Posted by John Macgregor on Forum VII on March 30 and April 6, 2002.
Subject: EV PR Team report on EPO and the Forum
Here's a report written for Ros Sutton, then head of EV's International PR team, by Glen Whittaker, head of EV in the UK, in August 1997. The report outlines the major emerging PR threats to Maharaji's work.
It was OCR scanned by a very recent ex - thanks Konni!
The first of this document's two sections is on the growing awareness of Maharaji's apparently forged 'lineage', and the damage this might do to his work. This section is long.
deals with the threat to Maharaji's work from EPO and the
forum - and with strategies for neutralising
PR CONSIDERATIONS - AUGUST 1997
REPORT BY G.W. FOR R.S.
It seems to me Ros that the two major areas where adverse PR could occur over the next period, say the next two years, are (1) the growing interest in and knowledge of the so-called Rhadasoami Tradition which would claim that M is just one of several teachers forming part of a new Indian religious tradition, giving out a similar message and teaching similar meditation techniques, and (2) the rapid growth in discussion on the Internet on M, which has several negative aspects.
I will address both of these briefly and comprehensively, so that you can have an understanding of what is out there without spending too much time delving into it yourself.
This has been brought into public attention, albeit to a very small extent, by the work of two west coast academics, Mark Juergensmeyer, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and David Christopher Lane, Professor of Philosophy at Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California. Juergensmeyer has written the major work, 'The Rhadasoami Tradition', hardback 1991, paperback 1996, with the help of David Lane, while Lane has written other books and articles on the subject, notably 'The Rhadasoami Tradition- A Critical History of Guru Successorship', and in 1994 'Exposing Cults'. Jurguensmeyer's book contains an extensive bibliography of other related books, articles and publications, both in the west and in India.
'Rhadasoami Reality' by Juegensmeyer asserts that this tradition amounts to a new religious movement, whose originator was a well-known perfect master, Shiv Dayal Singh, from the 1850's to his death in 1878. Based in Agra, he named his own master as Tulsi Sahib, one of a lineage stretching back to the medieval 'sants', including Kabir and Nanak. Kabir is seen as either the source or a very major exponent of this teaching, and he in turn has his own followers today called Kabirpanthis.
Dayal Singh is however considered the founder of the R.T because of his teaching success and writings, and the fact of being acknowledged as the common ancestor by 'more than a dozen separate lineages of living masters now current within the Rhadasoami fold'.
The teaching of Tulsi Sahib and Shiv Dayal Singh are the importance of the master who can reveal inner sound and inner vision. To quote the book* 'Reaching one's ultimate home is what salvation in the Rhadasoami sense is all about. It is granted through the grace of the divine master, but by arduously following the instructions of 'surat shabd yoga', followers have the opportunity of participating in their own salvation. Initiation into these practices is tantamount to baptism in the faith.' Shiv Dayal Singh said 'the reason the Supreme Being manifests itself in the form of a master is to explain the secret of his original abode and teach the method of attaining the abode. He gained a large following and on the site of the field where he went to meditate, now a community called Soamibagh, an elaborate marble tomb in his memory is being built which is intended to rival the nearby Taj Mahal.
After the death of the many 'masters' since that time, there is invariably a disputed succession, resulting in various claimants, usually including sons or close relatives. Of five following the 'founder', one, Jaimal Singh, was a Punjabi soldier stationed temporarily in Agra who began a lineage in his home town of Beas. One of his successors was a renowned teacher, Sawan Singh (master from 1903 to 194, who had British and America devotees, one of whom, Julian Johnson, wrote two 'best-sellers' about his experiences called 'With a Great Master in India', and 'Path of the Masters'. Sawan Singh was succeeded by, amongst five claimants, Kirpal Singh (48-74) - I shall mention something called the 'Kirpal Statistic' later - and simultaneously by one Jagat Singh who led to a famous 'master' Charan Singh (51-90). Most were titled Maharaji. (Charan Singh spoke at Chelsea Town Hall in early 1970, a meeting attended by our Charananand and some early pwk's, and this was the first occasion Venetia Stanley-Smith met Charananand, whom she claimed far outshone the guru).
Of those succeeding in Agra, the main successor, seemingly appointed by the deceased master himself, was one Saligram, 1878-1898, who built up the movement as a large organisation. He was succeeded by, amongst others, one 'Misra' (1898-1907), one of whose two successors was Sinha (1907-1913), who also had two successors, one of whom was Anand Swarup, known as Sahebji Maharaj) whose dates were 1913 to 1937. it appears this is the same person as Sarupanand, the master of Shri Hans.
[Note: this Anand Swarup Glen is just mentioning above (and below) is NOT the S(w)arupanand who has been Shri Hans' guru. See Patrick Wilson's note below.]
Shri Hans however is not mentioned in the book at all, the main successor of Anand Swarup being one Gurchandras Mehta (1936-75) succeded by the still living but very elderly Dr. MB. Lal.
At the foot of the complex genealogical table from which the above is taken is the note 'a number of gurus and groups have not been included because of their modest size, organisation or impact.' We know via Patrick Wilson that Lane knows of Shri Maharaji so presumably, but inexplicably, he and Maharaji are covered by this note.
Certain facts about the R.T are worth noting,
1 . There is a lot of talk about successorship. Sometimes someone is appointed by the previous master, more often there is an 'interregnum' then one emerges. He was 'lying low', waiting for the right moment to show himself.
2. The word Rhadasoami was not used by the originator, Shiv Dayal Singh (sometimes called Swami Shiv Dayal). It was first used by his successor Saligram who taught it as one of the names of God which could be meditated on. It seems to be a reference to Krishna, meaning literally 'lord of Rhada' (Krishna's wife).
3. The various R.T masters were all well-educated, all from the merchant class, and spoke English. They came from families which were more enlightened than most Indians, and which had embraced 'new varieties of reformed Hinduism such as Arya Samaj'. Anand Swarup had himself belonged to the Arya Samaj in his youth, and there is a claim that Arya Samaj's founder, Swami Dayanand, was initiated by Shiv Dayal Singh. So many Arya Samaj members converted to RT that a strong rivalry between the two groups arose.
4. Although a residential colony of R.T, (Agra branch) had grown up called Soamibagh, when Anand Swarup became master he started his own colony nearby called Dayalbagh. which grew to 12,000 and became a prosperous industrial community, manufacturing toiletries, footwear etc. For this, he was knighted.
5. Anand Swarup's successor, Mehta, was an engineer who at first developed and expanded Dayalbagh but after India's independence it stagnated. His critics say he put too much emphasis on economic development and ignored the spiritual side of the community, and when some of his sayings were published after his death in 1975 they reflected this, being concerned with organisational issues.
6. A major western NRM, Eckankar, founded by Paul Twitchell, who died in the '70's, is based on R.T. philosophy and meditation practices, Twitchell having been initiated by one of the early R.T masters who visited the States; his many writings give a weird and complicated philosophy, and involves 'astral travelling' and the significance of dreams.
7. All the writings on the R.T I have come across refer only to light and sound. They seem to miss or misunderstand the concept of the 'word' which they seem to confuse with inner sound.
8. A current living R.T. master, according to Juergensmeyer/Lane's genealogical table, is an American, Judith Lamblion, in Salt Lake City. Another, Rajinder Singh, has a centre in Chicago, while another, Thakar Singh, is in Dehra Dun.
David Christopher Lane who compiled the genealogical tables published in the Juergensmeyer book, was and possibly is a catholic Christian who appears an authority on current cults, including R.T, and debunks them. He pointed out the criminal and sexually abusive activities of one famous American teacher, John Hoskins, founder of M.S.I.A., but the movement has nevertheless continued to grow. He is sympathetic to the cult surrounding the Californian guru, Da Free John, whom he thinks is a genuine insightful spiritual teacher but who demands total obedience in an extreme form from his followers, including sexual relations with females.
This is to demonstrate Lane is not wholly concerned with the R.T. As I told you, the British Internet critic Patrick Wilson, told me that Lane had given the techniques of K to his pupils to demonstrate that they could work regardless of who reveals them. On reading Lane's book I find this is not altogether correct. In a section called the Kirpal Statistic he points out that Kirpal Singh, a well-known R.T 'master' who died in 1974, kept a record of 80,000 people initiated by him, hundreds at a time, and their experiences in the meditation session after the initiation. Most of them claimed to have had inner experiences of light and music. Even people initiated after his death by listening to a tape recording of the master giving initiation had similar experiences. To test this, Lane when teaching in a catholic high school in the early 1980's, darkened the room and simulated with some students an initiation where he asked them to focus on the proverbial third eye and touched them on the forehead. 'They then meditated for five minutes. To my amazement, since I felt that Kirpal Singh and others were actually transmitting spiritual power, the majority of my students reported seeing light...others reported hearing sounds.' In years since he has done this several times with the same result. He concludes that anyone practising the techniques will have similar experiences. Hence he believes the claims of a master are debunked. 'You don't need to go to an Indian guru to have such experiences, you don't need to go anywhere at all.'
The connection between this and the internet is that on the website are not only a detailed albeit old-fashioned description of the four techniques, together with diagrams, but a detailed discussion of the way M gives K. today, i.e. with the assistance of a video. The question is asked that if such a video became widely available, would it circumvent the need for M in person. This line of thinking is getting at the same point as Lane in his Kirpal Statistic.
O.K., this is a general description of what the R.T research is all about and which might become more public knowledge as time goes by. It is not difficult to deal with it, though we have to assume the techniques will become more widely known. While Patrick Wilson thinks all this invalidates M's claim to be a special conduit for K, I think it reinforces his identity as true living master. It is especially to Shri Hans' credit that he kicked against the materialism of Dayalbagh and went his own way, putting K first.
PWK's however might be confused by 1. the notion that there may be more than one living master at one time (Patrick Wilson claims to have an E-mail from Lane saying that Shri Maharaji was initiated by both Sawan Singh and Anand Swarup and also claims to know that the two masters co-existed in mutual respect), 2. that Anand Swarup was such a big deal rather than a small-time master 3, That he was based in Agra rather than up in present Pakistan 3. that there is simply such a vast quantity of documentation on the R.T. and its various 'masters).
Much of the Internet material concerns, firstly, what is seen as M's profligate use of money during the late '70's, particularly in relation to Decca, with potentially damaging stories of how it was collected and processed, and secondly, as I reported after my first meeting with Patrick Wilson, the very bad feeling many people seem to have still as a result of their life in the ashram from 1978 till they closed, around 1983.
Both these concerns will need addressing at some point, one feels, they are so strongly expressed and felt, they will not go away. If they, and particularly the second, are ignored, they will continue to fester as an ever-present source of potential damage to M's present work.
Stories about M's personal life, in particular the interview with Mischler, can be handled easily by pointing out the by and large exemplary life he has led, especially compared to the extreme abuse visited on disciples by other 'masters'. In any area of comparison, M comes out far, far ahead. Even the heavy drinking reported by Mishler at the time of the family break-up, and we have to assume exaggeration to beef up the drama of Mischler's tale, is understandable in terms of the incredible stress M was going through at the time, combined with his own need to live a normal life with its own growing pains and youth experiments.
The story of the 707 can only be answered, in my view, by not hiding it, but freely admitting (if faced with questions on it by journalists) that Maharaji had the intention of creating a travelling headquarters, which is true, whereby he and a large group of initiators and organisation aides would move from country to country in an effort to spread Knowledge far and wide. The plan was therefore honourable, but was found to be unworkable in practice and was jettisoned in Maharaji's attempts to find the right formula to continue his work. It is worth saying that shortly after this he closed down the ashram system as being unworkable in the west, and spent two or more years in semi-retirement while he thought out how to go forward. As the New Yorker journalist points out in a riposte to the angry letters about the ashram at that time, he thinks it to M's credit that rather than get stuck in the old rut like so many other so-called gurus, M had the courage to change things, and in his case he 'got his sister back' as a result, as a functioning human being taking on a family role again and ceasing proselytising on M's behalf. This is a very positive point. So the 707 can be seen as a wild but valid attempt to do things in a different way. What is more difficult to explain is the sumptuousness of the decor of the plane - gold-plated taps etc. When one internet person who worked on the plane claimed it had a diamond encrusted toilet seat, he says it as an exaggeration, but one senses the opulence was not far off . This we have to accept and shrug off - yes, M did want it appointed to very high standards of comfort, is our answer, but only because he would be living in this plane for most of his time.
The ownership and funding of the project might cause further complications,, was it owned by EV-US? If not there could have been an illegality and Virgil needs consulting on where we stand on this.
The ashram question is even more difficult to deal with. Many of the correspondents appear to feel they had been badly abused and taken advantage of, losing years of their life in something they were promised would be worthwhile and permanent, but was not. In particular, David Smith is criticised for what was seen as his inhuman disregard for personal feelings as he implemented (as it is understood) Maharaji's instructions to encourage married pwk's to end their relationships and move into the ashram. Most of all, constant reference is made to a meeting of ashram pwk's with M at Kissimee where he was understood to have said the ashram is permanent, its inmates are his chosen fast-track people, but at the same time impressed his 'divine' credentials by saying he could, if he wished, 'turn them all blue and make them fly'. Shortly after he closed the ashrams, leaving an enormous sense of let-down. What is asked for on the internet is for Maharaji to acknowledge what happened, and either explain it or apologise for it.
We can of course point out that 1 - life in M's ashrams, even in those 'dark' days, as they are perceived, was respectful of the individual, beautiful and after all voluntary compared to the real abuse visited by almost all other so-called masters on their devotees. 2. it was again an experiment where M was trying for the first time to bring the traditional way K was taught and practised to the west. He found it did not work but only by trial and error, and then had the courage to abandon it, in effect to cut his losses, even knowing this would cause pain to those who had become reliant on the ashram system.
Now all this experimentation has led to what we have today, a way of spreading Knowledge which combines efficiency with humanity. If some people resent being 'trapped' in the ashram at that time, it is regrettable, but it was their free choice. And far from blighting careers, etc, a few years in a monastic environment, dedicated to the inner beauty, cannot be claimed to be time lost or wasted; it has another value which ought to be given some credence.
The only real answer to this is that M himself lent his full authority to persuading people to adopt this lifestyle, which did come close to a negation of personal liberty and choice, and this has led to strong resentment against him personally. It is as if they want him to acknowledge that he may however unintentionally have misled them, and even apologise. I do not see how he could do this as 1. fundamentally it is their own misunderstanding that caused their problem, and 2. there might be claims for some kind of compensation arising.
But it might be an effective way to neutralise this violent feeling for M in some way to address it. If this sting is drawn, much of the rest of the Internet criticism would begin to deflate.
The pwk defenders of M in the correspondence make matters worse with their intemperate devotional righteous anger. Even Linda Gross does us a disservice by allowing herself to be reported as saying words to the effect that 'you will not get your questions answered unless you give him the respect he deserves', which led to much predictable derision.
Subject: In anticipation of Glen's next 'memo'
I understand that John MG is shortly going to publish another 'Glen memo' which covers his (and my) general take on the Indian Roots at that time (1997).
Since it seems there is some eager anticipation for this, I want to make it absolutely clear that what I had learned back then was partially correct but also partly wrong. Glen's comments in this memo reflect this as you will see. (again I am credited by Glen in my capacity as 'Internet critic')
I had lent Glen a book that I was reading at the time called 'Radhasoami Reality' which talks about that groups tradition and a guru of theirs called Swarupanand - whom Glen and I both thought was probably Shri Hans' guru. Since then, I learned that this was not the case and, in fact, it was the Swarupanand of the Advait mat tradition who had been Shri Hans' guru. I expect Glen has updated his 'history facts' too by now.
Quite a few people have since then been researching this stuff - including Maharaji himself I expect. His former website reflected his findings. (I suspect that Ron Geaves is the most interested premie doing this research in earnest. My guess is that he's more interested in it than Maharaji).
Anyway it's relevant to remember, when you read Glen's missive, that the Radhasoami Tradition is only really significant in that:
1) A minor point - Shri Hans is reported by David Lane as having been earlier initiated by one of their Guru's called Sawan Singh. He later must have gone to the Advait Mat group's Sarupanand and become his devotee.
2) The Radhasoami teachings are extremely similar to the Advait Mat group's and later, DLM's teachings. The meditation, vocabulary, belief in Satguru, Service and Satsangs are practically identical in many respects. Shri Hans may well have been very influenced by Radhasoami which was huge at the time. In fact I would say that it is impossible that he would not have been.
I have very recently looked a bit closer at the lineage issue, helped enormously by the fact that someone (JM I presume) has put the entire Advait Mat history book online at EPO. This book, called 'Paramhans Advait Mat', documents their lineage in great detail back as far as Dayal (AKA Advaitanand) 1846-1919, and it hints at even more distant, past Gurus.
I'm afraid there is a further opportunity to get confused with the Radhasoami group because their lineage also goes back to someone called Dayal!! However this must have been another as the dates and places are different.
Anyway my latest conclusions are not far from those of Ron Geaves and Maharaji himself you may be surprised to hear. If the book is correct the lineage that led up to Swarupanand was something like this:
??? (see comment below about Totapuri.)
Swami Anandpuri Ji (he initiated Advaitenand in 1884)
Dayal (AKA Advaitanand) )1846-1919
(pictured on M's old website and at the Shri Nangli Sahib / Advait Mat webpage... linked to at EPO somewhere...BTW I am told that 'Nangli Sahib' is a place / village in India).
'It may be mentioned here that His (Advaitanand's) father, Pandit Tulsi Das, had long before His birth, been initiated into spiritual knowledge by a Saint of very high order commonly named as 'Paramhansa Kedarghat Kashiwale', who often used to visit their house. Occasionally the latter also visited Lala Narhar Pershad's house, the latter being a faithful disciple of his own disciple (Pandit Tulsi Das Ji). In 1860 A.D., when Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji was fourteen years old, Lala Narhar Pershad Ji also died. After Lala Ji's death, till Lala Ji's wife was alive, the said Saint continued to visit that house. He (Paramhansa Kedarghat Kashiwale) used to address Shri Swami Advait Anand Ji very affectionately by a pet name 'Hapu Baba'. The latter was formally initiated on an auspicious day into spiritual knowledge by this very Great Soul.'
'...There He (Advaitanand) met Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji Maharaj. Spiritual discussion took place between them. Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji of his own accord, told Him several ways of meditation, which He already knew. But according to the instruction of His Master, Shri Paramhansa of Kedar Ghat, He never disclosed those methods of meditation to anybody.
When Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji grew 90 years of age, his disciples marked that Shri Swami Ji's affection for Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji (AKA Advaitanand) was great. One of them, Lala Mahabir Prasad Ji, prayed to Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji one day: 'Maharaj ! Who will be Your successor' At that time Shri Swami Ji wrote in Urdu on a paper: 'Accept Paramhansa Ram Yaad.' (AKA Dayal AKA Advaitanand!) At that time Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji was out to some place nearby. When the end of Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji was near, he sent for Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji to Jaipur. After Shri Swami Anandpuri Ji expired, Darogha Ram Chandra and other disciples of the late Shri Swami Ji, put a costly Doshala (fine woollen cloth) round Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji as a mark of succession. But He however, being of independent nature, seldom liked to stick to one place. Therefore, He entrusted the service of Shri Swami Ji's Ashram to a his prominent disciples, and got Himself free. On the insistence of the disciples, He said, 'I have taken Sannyasa to meditate and devote Myself to the service of humanity at large. I do not wish to stick to one place.' Thus He left that place for Dwarka.'
'Shri Paramhansa Dayal Ji desired to bid farewell to this world. Having appointed Shri Swami Swarup Anand Ji as His spiritual successor on 3rd May, 1919 A. D.'
(also pictured on M's old website and at the Nangli Sahib / Advait Mat webpage)
'I (Swarupanand) wish to appoint one Of You as a chief All will have to abide by what he says. Now who should be the chief out of you four?' Pointing towards Shri Swami Vairag Anand Ji Maharaj, the Third Master, all of them requested, -Oh Lord! He will be our chief.' The Second Master (Swarupanand) observed, 'I also wish the same. He shall be your chief. He will sit on the 'Palang' (Guru's cot) and will issue orders. All of you will have to act accordingly.' All bowed to the Master's orders and said, -Oh Lord! We accept Your orders most respectfully.' The Second Master again took the hand of Shri Swami Vairag Anand Ji Maharaj in His own hands in the presence of all of them and observed, -'Very well, He shall be your chief. Do you all agree to it?' All bowed to denote their acceptance. Thus He gave all these orders secretly and none knew anything about it outside.'
Vairaganand 1898-1970ish? (pictured at the Nangli Sahib / Advait Mat webpage but conspicuously NOT on M's old webpage as the premie version of events is that Shri Hans was Swarupanand's successor.)
NB. Shri Hans had certainly been a follower of Swarupanand. The DLM version of events is:
'...so when he (Shri Hans) met Swami Swarupanand, the saint who became his Spiritual Teacher, he devoted himself totally and dived into the infinite ocean of spiritual wisdom. His Guru declared, 'I am in Hans' heart, and he is in mine', and he became the spiritual successor to Swami Swarupanand. In the early days of his mission, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj disseminated Spiritual Knowledge in Sind and Lahore. From 1930 he started teaching in Delhi....'
Shri Swami Beant Anand Ji Maharaj
Presumably this fellow is still alive.
The more I look into all this I see a pattern. Most of these Guru's were initiated by several Guru's in their lives. Succession was practically 'up for grabs' but the one who ended up with the property and money tended to be more 'recognised'. (academics concur this). Swarupanand may have given Shri Hans the wink although the book says otherwise. There is a report somewhere on EPO that Swarupanand told loads of his mahatmas to carry on his work. Certainly some of them were and are still highly revered - almost like they were 'lesser' masters. (Take a look at the 'Nangli Sahib' website to see this)
The idea of just one 'kosher' Perfect Master seems increasingly untenable. The perfect example of this is that Sat Pal (Maharaji's brother) is currently also a very popular 'Perfect Master' in India. Yesterday I spoke with an academic just returned from India who said that he was of the opinion that Sat Pal is much more popular than Maharaji there. Also there's this Beant Anand Ji character...
Finally, I understand that Ron Geaves broadly thinks that the above lineage is as I have written, but obviously is convinced that Swarupanand gave Shri Hans the official 'nod and wink' as opposed to Vairaganand. Basically you can believe who you like but, as an academic pointed out, academics tend to go on documentation and the Paramhans Advait Mat book is highly detailed and forthcoming compared to the very brief mention of Swarupanand in the DLM book about Shri Hans' life.
Incidentally, Ron Geaves apparently goes further into the past than I, for one, can do. He apparently links Swami Anandpuri Ji with a famous guru called Totapuri. (and hence links Maharaji).
Totapuri was associated with Ramakrishna, another very popular and revered Indian 'Saint'.
By the way, some academics now feel that there is convincing evidence that the later had sex with the former! (You know - all that Tantric stuff...)
Lineage is a subject used by people to bolster their position or identity. 'I am a descendent of William the conqueror'. Genealogy shows that we are all much more inter-related than we may think, so to single out any particular 'root' is usually only done to impress either oneself or others.
Premies may think that Maharaji is 'spiritually descended' from some particularly auspicious and unique line of Perfect Masters. That seems to me to be rather untenable considering the aforementioned huge element of wishful thinking needed all the way down the line.
Ex-premies may think that his lineage claims can be disproved. I would rather say that the 'lineage' notion can be seen more clearly for what it is - a mechanism to impress by association or to add weight to the idea of physically passing on the mantle of 'Master' from one person to another.
Squabbles about lineage and 'authenticity' are not new to Gurus.
Maharaji, Sat Pal, Beant Ji etc. and generations of would-be Masters before them have batted off such criticisms by indicating, when it suits them, that either :
A) Their Mastership was NOT so much inherited but they were just born to the condition.
B) It's irrelevant. Don't think about it - you'll just get confused. The experience speaks for itself.
C) The other claimants to the title are scoundrels, wrong or just plain inferior. (How many times have you heard a Guru say 'Hey, you should go and follow such-and-such, he is a greater Master than I' ?)
Maharaji is not alone, however, in being occasionally prone to announcements like :
'This is the traceable history of the Knowledge thus far'.
Lineage is almost meaningless and irrelevant except that it brings to attention the precious way Guru's and maybe more so - their disciples - value it when it suits them, and it shows how naive and pompous their thinking can be.
The value of looking at Lineages in as much accurate historical detail as possible, is that it demystifies the 'spin' that there has always been a clear transmission of power from Guru to Guru. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hence a premie might learn how incredibly 'unlikely' it is that their Master and 'Knowledge' are so unique and also may be able to understand the more prosaic reasons behind their Master's perceived status and the social context that made him what he is.
In other words, given the social conditions and influences that Maharaji grew up in, it would be hard to imagine that he could have grown up thinking that he were anything much other than a Perfect Master (without any 'Divine Intervention' needed).
I'll comment on Glen's memo when John posts it. I have to confess though, I think that the practice of attempting to debunk Maharaji's lineage is almost as futile as trying to verify it. The value of knowing this stuff is for me, as I said, much more about personally understanding the influences - not trying to prove or disprove what will be forever open to interpretation.
Patrick Wilson comments, posted on Forum VII on April 4, 2002.
Subject: *** More very relevant info...
This time via an email, sent to me in response to my above post, from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. This is very well worth reading and goes to show how 'The plot thickens' when you look into this stuff. A particularly interesting point this person raises is that Shri Hans started his 'Mission' before his guru S(w)arupanand had died. I had also noticed this from reading the dates of Sarupanand (1884-1936) and the claims by DLM about Shri Hans:
so when he met Swami Swarupanand, the saint who became his Spiritual Teacher, he devoted himself totally and dived into the infinite ocean of spiritual wisdom. His Guru declared, 'I am in Hans' heart, and he is in mine', and he became the spiritual successor to Swami Swarupanand. In the early days of his mission, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj disseminated Spiritual Knowledge in Sind and Lahore. From 1930 he started teaching in Delhi....
Here's the email I received this morning ~ (please take the time to read as it is most informative):
Hi Patrick, as usual a well executed post on the lineage of 'masters'! My own research has been for the same reasons as yourself and with most of the same conclusions. One of the projects that I would like to fulfil is the tracing of the lineages based on the famous Paul Brunton book 'A search in secret India' which got me into the whole enchilada in the first place. I am hoping to get a commission to write it.
The main thing about any Guru Gaddi is DISPUTE!!!! Some points on your post:-
I rarely read the Forum although it certainly serves its purpose well and you particularly provide necessary gravitas. Regarding the lineage issue I have an ongoing communication with Nangli Sahib ashram in Delhi and originally alerted J-M Kahn to this organisation. Recently, after questioning them further and providing relevant URLs (EPO etc.) I was informed ,quite vigorously, of the following;-
* Sarupanand did empower all his mahatmas to carry on his work thus breaking with a long held tradition. The same in Islam where Mohammed is revered as the last prophet.
* Vairaganand was put in charge of the Anandpuri ashram and then went renegade. He died in hospital after suffering fits, hardly a Mahasamadhi!!
* Beantanand took over and died in the same way. (I have the chronology somewhere)
* Their current Master is Darshan Purnanand (84 years old) who lives near Anandpuri, visited London last year and speaks English. The ashram is in North London. (see google)
* My contact tells me that the Nangli Sahib people reject the Advait Mat lineage although he, in true Indian tradition, rates them highly and said that if I wanted updesh they would be just as appropriate as his lot??? (coming from Sarupanand I assume)
* Ananandpuri ashram is apparently an incredible achievement- a veritable city.
* As for Tota Puri he is also on the Nangli Sahib list, however, in the book Kali's Child by Jeffrey Kripal ( a bit dry and overly scholastic) he is described as a wandering Sadhu, a Tantric Shaivite who most likely shagged Ramakrishna, who was certainly a raging queen. (move over Satya Sai Baba).
Personally I do not feel this predilection waters down his teaching, although it is a bit odd that he was an acknowledged Tantrika whilst Vivekananda was a Vedantin????
* Tota Puri does not fit the bill for any of what followed!
(Just as an aside, if you want to read an amazing book on Tantric Shaivism try 'The Doctrine of Vibration' a weighty tome but pretty cosmic, particularly the principle of Spanda - or 'Holy Name' as we know it).
* Hans was initiated by Mahatma Hira Anand and not by Sarupanand and the Nangli Sahib people think that he started his mission before Sarupanand even died.
* Whether it is Nangli Sahib, Radha Soami, Advait Mat, EV, Manav Dharam et al the main purpose of inheritance is the same as here - property! (see Rawat vs Rawat) (A nation of estate agents but you can't blame them.)
* Feel free to post any or all of the above but please respect my anonymity.