It is nearly impossible within this day and age to investigate any spiritual path, no matter what it may be, without encountering a litany of negative criticisms that have been levied against it by various detractors. Though MasterPath’s critics have been few over the last twenty-four years, it is certainly no exception to this growing trend in cyberspace, and so the following question/answer segment has been compiled by Sri Gary Olsen, the current Living Master and founder of MasterPath, to assist all spiritual seekers who are investigating this Divine Teaching of Light and Sound.
Q. A deprogrammer has claimed on the Internet that MasterPath is a cult and that he deprogrammed several of your students in Fargo, ND. Will you offer your point of view on this charge?
A. Please understand that I do not wish to speak disparagingly of anyone, not even my own critics, but I will say that MasterPath is certainly not a cult. The meaning of this term has come to include organizations that exploit their followers and encourage members to worship the personality of some teacher, or to relinquish their power and individuality to a charismatic leader.
In contrast, all worship of the personality, whether a teacher’s or one’s own, is shunned on a true Light and Sound Path such as the MasterPath. MasterPath is a Path of Surat Shabda Yoga, which means the practice (yoga) of merging the soul (surat) with the indwelling Spirit (Shabda). To label MasterPath as a cult, one would have to label all Paths of Surat Shabda Yoga, or Sant Mat, as cults, which would include the illustrious Teachings of Gurus such as Charan Singh Ji, Sawan Singh Ji, Soami Ji, Nanak, and Kabir. This would not be truthful, for the method of spiritual unfoldment taught by all Light and Sound Masters throughout history involves the student turning to the Inner Master, the indwelling divine Spirit, as a refuge from the destructive thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that plague and entrap all seekers. This practice has been misinterpreted by some to indicate a worship of the living Guru, but this is not the case. The physical Master gives talks, writes books, and serves as a model and guide, but He does not become involved in the personal lives and decisions of His students, and all worship and devotion on the MasterPath are solely applied to the individual’s own indwelling Spirit.
The intervention of some type of professional may be warranted in the case of various dangerous cults in existence today, such as certain satanic movements and other psychic paths that are truly abusive and harmful to those who follow them. However, far too many times the actions taken by deprogrammers target well-grounded, clear-thinking adults who have simply embraced a spiritual methodology that falls outside of the accepted parameters of traditional mainstream religion.
In truth, this is exactly what happened in Fargo, ND twenty years ago. A concerned mother of Christian faith hired a deprogrammer to forcibly remove her adult son from his chosen affiliation with MasterPath. Family members of several other adult students then followed suit after being exposed to the negative media campaign started by this deprogrammer, which was falsely labeling the MasterPath as a cult. Imagine yourself in such an experience – an adult being physically abducted by strangers, isolated, and then forced through faith-breaking tactics to recant whatever spiritual belief you had chosen to embrace – all based on the will of other people. This is not only a potential criminal violation, but more importantly, it is a total denial of the inherent spiritual rights of each and every human being.
Thankfully, the world has evolved greatly in matters of spiritual diversity over the last twenty years, and today one can even find the poetic words of astute Light and Sound Masters such as Kabir, Rumi, and Hafiz adorning common greeting cards and calendars that can be purchased at local health-food stores. The Light and Sound Teachings support nothing but individual freedom, self-discovery, and divine love. The students of MasterPath are free to come or go of their own free will, for the entire objective of the Teachings of MasterPath is the individual attainment of complete self-mastery, the ability to be and live out of the truest self, the divine soul within you.
Nevertheless, all of us must form our own conclusions in such matters, and so I suggest that seekers take the time to carefully research the history of any proclaimed deprogrammers for a truthful insight into their own qualifications and background before accepting any of their claims.
Q. I have read that plagiarized material was used in the MasterPath writings in the past and that you have publicly acknowledged, apologized for, and rectified this. Would you please offer further explanation concerning this situation and why you would have done this in the first place?
A. Yes, I am more than happy to offer clarification. Several instances of failing to cite the use of past Masters’ instruction in the beginning MasterPath writings were brought to my attention in 1995, which I publicly apologized for and immediately began to rectify. Even though I have openly admitted that I did not adhere to the proper literary rules concerning the use of this material over twenty years ago, my motive was certainly never based in deception, as I made no effort to hide the original sources of this instruction from the initial group of chelas who comprised the MasterPath. My sole intent was to provide the purest form of spirituality to the students who had come to my door, and I began straightway compiling instruction for these individuals’ immediate needs. There were no MasterPath writings, nor was there a MasterPath staff at that time to assist in compiling glossaries, charts, and other pragmatic materials needed to clarify the Teachings. This is what prompted the use of small portions of past Saints’ instruction in those formative years.
I have openly acknowledged these past violations of the letter of the law, but in honor of the spirit of the law, I must state that my intent was never to hide this or to take credit for the work of these past Eastern Masters of the Light and Sound. In fact, I actually drew my students’ attention to these great Masters of the Sant Mat tradition and continue to do so. My intent was always to return to my beginning writings and complete my own delivery, and though it took some time, I have done so, and all of the currently available publications of the MasterPath writings have been revised and are completely free of any materials that are not properly acknowledged.
Q. There is a public forum on the Internet wherein two or three former MasterPath students are engaging in a rather hostile attack on you, the MasterPath, and the MasterPath students. Are these accusations and criticisms truthful?
A. No, these accusations are definitely not truthful, and there is actually a wealth of misinformation and false charges being manufactured and projected on this forum. To put this into proper perspective, I must state that out of the thousands of students I have initiated, only this small number have taken such a stance. Thus, rather than diminishing the MasterPath doctrine, this truth actually reflects and gives testimony to the tremendously high success rate of those embracing this Teaching. Even though this forum embodies a barrage of false accusations along with an attempt to demean the Master and invalidate the Path, I maintain that every experience within the divine creation, regardless of how retrogressive it may initially appear, will eventually reveal an intended purpose that holds essential value for the experiencer. The predominant vibration of anger projected in this forum leaves little question as to why these former students found it difficult to harmonize with the spiritual objectives of MasterPath, but nonetheless, all individuals have the right to their own opinion, and these former students and their associates are free to express themselves in any way they choose.
With all of the false information out there today, this does, however, present a bit of a quandary for sincere seekers, leaving them to ask, “How am I supposed to discern whether negative allegations against a spiritual path are true or false?” Truthfully speaking, those who take up arms against any specific belief system typically have a personal motive for attempting to adversely influence or even outright deny others their own inherent right to spiritual freedom. When an individual is representing a truly spiritual point of view, one’s vibration, tone, and demeanor accurately reflect this underlying intent, and even a negative assessment will be communicated in a balanced, loving, and progressive manner. And likewise, when a message is colored and imbued with injurious intent, this too directly reveals the original motive and attitude through which it has been expressed. Therefore, if a seeker can perceive the predominant tone and vibration behind any statement, this will easily reveal whether the individual’s expressed criticism holds either a destructive or constructive purpose. If the vibration is perceived to be destructive, this is the surefire indication that truth is receding from you. On the other hand, if the motive is intuited as constructive, the chances are far better that truth resides in this direction.
Another infallible litmus test is the absence or presence of love, truth, and good will. The principle of love is so expansive that even truth, when not spoken in love, is no truth at all. Love and truth go hand in hand, and they cease to exist within an atmosphere of retrogressive tendencies or the presence of destructive motives. Likewise, in a spiritual atmosphere, love, truth, and good will naturally flourish, giving one an undeniable sense of an expanded consciousness and an infusion of constructive spiritual insights.
However, the most reliable method a spiritual seeker can turn to when attempting to discriminate between truth and falsehood is to place your uncertainty and indecisiveness in the hands of the universal Spirit, the ever-present Divine Current within you that initially ignited and has since been guiding your spiritual search. Where all else fails, this becomes the fail-safe method, for the Spiritual Current of God presently resides within you, even as you peruse these pages, and this Current’s sole intent is to offer you guidance through the subtle nudges and intuitive insights of your own inner heartbeat.
If these explanations are still insufficient, I suggest that a seeker who is adversely affected by any MasterPath criticism simply research the source of the claim to discern for oneself the predominant vibration and underlying motive, for these detractors do a far better job of revealing and displaying their true intentions than I ever could. However, in matters such as these, it is always the seeker who should decide, not the words of the detractors or the Guru.
Since a large number of this forum’s criticisms against MasterPath center around financial topics, I encourage the investigating seeker to review the overview of MasterPath’s finances and its strict policies of compliance with all IRS non-profit rules and regulations, which can be accessed in the “About MasterPath” section of this website.
A heightened level of discernment and objectivity must be applied by all truth seekers when opening to the opinions of others in the search for a balanced perspective on any issue. When assessing the underlying motives and personal intent of those attempting to discredit a spiritual pursuit, the seeker will detect that many posture themselves as spiritual authorities, while in truth, they display a visible absence of true spiritual qualities. Detractors fueled by destructive motives often utilize several distinguishing tactics, such as ridicule, sarcasm, slander, and even outright deceit. When the seeker senses these tactics, one can begin to see the objective is not to lovingly inform and leave the choice to the seeker, but to discredit and compromise the targeted endeavor and to plant destructive doubt and fear in the seeker’s mind. In the spiritual arena, a motive such as this shows little concern for God’s will or the plight of the sincere spiritual seeker, as it merely attempts to pull the sublimity of truth down to a lesser manifestation.
Unless true seekers are able to penetrate and observe such tactics of the reactive mind, whether one’s own or someone else’s, little hope exists of attaining the lofty principles of truth and self-liberation. If the hidden motives of any detractor are perceived to be negative when examined in the fullness of light, a clear separation from God, truth, love, and compassion for all humankind will be starkly revealed. Those who are indiscriminately attempting to guide or influence the seekers of humanity, while conveniently neglecting the purification of their own individual consciousness, are not following the recommended procedure of the Masters of Light and Sound. As a past Master of Surat Shabda Yoga once stated: “Reformers wanted…not of others, but of one’s self.”
Therefore, wisdom says let detractors follow their personal calling. In contrast, a Living Master of the Light and Sound has been divinely called by the Supreme Deity to not only defend the truth, but to reveal it, uphold it, and to represent the Divine’s will to all who are open to receive it. Everyone has the inalienable right to criticize, but so too does everyone have the spiritual right to imbibe and revel within their own divine inheritance, free from the taunts and ridicule of the ego and its reactive mind. Character assassination, though freely employed by many detractors, is not an option to a Master of Light and Sound. The Masters center their actions solely on truth and the sweet will of the Divine. Truth always supersedes the destructive play of ego and personality, and so to center one’s discussion on personalities is never fruitful and only takes one further from truth rather than closer to it.
It is important for seekers to realize that a True Path never has anything to hide. Truth is its own defense and stands on its own. Error, sensing its weakness, becomes angry and defensive, while truth, realizing its strength, remains tranquil and progressive. Truth shines like a beacon, illuminating what was once dim or misunderstood but now stands clearly before one. Truth’s glimmering rays of understanding separate reality from falsehood, light from darkness, and serve as a shining lantern on the Path back homeward. The shadowy tendencies of mind eventually give way to truth’s brilliance, the soul is resurrected by its ringing radiance, and the spirit becomes enlightened by its blinding luminosity. Such is the nature of MasterPath, and so too each aspiring seeker, for the light of truth is sufficient in all things, only wishing us Godspeed on our divine journey back Home.
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