Officially, the spiritual teaching called Sahaj Marg, that is based on "heart to heart spiritual transmission", antique knowledge of India but lost for centuries, was re-discovered by Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh. Also known as Lalaji, this Master of the Naqshbandiya Sufi Order, is therefore considered the first Master of a new spiritual lineage by the adherents of Sahaj Marg and the Shri Ram Chandra Mission.
Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, also known as Babuji, claims to have met Lalaji a few times in his late teens and early twenties, and to have become a disciple.
Then in 1945, thirteen (13) years after the death of Lalaji in 1931, Babuji founded the Shri Ram Chandra Mission in honour of his Master, Lalaji, and claims to have been charged in a dream (meditation) state, with spreading this teaching throughout the world. Babuji called his "new religion", Sahaj Marg, or the "easy path" (now called the "Natural Path"), as apparently instructed in a dream (meditation) state.
At Babuji's death in 1983, Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, more commonly known as Chariji, allegedly succeeded him. Chari claimed that his personal mission, assigned to him by his master before his death, was to have the SRCM shine throughout the world.
This is the condensed official story presenting the origins of the Sahaj Marg and the SRCM.
The true story is very different.
The French parliamentary report on "harmful sects" n°2468 of December 1995 (French version), (English version) named this organization (Shri Ram Chandra Mission-SRCM) in its exhaustive and controversial list of "harmful sects" that included some spiritual movements operating in Europe at that time. The Belgian government has now done the same at its Centre for Information and Advice on (Organizations deemed) Harmful Sects (CIAOSN) where books by Babuji and Chari are listed.
The reality is very complex. Sahaj Marg, this so-called "religious" movement and/or "spiritual tradition" (as called in the "Autobiography of Ram Chandra", the Founder) nevertheless shows, after a few decades in existence, many signs of drifting towards spiritualism (see their fund-raiser book: Whispers from the Brighter World which is channelled from various deceased spirits through a French medium), and the Cult of a Personality (the Guru and/or the "Special Personality" who is believed to be Babuji with Chari as his "successor" according to SRCM (Chennai"). The apocalyptic urgency and businesslike evangelical proselytism are some of the new features that appeared in the movement during the last 20 years, under the impulsion of Chari, guided by his messianic mission and promise to his master that the SRCM would shine throughout the world.
The presentation will be articulated around 5 topics:
1. The True History of Sahaj Marg
Officially, Chari succeeded Babuji who succeeded Lalaji. They are the 3 Masters of Sahaj Marg according to SRCM (Chennai), the Chari faction. Actually, Lalaji gave birth to an abundance of hindu and/or Sufi movements. Babuji's succession to Lalaji is still bitterly disputed today. And there are at least 2 Shri RAM Chandra Mission(s) disputing the ownership of the Mission in the Supreme Court of India. Then came the schism of Dr Varadachari's son, K.C. Narayana and the creation of the Institute of Ram Chandra Consciousness (ISRC), which is operating with Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur (Babuji) as the only and eternal Master. Dr. Varadachari, a professor of philosophy and a friend of Babuji, was the "guru in waiting" before the appearance of Chari on the scene. (more…)
2. The Importance of Sahaj Marg
The actual strength of SRCM is a subject of perpetual speculation. It is difficult to identify what is false! Nevertheless, the growth, even if it tends to slow down, has been very important, it is undeniable. And if India constitutes the bulk of followers of Sahaj Marg, there are many groups in Western Europe and North America. Where will the SRCM operate tomorrow is another story? (more…)
3. A Complex Organization
(Last update: December 18, 2007)
Originally, it was the master and his disciples. When the number of disciples multiplied, the teacher needed relays, the preceptor. It was the spiritual organization, but with growth there comes a time when it has to be structured. The administrative and financial management become involved. That is what happened to the SRCM, where these different organizational levels coexist more or less segregated.
In essence, it could be said that the pyramid of power revolves around the spiritual organization, Sahaj Marg, while the administrative management of this gigantic structure is the SRCM, financial management is with the foundation SMSF. Obviously, Chari dominates everything. (more)
4. A Frenetic Proselytism
(Last up-date: Feb. 11, 2008)
Adepts of Sahaj Marg are fragile personalities, who live in a dehumanized society. Chari never ceases to move the track wherever they take refuge, galvanizing his troops, guilting the preceptors because of their lack of results. First drawn by the clientelle of the "psy's", his methods of recruiting are refine and he is now in search of recognition and respectability through the establishment of windows to the outside world.
5. Financials of Sahaj Marg
Participation is free: this is the message stressed at all times by the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Indeed, to begin to meditate with Sahaj Marg requires no expenditure, no commitment. To continue "Freely" (without costs) on this path becomes much more difficult. First, it encourages you to buy the books of Master Chari, and particularly "My Master" to better understand his thinking. Then they encourage you to contribute to the association to become a member. Anyway, if you want to meet the teacher - which is highly recommended - you have to participate in international seminars of SRCM ®. To do this, you must have an identity card made by SRCM International, which implies that you are already a member in your country of residence, and that you are up to date on your contribution to your national association…
Without really noticing, you just took your very first step down the slippery slope of the vast machine of the financial SRCM ®! Do not worry, it will never let go you…(more…)
Adepts of Sahaj Marg
1. The Profile Of The Abhyasis
A psychiatrist, a prominent preceptor of Sahaj Marg, summarizes the main characteristics of the abhyasis: almost three quarters are women, with a maximum between 35 and 50 years, an over-representation of health care workers, teachers and artists. Many are in a "mid-life" crisis, are unstructured (borderline) personalities, or have already undergone some form of psychotherapy. (more)