1. The Founder's Last Years - describing my experiences in the Mission during Babuji's last years from 1979 to 1983
LESSONS IN POWER Part 1: The Founder's Last Years
LESSONS IN POWER Part 2: Death Of The Master - Chari's Early Days
Lessons In Power Part 3: The Publishing Committee
Lessons In Power Part 4: Establishing New Principles
Lessons in Power Part 5: My Departure
Lessons In Power Part 6: Meeting Other Masters
Lessons In Power Part 7: My Recovery From SRCM
LESSONS IN POWER PART 8: ANALYSIS
UPDATE FEBRUARY 24, 2007
Recent postings of letters and accusations against Chari's SRCM from the Shahjahanpur based SRCM introduced by Navneet, Babuji’s grandson, ( www.srcmshahajahanpur.org.in) has caused may questions. I'm going to attempt to address this as best I can as I am being asked to do so by several who comment regularly on my Blog. What is written below is based on facts as best I can recollect them, along with my own personal analysis and assessments of characters and underlying intentions of each character involved.
Lawsuits, Letters and Quotes from Dead People
SRCM has many divisions and factions, the two main warring factions I will refer to in this article as the Chari Clan, and the Umesh Clan. I use these terms because their behavior can easily be likened to Clan warfare.
Both clans are guilty of using the same techniques to discredit the other Clan and bolster their own credibility. Chari claims that the Umesh clan poisoned him with arsenic. Umesh produces a letter written by Babuji in Paris in 1982 claiming that Chari was poisoning Him. Both sides file legal actions against the other and produce signed, typed letters from Babuji making bold and contradictory claims. Both sides claim credibility from communications with the Dead. As an example, the Umesh Clan website quotes Lalaji from the grave claiming Babuji as Master until the end of earth ( http://www.srcmshahjahanpur.org.in/facts.html ). A quote that clearly was not made while Lalaji was alive! Chari recently had a French medium allegedly communicate with Babuji from the dead and publishes it as a book. Naturally all comments from Babuji are complementary of Chari.
This behavior has it’s source from Babuji himself. He meets Lalaji 3 times in person, then years after his death, claims in a dream to be told by Lalaji that he is a special personality and his sole successor. Babuji allegedly writes volumes upon volumes of autobiographical material claiming to have meetings with Jesus Christ, Buddha, Vivenkenanda, all transmitting to him and praising his spiritual prowess.
Why would anyone spiritually driven even bother to do these things? What is the natural result of creating an exclusive successor lineage, and an organization of passive, and subservient disciples who unquestioningly follow the orders of a single Master or his Organization?
With this smokescreen being laid out by both sides I constantly hear the following questions in various blog commentary:
1. Was Babuji Delusional?
2. Which side is telling the truth?
3. Who should one believe?
4. Are the letters authentic?
Like any good political or religious organization, these are the questions that those in power want the population to ask. It distracts from the real questions and causes one to question their opposition. I suggest we ask the following questions.
1. Why would a spiritually adept individual with humanity’s benefit in mind create such mythology around them selves?
2. If spiritual up liftment of Humanity is the goal, why would nature restrict this through only one living human being?
3. Why does a spiritual organization like the SRCM have so many factions that are fighting for control?
4. What do they desire to control that is so important that they resort to this kind of behavior?
5. If all parties agree that Babuji’s letters can be forged, why give credence to any of these documents.
6. Why is control over the Mission’s name, emblem and property so important to the warring Clans?
I don't have answers to any of these questions. I only suggest we ask the right questions and not get lost in the smokescreen. I will attempt to re-iterate what I know from my blog and add any further details I can below:
The Guru Persona
Having been a preceptor once, I directly experienced the cultural influence such a position has on people. It is the easiest thing to act holy and command the attention and reverence of others in this position. Its source does not come from the Preceptor, nor does it come from the Master, it comes from the combined attention of those who believe that a preceptor/master is a source of spiritual power. It only takes one or two non-believers to destroy the communal mindset. Gurus avoid these situations like the plague to maintain their image. Chari and Babuji were no exception to this, choosing to stay close to their inner circle where they could easily maintain their persona. I’m certain that Umesh used similar techniques. Put any of them in a Texas pool hall and watch their persona and influence diminish to nothing.
I watched Babuji sign letters written by his close associates and handed to him for signing. I’ve also seen Babuji extremely sick and completely at the mercy of those around him. I suspect that the original letter that Chari produced was authentic ( http://www.srcmshahjahanpur.org.in/facts-fraud_nomination.html ), however, it did not claim that Chari was a spiritual Master. Simply that he would be president and representative. This however is only my opinion knowing the characters involved. Whether Chari and others exploited Babuji's condition to forge letters doesn’t really matter one bit as, clearly both Clans accuse the other of creating forgeries, then both sides are admitting that forging Babuji's letters was easily done. That is a fact we can all acknowledge since all parties involved have admitted to this fact.
Chari - Chari in his disciple days made himself as visibly loyal to Babuji as possible. He inserted himself in visible ways during Babuji's trips to the West, always attending to him, always advising him, always near him. His outward appearance was very materialistic and imposing. He smoked Dunhill cigarettes, dressed extremely well, and was visibly putting him self in the public eye of westerners as a likely successor. I can only imagine how Indians resented this.
Umesh - My experience with Umesh was from knowing him and his wife for about 2 weeks while he visited the US on his "unofficial" visit to the US. Un-official because Babuji would not make it "official". This, in and of itself, is telling. He travelled with two of the more senior Preceptors in the Mission who opposed Chari. Umesh occasionally attended sittings and showed little interest in being actively involved in the activities of the organization. I definitely felt that these two Preceptors (Ragavendra Rao and Ramacandra Reddy) had brought him along to give them some sort of additional credibility and start socializing him as a possible figure head. It was obvious to everyone that Babuji would die in a few years and this appeared to me to be a direct counter to Chari's interaction with the west.
Overall Analysis is that both the Chari and Umesh clans were blatantly trying to woo the West for support. Chari's more westernized personality was far more effective than what was presented by his opposition. The other senior preceptors did not have the political skills nor the financial where with all to travel extensively with Babuji on his international trips. Umesh appeared to be their only figurehead given that, as his son, he had as much close access to Babuji as Chari. The validity of either seems immaterial to me as in both instances,it was a fight for control and power, having nothing to do with the spiritual upliftment of humanity and far more to do with gaining the favor of wealthy westerners.
I attended the Paris 1982 gathering. My observation is that, at that time there were those who supported Chari and those who opposed him. Andre Poray was on the side that opposed Chari. There was no doubt in my mind that this gathering was an attempt to divert western attention away from Chari. Chari was explicitly not invited to the gathering, however, somehow, he managed to be there. I was told that this was because Babuji demanded Chari’s presence there. This may or may not be true, as Chari may simply have shown up on his own accord. Chari was in a room next to Babuji's, which adds credence to the theory that Babuji wanted him there. Members of Chari’s opposition attempted to attend to Babuji keeping Chari as far away as possible. I spent many an hour in Chari's room and witnessed Babuji's attendees sheepishly requesting Chari’s presence in Babujis room due to Babuji’s request.
I also witnessed that Babuji was sick and delirious. Attendees would drive him to the meditation hall, and carry him into the hall, this effort requiring two large men to carry out. He would black out and fall on his knees if he tried to walk. It was as if they were carrying a corpse into the hall for all to see. Any letter written by Babuji at this time in this state, is questionable, especially such a long letter as the one on the Umesh Clan website. In my opinion, any official documents signed by Babuji during this time frame has little credibility.
Chari on the other hand was also aggressively keeping himself in the public eye. He played the role of the man in exile, holding court in his small room, inviting friendly disciples to mediate with him. It was a very effective bit of drama as he knew that people like myself would see his opposition attempt to attend to Babuji in a western country, while Babuji had come accustomed to Chari serving this role. Babuji's constant calls for Chari were embarrassing I'm sure to Chari’s opposition.
As for the references to the doctor attending to Babuji. I spoke with the Doctor at length just after Babuji left. He was a German doctor who practiced both homeopathic and conventional, allopathic medicine. No mention of treachery. His story was that Babuji was far too sick to travel to the west and should never had made the trip. He felt that the trip to Paris would likely be the death of Babuji. Given that Babuji never fully recovered from this trip, his words have the most credibility of all other claims.
Fact and Fiction
Ignoring letters, legal pursuits, accusations, etc, we can at least determine the following as facts:
1. All factions agree that Babuji's letters could easily be forged
2. All factions were clearly posturing for taking over the Mission during Babuji's last days
3. Significant importance was put on developing the Mission in the West and attracting wealthy westerners
4. All factions strove to be visibly close to Babuji during his western trips in his final years
Babuji created an organization that was based on power and exclusivity. In his last years he was also an extremely sick man who clearly could be manipulated by those around him as evidenced by accusations from both sides claiming the other side exploited this situation. The push for western validation was about power and money. Chari spent significant time and effort gaining a foot hold before Babuji's death, then exploited it by traveling to Europe and the US after Babuji's death, surrounding himself with wealthy disciples from the west and creating a massive library of books from his talks and speeches. He overpowered the opposition who reacted as best they could, by discrediting Chari through whatever means necessary. Both sides exploited the corrupt Indian legal system to gain control of the name and emblem.
There are plenty of examples of either side filing legal action against the other. One attempt in April of 2000, where Chari’s Clan filed a complaint against the Umesh Clan with ICANN, the internet domain registrar, protesting the use of sahajmarg.org as a domain name. The complaint was denied, however, this effort clearly demonstrates significant value being placed on the intellectual property of the Mission. (See http://www.arb-forum.com/domains/decisions/94237.htm for the decision). Need I remind everyone that the Legal profession both in the US and India, is not one of high integrity when it comes to these types of legal actions. Giving any credibility to the lawyers who represent these claims misses the point. These legal claims are attacks on the credibility of the opposition and simply the exploitation of the legal system for the purpose of gaining an upper hand in controling the Mission.
What is happening here is a power grab, and, "he who has the most disciples wins" appears to be the rule of the game. I stand by my analysis in the "Lessons In Power" article in my Blog (www.innercircleofsrcm.blogspot.com). The real power comes from the disciples, not from the Master. It is easy to sit in a chair in front of thousands of doting disciples and appear to be holy. The spiritual environment is created by the people surrounding the Master, not by the Master himself. Any truly spiritual teacher will not impose anything of him self on the student, but will push the student to find it in his or her self. This is completely lacking in the SRCM system from the beginning, and neither of the warring factions have attempted to introduce anything but centralized, power based spiritual principles to their disciples. The Sufi tradition treated the teacher as a friend, house guest or grandfather. It was about human interaction and learning by example. It was about actions in the real world, not un-substantiated communications with the Brighter World. This Sufi aspect has been completely eliminated from SRCM, leaving only a misguided concept that spirituality must come from something outside oneself, and one must find the one and only true spiritual guide in the entire world to achieve it.
I know I am repeating myself as I've already stated this in my Blog, but, the most dangerous aspect of SRCM is the creation of myths. Quoting Babuji or Lalaji from the dead, claims of inter-communication with Jesus ( who's legacy is slammed constantly by Chari and his inner circle), Buddha, etc. are easily created, and unfortunately easily believed by non-thinking, obedient members of a cult. All factions are using this technique to give themselves credibility. How hard would it be to create such myths and get obedient, unquestioning cult members to believe them? Anyone can produce a letter signed by Babuji, and invent a quote from Lalaji or Babuji from the brigher world, or claim intercommunication with Krishna or Jesus. Sadly, we have seen that the cult mentality will have throngs of individuals believing these claims without question.The actions of all those involved in all factions of this organization is embarrassingly materialistic, power seeking, and not the behavior of anyone even remotely interested in spirituality and God. There is little point in weeding through these claims to determine the truth. There’s plenty of deception, lies, and selfishness from both Clans. Its the equivalent of choosing which street gang has the least negative impact on the neighborhood, or whether the Hitler or Mussolini was the better man. There is a battle for control of the minds and souls of an extremely wealthy and subservient group of individuals. Beyond that, the true facts are vague and irrelevant. One only needs ignore the words, documents, legal filings and quotes from dead people, and examine the actions of these individuals to see the truth –and the truth will indeed set you free.