Here is a link to another, older Ching Hai discussion thread here on CEI -- it is SIXTY pages long.
cultleak Otto Wagner and Lauren Rose gave some recent information on a shorter discussion two years ago
David Christopher Lane is a sociologist and scholar of the Sant Mat movement. Sant Mat has divided into a multitude of sects; Thakar Singh was leader of one of those sects.
Thakar Singh Wants To Blindfold Children
The Logic of Marginality
VI. THAKAR SINGH AND THE FOUNDING OF KIRPAL LIGHT SATSANG
Thakar Singh's place in one of the Sant Mat lineages.
(excerpt from a lengthy article - Sant Mat politics are intricate.)
he Administrative Imperative:
Guru as Legal Function
Since Madam Hardevi could not serve as the Satguru of Ruhani Satsang (reports differ on whether she ever wanted to or not), she needed to have someone serve as a guru to
1) continue on the spiritual practices emphasized by Kirpal Singh;
2) retain legal control of the ashram.
Initially she was supported in her efforts to remain as Chairperson and controller of Sawan Ashram by the Ruhani Satsang organization in North America. Reno Sirrine and Russell Perkins, in particular, rallied around her in opposition of Darshan Singh's candidacy. Yet during this time period (late 1974 to late 1975), Hardevi had not installed a bona fide successor. Indeed, the official word was that no genuine successor of Sant Kirpal Singh had emerged. With tensions mounting, and an intense political and legal battle being waged within the corridors of Sawan Ashram, three camps solidified:
1) Darshan Singh as successor;
2) No successor; and
3) Potential future successor.
In the first camp (Darshan Singh's), which later became known as Sawan-Kirpal Mission, the succession choice was clear and thus most of the Indian sangat followed suit.
In the second camp (no official successor), there were two major opinions, ranging from the idea that no new master was needed since Kirpal Singh was the Almighty Himself (and that future initiations should be conducted by listening to old tape recordings of Kirpal Singh conducting Nam Dan) to the notion that Soamiji Maharaj's line was meant to be finished with Kirpal Singh (and that seekers must look for a new master somewhere else).
And in the third camp (potential future successor), there were a wide range of views, including the notion of a "hidden" successor, someone who will manifest only after all the political in-fighting ceases or calms down.
Surprisingly, Thakar Singh did not really emerge out the third camp, which would be logical, but out of the second camp which, as we've noted, was spearheaded originally by Madam Hardevi. In fact, Thakar Singh was one of the original progenitors of the infamous "tape-recorded" initiations conducted on behalf of the "Almighty Kirpal."
As David Helion notes:
On June 17th  I went once again to Sawan Ashram as a sister from the West wanted to see it for the first time. I could see Tai Ji [Madam Hardevi] inside talking to other people. As we were leaving some one followed us and said, "Why dont [sic] you stay for the initiation tomorrow?" I asked, "What initiation?" He replied, "Maharaj Ji is going to give initiation by tape recorder tommorow." . . . The following morning about twenty five persons came at 6 a.m. and Master Kirpal Singh Ji's oral instructions were played to them in Master's rooms. Tai Ji was present but additional instructions were given by someone called Thakar Singh from Chandigarh. . . [*NOTE: The Emergence of the New Master Darshan Singh , op. cit., page 114. *]
It is not clear, outside of purely political and economic reasons, why Thakar Singh was chosen as the best suited candidate to assume the gaddi at Sawan Ashram. One thing is certain, though: having a living human successor to Kirpal Singh alleviates the dubious theological claim that tape-recorded initiations are in line with Sant mat teachings and the legal question of whether a religious ashram can be viably run without a spiritual master. Whatever reasons Madam Hardevi may have held at one time, the fact remains that she switched from "no successor" to "one successor" of Kirpal Singh. Her choice, though temporarily heralded by Reno Sirrine and others on the Ruhani Satsang Board, resulted in a disaster, for Thakar Singh turned out to be the most scandalous guru in the history of Radhasoami.
By the mid-1980's reports circulated throughout the world about how Thakar had embezzled money, indulged in sexual affairs with numerous women, and had resorted to violent interactions with disciples. Madam Hardevi was spared the brunt of the negative publicity, however, since she died from a car accident in 1979, some five years before her chosen ambassador was exposed.
Thakar Singh's appointment raises Weber's idea of the routinization of charisma. What does a spiritual organization, founded by a perceived charismatic leader, do when the succession is in dispute?
Another chapter from David Christopher Lane here:
Thakar Singh's aberrations from the traditional and relatively conservative
path of Sant mat have also had a far reaching effect on the direction of his
organization. In 1989 Thakar Singh assigned several devotees to act as
worldwide missionaries for his movement, initiating almost anybody who
showed even the slightest interest in the path. This is a highly unusual
move, since Sant mat and Radhasoami groups have generally disdained
proselytizing. Moreover, Thakar Singh has instructed his child-bearing
devotees to raise their children under exceptionally severe conditions. For
example, children now born to initiates of Thakar Singh should be
blindfolded up until the age of five, only being allowed to see their mother
at times of feeding and satsang. Furthermore, children should listen to
classical Indian music for two hours daily, as well as meditate for five
hours each day. Such a regime, which to Western cultural norms would be
classified as child abuse, is part of Thakar Singh's plan to alter world
history. [*NOTE: In a circular sent out in 1989, Thakar Singh informed his
worldwide to raise children in the following manner: "The child is only to
have main contact with the mother. Even the father may only visit the child
once a week, after having meditated 12 hours. This is to keep all worldly
radiations away from the child, so it may remain totally pure. . . After the
bird of the child, it is to have a soft, white cotton blindfold put gently
over the eyes, so the the infant will remain naturally inverted inside most
of the 24 hours daily, up to the age of five years. The blindfold may be
taken off when the mother is breastfeeding the child. . . This is the only
eye contact that is allowed to or from the child. . . The mother may also
play Indian Classical music to the child and do this with either placing an
earphone in the right ear of the child (from birth on) or use stereo
headphones. This may be done for four hours daily. The rest of the time, the
child will automatically be in holy meditation, except while being fed and
cared for." Even long-time followers of Thakar Singh were initially shocked
by the severity of his advice for child-rearing. It is not clear, yet, how
many mothers are actually following the guru's admonitions. *]
As I have indicated, how followers support such actions is intimately
connected with how they view themselves in the micro world of Sant mat and
the macro world of secular society. That Thakar Singh's actions are not
viewed as contrary to general Sant mat principles--which they clearly are,
according to all the gurus and groups mentioned so far--graphically reflects
the pliable nature of theology, and how it often bends to the whims of
personal and social forces. This is not to suggest, though, that all of
Thakar Singh's followers blindly accept what their guru says, but only to
point out that charismatic imperatives on the one end and personal/social
needs on the other end can conjoin and transfigure longstanding religious
doctrines in ways much quicker and much stranger than one would suspect. It
is for this very reason that charismatic leadership has often been viewed
with deep suspicion, and why new spiritual movements are seen as
religiously, if not socially, deviant.
Although there was an initial buzz, so to say, among Ruhani Satsang
initiates about Thakar Singh's initial emergence on the scene in 1976, it
soon died down. First because Thakar Singh was viewed as an administrative
candidate, someone brought in to fill an executive void; second, because the
politics during the interim period (from late 1974 to late 1975) damaged any
possible credibility that Madam Hardevi had as an advanced spiritual
observer, untainted by ashram politics; and third, because Thakar Singh, for
whatever personal reasons, could not fulfill the onerous task set before
him. He was and continues to be an anomaly amongst Radhasoami gurus in the
The Way of a Sexually Deviant Guru:
Perhaps the one greatest obstacle confronting Thakar Singh's claim as the
true successor to Kirpal Singh was Thakar himself. Unlike other gurus in his
tradition, Thakar Singh's moral life has been thoroughly scrutinized and
found wanting. Indeed, it has been well documented by a variety of
sources--both within and outside the movement--that Thakar Singh has
embezzled money, engaged in illicit sexual relations with a number of
western female disciples, and conducted violent exorcisms on several
devotees. In an unprecedented move to clear the matter up, Thakar admitted
to some of the charges claiming that "These devils had been working very
strongly on my lower self including body and mind and also had been creating
great disturbances in the Sangat in all parts of the world. The women
problem is also a result of temptation of these devils on my pure Self and
in this respect could succeed to some extend [sic: extent]." But it did not
squelch the criticism which eventually resulted in a large exodus from his
movement, including the resignation of his chief representative, Bernadine
Chard, of northern California.
In wake of the scandal and the lawsuits between Darshan Singh's group and
Madam Hardevi's, Thakar Singh lost the property rights to Sawan Ashram and
had to give up his residence there. He is continuing to act as a guru, but
his original core following has dwindled drastically. W.V. Rohr, a former
devotee in Germany, sent out an international circular against Thakar Singh.
His letter partially outlines the impact of the scandal:
That man [Thakar Singh], to whom I looked up during the past 7 years as
spiritual Master and "Guru", has admitted that he is not above mind and
matter, above "negativity" and mental temptations. I cannot keep quiet the
truth, as others seem they can. . . New facts concerning unholy activities
on the level of sexual contacts as well as disappearances of Manav Kendra
funds and donations by satsangis have come in the meantime. My personal
1. I withdraw totally from any and all Satsang and Sangat
2. will not visit satsangs, where his words are
3. do not look upon him as "spiritual Master" or "Sant Sat Guru"
in the line of Sant Kirpal Singh;
4. have requested [of] him [Thakar Singh]
full report and refund of funds cashed in under use of "catastrophe";
5. will continue sincerely with Light and Sound meditation and also Simran, as
he is a Kirpal initiate and help and guidance is prayed for from
Kirpal--until a truly spiritually and morally clean Master has been found,
who is truly working in Kirpals [sic] name and with His order.
Although the first expose of Thakar Singh occurred publically in 1984, it
was not until 1988 that the media in the United States got wind of Thakar's
sordid past. During this time several women who claimed to have been abused
by the guru came out with personal statements, describing in vivid detail
Thakar's predilection for sexual deviance. In light of Sant mat succession,
what makes Thakar's fall from grace significant is that he did not resign,
nor did the majority of his disciples quit the movement. In fact, a number
of devotees justified Thakar Singh's unusual actions. It is this process of
justification which we will want to examine in depth; however, before we do
that we need to closely examine the ways by which Thakar Singh strayed from
orthodox Sant mat principles.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2017 10:29PM by corboy.