- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 47 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: MSAC Philosophy Group
- Audible.com Release Date: June 30, 2017
- Language: English
- ASIN: B073DJB57G
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Journey: A Voyage of Light and Sound Audiobook – Unabridged
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“The Journey” is a short article, probably written at some point during the 1980's. Yet, it's quite interesting. Lane describes the spiritual journey of the Radhasoami mystic in some detail. The ascent to the divine could be described as a consciously induced near-death experience, during which the physical body becomes completely numb, as consciousness is concentrated in the “third eye” and then leaves the body behind. The process has obvious similarities with “astral travel”, and Lane explicitly compares one of the regions traversed to the astral. With one exception, all the spiritual dimensions passed by the soul on its journey back to the divine are “positive” and immensely enchanting. In one of the regions, every wish comes true and the mystic can even create entirely new worlds. Or so he imagines! The soul is advised not to dwell too long in these regions of spiritual space, since they really hinder its progression. One region is described as negative and hence constitutes a kind of “hell”. Interestingly, it’s the last dimension traveled by the soul before it merges with the divine.
Only a person with a competent guru can undertake the perilous journey back to godhead, the form of the guru guiding the soul through its meanderings in enchanted astral space. The guru also teaches the future mystic various mantras or passwords necessary for the trip. Ultimately, the soul sees the guru as God, and then sees how the guru merges into God, next realizing that it (the soul) has been part of the guru and hence God all along. A distinctive feature of Radhasoami is the emphasis on the “Audible Life Current”, the various cosmic or spiritual sounds heard by the mystic during his ascent, showing him that he is on the right track.
Another distinctive feature is the idea of a negative force in the cosmos, called Kal, which represents descent from the divine to the material. Kal (sometimes personified as a kind of Gnostic demiurge) is the ruler of the non-divine realms, including the enchanting ones, and his mission is to hinder the soul from reaching its true destiny and merge with the ocean of the divine. The idea that there is a fallen god in charge of the material and the astral strikes me as non-Hindu. Where does it come from? Is it an actual Gnostic idea influencing Radhasoami, or did they develop it independently?
Following Wilber, David C Lane believes that mystical experiences can be studied scientifically and that this is an important future task of transpersonal psychology. (He no longer holds this position, having become a materialist and a skeptic.) However, he eventually admits that it's very difficult to know which spiritual tradition is the correct one. How do we know that Radhasoami's form of yoga (Surat Shabd Yoga) is true, whereas Adi Da's kundalini yoga is false? Lane reaches the conclusion that perhaps we don't, and therefore non-dogmatically advises seekers to freely experiment with and compare different paths. He also has a soft spot for Faqir Chand, who was something of a maverick within the Radhasoami tradition.
While “The Journey” is a very short journey, it might wet your appetite if you're interested in mysticism, and I therefore give it three stars. Not for the general reader, though! As already noted, Lane no longer hold the pro-mystical/pro-Wilber positions expressed in this article, having become a materialist and a skeptic.That's another story, though. And another journey...
Anyhow, the reason that I held back a star was the absence of copyright or even date of publication. Most digital products clearly show when and where they were written, all of that info is missing from Lane's KINDLE editions. Obviously, copyright info is crucial for chronological context of academic reports; which brings to mind, why isn't that info on these Kindle booklets? Are these LEGALLY-PRODUCED Kindle materials? Makes on wonder if Dr. Lane and his academic group at Mount San Antonio College know what's going on at Amazon Digital.