer. In Chapter Eight, like deja vu all over again, Hazrat Khan says, "This sound Hu is the beginning, and end of all sounds, be they from man, bird, beast, or thing. A careful study will prove this fact,which can be realized by listening to the sound of a steam engine or of a mill, while the echo of bells or gongs gives a typical ilustration of the sound Hu. The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu.....This alone is the true name of God, a name that no people and no religion can claim as their own." (The Mysticism of Sound was first published in 1923.)

The Qadriya Order of Sufis and other Sufi Mystics frequently use the "Hoo" chant. I have some CDs of Turkish Sufis chanting "Hooooooooo" during their Zikar ceremony. The Sufis probably inherited this practice from the Gnostics of the Middle East who were very much into vowel chanting. Many Gnostic names correspond to the subtle bodies: astral, causal, mental, etheric -- - also the soul, higher spiritual regions, and the Nameless Most High God. For some Sufis "Hoo" symbolizes (or even mimics) the Sound Current, and was used in a special way to refer to the Nameless God, the One Whose Real Name is unpronounceable, truly beyond all earthly languages.

In his mystical Sufi poetry, Bahu used "Hoo" as a name for God and the Sound Current, the cosmic Name (Naam) of God. "Hu resounds within, Hu resounds without, Hu always reverberates in my heart. The wound in my heart aches constantly with the unabating pain of Hu's love. The darkness of ignorance departs from the heart lit by Hu. I sacrifice myself to the one, O Bahu, who has realized the significance of Hu." (Sultan Bahu, RS Books) "Hoo" is indeed a very beautiful, powerful, and soothing name of God. For Sufis, it is truly a love-song to God, the Beloved Lord. "Allah Hoo Akbar;" God is Great.

Bahu's love poetry addressed to God brings me to my final segment of "Deviating From the Path," my evaluation of what America's rogue sant mat gurus have done with the perennial philosophy of the Masters. I believe there's much illusion to dispel in America's Church of Surat Shabda Yoga, Inc. I am hopeful that this process is now underway. For the disciples are genuine even if the master is not. In the end, as the English Mystic Julian of Norwich puts it, "All shall be well." All shall be well.


The new age movement doesn't like God very much! Orthodox new agers would rather hear from: channeled entities, ghosts, space brothers, aliens, blobs of plasma supposedly in orbit around the planet Jupiter, "ascended" masters, goddesses --- just about anything from the astral or psychic planes willing to woo them! Many in academic circles are also deeply offended by the word "God." The rebellious baby-boomers of the Age of Aquarius have often adopted paradigms and orthodox mind-sets that unfortunately make it much more difficult for them to come to the feet of a genuine Master of a Living Tradition.

Sant Mat is not an introductory spiritual path, but nevertheless builds upon the foundation of ethics and faith in God embodied in the various religious traditions of the East, and the West. This Path is for spiritual seekers who want to evolve beyong entry-level religious understandings and progress onward to the actual experience of Self and God-Realization (mystical union with God.) Authentic mystical experiences will never cause us to become less ethical, and will never encourage us to remain alienated from our Creator --- quite the opposite. Those who define Sant Mat as merely "the science of how to have an out-of-body experience" have a lot to learn about Shabda Yoga, and a lot to learn about the Saints, Sufis, and Mystics that have been visiting this planet for thousands of years now.

"I have met a Wonderful Being. Nobody knows him. None can come in contact with Him without the grace and mercy of Sants." "Sants reveal this truth. Only a gurumukh (faithful disciple) will believe and understand it." "This Mat (Teaching) of Sants is deep and hidden." >None knows it except Sants. Radhasoami has revealed this Faith. Some seekers after truth will accept it." (quotes from the Sar Bachan Poetry of Swami Ji Maharaj)

"First of all I salute the Satguru, Who showed me the Inconceivable God." "Only the connoisseur, who will test the Shabda and listen to the Teachings with full attention, and within whom these Teachings will dwell, only he will understand this. He within whom the Sun of Knowledge will manifest and remove the darkness of attachment -- only he will understand this. I am telling you this Anurag Sagar (Ocean of Love) --- only rare saints will understand." (quotes from The Anurag Sagar of Kabir, Sant Bani Books.)

"I have found a Sea of Love, an inexhaustible flood; I have opened a treasure of spiritual knowledge, it diffuses the radiance of a million suns, arisen in Thy worshipper's souls. Unexpectedly, without an effort, I have heard the Eternal Secret, I have learned to know God." (The Poems of Tukarama by J. Nelson Fraser)

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