Dr. Johnson's letter to Baba Sawan Singh Ji
Dera Baba Jaimal Singh ji
Via Beas District Amritsar
THE PUNJAB, INDIA
SAHABJI MAHARAJ SAHAB
MY DEAR MAHARAJ JI,
Since my visit to Agra I have wanted to write to you personally, and after noting in the little paper, under the heading of Notes from your diary a reference to my visit, I decided that it was quite fitting and proper for me to write this letter.
Before leaving Agra I wished for an opportunity to express to you personally my very great appreciation and admiration of your Model Industries. But our time was so very limited. I greatly enjoyed my all-too brief visit with yourself and your staff of workers. The organization and output of your Model Industries are quite remarkable. The quality of most of the goods manufactured seemed to me to be super-excellent. The workers all appeared so clean and cheerful and skilled in their several duties. The dairy I especially enjoyed seeing. It is equal to the best I have seen in America and is nothing short of a miracle here in India where they are not accustomed to such things. I wish you in the most wholehearted manner to congratulate you and all of your helpers on your splendid achievement. I believe your work is a blessing to all India. It is a pity that such industries could not be established in all important centres throughout the country.
However, while delighted at the success you have achieved in these industries, the question kept going through my mind — does all of this help the spiritual life of the workers; or does it, by its very success, tend to bind them more closely to the material world? I note in your comments on my question put to Miss Bruce that I might be expected to reflect such opinions from the Beas Satsang with which I am connected. But on the contrary, I am here under the instructions of the Beloved Master of this Satsang because from the very beginning, while in America, learned that He was wholly given to spiritual instruction and the spiritual uplift of His disciples. And that is one reason why I am still happy to have privilege to love Him and to sit at His holy feet.
But I do not wish discussion or argument. I deeply regret that any division should exist among the ranks of the Radhasoami Faith — a faith which seems to me to be the very cream and perfection of all systems of religion or spiritual science. The one crucial point seems to be: Does all of this industrial activity, and the prosperity growing out of it, tend to add to, or detract from, the spiritual output of the individuals concerned? And I do not believe the answer can be obtained by intellectual argument or discussion. It may be obtained, possibly, by a personal canvass of the lives and experiences of all the four thousand workers in Dayalbagh and of an equal number of devotees not so connected with any such industries. Permit me to say quite frankly that if by such a canvass it could be shown that these industries contribute a decided advantage to the workers in their spiritual development and progress on the inward and upward journey forward their eternal Home, then I shall give to the plan my unqualified endorsement. (Not that my endorsement would mean anything to anybody). In such a case — a complete vindication of the plan — you would take rank among the world’s wisest and greatest benefactors, and it would appear that all future Spiritual Teachers might well emulate your example. This writer would indeed be happy if such a demonstration could be made and the policy vindicated. The argument for it seems to be incontrovertible and absolutely convincing. But unfortunately it appears that history is against it. In all ages it seems that just in proportion as men become engrossed in worldly activities and begin to enjoy the prosperity resulting from them, they begin to lose interest in spiritual pursuits and their attention becomes more and more fixed upon material pursuits and pleasures. Of course, it should not be so; but unfortunately it seems to work out that way. Hence the Wise Men of all ages have sought to draw men’s attention away from worldly matters, and they have found that in most cases poverty and extreme hardship were the best agents to drive men to the feet of the Master.
I want to say in conclusion that this letter expresses only my own private opinions and convictions and for them I alone am responsible. Further, I am happy to say that during all of the three and one half months I have been here with the Master and the disciples of the Beas Satsang I have heard only expressions of love and kindness for yourself and people. In fact, our Master has very definitely said to me that He would be happy indeed if all units of this faith could get together in a common brotherhood of love and good fellowship and He stands ready to co-operate with you and all the rest to that end. Praying that you will give thought and consideration toward such a gracious end, I assure you of my fraternal love and very best wishes.
Hoping that I am not presuming too much in writing this way, and humbly hoping that substantial ground may be found for a more perfect understanding and practical union of all who walk this Noble Path, I am,
(Sd.) JULIAN P. JOHNSON
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