Mon, Jul 03, 2000 at 16:13:55 (GMT)
I did not log in during the weekend, and was accordingly not able to read the replies to my post. I don't log into the forum everyday, in order to be able to do some work, too ...
I always had a great respect for your knowledge in these matters.
However, I am not convinced.
Of cource it is always difficult to be 100% sure. But I'd still make a bet, for the time being, that the Swarupanand guru of the Agra branch really was Hans Ji's guru. The name, the dates (years), teaching, etc, everything seems to fit extremely well. Can you find historical evidence of any known Advait Mat guru named Swarupanand during the 20s-30s (the decades in question), for instance? I don't think so.
Yes, I have read Jurgensmeyer, also David Lane. As you probably know, David Lane worked as Jurgensmeyer's research assistant in India, and drew up all the lineages in Jurgensmeyer's book. They certainly are the two best Western experts as far as Radhasoami lineages are concerned. Still, remember, David Lane has not specifically studied DLM.
I don't really buy the suggestion that Hans ji had a guru from the Beas branch, like some people have suggested in the previous thread (e.g. Sawan Sing or Kirpal Sing), for a number of reasons. Kirpal Sing would be virtually impossible, since they were of the same generation and were competing gurus with each other. For the sake of chronology, Sawan Sing would perhaps be possible. But one thing (besides the difference in name, since it is clearly said in all DLM/EV sources that Swarupanand was Hans Ji's guru) is the difference in teaching. In the Beas branch, they have the teaching of five names of God (panj naam), which they don't have at all within the Agra branch. That would explain why Hans Ji was so angry when one of his mahatmas started to teach the five names during initiation, at one point.
Another thing is that Hans Ji established the ashram Punjabi Bagh in Delhi, very likely to my mind modeled from Dayal Bagh, Swarupanand's ashram (note the ending Bagh). In the Agras branch, there was also the Soami Bagh. The ending Bagh was typical for ashram names in the Agra branch.
A third detail, small but perhaps not necessarily insignificant: the dropping of the use of turbans, still in use among Sawan Sing's & Kirpal Sing's followers. Swarupanand wanted a modern image.
I think it is beyond doubt that Hans Ji had considerably more in common with the Agra branch than with the Beas branch.
You pointed out that in a certain DLM's text ( I have it in my library), it is mentioned that one Varaganand competed with Hans Ji about the successorship. Jurgenmeyer's book names a certain Gurucharandas Mehta (Mehtaji Sahib) as Swarupanand's successor in Dayalbagh. I would not put too much emphasis on this discrepancy. First, there may have been several competing successors, as often was, and still is, the case. Second, Varaganand may have been Mehta Ji's monk name. As you know, people often go under numerous names, and the DLM sources are not known to be especially reliable. There is no other source for this name. I would not make too much of it.
You may be a scientist, I don't know. Probaly you are. I certainly am, and I am used to the principle of going for the most likely explanation until proven wrong. I don't think it is by any means proven beyond doubt that the Swarupanand of the Agra branch of the Radhasoami movement was Hans Ji's guru. But I suggest that there is compelling evidence in favor of this notion. And if so is the case, the whole lineage between Shiv Dayal Sing and Swarupanand is really established, thanks to Jurgensmeyer's and David Lane's excellent work. I think this is of great historical value. I may be wrong, and I appreciate being corrected if I am. Time will show.
Anyway, it should be clear that Hans Ji had a clear connection to the Radhasoami movement, a fact that conveniently has been 'forgotten' or whitewashed within DLM/EV. This, I think, is the main point of interest, from the cult-busting point of view. Who his guru really was I guess is more a matter for the historical record.
All the best, Happy.
Fri, Jun 30, 2000 at 19:22:04 (GMT)
According to DLM's official version, Hans Ji was born in Badrinath, in Norther India, halfways between Hardwar-Rishikesh and Gaumukh, the place were Ganges runs out of the Himalayan glacier. It is very 'holy place' to Hindus, and whether he was born there may or may not be true, perhaps it is only part of a myth. The same source also claims that 'Born in the a Suryawansh, or sun dynasty, he inherited the greatness and the glamour of the Raghu dynasty. He was a descendant from the lineage of Lord Rama's family.' Well... believe it if you wish.
A known fact is that his family name (and, accordingly, also Prem Pal's) was Sing(h). It suggests a Sikh descendency, but this is not entirely sure. All Sikhs are named Singh, but there also Singhs who are not Sikhs. It is a possible, but not a necessary link. Somewhere down the line, the family must have had a Sikh forefather, though.
What is certain, however, is that he chose the Radhasoami guru, Anand Swarup, sometimes called Swarupanand, or Sarupanand, as his guru.
Now, who are the Radhasoamis? They are a large sect, nowadays mainly based in both Agra and in the state of Punjab, the state which the Sikhs tried to make into an independent Sikh nation during the 70s and 80s, but failed in their attempts. They exist also in Uttar Pradesh, and in Bihar. And, nowadays, there are many followers in the U.S. As J-M mentioned, it was founded by Shiv Dayal Singh, in 1850, in the city of Agra (where Taj Mahal is), not in Punjab. However, Shiv Dayal Singh was of Sikh origin, and his family had moved to Agra from Punjab.
The Radhasoamis did not appear out of nowhere, however. They had forerunners in the so called Sant (='saint') movement. The most well-known Sants were Kabir and Guru Nanak. Kabir lived in the fifteenth century, was born a low-cast Hindu, but was adopted into a Muslim family. He had a Hindu guru, Brahmanand,who was well-versed in yoga techniques taught within the Nath sect. Kabir himself did not support the practice of hatha-yoga, in fact, he poked fun at the Nath sect hatha yogis. Besides Brahmanand, he was also affected by the sufis living in Agra. Due to his dual experience of Hinduism and Islam, he tried to combine the best of the too, condemning the Hindu idolatry, but accepting their spiritual techniques. That is, in the Sant movement, there were no gods. However (with negative consequences, as we can see) guru-bhakti was encouraged. The Sant movement was in most respects a movement of mysticism, a mixture of elements from sufism and yoga.
Hans Ji's admiration for Kabir is well-known, and one of the names he gave Prem Pal was, in fact, 'Sant'.
It is not known for sure whether Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, was a direct disciple of Kabir or not, but I would guess that he was. At least, he simply must have known of and probably also visited Kabir, who was the greatest name of the period. There are also striking resemblances in their teachings and poetry. Nanak was 20 years younger than Kabir. Nanak is, besides Kabir, considered the most important Sant, but to the Sikhs, he is of course the founder of their religion.
Kabir's most well-known follower was Dharam Das, and there is still a subsect called the Dharamdasis. Their ideology is strikingly similar to that of DLM/EV and the Radhasoamis, including satsang, service (seva) and meditation. They meditate on the inner sound, 'SOHUNG'.
Shiv Dayal Sing, the founder of the Radhasoamis, was a student of Tulsi Das, and also of Tulsi Das' successor, Girdhari Das. It was only after the latter's death that he established himself as a guru, in 1850. According to Radhasoami sources, Tulsi Das, in turn, was a disciple of Guru Govind Singh, the last of the ten Sikh gurus. Accordingly, there is an absolutely unquestionable link to the Sikhs, although the Radhasoamis differ in many respects from the Sikhs, and also have been persecuted by them.
On the positive side, Shiv Dayal Singh himself did not claim to be perfect, although his followers claimed he was.
Shiv Dayal Sing mentions several predessors in his writings, among them Kabir, Nanak, Tulsi Das, Hari Das, Sur Das (the blind gardener, you remember?), Rai Das, but also Mohammedans such as the sufi Shams-i-Tabriz, teacher of Jawal-eddin-Rumi. These appear to be sources of inspiration rather than direct predecessors.
BUT, there is unquestionably a direct line of succession between Shiv Dayal Sing and Swarupanand, Hans Ji's guru.
After Shiv Dayal Sing's death in 1878, their was - as there always appears to be - a fight about the succession. None less than six individuals established themselves as gurus: four in Agra, one in Beas, Punjab, and one in Delhi. They all agreed on the fact that Shiv Dayal Singh appointed someone as his successor, but they could not agree on whom. Today, there are 12 existing branches of the Radhasoami sect (some have merged, others have died out, etc.), and they are 13 if we add DLM/EV to the list, which we perhaps should. 14, with Sat Pal, M's brother.
Two major branches of the Radhasoamis are usually considered to exist, though: The Agra branch, and the Beas branch (in Punjab). The Beas branch was established by Jaimal Singh (guru period: 1878-1903), and some of the most important names of this line have been Sawan Singh (1903-1948), Kirpal Singh (1948-1974), and, from another offshot, Jagat Singh (1948-1951), Charan Singh (1951-1990) and Gurinder Singh (1990 - present), who is now 'reigning' in Beas.
The teachings within the Beas branch is somewhat different than within the Agra branch. For instance, in Beas, the teaching about the 'five names of God' exists, but it does not within the Agra branch.
In Agra, there were also several off-springs, but the most important successor from our point of view was Rai Saligram (1878-1898), who also established the name, Radhasoami. From him stems the line to Anand Swarup, Hans ji, and Prem Pal. Here is the correct historical guru line from Shiv Dayal Singh to Prem Pal ('guru dates' in brackets):
DAYAL SINGH (1850-1878)
GURU GOVINDH SINGH - TULSI DAS - GIRDHARI DAS - SHIV DAYAL SINGH.
Some words about Swarupanand, Hans Ji's guru. He was born by a Sikh father and Hindu mother. His father was a modern Sikh, who had abandoned the turban. As a youth, he was attracted to the politico-religious movement Arya Samaj, before joining the Radhasoamis. After becoming a guru, he established a 'divine village', Dayalbagh. It is still existing.
Male Radhasoamis usually wear a turban, like the Sikhs. However, I would expect, although I do not know for sure, that turbans were not required in Dayalbagh, since Anandswarup was brought up modernly.
Accoriding to DLM sources, Hans Ji received the four 'kriyas' (techniques) by a mahatma, suggesting that Swarupanand did indeed teach the 4-K package. This may be a post hoc construction, however. The only way to find out for sure would be to travel to Dayalbagh for some historical research.
On his death, Swarupanand appointed (according to Dayalbagh sources) Gurucharandas Mehta (Mehtaji Saheb) as his successor. He 'reigned' during the period 1937-1975, and has since then been followed by Dr. M. B. Lal as guru (1975-present). DLM sources claim that Swarupanand in fact appointed Hans Ji. Apparently disappointed with the outcome of matters, Hans Ji left and started his own guru career. He went first to Delhi and spread K there, then to Punjab, the state with so many Sikhs and Radhasoamis, and to Sind, in present-day Pakistan. He travelled in most states of Northern India.
The Divine Light Mission was established and registered under the Registration Act of India in 1960, in the state of Bihar. Its Hindi name was DIVYA SANDESH PARISHAD.
Accordingly, there can be absolutely no question about the fact that DLM is an offspring of the Radhasoami sect. This is a fact that already Hans Ji tried to silence, and it is never mentioned in DLM/EV. The rewriting of history is nothing new, it did not start with Prem Pal and his brother Sat Pal. It started already with Hans Ji.