Excerpt (with permission) from


     This incident is very characteristic of Sri Bhagavan. It is characteristic that the distress or devotion of one of his people should call forth an involuntary response and intervention in a form that can only be called miraculous.
[Arthur Osborne, RAMANA Maharshi And The Path of Self-Knowledge (Bombay: Jaico Publishing House, 1982), pages 93-94.]

     Ramana's experience of bilocation indicates that Faqir Chand's categorical statement about all gurus not knowing about their visionary manifestations may need qualifications. Simply put, some saints appear to know about their miraculous appearances. The number of these "fully aware" mystics, however, is so incredibly small that it is not an exaggeration to say that Faqir Chand's "unknowing" hypothesis explains 99% of all the so-called guru visions in the world. The overwhelming majority of inner visions are projections of one's own mind which have no substantial "reality check" with either the outer world or the higher inner regions. Furthermore, the object of devotion in these transpersonal encounters are, for the most part, not aware of their role. Thus, the Chandian Effect is a general explanation which

[The Chandian Effect, so named because Faqir Chand was the first Sant Mat guru to speak at length about the "unknowing" aspects of visionary manifestations, designates two major factors in transpersonal encounters: 1) the overwhelming experience of certainty (ganz andere/mysterium tremendum) which accompanies religious ecstasies; and 2) the subjective projection of sacred forms/figures/scenes by a meditator/devotee without the conscious knowledge of the object/person who is beheld as the center of the experience. I first coined the term in my article, The Himalayan Connection: U.F.O.'s and The Chandian Effect, The Journal Of Humanistic Psychology (Fall 1984).]
covers almost all transpersonal visions. Ramana's experience and others like his represents a very small, bracketed, "special" case scenario. As such, it warrants further inspection, but should not be misconstrued as a general reference point with which to adjudicate transmundane happenings.

     Concerning these "special cases," Sawan Singh, a deeply admired master in the surat shabd yoga tradition (1858-1948), for whom both Faqir Chand and his teacher Shiv Brat Lal had tremendous regard, wrote that the outward guru can and does know about the inner condition of his disciples. This knowledge, Sawan Singh pointed out, is conveyed to the physical master via the inner Shabd (Divine Sound), though only in extreme cases where the outer master's attention is needed.
[See Sawan Singh's letters to American and European disciples in Spiritual Gems and The Dawn of Light published by the Radhasoami Beas Satsang.]

Writes Sawan Singh to one of his disciples:

      "Now regarding your question about the Inner Master and that Inner Master guiding the disciple, first of all, what is the Inner Master?

     "The Real Saint or Perfect Master is one with the Supreme Lord, having merged His Being with the Supreme. Now, as the Supreme Lord has all power, so do the Perfect Masters. He can do as He pleases, and anywhere and always, so that He may better work with, protect, and instruct and guide His disciples.

     "Every time He gives the initiation to anyone, He creates an Astral Image of Himself in the disciple. And from then on, the Master never leaves the disciple. The Double, or Other Self, or Image of the Master is sometimes what we call the Inner Master.

     "Now, if anything occurs in the life of the disciple that requires the personal attention of the Master, here (in India) in the Body--this Inner Master at once reports to the Conscious Master (in India) and the Conscious Master gives the thing his personal attention.

     "The Master sometimes calls these Doubles of Himself his agents. They do his work, taking care of all his disciples. They have the power to act without limit. They can do what the Master wishes Them to do, and They obey His orders.

     "The human side of the Master here (in India) may not know what is going on in the life of that person. It may be on the other side of the globe. He will not be aware of the details, but He can know them if He wishes.

     "But manifestly, you see how difficult it would be for any one man, as man, to go to all parts of the world and take care of so many. If the Master had a million disciples, He would have an Astral Double of Himself in every one of them, and that Agent of the Master would look after the disciple at all times, reporting to the Master here (in India) only in case of extreme emergency."
[Extract From A Letter By The Great Master To A Disciple, Science Of The Soul (June 1985)]

     Hence, according to this perspective, the outward master does not know most of the time. Similar to Ramana Maharshi's experience, the Beas master learns of his visionary manifestations on only special occasions. The modus operandi behind how certain masters could possibly know about their disciple's spiritual experiences is explained in a remarkable passage by Da Kalki (alias Da Love Ananda; Da Free John; Bubba Free John; Franklin Jones):

     I am fairly certain that by the time this book is published, Franklin Jones (his real birth name) will have assumed a new name.

[Alas! I am correct, as I go through the final proofs Da Kalki is now known as Da Avabhasa. Naturally, this too will most likely be changed by the end of this year (1992).]

     "After that time, [when Da Free John achieved Enlightenment]when I would sit for meditation in any formal way, instead of contemplating what was arising in myself, I would contemplate other beings as my own forms. Instead of my own psychic forms arising, the psychic forms, minds, and limitations of others would arise. I was aware, visually and otherwise, of great numbers of people, and I would work with them very directly on a subtle level. In some cases, these people would soon contact me and become involved with me in a personal relationship. Others were people I already knew. I would work for them in the subtle way, and then watch for signs and demonstrations in their outward lives of the reality of that manifestation. I tested everything in this manner."
[Bubba (Da) Free John, The Enlightenment Of The Whole Body (Clearlake: Dawn Horse Press, 1978), page 38.]
     My citation of Da Kalki should not be construed as an endorsement of his mastership; it is not. Although I am sincerely a great "fan" of Da Love Ananda's writings, I am a very harsh critic of his personal lifestyle. I have written an extensive article on this very point--how to distinguish the message from the medium--because it is vitally important to remember that a superb writer/thinker does not mean that by extension that the person is "God-Realized" or a "Perfect Master." Moreover, I am not all that sure that Da Kalki has any psychic experiences. I just happen to think that his explanation of possible psychic experiences is clear and rational.
[See "The Paradox Of Da Free John: Distinguishing The Message From The Medium." UCSM (Volume One, Number Two).]

     Charan Singh, the late head of the Radhasoami Satsang at Beas, for instance, chose disciples for initiation by simply looking at them. I have personally seen thousands of people file directly in front of Charan Singh and in a matter of a few seconds he turns his head to the left or to the right, indicating whether the seeker was accepted or rejected for Nam-Dan.

     [Nam-Dan is a ceremony where the living Satguru gives the "Gift of Nam" or Initiation to chosen disciples. It includes precise details about how to meditate and withdraw one's consciousness from the physical body by means of a three-fold method: simran (repetition of holy name(s)), dhyan (contemplation of the inner light or the guru's form within); and bhajan (listening to the divine sound current). There are several movies which have filmed this unusual selection process for Nam-Dan, including Satguru (London 1976), The Dera Documentary (Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, India, 1970's), and Guiding Light (Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, India 1983). I personally witnessed the event inside the famous Satsang Ghar at Dera in the Winter of 1981.] Needless to say, it is an awe-inspiring sight, and one which I confess is beyond my limited comprehension.]
     During his second world tour in 1970, Maharaj Charan Singh was asked the following question: "Is the physical Master aware of all the initiates' inner experiences?" Charan Singh's answer demonstrates that the outer master does know about his visionary manifestations. Responded Charan Singh: "Our real Master, as I just told you, is the Shabd and Nam. And when we are connected with that Shabd and Nam, that Shabd and Nam takes care of us. The physical Master, of course, is aware of all that. [My emphasis.] But, you see, it is Shabd and Nam which is our real Master, that takes care of everything."
      [Thus Saith The Master (Beas: R.S. Foundation, 1974), page 150.]

     Another example of extraordinary manifestations which go beyond Faqir Chand's hypothesis of unknowingness comes from Baba Jaimal Singh, the first guru of the Beas satsang and a personal disciple of the founder of Radhasoami, Shiv Dayal Singh. In the following excerpts, Jaimal Singh details a most remarkable physical bilocation of his guru. Recollects Baba Ji:

     "Once, during Christmas, the army units were allowed four holidays. As I had no official duty assigned to me during that period, I felt that I could best spend it in meditation in my room. Accordingly, I told the cook that I should not be disturbed, that if I needed food I would personally ask for it. Also, if anybody asked for me, he should be told that I was out.

     "It so happened that soon thereafter my presence was required for writing some accounts. However, as my door was locked, everybody who came to call me went back disappointed. Meanwhile, the officer of the Unit had demanded full account from the clerk who really did not know what to do in my absence. Just when a thought crossed his mind that he should report my absence to the officer, he saw me and heard me say to him that he should take down the account. This the clerk did. Such accounts were rendered three times daily, and were thereafter sent to the officer concerned by the clerk immediately after he got them. This continued on all the four days during which I was engaged in meditation in my room. However, I knew nothing about it, for I would leave my room only at four o'clock in the morning and ten o'clock at night just to answer nature's call.

     "When the holidays were over and I came out of my room, I was called in for accounts for the day previous only. I explained to the clerk that I had been confined to my room for the last four days and had not given any accounts at all for the entire period. The clerk then called the two persons who had been present at the time the accounts were rendered. One of them even produced the paper from which I had actually dictated, saying that I could myself ascertain whether this was the account written by me in my own hand. When I examined this paper, I found it to be exactly what it should have been.

     "I silently meditated upon Huzur Swami Ji's Feet and bowed in gratitude for His unbounded Grace in representing me during my absence and carrying out the job assigned to me for that period."

     [Baba Jaimal Singh, Spiritual Letters (Beas: R.S. Foundation, 1984), pages 13-14. In the same book Jaimal Singh relates several other extraordinary bilocation experiences.]

     Although Jaimal Singh's experience was extraordinary, there have been other reports by mystics of similar physical bilocation excursions. The important point to remember, though, is that

     [See D. Scott Rogo's Miracles: A Parascientific Inquiry Into Wondrous Phenomena (New York: The Dial Press, 1982), Chapter IV, which deals specifically with bilocation experiences around the world.]

such experiences are the exception, not the rule in mysticism. The value of Faqir Chand's revelations of ignorance is that most gurus (I am tempted to say all) in India and elsewhere are in the same lot, but falsely parade their attainments to sincere, if gullible, disciples. Faqir's startling insights show that most religious visions are, in fact, products of one's own mind.

     When I use the term "mind" here it should be equated with "imagination." Naturally, all visions are of the mind in the strict sense of the term, but those manifestations which cannot be correlated by others either in this world or the higher worlds are, for the most part, merely vivid extensions of one's imagination.

     However, we should not take Faqir's confessions as precluding the possibility that certain rare saints do have access to knowledge far beyond our comprehension, and that being residents of those higher regions have the ability to directly transmit such information to their respective followers.

     -----[If I may interject a personal note here, I must confess that I find myself more and more agreeing with Faqir Chand and his claims of unknowingness.]
     As a seasoned observer of the guru scene, most of what I discover is petty human motivations. To be sure, there are gurus who have deeply impressed me with their compassion and humility (Charan Singh being, at least for me, the most impressive), but I have yet to unearth an airtight, empirical case for genuine psychic powers. There are always some uninspected loopholes which reveal that natural (versus supernatural) processes were involved. I realize that my skepticism will turn off a number of parapsychology buffs, but in light of Occam's Razor I see no overwhelming evidence to suggest that Faqir Chand's autobiographical admissions are not right on the mark.

     Moreover, we should keep in mind that Faqir Chand's use of the term "ignorance" has two meanings. First, Faqir uses the term in an absolute sense equating "Ignorance" (with a capital "I") with God, thereby agreeing with many saints and mystics that the Lord is an unqualified Mystery (as Shiv Dayal Singh put it: "Wonder, Wonder, Wonder; Wonder hath assumed a form"). In this reference, there will most likely be little debate with Faqir Chand. However, Faqir also uses the term "ignorance" to describe his realization that gurus do not know about their visionary manifestations. As we have noted, there may be exceptions to this general rule, though they have yet to be empirically verified.

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