PATH OF THE MASTERS
The Path of the Masters was first published in France in 1939; its author was Julian P. Johnson.
Johnson, a native Kentuckian and distinguished surgeon, left his medical practice in California and traveled to Beas, India, in order to serve his guru, Sawan Singh. From 1933 to 1939, Johnson devoted much of his time to writing about his master and his experiences in the Radha Soami path.
He first helped Sawan Singh in translating the Hindi book Sar Bachan (prose) into English. Later, he authored four of his own books on Radha Soami. Johnson's first work, With a Great Master in India , was a compilation of letters he had written to Americans about his first eighteen months in India studying under the master. His next two books, Call of the East and The Unquenchable Flame were semi-autobiographical accounts of himself and his future wife, Elizabeth Bruce. Yet, it was not until 1939 that Johnson's most famous work, The Path of the Masters , was published. The book, the first of its kind as it was aimed almost exclusively at the western world, was writen in English. It described in detail the history and practice of what came to be called Surat Shabd Yoga or Sant Mat (Santon-Ki-Shiska), which attempts to induce a consciously controlled Near Death Experience (NDE). Mastery of this practice, according to adepts of the tradition, enables one to experience regions of light and sound beyond the normal waking state, providing glimpses into higher realms of consciousness. The work was Johnson's magnus opus and today is considered a classic in oriental mysticism. He is known for his list for the selection of masters or gurus, of which the following is derived, and the primary reason he is NOT so well received, mentioned, quoted, or promoted by those in the Enlightenment business:
"Real Masters never charge for their services, nor do they accept payment in any form
nor in any sort of material benefits for their instructions. This is a universal law among
Masters, and yet amazingly, it is a fact that thousands of eager seekers in America and
elsewhere, go on paying large amounts of money for "spiritual instruction." Masters are
always self-sustaining and are never supported by their students or by public charity."
Almost any promoter or advocate of their own pocketbook belief could search out some reason to circumnavigate the above reasoning. However, even the most ardent skeptic would be hard pressed to dismiss the Buddha's own words on the subject as recorded in the Anguttara Nikaya V.159, Udayi Sutra:
"The Dharma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'"
It should be noted that Johnson never saw the book in its final published form, as he died in 1939 shortly before it came out. A number of rumors have cropped up concerning Julian Johnson's death, and this may be a good place to clarify what actually happened. Apparently, Johnson got into a fairly heated debate with a younger friend of his named Paul [not Paul Twitchell] over health treatments. During the heat of the debate Johnson either tripped or was pushed and hit his head on a rock. He subsequently died from his injuries on the way to the hospital. Since there was some confusion over what actually transpired (Was it an accidental fall on Johnson's part? Or, was it an accidental fall caused by Paul who pushed Johnson to the ground?), there was naturally a lot of speculation (which led to gossip) about Johnson's death. Even today some uninformed observers claim Johnson was murdered. According to witnesses who were in India at the time, though, Johnson's death was a tragic accident and nothing more.
The above quote notwithstanding, the overall influence that Johnson's books-- The Path of the Masters and With a Great Master in India , had on other authors, in particular Paul Twitchell, is truly remarkable. To actually document the effect would itself take several volumes, but Twitchell for example, not only borrowed and learned from The Path of the Masters, he also copied it. . . word for word. He did however, when it came to the list, leave out the aforementioned quote.
The past several years has seen a proliferation of smartphone meditation apps come on the market, all designed in such a way to ease, assist, familiarize, and put into use meditation techniques for almost anybody interested in learning and implementing the various ins-and-outs of meditation, at least as the manufacturers of the apps view meditation.
Beyond the manufacturers advertisement and promotions, for every page that shows up on the internet or elsewhere in support of using the apps, there is an equal number of pages knocking their use. What the knocking their use people are selling varies, but the in support folk seem to be in line with the app builders and promoters because if nothing else, the apps sell --- and sell big time, especially so the two top brands, Headspace and Calm.
People use all kinds of things to enhance or increase their ability to accomplish things. They wear glasses to improve the clarity of their physical vision. Some use dental implants and dentures to chew, eat, or look better. The same for the use of prosthetics, crutches, canes, or wheelchairs. They help people get things done and walk or move about who otherwise might not be able to. But, if glasses to read or see aren't needed, or implants or dentures, or canes, crutches, or wheelchairs, why use them? Initially, with meditation, other than a coming to know what meditation is and what it can do if you do it, nothing much than the desire to do so and then doing it is required Painting legs on a snake doesn't make it walk any better. Electronically painting photon-pushing meditation legs to swath your synapses with trompe l'oeil may be for some, better than nothing. However, and this is one of the biggest however's ever, it is that better than nothing that makes it not, not nothing, the goal of meditation.
HEADSPACE OR CALM FOR MEDITATION: NEEDED OR NOT NEEDED?
FRANK H. HUMPHREYS: Sri Ramana's First Western Disciple
SRI RAMANA'S WESTERN DISCIPLES AND FOLLOWERS
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEAR INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
THE BHAGAVAN SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI
WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
CODE OF ETHICS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDES
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
FALSE GURU TEST
30 MINUTES TO ENLIGHTENMENT
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
ON THE RAZOR'S
For those who may be so interested, it should be noted that Johnson's book, Path of the Masters, has fallen into the public domain, therefore there are now a number of free online PDF versions that have recently appeared that were not previously available. Try:
THE PATH OF THE MASTERS
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:
SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE: