Thursday, 10 October 2013

Meeting the Gurus in Britain

By Robert Searle


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In the past, I met a number of gurus. The one that impressed me most was probably Swami Chidananda the recognized successor of the great Swami Sivananda. I recall going to interview him for Yoga and Health magazine. He was staying at a devotees home in Sutton (London area). He was a charming, and self-effacing man. I asked him a whole number of questions, and the interview lasted for over two hours....much to the amazement of the devotees as this was a rare thing for him to do! Ofcourse, the editor of Yoga, and Health magazine had to reduce the length of the transcript of my meeting with him. It appeared in published form in December 1989. It revealed some fascinating light about himself, and the workings so to say of his Divine Life Society. Unfortunately, the original tape recording of the interview went amiss.

Apart from him, I also came across Jashan Vaswani (whose voice was reminiscent to that of a Dalek!), Shivabalayogi (who called his meditation "mind-control" a term which has negative connotations in Western society!), Pandit Ravishankar (who had a strange effeminate voice, and not be confused ofcourse with the famous late Indian musician!) S.A.A Ramaiah (who was a somewhat "severe" sharp-minded intellectual guru who did not cut his finger, and toe nails as he claimed that this was because it made him more sensitive to "energies"), Mataji Nirmala Devi, Mata Amritanandamayi (who in one of her "love-ins" put her finger on my forehead, and whereupon I received an instantaneous injection of energy which was meant to send me into higher conciousness!) Shyam Ma, et cetera..

........One individual I met in Slough appeared to be a guru of sorts. Though he was clearly of Asian descent he used the Jewish name Moses for himself. He advertized his "Occult Group" in a local free-ads paper. I rang him, and he claimed that alot of people who phoned him thought he was into magic....or possibly black magic involving ritualism, and nudity! I informed him that he was wrong to use the word "occult" in his advert as this has a negative connotation to many, and thus, he had been attracting the wrong kind of public.
Anyway, I went to his flat in Langley, and there was only one other "devotee" with him. It transpired that he taught a form of Christian meditation involving the Kabbalah. Personally, I did not like him particularly, and he became somewhat defensive when I asked him whether he could give me any references of people who might have benefited via his meditation.He claimed that I was testing him.....which was not my intention. He also asked me whether I knew about the power of Silent Command (or so-called Telecult Power notably popularised by Reese Dubin) to which I said yes......When I left his flat, and walked home I could feel his energy but it soon wore off. Clearly, he had some degree of power, but how genuine he was is another matter.
Another guru I came across was via an advert in Yoga Today in about 1987. He had also published an article therein on Ajapa Yoga, and inner Sound. I contacted him as he was interested in starting a group on the subject. His name was Marjan J. Ebert who was German, and he travelled to England to meet me.
One thing he taught me was something very worldly. In a pure vegetarian restaurant he explained how Thali (a mixture of Asian curries in little metal containers along with nam bread, samosas, et al) is eaten correctly in India. Apparently, all the little food containers are turned upside down along with everything else making a "mess" on the large metal plate they were on! A grand nosh if ever there was one!
Marjan J. Ebert complained that in his meditation groups in Germany he would ask for donations to help forward his Ajapa Yoga. But this did not generally work out so he had decided on a fixed charge... However, he would give his meditation free if the person concerned happened to be Prince Charles!
Another guru I met was Kehar Singh. He was billed as being a Sant Satguru of Surat Shabd Yoga. In the early 1990s I was waiting to get initiated into Radha Soami Satsang Beas, and I came across Tarn Taran Satsang. This latter group was for many decades recognized by the former as being bona fide. However, when Kehar Singh "came to power" (so to speak!) Maharaj Charan Singh of the Beas Satsang tried to publicly avoid him unlike his predecessor, or so the story goes.
Anyway, I thought I would pay a visit on Kehar Singh who was staying with some devotee in Slough. We shook hands both uttering a lusty resounding Radhasoami as a greeting.I mentioned Maharaj Gurinder Singh to him, and he did not react negatively, but merely referred to him as Mr. rather than Maharaj, his honorific title.
Amongst the small band of people I was with at the time one Beas Satsangi was staring disconcertingly at me "trance-like". It was claimed that he had reached Sach Khand, and was greatly respected. It is not clear why he was present. Maybe he recognized Kehar Singh as being the genuine article. This would ofcourse contradict the stance held by Beas Satsang! As with all these things it suggests to me that subjective dynamics play a big part in all this.Unfortunately though, things went little awry with Kehar Singh in Slough as it emerged that he was becoming impatient in trying to raise funds for his organization as well as certain other matters.Yet, he did manage to get his picture in the local newspapers with some notables! So his trip to Britain was not totally wasted. Ofcourse, none of this means that he is an imperfect "Sant" .
Gurus are after regarded in the main as incarnations of the Absolute Power of the Universe, and can do anything even if it contradicts the mores of society itself which if they occur are seen as tests of faith.....Finally, I hardly if at all had any kind of "spiritual" experiences with any of the above with the exception of two Teachers. They were Dr. Sharma (aka Manav Dayal), and Harjit Singh both drawing their inspiration from Baba Faqir Chand.



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