To smoke or not to smoke?
Ordinarily smoking or not smoking is a matter of choice. Like eating or drinking or dressing, these habits change from region to region. However religions from time immemorial have tried use habits as tricks to convince that they are superior or in control.
Sometime back I had synthesized my thoughts about Habits here.
Now smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited in Radhasoami Cult. In their corporate head-quarter town ‘Beas’ (situated about 50 miles from Amritsar) there is not a single shop selling tobacco. A good place to quit smoking. But that is a different matter.
In Radhasoami hierarchy Swami Shiv Dayal is most reverend because he was the Guru of Baba Jaimal Singh who was first to arrive at Beas for meditation and is treated as founder. Now it is discovered that Swamiji (as he is called) was a hukka smoker. See following video:
The above video relies upon a book published by Radhasoami Trust which mentions that Soami Shiv Dayal answered this question while smoking Hukkah. Here is a picture:
Personally it does not matter. If a person can appreciate Gurdjieff with all his personal lifestyle, it really does not matter.
But why this hypocrisy?
The answer is to suppress the truth that it does not matter. A teacher is a teacher whatever his personal habits and because Swamiji was in Agra where smoking or chewing tobacco is part of culture. After all it was the Mughal Capital. Mughals were the importers and grand users of Hukkah. At that time having Hukkah in the house was a social necessity. Hindu and Muslims who did not like to share plate of food with each other, would share same Hukkah behind individual handkerchief.
However Beas is in Punjab, a sikh dominated area and all Babas are also Sikhs (they retain their beard and pagri etc.) Hence they added tobacco to their list of vices. Just plain expediency. Nothing moral or religious about it.
The conclusion is that Soami Shiv Dayal could attain salvation while smoking Hukkah, we lesser mortals have to abstain if we want to follow the path.
© Sandeep Bhalla