Hello from an old ex abhyasi....
I am another ex abhyasi of Sahaj Marg, where I passed more than 20 years of my life, beginning at the time of Babuji. The first years of practice were for me positive and for this reason, I am grateful to Babuji and Chari. Unfortunately, these last years, I have started to be in crisis.I felt very sad and I did not recognized (believe) what I saw and heard, I had impression of choking and well on, I felt guilty during 3 years (I am not up to the mark, I am not good a abhyasi etc...) and finally, after long suffering, I have succeeded in releasing myself from my direction of culpability and be on my way, this, after I sought a long time, and everywhere another way possible which would be appropriate to me, which was not easy, as you will appreciate.
If I write today, it is only to encourage those who would like, but do not find the courage to cross the step towards the fresh air! By experiment, I know that it is hard. It is said to you that you will lose your condition (which condition?), that it is your ego which takes the top, one cannot betray Master like that, one will make him suffer... etc... Surely, one needs a minimum of courage to cross the step and to dare to call in question what one lived all these years, but if one considers all the sadness which one feels, the culpability, the direction of smothering, the impression which one does not go upwards any more but that one is spread out horizontally in the materiality... if there is a TRUE SPIRITUAL RESEARCH, one cannot continue to commit suicide with small fire like that!
At the beginning, in my opinion, the way to the top was open, but today, where is it? Where is the spirituality? It is not we (the abhyasis) who changed and who do not have any more a spiritual aspiration, in fact the SRCM has Changed and does not carry out us any more where we wanted to go. AND if the SRCM changed, who changed? Those that manage it, unfortunately! Where is the love? Where is humility? Surely not in the continual requests for money and with the expansions and the financings! But I can assure you, that beyond Sahaj Marg, there are other things! There is life and also Spirituality! And even spiritual purity, the purity which I did not hope for to find any more, it still exists, in some recesses of the sphere, with some discreet and humble Master, who does not make publicity and still lives in the greatest of simplicity.
It seems to me that many abhyasis remains only by fear. If you feel the necessity to leave, DARE! What do you have to lose? Nothing! But everything to gain! Sahaj Marg is not UNIQUE, like someone said to us and re-said! The divine would not be so miserly, and be lavish only inside the SRCM? I also often heard: yes, but there, there is not the transmission! The transmission, (You know I think that Sahaj Marg derives from the Sufism which Lalaji inherited from his Sufi Master (see book published by the SRCM in July 2001 "the complete works of RAM Chandra- Lalaji Maharaj volume II). In Sufi practice, there is the transmission (nothing new (unique) thus!) and the transmission was apparently used at the time of the first stages of the Sufi spiritual practice (see book of Thomas Dahnhardt: "Change and continuity in Indian Sufism). Afterwards, they pass on to another thing. Therefore, the transmission is useful, but until where? And from which level does it emanate? Are there not other more subtle and/or lower forms of transmission too? All is relative!
Babuji said that if a disciple is not convinced that his/her Master can bring him/her to God, she/he has the full right to go towards another Master.
I wish all, all the brothers and sisters who are in a sincere search, good luck!
To return from there to the sufi lineage, it is common and normal that each Master generates one (seldom) or several lines. Therefore, Sahaj Marg, (moreover, the term "Sahaj Marg" derives from the medieval tradition of the “Sant” in India) the branch called Sahaj Marg by Babuji, is a branch or subbranch among so much of others of the same trunk, already highly ramified.
On this subject, I highly recommend to those who read English to reading the book by Thomas Dahnhardt, university researcher at the center of Islamic studies of Oxford and teacher of Urdu literature and Islamic civilization in India at the university of Venice, this book is entitled “Exchange and Continuity in Indian Sufism”.
According to Dahnhardt, another small detail would have escaped us (if his information is exact): Babuji would not be called Ram Chandra but Madhe Mohan Lal and would have then taken the name of his Master Ram Chandra of Fategarh. One hid many things from us!
In the moment one speaks about money, corruption, degeneration, etc… and it is undoubtedly important to open one's eyes to all that, to discover the “hidden truths”…, that helps us to get our feet grounded and to re-assess, to find a little humility… but the principal problem is SPIRITUALITY!
And it would be the most important question to bring up, because if Sahaj Marg exists, its first and single reason for existence is or should be Spirituality!
Therefore, the spirituality, the true one, naked, stripped down, the essential one, which carries one to God… does this spirituality still exists within Srcm?
Can one still evolve spiritually as a practitioner of the Sahaj Marg of today, up to the ultimate goal?
We point out that Master can carry us where he is himself, but not beyond.
Let us try to feel from the bottom of our heart if we are convinced that the current Sahaj Marg current can carry us to fusion with the divine ONE, where the ego does not exist any more?
Let us not try not to save something that is already dead or at the end of its life?
Material development and numerical expansion have nothing to do with spirituality and the fact that there are many disciples and good financial resources does not mean that spirituality consequently healthy! Often, it is the opposite!
Fraternal salutations to all
It is always Madeleine, ex-abhyasi with more than 20 years of Sahaj Marg behind her !
I wanted to add a precision to what I wrote yesterday.
Therefore, now, it is known that Sahaj marg is a branch of a quite large and bulky tree!
But, sometimes, a branch of a tree withers and dies. It withers and dies when the sap does not arrives there no more!
The substance, its paramount food, for one reason or another (for us to try to understand the reason), begins to lack and it ceases feeding it!
Then, when the substance, the sap is suddenly lacking, one tries to fill this vacuum by creating other foods of a different nature. And then, it gives birth to newsgroups, workshops, training course, here and there, constructions of ashrams, schools, hospitals (even if the latter are apparently creditable), but it is always to fill the vacuum!
One makes makes the people of Sahaj Marg believe that these initiatives are very important, because (they say) the people should be occupied! Mentally and materially, because the people (abhyasis) should not think any more and do not have to remember how they have arrived here in the first place, and what it was they had come to seek with a trustful and hope-filled heart!
And as the people should not think any more, one requires of him a blind faith by publishing for example a book dictated from the great beyond! (either one believes in it, or one is practically lost!) (to be noted that in the spiritual traditions, it is known that one should not believe without having direct experience, because that does not make sense, and that Chari himself, 20 years ago said to us that it was necessary to listen to one's own heart and to follow the interior voice if it was in contradiction with what the same Master said)
Here, in my opinion, is the root of this sad story!
The substance is gone from there, because whoever was lavishing it is not up to the measure to distill it any more, and everyone is falling into the trap of filling on food made from substitutes!
And then, careful!! It is not without risks to be on a branch which withers!: The small leaves which are attached there wither too! And often, they do not realize it!!
To conclude, I announce you the existence of a small and singular book, allotted to Kabir (Kabir was considered by Babuji the person who had reached the highest spiritual level of all the latter-day saints ). This book is very well known in India and strangely unknown in our lands. In India, there are tens of versions, and I believe that one can find it on the Internet or buy it via Amazon.com… This small book, rather surprisingly, really draws one to reflect on this great mystery of spirituality and to locate Sahaj Marg and to understand at which spiritual level the various paths may have their origins,
IT is entitled “The Ocean of Love”,
ANURAG SAGAR of KABIR.
During the years of our permanence at the SRCM, and still at the time of Babuji, some among us already knew of the existence, in the north of India, of 5 or 6 groups of disciples or descendants of disciples of Lalaji, who had gone on their own way, without recognizing Babuji as the successor of Lalaji.
We also knew, from the autobiography of Babuji that somebody had tried to put sticks in his wheels, until they managed to try to put an end to his days.
At that time, we were satisfied with the path which we followed and we did not have any curiosity to test it more. Moreover, the environment which reigned within the mission, consisted of a significant “self-contentment”: we were the only ones to benefit from the transmission (!), our Master was of a level such that any being of this level would not have been incarnated for a few thousand years (!), probably, HE was the Special Personality (?), without also speaking of the fact of eventually possibly being a preceptor (!).
And thus, these disciples of Lalaji who had not recognized Babuji, which, for us was the single legitimate successor, were seen at most with commiseration and sufficiency. As would say Christian, we belonged to the "arrogant stupid"!
A few years later, especially after 99 and particularly after the centenary of the birth of Babuji, we started to not find any more what we had always sought, i.e. that we feel that the access path to the top, towards the divine ONE was not open any more, and considering the type of "horizontal Material" expansion that the mission developed, we started to try to understand a little more the origins of Sahaj Marg, with an aim of finding another way which could be appropriate to us, hoping that there is still a movement with the same origin, in which spirituality would still be alive.
At the time of this research, one of the first elements which retained our attention was a film (or rather 2 films) of Arnaud Desjardin, filmed in 1973 in Afghanistan and titled: “Sufis of Afghanistan masters and disciples” and “In the Midst of the Brothers” (Trade Wind Production).
By seeing these 2 films, we could note that they also used a "transmission" and that they worked with the same points of the area of the heart as in Sahaj Marg, that they had sittings and the analogy was really obvious.
I wrote to Arnaud Desjardin at length on these Masters. He answered me that, unfortunately, the majority of them had disappeared, died or hiding, since the Soviet invasion.
After which, I went (literally) in search of a book of which I had had some indications and who would have proven what I thought on the Sufi originof Sahaj Marg. This book is: “Lakshvedhi Genealogy”, the genealogical chronology of the saints, before and after Mahatma RAM Chandraji Maharaj de Fatehgarh (Lalaji), in the order of Naqshbandia Mujaddidia, written by B.B Basuk (first edition in Hindi in 1973, third English edition in 1985).
I noted thereafter that Dahnhardt had inserted it in the bibliography of his book.
Here is some information drawn from this book, with the benefit of the doubt, for sure, because Indian research and the talks are often not very clear, already only by the simple fact that they often allot to the same person, several different names…:
- first point: the Sufi origins of the Sahaj Marg was confirmed there. Basuk declares that in 1984, he had been invited to Madras in April 29 to May 1 for the 85ème birthday of the birth of Babuji and that he had contacts with abhyasis and preceptors of the Mission. Therefore, in the SRCM, some knew him and some undoubtedly knew of his research!
- Another point: With the death of Lalaji, Babuji would have continued to very often attend the satsang of Shri Chaturbhuj Sahaj in Matura and that of Shri Krishna Lal in Sikanderabad, these two last being apparently two of the legitimate representatives and successors of Lalaji (heir). (Krishna Lal would have been named successor of Lalaji in 1921, therefore 10 years before hiss death)
- Last point: this reading, for the first time, put us in front of the fact, for us difficult to accept, that Masters can have more than one legitimate successor and that that is completely normal and natural.
Indeed, with regard to this last point, in the past and still today of the times, it was completely normal that Masters send, before his death, his best disciples, to work each one, in a different geographical area. And it is what Lalaji would have done.
Just as it was normal for a disciple to follow several Masters along his/her spiritual journey, Masters being at different levels, and it was also sometimes the Master himself who sent his disciple to another Master, to carry on with his/her path. All was very open!
And it is also what Lalaji would have done, as a disciple, starting with Sufism could have continued with the practice of Sant Mat. And this without making one feel guilty nor “to betray” whoever!
Today, all these ramifications can perhaps allow each one of us, to find what is more appropriate for each one and, if one believes in it, one can think that each one of us is sent where one must go!
Let us recall that if the way that one follows is not the right one, one does not go far, even if one often believes that one went far! The problem arises only when one successor declares himself as being the single legitimate successor!
At this point, I would like to highlight some “inaccuracies” which were reported by Babuji on the origin of Sahaj Marg and which are still in vogue within the SRCM. It should be remembered that, from Lalaji's death to the foundation of the SRCM and the arrival of the first disciples of Babuji, more than 10 years had passed… one knows that time erases all and causes all to forget…:
- Lalaji would have had a Master and perhaps more one
- The partly Sufi origin of the system is, today without any doubt
The writings of Lalaji have not disappeared, as in the fable of the SRCM, in which one tells us that a servant would have sold all the writings of Lalaji, thinking that they were papers to be thrown away. The writings of Lalaji apparently still exist, were written into Urdu, some were translated into English, but they were never put to our knowledge by the SRCM, if not in 2001, with the book “The Complete works of Ram Chandra-Lalaji- volume II”, but for a short period (considering that it practically disappeared from circulation), also for the fact that it dealt with a quite different teaching from that of Sahaj Marg and where one can understand that the so-called simplification of this latter is no other than the reduction and the amputatation of the teachings of Lalaji.
The practise of spiritual taught by Babuji does not correspond to that taught by Lalaji.
- Lalaji would have named at least 2 successors (heirs)
- Lalaji would not have discovered the central region. This point is most difficult and to speak about it is not obvious! But, in fact, the concept of the central region was taken up again by Lalaji following his contact with Radhasoami (and by reading the preceding radhasoami literature, one can have confirmation of it).
- Along with these “inaccuracies”, one could not miss, to complete the setting, the change of hiss own name to that of hiss Master.
I finish by giving you again the references of the books which, in my opinion, help to better understand all of that, if one wants to go deeper on certain points:
- “The supplements works of RAM Chandra - Lalaji- volume II, consequently published SRCM with 7000 copies in July 2001 and it seems that this book has strangely disappeared from circulation, and it does not seem to be a trace of it nowhere! It has become taboo! The only way to get it is to borrow it from an abhyasi who is or was subscribed for life and who will have received it systematically at the time. In this book, Lalaji starts with his Sufi experience and leads to his experience of Sant Mat, which he largely develops.
- The book of the researcher Thomas Dahnhardt. : “Exchange and continuity in indian sufism “. You will find out many things there about Lalaji.
- “- L' Anurag Sagar. ” “The ocean of Love“ allotted to Kabir. One understands many things there on "why" from masters of various levels! And what these levels are.
- Books of Kirpal Singh (one of the masters beyond Sant Mat): “The Wheel of Life, The Mystery of Death“ and many other books on the site: www.ruhanisatsangusa.org, which gives an much clearer and in-depth explanation than what we could read in Sahaj Marg, on spirituality.
- Baba Sawan Singh (another Master of Sant Mat) (if you succeed in finding them): “Philosophy of the Masters”. 6 or 7 volumes
- “Sar Bachan” of Soamiji Maharaj.
They are difficult to read, but their reading is worth the pain. They are in English.
Well on, they are only books, and they are used to impart some ready made, and prejudged ideas so as better to inform us, but there always remains true that nothing is worth the direct contact with the Masters and/or a valid practice with their (the Masters) assistance.
Here, I believe that with this letter, I concluded my intervention on the blogs, because frankly, I do not want any more to explore beyond! I spent many years with this research and it seemed to me right to communicate the fruits of it.
I greet all the brothers and sisters with all my heart.
Testimonial originally published on Elodie's blog, in janvier 2007