The Opposite of "Not One Of Us" is "We Are All One”
By James Bean — Copyright December 2006 — All Rights Reserved
One of the most mysterious passages recorded in the New Testament is: “’Teacher’, said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in your Name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’
“’Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘No one who does a miracle in my Name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.’” (Mark 9: 38+39)
One can wonder who this mystery person was and what unknown sect or faction of the Jesus Movement he belonged to, since the disciples had apparently never encountered him before. There is a passage somewhere in the New Testament which says, “I have sheep not of this fold”, also implying multiple groups or disciples — more than one community of devotees out there somewhere, in other words.
The initial reaction of the disciples is quite typical of human nature. Some things never change. Same as ever. I’ve seen people react this way many times: “…..We told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” It’s the “You’re Not One Of Us! Treatment” .… again.
I was given a video tape once from someone in Oregon. They said it was from Kirpal Singh’s Sant Mat group. I watched this video, but none of the faces looked familiar to me. None of the names, buildings or the locations were recognizable either. It was like seeing a satsang in a parallel universe or meeting “cousins” you didn’t know you had. It turns out it was at a place called Kirpal Sagar (“Ocean of Kirpal”). Eventually I discovered that this was a gathering in India at a school associated with an initiate of Master Kirpal Singh who said he was instructed to look after this particular school and satsang center. It was a different branch of Ruhani Satsang that did not sign up with any living guru after the passing of Kirpal Singh in 1974.
According to Ruhani Satsang there were thirty six teachers that emerged after the passing of Kirpal who claimed to be his spiritual successor . Seriously. 36! Most of these teachers are not known to us in the Western world but have ashrams or satsangs in various parts of India.
With Sant Mat, and with most spiritual paths, East and West, there is an etiquette of focusing upon your teacher. Each satsang is associated with a certain guru. Only his photographs and those of his or her predecessors in the same lineage will be displayed at such gatherings.
Quite often in many groups there is an ethos that their teacher is the “one-and-only” competent living guru of the “present time”, that usually there is only “one” such teacher or true “gurumukh” spiritual successor at a time on planet earth. I think of this as being not so much a literal statement of fact but more of a “bhakti” or “devotional truth” for the satsangi. Having a spiritual Master is somewhat like marriage, as it should be. Spiritual promiscuity isn’t desirable. The non-committal “new age” mentality has never amounted to much, has never been a successful approach to enlightenment. As one teacher used to say, “Better to dig one deep well and strike water than to keep digging dozens of shallow holes in the ground getting nothing, seeking but never finding.” Your teacher is your “one-and-only”, so to speak.
In terms of Sant Mat history however, there has never been a time during the last several centuries when there was “only one” Sant Satguru operating in the world. The reality is there have been multiple lineages of spiritual Masters contemporary with one another since at least the time of Kabir and Guru Nanak in the 14th century. Both Guru Kabir and Guru Nanak were founding gurus who appointed successors. These are guru lineages now spanning many generations. Generally speaking, we have the various Sikh Gurus in one line, and the successors and devotees of Guru Kabir in another. Of course, it’s much more complicated than this, with the formation of many Nanak and Kabir Panths and sects over the centuries.
"It is not necessary that there should be only one Master in the whole world or even in a single country. There have been different Masters in different countries at the same time, and even in the same country. Thus Guru Nanak and Kabir were contemporaries, and so also Dadu and Guru Arjan. But their teaching is the same at all times and in every country." (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh, vegetarian, Sant Satguru, Master & Teacher of Surat Shabd Yoga, “Spiritual Gems”, letter 121)
And there are many more lineages than those two general “Nanak” and “Kabir” categories. Quite a few famous and highly celebrated Sants of India were not initiated by a Sant Satguru affiliated with either a Nanak or Kabir related sect or parampara. For instance, in the Southern Sant tradition, Sant Tukarama of Maharashtra was initiated by Babaji Raghavachaitanya in 1619. Where did he come from?
At the same time the Tenth Sikh Guru (Gobind Singh) was alive was another Master, and this Master was the one who initiated Sant Paltu Sahib (1710-1780). Paltu became a well-known poet-mystic and Sant.
There was also Sant Dadu Dayal of Rajasthan. Dadu was initiated by a Master by the name of Buddhan in 1555. Dadu would eventually establish a satsang center and appoint successors to carry on, thus we have another multi-generational lineage of gurus that are based in Rajasthan.
And it does not end here. One could site scores and scores of similar examples of recognized Sants being initiated by gurus that in some case we know virtually nothing about.
Dariya Sahib, Saint of Bihar
Dariya was born in 1674 and passed in 1780. At the age of sixteen Dariya was initiated into Surat Shabd Yoga by a Sant Mat Master referred to as “Sat Saheb”. Dariya eventually became the successor of Sat Saheb, and a towering figure in Sant Mat history, authored around twenty books of hymns and discourses, and founded the Dariya Panth, a spiritual movement with a large number of ashrams, satsangs, and followers. Many of Dariya’s followers believe him to be the reincarnation of Kabir, very much in the tradition of the Anurag Sagar. Dariya appointed at least two spiritual successor gurus to carry on with the work of Sant Mat after his departure from the world. Their names were Guna Das and Teka Das. Eventually Guna Das died so Teka Das became the guru of the main sangat.
Tulsi Sahib, Saint of Hathras
Tulsi was born in 1763 and passed on in 1843. He would have been in his teens when Dariya Sahib was still alive — old enough to have received initiation from Dariya, in other words.
Early in his life Tulsi did extensive travelling around India. In the book, “Tulsi Sahib — Saint of Hathras”, it states: “Tulsi Sahib’s works include words and expressions of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian ….. Marathi …. he has freely used words of Braj, Avadhi, Rajasthani (Marwari), Gujrati, Punjabi and Maithili, which leads one to conclude that, like many other Saints, he must have travelled widely in U.P., Rajasthan, Gujrat, Punjab and Bihar.”
What Sant Mat Master or spiritual path did Tulsi Sahib receive initiation from? This “pre-Tulsi Sahib Sant Mat path”, if you will, would have used a sacred text called the “Anurag Sagar” (Kabir’s Ocean of Love), since Tulsi Sahib did. One of their spiritual practices was the repetition (simran) of the Five Names (the Panch Naam mantra). ALL FIVE names were part of their mystical vocabulary. Having the understanding that “Sant Dharam Das is the primary spiritual successor of Kabir” is another central teaching. These are all hallmarks of this group, “the People of the Anurag Sagar”, as I like to call them, this “pre-Tulsi Sahib Sant Mat path”. They existed in India PRIOR to the time of Tulsi Sahib. Since these elements became part of Tulsi Sahib’s teaching — his Sant Mat — including the use of the Five Names — most likely he learned of them at the feet of his spiritual Master.
The Unknown Guru of Tulsi Sahib likely was Sant Dariya, a successor of Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar like Sant Tika Das, or a related Satguru connecting somewhere along the way back to Sant Dharam Das and the Dharamdasi branch of Kabir Panth. In any case, the only contemporary spiritual Master Tulsi Sahib named in his writings is Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar, which for me is a very significant clue.
I can also share that I’ve found proof from multiple sources that the Panch Naam mantra, “the Five Names” as we call them, were used by a Dharamdasi sect prior to the time of Tulsi Sahib. Since these are secret names, I will respect this Indian tradition of not revealing sacred names and not include that information here.
Tulsi Sahib eventually established a satsang in Hathras, where he initiated souls into Surat Shabd Yoga meditation. And his mission was contemporary with Sant Tika Das’s mission in Bihar, providing us with yet another example of two recognized Sant Satgurus operating in the world at the same time. At present, there are still Masters in the lineage of Tulsi Sahib leading satsangs and initiating souls in Hathras, Bihar and other locations around India and Nepal. The same might be true in the Dariya Sahib branch of Sant Mat. Tika Das appointed guru successors. That lineage may still be with us even now. According to Domain Singh, webmaster of the Dariya Sahib Website, there are “two hundred Saints” presiding over various ashram centers in the Dariya sangat at present. It is my prayer that he is correct about this, as the world needs as many enlightened souls as possible.
From the book, Dariya Sahib — Saint of Bihar, we read: “It was also made clear by Dariya Sahib that these successors would have the right to appoint their own successors and that is how the order would continue. On being asked by Fakkar Das, his brother, how long this order would continue Dariya Sahib replied that as long as the practice of the Sound Current remained central to the discipline, and the order kept pure and free from external rituals and formalism, the line would continue. When the practice of the Sound Current is mingled with outer appearances (bhekh) and external rituals, the Sound Current (Shabd) will part company. Then the power transmitted by me, said Dariya, will leave, and the souls will go into the mouth of Kal. At that stage, he would come to this world and start a line of the Sound Current once again. This is how, he said, he had been coming for aeons.
“Thus, having explained everything and all aspects of the saintly mission, and having fulfilled the purpose of his life, he passed on his responsibilities to his successors and departed from this world in ….. 1780.”
One devotee of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib was Shiv Dayal Singh of Agra. Tulsi was the guru of Shiv Dayal’s family. After the death of Tulsi Sahib, Shiv Dayal Singh, eventually, along with several others became gurus, in and outside of, the sangat of Tulsi Sahib: Baba Devi Sahab, Sur-swami, Radha-swami, Girdhari Das, and Ramkrishna. One branch of the Tulsi Sahibi group refers to Shiv Dayal Singh as “Sant Radhaswami Sahib.”
Of course, I have only written very briefly above about a few of the “Northern Sant” lineages. At the same time as there were Northern Sant lineages of gurus, contemporary with those are many more operating to the south in India, the so-called “Southern Sants” of Maharashtra. Typically, the Northern Sants are slightly closer to Sufism and further away from the Vaishnava tradition. The Southern Sants however seem closer to the Gita, Krishna and Vaishnava.
Tulsi Sahib was of the opinion that Sant Mat dates back to the time of Krishna thousands of years ago, and that Krishna knew of Sants back then during the time of the composition of the Bhagavad Gita.
When has there ever been “only one” Sant Mat guru or “one Gurumukh successor” “of the time” in Sant Mat history? The answer is: never has there been only “one” Sant Sat Guru at a time, at least since before the days of Kabir, Nanak, and Dadu Dayal several centuries ago.
Paraphrasing Guru Nanak’s Jap Ji:
Countless are the gurus,
Countless the gaddis,
Countless are the Sants,
Countless are the Mats,
Countless the satsangs,
Countless are the satsangis.
Of course these groups are not all the same. One size or description does not fit all. Not being aware of the existence of an obscure Sant Mat path doesn’t make it “false” or “of Kal”, anymore than being intimately familiar with, or attached to, a spiritual path necessarily makes it “true”.
There are several stages groups might pass through during their history here in this Ocean of Samsara, the world of illusion and change. Some may be legitimate and in the “alive” category, with both guru and disciple having inner experiences or a rich contemplative life. Inner regions are experienced during meditation. For them, mysticism is not reduced to theory, confined to books or legends.
There are groups that have lost their living guru fairly recently and he appoints no successor, thus no new people get initiated in those groups. The Light grows dim as the remaining devotees pass from the scene.
A few larger organizations may be on their way to becoming new world religions or institutions.
There are groups where nobody has inner experiences, period, no inner Light, no mystic Sound, no water in the well, only dusty “cups” used to quench the thirst of others who lived decades or centuries earlier.
Some became, or are gradually becoming, mainstream religions administered by a house of justice or council, looking to past Masters or holy books for inspiration, with lots of buildings, temples and holy relics.
There’s always a few unethical teachers around making the headlines, manipulating people, adhering to a cultic approach.
Some troll for disciples in the West and are fast becoming more astral with each passing day, as the ranks swell with a growing new age population. We may ask, who is converting whom?
There are sadhus with some degree of attainment that have helped the souls that have crossed their path — nothing wrong with that.
There have been nice-guy-gurus without much spiritual attainment but nevertheless seem harmless and have helped to make the world a better place by spreading some of the teachings and ethical principals of the Masters to larger audiences.
In other words, with such a long list of newer and older paths will be found sant panths representing many different states of consciousness and stages of development, vibrancy or decline, crisis and renewal.
Thankfully, there have been many honest, loving, radiant, Godly beings that have graced this planet with their enlightened compassion. They work with those who seek the path of the Masters and successfully practice Surat Shabd Yoga in a way that is almost identical to the Ideal spiritual path described by Swami Ji of Agra, Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, and Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar, with a rich mystical approach to meditation practice, travelling quite far along in their journey back to God. For them these teachings of Sant Satgurus are not merely “group think” or “myth” or “belief” or about a “hypothesized” Higher Self sadly never realized. They have very real experiences commencing with meditation practice. It’s not so hard really. “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” (Maharaj Woody Allen Ji) The Divine Light and Sound are within everyone. With the proper guidance, positive influence (satsang), and correct meditation practice, those meant to find the path during this life will see, will hear, and explore the Inner Regions, the Kingdom of the Heavens within.
“Another common misconception is that prophets, saints and mystics search for ‘new’ truth. Rather, what they do is to simply remove the layers of dirt — of accumulated misinterpretations — that have corrupted the truth. Then the living teacher will bring forth the very same truth in a new light. The original truth must repeatedly be presented to suit the current age.” (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Harmony Of All Religions)
Many Sant Mat Guru Lineage Charts Relating to Guru Kabir, Guru Nanak, Sant Dariya Sahib, Sant Tulsi Sahib, Maharshi Mehi, Radhasoami, and Surat Shabd Yoga: http://www.spiritualawakeningradio.com/surat_shabd_yoga_sant_mat.html