A Critical Analysis of John-Roger
Hinkins and M.S.I.A.
What would you do if
you learned one day that your spiritual teacher sexually harassed his male disciples and
covered up his sexual affairs; a plagiarist who lifted his teachings from other traditions
without due reference; a spendthrift who lived extravagantly, though he took a vow of
poverty; a questionable business man who engaged in risky and possibly illegal activities;
and a religious charlatan who consistently told untruths about a variety of issues?
your discipleship? Leave the organization? Stay with the movement? How would you feel?
Shocked, disgusted, saddened? Or, perhaps, a strong sense of rationalization: okay, he may
be sexually manipulative, a plagiarist, a crook, and a liar, but I have benefitted from
now this is the dilemma of several members of M.S.I.A. (Movement of Spiritual Inner
Awareness) who believe that their teacher John-Roger has misled them and thousands of
others. Based primarily upon the personal testimony of disciples of John-Roger about his
hidden life, a scandal of devastating proportions has begun to rock the Movement's
international membership. This article, the first of its kind, will take a close look at
the present controversy, addressing the larger issue of how new religious groups should be
studied in light of legitimacy and authenticity.
The Critical Imperative:
Legitimacy versus Authenticity
With the continuing growth of new spiritual
movements, it is imperative for both the scholar and the seeker to be able to discriminate
between groups which are fraudulent and manipulative and those which are genuine and
beneficial. The failure to do so has troublesome consequences: witness Jim Jones and
Jonestown. What is necessary, therefore, in the examination of religion and its mystical
claims -- be them old and traditional like Roman Catholicism or new and emerging like the
Unification Church -- is unbridled rational scrutiny. That is, the opportunity to fully
investigate every facet about the particular spiritual movement: from the biography of its
founder, the history of its organization, the value of its teachings, to the practical
application of its techniques, etc. Nothing, in this purview, is too private, too
esoteric, or too trivial for examination.
However, some of today's religions resist
such inquiries, fearing the negative reprecussions that may result from an intensive study
of their history and doctrines. For instance, note the reluctance of many followers to
accept historians' allegations that many esteemed religious leaders plagiarized their
writings from other authors, e.g., Joseph Smith (Mormonism) and Mary Baker Eddy (Christian
Though we may indeed find many unpleasant
facts out about the originators and promulagators of spiritual movements, this does not in
any way lessen our responsibility to uncover the truth (in whatever form it may appear).
This above all else is the rational imperative and the duty of human intelligence: to
question and probe unceasingly.
Ken Wilber, perhaps more than any other
transpersonal theorist, has stressed the need for intelligent discrimination in the face
of our modern cultic renaissance. In his books, A Sociable God (1983) and Eye to
Eye (1983), Wilber has proposed a simple but dynamic paradigm in which to critically
analyze new religious movements.
Borrowing his terminology from linguistics
and sociology, Wilber argues that spiritual groups should be judged on two criteria:
legitimacy and authenticity. The former deals with the relative degree of meaning value
found in the group. How well do its teachings integrate one within both the membership
fold and the exterior community? Does the leader/teacher live up to his/her own ethical
standards? To the moral heights of other enlightened masters? What are the group's
historical antecedents? How is it viewed by outsiders, etc.? Legitimacy is a horizontal
enterprise, the valuation of the movement's aims within the individual, membership, and
the society at large.
Authenticity, on the other hand, is
concerned with the actual transformation offered and delivered by the respective sect. Is
the group engaged with transcendent practices for uplifting the soul to higher realms? Or,
just the alteration of social and political awareness? Are participants experiencing
directly those desired aims, etc.? This, as Huston Smith in The Forgotten Truth has
pointed out, is a vertical appraisement, gauging the spiritual focus and power of the
movement both theoretically and practically.
With Wilber's astute reconnoitering of
religious groups, it will enable us to examine John-Roger and M.S.I.A. more fully, taking
into consideration both the integrative and transformative dimensions of his group.
A Brief History of M.S.I.A.
In 1968 John-Roger Hinkins, reportedly a
former police dispatcher and ex-high school teacher raised in Mormonism, started his
spiritual ministry in California. He was associated with Paul Twitchell and his group,
having been a mail correspondent member and a second initiate. There are also reports that
he was connected with other metaphysical groups, learning firsthand about meditation,
light-attunement, and aura balancing, which he later incorporated into his own movement.
Although Hinkins' name appears in
Twitchell's newsletter (dated in the late 1960's) as a convenor for Twitchell sponsored
meetings in Southern California, John-Roger does not see his connection with Paul
Twitchell as a master/disciple or teacher/student relationship. Be that as it may, the
fact remains, however, that his group and his teachings are almost exactly the same as
those taught by Paul Twitchell, not even excepting particular Twitchellian nuances.
Likewise, some M.S.I.A. initiates recall that in the early meetings J.R. would "call
in" the spirit of brother Paul Twitchell, as a master conversant in soul travel. It
should also be recognized that M.S.I.A.'s organizational structure is almost parallel to
Twitchell's group with regard to initiation, discourses, and cosmology.
John-Roger is known to members of M.S.I.A.
as the physical manifestation of the Mystical Traveler Consciousness, an all-powerful
inner spirit that guides the progress of soul travelers. (This concept, by the way, is
quite similar to the Satguru in the Radhasoami tradition and the Mahanta in
Twitchell's group.) According to Roger's account, the mantleship of the MTC was passed on
to him in or around 1963. During this time, Roger claims to have met Sawan Singh, the late
Radhasoami Satsang Beas master who died in 1948. "J.R.," as Hinkins is
affectionately called, holds that Sawan Singh was the previous receptor of the MTC and
passed on the keys to the Kingdom to him on the inner spiritual planes. In the
beginning, however, J.R. did not recognize the luminous being as Sawan Singh. At first, he
alleged to be in communication with Rebazar Tarzs, a 500 year old Tibetan monk, who, as it
turns out, was a fictional character created by Paul Twitchell to hide his past
associations. Accordingly, it was only later when Roger saw a photograph of the Radhasoami
guru that he placed the picture of Sawan Singh with the powerful entity he encountered in
John-Roger's group has grown considerably in
the last ten years, and now has centers throughout the United States and in several
countries across the globe. M.S.I.A. publishes its own newspaper, The Movement, and
the writings of J.R., including such books as The Sound Current, A Consciousness of
Wealth, and The Christ Within. Recently there took place the creation of the
John-Roger Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization which supports J.R.'s
numerous activities. This Foundation backs the following enterprises:
1. Public Communication: Educational programs; NOW productions; Book division; The
Movement Newspaper; and Audio tape division.
2. Educational Institutions: Insight Transformational Seminars; Koh-E-Nor University;
PRANA Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy.
3. Health Treatment Baraka Holistic Center for Therapy and Research.
4. Community and Public Service: Insight Service Training; Insight Service Projects;
and Individual Service Projects.
5. Spiritual and Philosophical Service M.S.I.A.; Counseling; Publications
At first glance, John-Roger and his Movement
appear to be a viable alternative in today's expanding religious market. The official
history of M.S.I.A. goes a long way in trying to portray J.R. and his mission as a great
boon for humankind and society. At long last, the West has an authentic master of the
Sound Current, one who can convey Eastern wisdom in practical, accessible terms--or so the
general membership believes. But, according to a growing number of students of J.R. who
have recently defected from the ranks, there is a hidden side to the history and design of
M.S.I.A. which displays not a genuine spiritual teacher and a true path to God, but a
misguided charlatan who will use anything in his power to achieve his aims. It is, no
doubt, a controversial issue but, nevertheless, it is one that demands closer scrutiny.
The following series of "allegations," which are at the heart of the scandal,
will allow us to determine the ultimate legitimacy and authenticity of J.R.'s mastership.
J.R. is a Plagiarist
Since the inception of M.S.I.A., John-Roger
has infused his group with a variety of teachings, practices, and New Age techniques from
other spiritual traditions. At times this has been a source of embarrassment because his
extensive "borrowing" has occasionally turned out to be blatant plagiarism. For
instance, compare M.S.I.A.'s cosmology (as found in The Sound Current by
John-Roger, dated 1976) with Twitchell's cosmology (as found in The Spiritual Notebook
by Paul Twitchell, dated and copyrighted in 1971):
(Region and Sound)
1. Physical (Thunder)
2. Astral (Roar of the Sea)
3. Causal (Tinkle of Bells)
4. Mental (Running Water)
5. Soul (Single Note of Flute)
6. Alakh Lok (Heavy Wind)
7. Alaya Lok (Deep Humming)
8. Hukikat Lok (Thousand Violins)
9. Agam Lok (Music of Woodwinds)
(Region and Sound)
1. Physical (Thunder)
2. Astral (Roaring Surf)
3. Causal (Tinkle of Bells)
4. Mental (Running Water)
5. Soul (Sound of Flute)
Sound of Wind
Ten Thousand Violins
Sound of Woodwinds
Roger's cosmology is exactly
the same as Paul Twitchell's. This is unusual because of Twitchell's own creative
implantations which were uniquely his own. Both of the above schemas represent a radical
departure from the Radhasoami esoteric version which was the primary source for
Twitchell's understanding of the Sound Current and Surat Shabd Yoga practice.
Not only did J.R. copy from Twitchell's
publications (consciously or otherwise), but he also appropriated word for word from other
metaphysical texts. Perhaps Roger's most graphic example of plagiarism was from Florence
Scovel Shinn's book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, published by
DeVorss & Company and copyrighted in 1925. Take a close look at the following
comparisons; not a sentence has been changed:
Florence Scovel Shinn (1925)
God is my unfailing supply, and large sums of money come to me quickly,
under grace, in perfect ways.
Every plan my father in heaven has not planned, shall be dissolved and
dissipated, and the Divine Idea now comes to pass.
Only that which is true of God is true of me, for I and the Father are
As I am one with God, I am one with my good, for God is both the Giver and
the Gift. I cannot separate the Giver from the gift.
Divine love now dissolves and dissipates every wrong condition in my mind,
body and affairs. Divine Love is the most powerful chemical in the universe, and dissolves
everything which is not of itself!
Divine Love floods my consciousness with health, and every cell in my body
is filled with light.
My eyes are God's eyes, I see with the eyes of spirit. I see clearly the
open way; there are no obstacles on my pathway. I see clearly the perfect plan.
John Roger Hinkins (1981)
God is my unfailing supply, and large sums of money come to me quickly,
under grace, in perfect ways.
Every plan my father in Heaven has not planned, shall be dissolved and
dissipated. The Divine Idea now comes to pass.
Only that which is true of God is true of me, for I and the Father am one.
As I am one with God, I am one with my good, for God is both the Giver and
the Gift. I cannot separate the Giver from the Gift.
Divine love now dissolves and dissipates every wrong condition in my mind,
my body and affairs. Divine Love is the most powerful chemical in the universe and
dissolves everything which is not of itself.
Divine Love floods my consciousness with health and every cell in my body
is filled with Light.
My eyes are God's eyes. I see with the eyes of Spirit. I see clearly the
open way. There are no obstacles on my pathway. I see clearly the perfect plan.
John-Roger appears to have a proclivity for
taking other teachings, writings, and practices and developing them as his own. Besides
the obvious similarities between Roger's Insight Transformational Seminars and Life Spring
(as well as Est) one can see his tendency for "borrowing" in his curious use of
the word Sarmad as a term for God. It seems likely, given J.R.'s track record in
matters of religious shoplifting, that he first learned the word "Sugmad" from
Paul Twitchell. However, after his exposure to certain Radhasoami Beas texts (particularly
the one entitled Sarmad), he transposed Twitchell's term "Sugmad" (which stands
for the Highest Lord) into M.S.I.A.'s "Sarmad." In any case, "Sarmad"
is actually the name given for a famous Indian-Jewish saint in the Shabd Yoga tradition
who died a martyr because of his claim that he was one with God.
Roger, coincidentally, has also taken over
the Holy Five Names mantra from the Radhasoami Beas and Ruhani Satsangs. In doing
so, though, J.R. has mistakenly rearranged the order in two of the names, betraying his
ignorance in understanding Indian terminology. This type of indiscriminate borrowing, at
least to practitioners from established centers of Surat Shabd Yoga, shows John-Roger to
be an unscrupulous spermologos and his group M.S.I.A. to be a potpourri of unoriginal
spiritual teachings. The allegation that J.R. is a plagiarist, to some disciples, looks
more and more to be a statement of fact.
J.R. Sexually Manipulates His
Perhaps the most shocking thing to be alleged about
John-Roger by a number of M.S.I.A. members is that he sexually manipulates his disciples
into having a homosexual affair, claiming that it is for their best spiritual interests.
According to several reports, J.R. has apparently been using his spiritual title in order
to have sexual relationships with numerous male disciples.
In this regard, Roger joins the growing ranks of gurus
who have crossed the ethical borderline between religious guidance and physical intimacy.
This infamous assemblage now includes the likes of Swami Muktananda, who according to
William Rodarmor's article in CoEvolution Quarterly (Winter 1983), was having numerable
sexual encounters with his female followers both in America and India before his death in
1982; Neem Karoli Baba, Richard Alpert's teacher, who is recorded to have had "making
out" sessions with some of his female American devotees; and Sathya Sai Baba, perhaps
India's most famous mystic, who is described by Tal Brooke (one-time disciple) in Lord of
the Air (1979) to be a practicing homosexual.
As sexuality is undoubtedly a personal matter and perhaps
a skeleton in most individual's closets, it is not my wish to elaborate any further on
this private issue which has turned public within the last decade. However, it should be
pointed out that spiritual teachers by necessity must be judged by a high moral standard,
for they are allowing themselves to be examples of what other humans can and should be.
Though, indeed, gurus are human like the rest of us (and deserve our understanding and
forgiveness), they represent a higher potential, a supposed enlightened state. Hence, when
one does "fall off the pedestal" it should not be ignored or condoned with lame
excuses. To do so only allows for more ethical transgressions to occur. Gurus don't
hesitate to point out their devotee's weaknesses, nor should disciples be hesitant in
criticizing their teacher's faults. Critical exchange is crucial and healthy for any type
of relationship--including teacher/students ones.
J.R. is a Charlatan
According to many disenchanted followers,
though J.R. claims to be the manifestation of the Mystical Traveler Consciousness he
exhibits many of the qualities of a charlatan. Questions have been raised about Roger's
lifestyle, business practices, and way of dealing with people.
For instance, it appears that M.S.I.A.
(presumably with J.R.'s knowledge) has illegally used the Atman Travel Agency to secure
discounts on flights for staff members and other interested parties. The way this is done
is to introduce a staff member as a full-time travel agent. But, in most cases, the
individual does not work in that capacity, thereby deriving benefit for a service never
This type of questionable activity extends
even to J.R.'s Mandeville Canyon property. When the city of Los Angeles' Department of
buildings and Safety sent a letter to John-Roger Hinkins to discontinue the operation of
commercial ventures on his residential property, it appears that J.R. (under guidance from
his attorney) tried to hide the business dealings going on at Mandeville. This included,
among other things, the claim by Roger's lawyer to Senior Building-Mechanical Inspector
(J. Anderson) that "editing" on tapes and books, etc., was a "hobby"
-- though obviously this was not the case.
J.R.'s personal lifestyle can best be
described as luxurious. He has at his disposal hundreds of thousands of dollars for a
number of projects. Though he claims to have taken a vow of poverty, Roger lives quite
expensively, having the latest in technology and comfort.
Though the preceding sections only partially
describe the hidden side of John-Roger, they do bring to focus the important question of
whether or not J.R. has any genuine spiritual authority or if his group M.S.I.A. is at all
a legitimate and authentic enterprise.
What About Credentials? The Traditional Analysis
There are two major ways that one can judge
the legitimacy of a spiritual movement: from inside the tradition and outside of it. Our
critical analysis, therefore, will be on these two fronts, first utilizing the principles
of Sant Mat, Radhasoami, and Shabd Yoga for the practical critique; and secondly, applying
the evaluations of transpersonal psychology (via Wilber and Welwood) for the external
Since John-Roger readily admits that Sawan
Singh, the late Radhasoami Beas guru, was the previous receptor of the Mystical Traveler
Consciousness, it is only natural for our purposes to see if J.R. himself lives up to the
guidelines of a true master, as posited by Sawan Singh and his predecessors. (It should be
noted that Sawan Singh [1858-1948] was a highly esteemed master of Shabd Yoga union of
the soul with the Divine Sound in North India and had a very large following. His guru
was Jaimal Singh, the spiritual successor of Shiv Dayal Singh, who founded the Radhasoami
path in the mid 19th century in Agra, India.) Below are the results of the comparison:
1. True masters never charge money for their services in any form (this, of course,
includes membership or initiation). Nor do they live off the offerings of their disciples.
True masters are self-supporting.
2. True masters must be initiated themselves while in the body by a genuine guru.
Successorship, naturally, necessitates an acknowledgement on behalf of the departing
master of his heir.
3. True masters are strict vegetarians and insist that their disciples do the same.
4. True masters do not drink alcohol nor take mind-altering drugs.
5. True masters do not claim psychic powers or perform public miracles.
6. True masters only have sexual relations with their spouse.
1. M.S.I.A., under the direction of J.R., charges a yearly rate for membership.
(Initiation generally can only be secured if you are a member first.) John-Roger, though
he claims to have taken a vow of poverty, has used thousands of dollars of his group's
money for his own uses.
2. John-Roger disavows having taken initiation from any Shabd Yoga master while living
in the physical body (including Sawan Singh, who had been deceased for fifteen years when
J.R. claims to have met him).
3. John-Roger is a meat-eater. M.S.I.A. students do not take a vow of vegetarianism.
4. John-Roger is reported to consume alcoholic beverages and take a variety of legal
5. John-Roger, on occasion, claims psychic ability.
6. John-Roger, according to a number of disciples, has sexually manipulated several
males into affairs.
As is made obvious from the above analysis,
John-Roger would not be regarded as a genuine master by Sawan Singh and the Sant Mat
tradition. Rather, he has all the earmarks of a guru not to follow. This is further
supported by the illuminating fact that Roger's spiritual and meditational advice is
almost always opposite that given by Sawan Singh and other saints in India:
A) A disciple of a perfect master once initiated can never be uninitiated or
disconnected from the Sound Current or his guru. He is, in the course of time, assured of
his destination, God-realization.
B) form that may appear in meditation by repeating the Holy Names given
to them at the time of their initiation. JOHN ROGER
A)"Your reconnections to the Sound Current did not hold and this is to notify you
that you are no longer initiates of the Mystical Traveler and of the Sound Current."
-- letter from the Movement Board, under the direction of J.R.
B) Advises his disciples not to repeat their Holy Tones when they encounter inner
beings during their meditations.
In light of Sant Mat principles and history,
John-Roger's story about receiving the mantleship of the Mystical Traveler Consciousness
and contacting Sawan Singh on the inner planes, etc., cannot be taken seriously, as it
would contradict the very teachings of Sawan Singh and Shabd Yoga.Hence, in this context,
J.R. has no proof or rightful demand for his spiritual authority. Likewise, neither does
M.S.I.A. (as a religious organization under the direction of Roger) have any substantial
claim for being a true source or lineage for Sound Current practices and doctrines.
The Humanistic and Transpersonal Critique
Due to the pioneering work of Ken Wilber and
John Welwood, it is now possible to critically analyze new religious movements and their
leaders from a humanistic/transpersonal perspective.
If we apply Wilber's scale of legitimacy and
authenticity to John-Roger, for example, we find that J.R. has a very weak case for his
mastership, since he lacks both a documented historical lineage and outside confirmation
from other well established Sound Current teachers. Concurrently, M.S.I.A., since it
springs solely out of J.R.'s own creative enterprising, scores a low rating in legitimacy
In terms of authenticity (the actual
transformative powers of the group), there can be no question that M.S.I.A. does
ultimately aim for higher realms of consciousness and that some sincere individuals may be
achieving those exalted states. However, these experiences have nothing to do, per se,
with John-Roger or M.S.I.A. Rather, as I have argued elsewhere, it is the person's own
inherent capability for transcendent insights that enables one to have inner visions and
out-of-body experiences. This is most acutely exemplified in the reports of near-death
patients who describe beautiful encounters with a being of light. The NDE experience, as
Moody, Ring, and Sabom have indicated in their research, is a transcultural phenomenon,
available to any person no matter what religion or country they may belong to.
Thus, following this line of reasoning, it
would be erroneous for M.S.I.A. initiates who have mystical encounters to assume that
John-Roger is necessarily the cause for it. Instead, it is one's own belief, faith,
concentration, and potential for further structural adaptation which has acted as the
catalyst for the elevation. This does not mean, though, that true masters do not
administer spiritual benefit to their disciples, but only that the individual must first
allow for further insight and advancement. Enlightenment, as Wilber so aptly points out,
cannot be forced upon people -- only slavery can.
Another important appraisement of spiritual
masters and groups comes from John Welwood's classic article, On Spiritual Authority:
Genuine and Counterfeit, which appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology
(Summer 1983). Welwood draws an important distinction between genuine and counterfeit
gurus by illustrating the differences between Egocentricity and Being.
concern with maintaining appearances; concern with maintaining and
validating a self-image; contraction around "I-ness"; sense of insecurity and
concern with discovering truth; interest in and appreciation of the world,
independently of how it affirms or negates any self-image; expansion outward toward life
and the phenomenal world; basic sense of wholeness, well-being, aliveness, and
If we accept the picture of John-Roger that
has been drawn by a number of ex-followers (and outlined throughout this article) and
place it through Welwood's grid, it becomes obvious that J.R. has more traits of
Egocentricity than of Being. This will become even clearer when we review Roger's
reactions to criticism.
The Red Monk Disease
The most telling sign of whether a master is
genuine or fraudulent, authentic or counterfeit, filled with Ego or Being, is to see how
he reacts to personal criticism. It is easy to "ook" majestic and benevolent
when everyone around is adoring you. But, the real test is to find out how the guru
responds in a negative situation. Only then can a disciple witness the real merits of his
How does John-Roger stand up on the face of
adverse publicity? Not very well it seems. For instance, when word got out that several
disciples were talking about his personal/hidden life, J.R. immediately tried to squelch
it by having his lawyers send letters pointing out the possible legal ramifications if
they persisted. Not satisfied with just a conventional defense, Roger also declared to his
membership that certain wayward students were now embodying the Red Monk, a
negative delusion, etc. Declares a letter from the Movement Board to one of these
"We will also once again be notifying
those people that ask that you are once again embodying the Negative Power in the form of
the Red monk and the consequences that goes with this power. Please understand that this
action is not against you but for those whom you would once again contaminate with this
energy field. Most of the people in the Movement who have contacted us have noticed the
peculiar actions around you that reminded them of the occurrences when your egos led you
into patterns of deceit and half truths in the past..."
What does this Red Monk do? According to the
Movement Board it contaminates anything which comes into its field of energy. Who are the
most likely candidates for the dreaded disorder? Students who criticize John-Roger or
M.S.I.A. To show to what extent John-Roger will go in defending his actions, I have
included some excerpts from letters that have been written on his behalf or M.S.I.A.'s to
"It has come to my attention that you
and other individuals have been slandering and invading the privacy of several of my
clients including John-Roger, the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Awareness...and
others involved therewith...As attorney for these individuals and foundations, I have been
instructed to request that you immediately cease and desist from said activities.
"I direct your attention to California
Civil Code Section 43 et seq. and related cases involving the possible penalties for your
(letter from attorney Marc Darrow on behalf of John-Roger)
"This is to inform you that I am no
longer in support of you being a minister in the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness and
so I am requesting that you hand in your Ministerial ordination and pocket size
credentials as soon as possible. Since you have effectively placed yourself under the
power of the Kal power and its field of negativity known as the Red Monk I can also no
longer support you as an initiate and ask that you request to have this relationship
(letter from John-Roger to a former minister and student of M.S.I.A.)
What emerges from these letters is not a compassionate
and forgiving spiritual teacher, but a resentful, obviously insecure individual who
possesses the failings of a common man. John-Roger, and not his questioning disciples,
appears to be suffering from a bad case of over-exposure to the fearful Red Monk disease.
The only cure available for J.R., it seems, is to concede to the fact that he is more a
charlatan than a saint.
This article was originally written in 1983 after I was
approached by several highly placed members of M.S.I.A. who felt betrayed by John-Roger
Hinkins. Since I was somewhat friendly with J.R. (we had met on several occasions at his
home about my research on Paul Twitchell, shabd yoga, and Radhasoami), I called him on the
telephone to get his response to the three main allegations made against him (plagiarism,
sexual manipulation, and charlatanism). J.R. did not take kindly to my questions and did
not want me to do any further research on him. Indeed, after that phone conversation in
the Fall of 1983 I was subjected to a series of threats, including several made against my
life and the lives of my friends/informants.
The situation reached a peak the following year on
October 5, 1984, when my home was ransacked and a number of my research files were
purloined. Documentary evidence (outlined in a special issue of UCSM entitled The
Criminal Activities of John-Roger Hinkins) implicates John-Roger with the Del Mar
robbery, as well as engineering a smear campaign replete with death threats against his
critics. Subsequently major news organizations began to investigate J.R. A number of
provocative articles were published which exposed John-Roger in a negative light,
including an extensive two part critique in The Los Angeles Times.
It should be noted, however, that when The J.R.
Controversy first appeared I had to go to press without using the names of my informants,
each of whom declined to go public because they feared for their safety. Thus, even though
my critique was the first of its kind ever done on J.R. and the Movement, I was more or
less a sitting duck for his retaliatory efforts. J.R. waged a systematic campaign against
me by setting up a phony front organization entitled the "Coalition for Civil and
Spiritual Rights." In order to mail out his threatening letters, J.R. rented a mail
box in West Los Angeles under three pseudonyms: Peter Davidson, Ph.D., Michael Hunt, and
Kip Ferguson. J.R. made one devastating mistake, though, in creating his front: he
personally paid and signed for the mail box, betraying in one stroke of the pen his claim
that he was not aware of C.C.S.R.
After discovering J.R.'s plot (and after receiving some
of the stolen materials back which contained John-Roger's handwriting in the margins), I
wrote another article which detailed his criminal activities. I also went on a couple of
television programs, including the nationally syndicated Now It Can Be Told, and mentioned
on air how J.R. was involved in a number of illegal dealings. Since all of my allegations
were based upon extensive documentation, J.R. has never taken any legal action.
The ironic twist in all of this, however, is that J.R. is
now more popular than ever. This is primarily due to his co-authoring a number of best
selling books, with such catchy titles as Life 101 and Wealth 101. Despite a flurry of
negative publicity around the world (the U.K. press has been especially hard on John-Roger
and his Movement), J.R. has shown a remarkable resilience to rebound from adversity.
1. See Transcendental Sociology.
2. Personal interview with John-Roger Hinkins at his home in Mandeville Canyon (1978).
Also refer to the May 12, 1973 issue of the Movement Newspaper which elaborates on J.R.'s
association with Paul Twitchell.
3. Writes an ex-member of M.S.I.A., in a personal letter to the author (dated November
15, 1983): "You may be interested to know that years ago Roger Hinkins studied with a
small group in Glendale, CA that still exists called the Fellowship of Universal Guidance.
Some of us went there recently to hear one of their classes which consists of information
about the 3 selves and the Christ. I believe Roger Hinkins very cleverly devised a
saleable package by combining the material from [Paul Twitchell and his movement] with the
material from this group. . . ."
4. An example of this is Roger's acceptance of Twitchell's unusual claim that the sound
of the "flute" is heard on the soul plane and that the "tinkling of
bells" is audible in the casual region. No shabd yoga tradition in India connected to
Radhasoami has ever stated such a thing; rather, they make reference to the sound of a
"vina" (or bagpipe) in Sach Khand and the "conch" (or drum) in
Trikuti, the casual plane.
5. Paul Twitchell's group is also aware of this similarity and at one time threatened
lawsuits against J.R. for his actions. Memos against M.S.I.A. have been sent out by
Twitchell and his attorneys.
6. Personal interview with John-Roger Hinkins at his home in Mandeville Canyon
(1978-1979). The latter interview has since been transcribed by John-Roger and copied.
7. See my book, The Making of a Spiritual Movement (Del Mar: Del Mar Press,
8. Personal interview with John-Roger Hinkins, op. cit.
9. This connection between Radhasoami and American Sound Current teachings is outlined
in my paper "The New Panths: Shabdism in North America," which was first
presented to the American Academy of Religion at Stanford University in 1982. It has
subsequently been incorporated in my book The Making of a Spiritual Movement (op. cit.).
Also see Bhrigu Samhita.
10. Refer to Isaac A. Ezekiel's Sarmad: The Jewish Saint of India (Beas: Radha
11. Personal interview with John-Roger Hinkins (op. cit.) where he revealed the
"Holy Five Names" to me off tape. Also this information was confirmed by several
ex-members of M.S.I.A.
12. In early 1983 at a dinner date in San Diego, California, I had the opportunity to
speak with author Tal Brooke about Sathya Sai Baba's alleged homosexual advances. Brooke
informed me that Sathya Sai Baba had made a "pass" at him, overtly trying to
handle his genitals. Undoubtedly this is a controversial issue, but one which is coming
more into the limelight each day. Below is a list of gurus who are reported to have had
sexual affairs with their disciples in some way:
- 1) John-Roger Hinkins;
- 2) Sathya Sai Baba;
- 3) Thakar Singh;
- 4) Neem Karoli Baba;
- 5) Zen abbot Dick Baker;
- 6) Swami Muktananda;
- 7) Swami Rama;
- 8) Frederick Lenz (Rama).
13. Interviews with ex-members of M.S.I.A. Also refer to the television program, Now
It Can Be Told (Fall 1991), which records on tape the various allegations made against
15. Refer to Julian P. Johnson's The Path of the Masters (Beas: Radha Soami Foundation,
1939) - - excerpts of which are included in the last note - - and Sawan Singh's Spiritual
Gems (Beas: Radha Soami Foundation, 1965).
16. Interviews with former students of J.R.
17. For more on the history of shabd yoga and the lineages of Sant Mat and Radhasoami
masters please refer to Mark Juergensmeyer's Radhasoami Reality (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991) and this author's The Radhasoami Tradition (New
York & London: Garland Publishing, 1992).
18. See Ken Wilber's A Sociable God (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983) and Eye to Eye
(New York: Doubleday/Anchor Press, 1983).
19. Ken Wilber, op. cit.
20. Please refer to The Unknowing Sage: The Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand (Walnut:
Mount San Antonio College Press, 1993).
23. John Welwood, On Spiritual Authority: Genuine and Counterfeit, Journal of
Humanistic Psychology (Summer 1983, page 50).