Shri Ram Chandra Mission
The Shri Ram Chandra Mission (also named SRCM or "Sahaj Marg") is a non-profit organization, a spiritual movement. It was registered in 1945 in India, by Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur (aka Babuji) (1899–1983) in memory of his spiritual teacher, Shri Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh (aka Lalaji) (1873–1931).
Beliefs and practices
The stated purpose of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission is to "awaken the divine consciousness and support on the path of evolution", and according to the movement, its modified form of Raja Yoga starting at step #7 of Patanjali's Raja Yoga  is not based on "mechanical methods involving austerity and penance unsuited to current living conditions" but on "simple and natural means". The proposed practice claims to be seeking to be "universal", "easily practiceable" and one can quickly "get to find yourself in what is sought unsuccessfully on the outside". The Sahaj Marg system uses the cleansing of the past impressions (samskaras), meditation on the heart and the support of a living spiritual master. The role of the spiritual teacher is said to be essential, according to the books published by the SRCM, as "he is well aware of all issues and all matters of spirituality and is claimed to have walked the path to realization or enlightenment of the soul, thus ending the cycles of life". He allegedly knows what to do for the traveler. "He is regarded by the practitioners as "a living example, a teacher by his writings and by his words. "It is God who is the true Guru, Master, and from him (God?) alone that we receive the light", wrote Ram Chandra in his book Reality at Dawn.
The current President and spiritual Master of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission registered in California, USA in 1997 (SRCM California-1997), is [] (aka Chariji) (b. 1927). The current President and spiritual master of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission registered in Lucknow, India in 1945, (SRCM-Shahjahanpur-1945) is Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachariji. Chariji was the disciple of the founder, Sri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, (aka "Babuji") who himself was taught for a short while by Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh, aka "Lalaji" having met him a few times. The SRCM claim that Lalalji rediscovered a very old method of spiritual training, the so-called inherited knowledge of the sages of ancient India, and which is based on the transmission of divine energy or "pranahuti."
Lalaji and his lineage claim that Lalaji was the first "non-Muslim" Master of the Naqshbandiya Sufi Order and that his Master was Hazrat Maulana Shah Fazl Ahemad Khan Naqshbandi Mujaddadi Mazahari r.a. (Huzur Maharaj) of Raipur (Kaimganj), Uttar Pradesh, India. Lalaji was initiated on January 23, 1896 at 05 P.M. and was conferred full Master-ship on October 11, 1896, which he remained to his death on Aug. 14, 1931. The teachings of Lalaji are the teachings of his Master, Huzur Maharaj, of whom he was declared "a perfect copy" by an independent panel of other religious disciplines.
The Shri Ram Chandra Mission registered in California in 1997 (SRCM California, 1997) and headquartered in Chennai, India, is an NGO recognized by the UNDPI (Department of Public Information) as a "non-profit organization" in Denmark, the United States and India.
In France, the SRCM is organized as a non-profit organization established in 1986, but has been classified as an orientalist cult with over 2,000 members in the 1995 report established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France. Around 1995, it counted about 60 tutors for 600 abhyasis. The anti-cults association GEMPPI denounced the "indigence doctrinal and philosophical talks among followers, unrelated to the Eastern religious systems". Its President stated that one sole life of total and absolute obedience to the Master of SRCM is supposed to interrupt the cycle of reincarnation. "Critical reflection and autonomy of thought are stifled in this ideological movement which claims to be revolutionary in its ideas".
In Belgium, the 1997 parliamentary report established a list of 189 movements which contained the Shri Ram Chandra Mission.
The inclusion in the parliamentary report on cults has been criticized by lawyer Lawrence Hincker, who said that "this system of meditation, called Sahaj Marg, does not lead to a life away from the world. It integrates all aspects of man, whether physical, mental or spiritual, without charge or austerity or penance or self-negation". According to the sociologist Bruno Étienne, an expert on religious issues, the SRCM publishes books as any other group but does not proselytize, and has never been convicted: "To us, it is fully a NMR (new religious movement), modern religious group, although based on an ancient tradition, and subject to serious arguments advanced by others more knowledgeable, we do not understand why it is criticized on the list of the damned". Raphaël Liogier, Director of the Observatory of religious and university professor at the Institut d'Études Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, said he did not understand the inclusion on the cult list of an association that is fully recognized in India. The Centre d'Information et de Conseil des Nouvelles Spiritualités (CICNS), a French association for the defense of religious freedom and conscience, said the movement is victim of slander on the Internet.
- "Role of the Abhyasi in Sahaj Marg.". Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Retrieved Aug.19 2010.
- Golden Jubilee. SRCM. ISBN 2-906219-17-7.
- Denley, Elizabet. "A flexible mind" (pfd). Australian Yoga Life 7. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- Sahaj Marg, le Septième Darshana, La Réalité à l'Aube. Infolio. ISBN 978-2-88474-603-8.
- Mayer, Jean-François (1993). Les nouvelles voies spirituelles: enquête sur la religiosité parallèle en Suisse (in French). Lausanne: L'Âge d'Homme. p. 213. ISBN 2-8251-0412-4. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Sahaj Marg system of meditation". The Sunday Times. 3 August 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Department of Public Information – Non-governmental organizations". United Nations. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- "Rapport fait au nom de la Commission d'enquête sur les sectes — Les sectes en France" (in French). Assemblée Nationale. 1995. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- Centre Roger Ikor (1996). Les Sectes État d'Urgence (in French). Paris: Albin Michel. p. 222. ISBN 2-226-07711-1.
- "La Shri Ram Chandra Mission – SRCM" (in French). GEMPPI. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- Hincker, Laurent (2003). Sectes, rumeurs et tribunaux (in French). La nuée bleue.
- Étienne, Bruno. La France face aux sectes (in French). p. 86. ISBN 2-01-235569-2.
- "Transcription intégrale de l'interview de Raphaël Liogier" (in French). Centre d'Information et de Conseil des Nouvelles Spiritualités. May 2006. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- D'Albret, Émile. "L'affaire des " robinets miracles ".... – Une nouvelle source de calomnies à l’encontre des minorités spirituelles" (in French). CICNS. Retrieved 4 August 2010.