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|Radha Soami Satsang|
|See sewa or seva|
Radha Swami ji (Radha Swami), translated Lord of the Soul, is another name for God. They do not advocate any religion but emphasise on equality and spiritual practice of Surat Shabad Yoga. As such, it represents a spiritual movement made public in 19th century India, as a path to attaining liberation of the soul jivan mukhti, and ultimately God-Realization in this Iron Age, or Kal Yuga. It is also known as Sant Mat, the "Path or Teachings of Saints" - God-Realized Souls. The Saint, Spiritual Master Guru gives the teachings freely, offering a method for God-Realization, to be experienced during this lifetime.
There are many phases of development on the spiritual path, the most important being love, manifest in devotion, discipline and obedience to Guru guru bhakti. With the Grace and Protection of the Guru, the disciple moves from outer methods of devotion, prayer and ritual, to the inner spiritual practice - meditation. The meditation practice is called Surat Shabd Yoga, the Yoga of the Sound Current, which emphasizes collecting the scattered attention at the Eye Center third eye, by means of repetition (mantra/simran), and listening bhajan to the Inner Celestial Sound, Nam or Inner Word, the Real Form of both Master and Disciple. In practice, Guru bhakti leads to Nam bhakti.
"The socio-religious revolution or renaissance which took place in India in the nineteenth century is generally known for its three facets: the change in Indian thought current under the hypnotic impact of the West; a positive leaning towards puritanic revivalism as a reaction to the influx of western ideas; and a deliberate attempt at synthesis of the Oriental and the Occidental. But besides these currents, there was one more - a spontaneous outburst of an inner urge of the Spirit, which was far away from any external influence whatsoever. The father of this spiritual renaissance was Soamiji Maharaj, the founder of the Radhasoami Faith, who started his teachings as early as the twenties of the nineteenth century. Whatever he said or wrote was the outcome of his intuitive realization and mystic revelations. Under this spiritual impulse he could draw a super-sensitive and English educated disciple like Hazur Maharaj towards him. The devotion of the disciple for the Master was matchless in form and precedence. And it was on his repeated requests that Soamiji Maharaj founded this esoteric faith in 1861. The chief characteristics of this faith are love and devotion. It revitalized the medieval Bhakti trends and revived the ancient Guru traditions. The faith presents a new concept of the Supreme Being, a novel revelation of the name "Radhasoami" and introduces a well-defined and developed method of internal practice -- surat-shabd-yoga—to the seekers after Truth. Not only an ascetic but also a man living in family can practise this Yoga. The faith has many other spiritual observances and a well spelled code of moral conduct to be followed by devotees. The faith owes its systematization to the second guru, Rai Saligram Bahadur (Hazur Maharaj), who was its real architect. The Radhasoami Faith has made a remarkable contribution in the socio-religion field as well. The founder gurus of the faith made direct hit upon the prevalent malpractices and anomalies in the indigenous socio-religious beliefs. They advocated for steady and gradual reforms in Indian society and simplified religion so as to make it accessible to all who desire salvation from worldly bondage, without any distinction of caste, colour and nationality."
Shiv Dayal Singh, called "Soamiji Maharaj" by devotees and admirers, was a khatri seth by caste in Agra, India. He used to insist that anyone who chose to follow him must give up non-vegetarian food, abstain from alcohol and intoxicants, lead a high moral life and engage in over two hours of shabd yoga (sound-current yoga) meditation per day.
In the mid-1850s, Shiv Dayal Singh had a handful of followers in Agra. However, his teachings eventually attracted disciples from across India and by the time of his death in 1878, Shiv Dayal had several thousand followers. He died on 15 June 1878 in Agra, India.
Shiv Dayal Singh's wife, Narayani Devi (called Radhaji), Rai Saligram (called Huzur Maharaj), Sanmukh Das, Gharib Das, Partap Singh (Shiv Dayal's younger brother) and Baba Jaimal Singh were some of his prominent followers around whom individual satsang groups formed. This splintering off, led to the propagation of Radhasoami teachings to a wider audience, although with slightly varied interpretations.
Shabd is referring to a spiritual current which can be perceived in meditation as inner light and sound. Yoga is referring to the uniting of our real essence (soul) through an inner listening with focused mental concentration (surat) upon an inner sound (shabd) which it is maintained emanates from Radhasoami the Supreme Being. It is therefore taught as the unchanging and primordial technique for uniting the soul with the supreme being via the power of Shabd.
Following the practice of meditation under the guidance of a spiritual teacher who is himself in contact with Shabd, is considered of paramount importance.
Pre-requisites for successful achievement of the meditation practice are a lacto-vegetarian diet, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and maintaining a pure and moral lifestyle.
Gurus and followers strongly reject rituals and idols. Though, the images or videos of the gurus are revered. Sar bachan claims that gods and goddesses are in the lowest of the low cadres and cannot grant salvation to the jivas. Worship of elements such as fire air water land space are rejected. Worship of material things and inanimate things is rejected such as worship of Sun, Stars moon. Worship of animals such as cows or snakes is also strongly condemned. Followers are encouraged to give up caste system and marry within people of other castes in case one is a true Satsangi. Also, It is claimed that deities such as Krishna is one of the lowest of the low cadre gods who cannot grant salvation to jivas so Satsangis strongly reject deities.
Radhasoami Satsang Hazuri Bhawan LineageEdit
After the founder and the first guru - Param Purush Puran Dhani (PPPD) Soamiji Maharaj - left for his heavenly abode in 1878, the satsang tradition started by him with his disciple PPPD Hazur Maharaj (Rai Saligram Bahadur) was continued by PPPD Hazur Maharaj at his residence: Hazuri Bhawan, Peepal Mandi, Agra. The Hazuri Bhawan lineage is:
- PPPD Hazur Maharaj (Rai Saligram Bahadur) - Guru & Head of Satsang, 1878-1898.
- PPPD Lalaji Maharaj (Rai Ajudhya Prasad) - Guru & Head of Satsang, 1898-1926.
- PPPD Kunwarji Maharaj Saheb (Shri Guru Prasad) - Guru & Head of Satsang, 1926-1959.
- Param Pujya Dadaji Maharaj (Prof. Agam Prasad Mathur) - Guru & Head of Satsang, 1959–present.
The Supreme Being has manifested Himself as Soamiji Maharaj and Hazur Maharaj as "Bhagwant" the Supreme Master and the "Bhakt" the Supreme Disciple. They have established the Radhasoami Faith in 1861, and revealed to the world not only about their "Nij Dham", i.e., their Supreme Abode but also given out the name "Radhasoami" which is the sustaining force and is reverberating at all stages of creation. They laid emphasis on "Param Bhakti" and "Surat-Shabda-Yoga" as the true path to reach Him (the Supreme Being).
This Faith, which rests upon the thought and philosophy of Soamiji Maharaj and Hazur Maharaj, was unique and soon caught attention of the elite and the laity, who were gradually drawn to it in large numbers. The Gurus of the Faith had direct intuitive experiences of Truth, and taught its basic principles in simple, lucid and intelligible language. This Sant Mat gives spiritual solace to millions of people.
Hazuri Bhawan is the house of Hazur Maharaj and it was the Nucleus of all Spiritual Activity of the Hazur as Sant Sat Guru. This continues to be an important Seat of Radhasoami Satsang till date. The Guru tradition continuing, Soamiji Maharaj - Hazur Maharaj were succeeded by Lalaji Maharaj and Lalaji Maharaj by Kunwarji Maharaj and Kunwarji Maharaj by Dadaji Maharaj, who since 1959 is the Guru and the Head of Radhasoami Satsang.
The places of high reverence of Radhasoami Satsang are the Holy Samadh of Soamiji Maharaj, the Holy Samadh of Hazur Maharaj, the Panni Gali Gurudwara - Residence of Soamiji Maharaj and the Hazuri Bhawan.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas lineageEdit
The Beas Satsang was founded by Soami Ji Maharaj's disciple Baba Jaimal Singh after He told him to start preaching and initiating the holy Naam in Punjab and to spread it to all over the world, as the essence of Surat Shabd Yoga had been forgotten. The Rssb lineage is:
- Baba Jaimal Singh - Master, 1884-1903.
- Baba Sawan Singh - Master, 1903-1948.
- Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh - Master, 1948-1951.
- Maharaj Charan Singh (guru) ji - Master, 1951-1990.
- Baba Gurinder Singh Ji - Master, 1990–present.
In the Indian language, Radha Soami means ‘lord of the soul’, satsang describes a group that seeks truth, and Beas refers to the town near which the main centre is located in northern India. There are a number of other contemporary movements that use the name ‘Radha Soami’ but Radha Soami Satsang Beas is not associated with any of them.
At the core of the RSSB philosophy is a belief that there is a spiritual purpose to human life – to experience the divinity of God who resides in all of us. It is through this experience that we will realize the truth of the concept that there is only one God and we are all expressions of His love.
Central to the RSSB philosophy is a spiritual teacher who explains the purpose of life and guides and instructs members in a method of spirituality based on a daily meditation practice. The present teacher is Baba Gurinder Singh, who lives with his family at the main centre in northern India. Baba Gurinder Singh was born in 1954. His family is from a traditional agricultural community of Punjab, India. He was named by his predecessor as spiritual head of RSSB in 1990. Based in Spain before accepting this position, he is now retired and lives off his own income. In keeping with the policy for all volunteers, he does not receive any money or honorarium from the Society. As with his predecessors, he has dedicated his life to serving the Society and guiding its members on the spiritual path.
By performing the meditation practice according to the teacher's instructions, individuals can realize the presence of God within themselves. It is a solitary practice that is done in the quiet of one's own home. Members commit themselves to a way of life that supports spiritual growth while carrying out their responsibilities to family, friends and society.
To build on the primary spiritual practice of meditation, members are vegetarian, abstain from alcohol and recreational drugs, and are expected to lead a life of high moral values. A vegetarian diet encourages respect and empathy for all life and acknowledges that there is a debt to be paid for taking any life unnecessarily. Abstaining from intoxicants improves ones ability to concentrate and calms the mind during meditation. Members are encouraged to be self-supporting and not be a burden on society. They are free to make their own choices in life and maintain any cultural or religious affiliations they choose. RSSB does not involve itself in the personal lives of its members.
- Juergensmeyer, Mark (1991). Radhasoami Reality: The Logic of a Modern Faith, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07378-3
- Lane, David C (1992). The Radhasoami Tradition, New York. Garland Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8240-5247-8
- Schomer, Karine & William Hewat McLeod, eds (1987).The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1987. Academic papers from a 1978 Berkeley conference on the Sants organised by the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California Center for South Asia Studies. ISBN 81-208-0277-2