Explanation of the Term ‘Radhasoami’
The following compilation of several quotations serves the purpose to clarify the widespread misapprehensions concerning the term ‘Radhasoami.’ The quotations make clear that ‘Radhasoami’ is not a new faith or creed which was founded by Swami Shiv Dayal Singh Ji and Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj, as it is intentionally wrongly stated in the world wide web and other media.
The quotations taken from the book ‘A Great Saint – Baba Jaimal Singh’ and from private correspondence of Baba Jaimal Singh in a very clear and comprehensible way bring out the true meaning of Radhasoami and make clear the position of Swami Ji and Baba Jaimal Singh Ji against the term and its new use:
Lest there still be any doubt lingering in the minds of the sceptics, Swami Ji Who, till the last, continued initiating people into the secret of the traditional five-melodied Melody – Panch Shabd Dhunkar Dhun –, significantly enough on the last day of His departure from the earth-plane, cleared His position beyond the least shadow of doubt by declaring:
My Path was the Path of Sat Naam and Anami Naam. The Radhasoami faith is of Saligram’s making, but let it also continue. And let the Satsang continue as before; and the same shall flourish and prosper.
I. / (iii) Rediscovering lost Strands
When Swami Ji began using the term ‘Radhasoami’ brought into vogue by His devoted and beloved disciple Rai Saligram, He did not, Baba Ji1 affirmed, begin a new faith or creed.
He simply accepted the word as yet another name for the Unnameable Infinite interpreting it on the outer plane to stand for the disciple, Radha, and the Guru, Soami, and on the inner one for the soul current, Radha, and its source, Soami.
When Babu Sawan Singh Ji objected to the use of this new word at Murree in 1894, Baba Ji, as we have already seen, picked up a copy of Sar Bachan and read out the verse:
Radha aad surat ka naam; Soami aad Shabd nij dham.
Radha is the name of the primal soul current (Surat); Soami is the name of the primal source of Shabd or the Word.
He explained that the Absolute in His ultimate form was formless and indescribable, yet Saints in their zeal to point Him out to their disciples, had given Him countless names.
Had not the authors of the ‘Vishnu Sahasranama’ and the ‘Jaap Sahib’ coined hundreds of names for the All-Merciful Creator? Then wherefore object to ‘Radhasoami.’
The Reality which Swami Ji attempted to point out by the term ‘Radhasoami’ had been referred to by His predecessor by other names, like Khasam or Swami – Supreme Lord; Maha Dayal – All Grace; Nirala – the Mysterious; Nirankar – Formless; and Anami – Nameless.
Thus Kabir once said:
Kal Akal Khasam ka Keena; eh parpanch badhawan.
Time and the Timeless both spring from a single source. And are vital for His manifestation.
And Nanak had declared:
Kot Brahmand ka thakur Soami; Sarabh jian ka data reh.
Soami is the Lord of all creation and the Master of all the souls.
Tulsi Sahib had spoken in a similar vein:
Sab ki aad Kahun main Soami.
I address as ‘Soami’ the Creator of all that is.
Swami Ji Himself, like His Master, invoked the Supreme Reality as Soami or more often still, as Sahib Soami and Satguru Soami. He used those terms freely in His discourses and letters rather than the word ‘Radhasoami.’
It is just likely that these occurred in His original poetical compositions as well, but were substituted by the word ‘Radhasoami’ for purposes of homogeneity, when they – some fifty or sixty in number – were collected some six years after His death along with many of Hazur Maharaj Rai Saligram’s2 compositions in the volume entitled, Sar Bachan, (poetry), in which ‘Radhasoami’ word stands either for the Ultimate Goal – Soami or Anami – or for the Guru.
Baba Ji was prepared to go thus far and no further. He respected the term ‘Radhasoami’ as yet another attempt at naming the Nameless, but could not accept the special mystic significance that began to be given it after Swami Ji’s death.
Had not the Agra Saint Himself said in Bachan 115, Part II of Sar Bachan prose:
Naam is of two kinds:
- Varan Atmak and
- Dhun Atmak.
Innumerable are the benefits of Dhun Atmak Naam and hardly any of the Varan Atmak Naam.
All names that could be brought into verbal expression were Varan Atmak and were therefore outer and subject to variation from person to person and from people to people.
The Inner Shabd was the same in all ages and the same for all people. It was wholly musical defying verbal expression or description, and was the source of all creation and, therefore, the sole object of the seeker’s abhyasa. Any word possessed in one’s mind appears to be reverberating in that Sound Principle.
Baba Ji, abiding by the spirit of His Great Guru, unhesitatingly declared,
Any word which may possibly be brought into utterance and writing could not be an Internal Spiritual Sound which is the unspoken and unwritten law and order of the whole creation.
How could the word ‘Radhasoami’ be Dhun Atmak when it had been brought into outer expression, and how could it be said to be ‘resounding’ in the Highest Spiritual Plane where form did not exist and where the Shabd itself had not yet come into manifestation?
His Master, Baba Ji explained, had always held His teachings to be those of Kabir and Nanak and had never claimed to have entered realms unknown to any man before Him in human history. Had not the greatest mystics of the past left definite testimony of Their access to all the eight Inner Planes, and did not one read in Nanak:
Sat Lok ke oopar dhave Alakh, Agam ki tab gat pave tis ke oopar santan dham Nanak Das kio bisram.
He who transcends the Sat Lok alone knows the essence of Agam and Alakh, the Saints have Their abode above them and poor Nanak, too, is a resident there.
Swami Ji’s last words placed His adherence to the traditional Path beyond any shadow of a doubt. He had made it clear that He had nothing to do with ‘Radhasoami’ developed as a cult.
His Path was that of Sat Naam and the Anami, and if He did accept the term ‘Radhasoami’ it could only be as another Varan Atmak name for the Unnameable One.
All names like Sat Naam, Onkar, etc. given for Simran were in like manner Varan Atmak.
Their sole functions were:
a) to help build up Dhyan or one-pointed concentration, and
b) to serve as passwords for crossing from one plane to another [whereas ‘Radhasoami’ is not one of these passwords; Editor’s Note].
The soul’s task – and the Satguru’s – was to reach the fifth plane, Sat Lok, and for this five passwords, one for each realm, were needed. Once the soul entered the regions of pure spirit, no further passwords were necessary. As it beheld the Sat Purush, the deity of Sat Lok or Sach Khand, and the first definite manifestation of Name and Form of the Formless and the Nameless, it realised that He – i. e. Sat Purush – and the Satguru were not distinct but One and the same, and that it itself was also of Their very essence.3
Its search for the Absolute was at last over and it began to merge in Him.
As it entered deeper and deeper, being absorbed from Form into the Formless, it passed through Alakh – indescribable – and Agam – inconceivable – until it finally lost itself in the Ocean of Bliss and Consciousness that is the Ultimate Reality beyond any name and form, ineffable, immaculate, indescribable, and immeasurable.
It was what It was and nothing more could be said of It. The only way left for describing It was through negatives. It was neither Light nor darkness, neither Sound nor silence. No Shabd could be said to be resounding there as Shabd had not yet come into manifestation and to say that the strains of ‘Radhasoami’ could be heard vibrating there was a contradiction in terms.
All past Adepts in the Surat Shabd Yoga had taught as such. Any perceptive student of Their writings could see that They all regarded the entry into the fifth plane as the goal that both disciple and Guru must set before themselves. For achieving this the Simran of the five Sacred Names was essential; and once the soul had entered Sat Lok it remained the Sat Purush’s task to merge it into Himself and permit it to recede further and still further into the Formless and the Nameless.
It was this very two-phase process that Swami Ji underlined when He said,
My Path was the Path of Sat Naam and the Anami Naam,
and at the conclusion of Bachan 26 in Sar Bachan, poetry, while describing the soul’s entry into Sat Lok and its journey beyond, He made the whole method very clear indeed and left not a shadow of doubt:
Puhap madh Sae uthi avaza kau tum hoe kaho kaja Satgur milae bhed sub dina tis ki kripa daras hum lina Darshan kar ut kar magnani Sat Purush tub bolae bani Alakh lok ka bhed sunaya bal upna dae surat pathaya Alakh Purush ka roop anoopa Agam Purush nirka kul bhoopa Dekh achraj kaha na jaye Kaya kaya sobha varan paye.
From the lotus there arose a voice:
Speak who are you and what brings you here?
– My Satguru gave me the key to this realm and through His Grace I am blessed with thy darshan.
Beholding the Lord, it was lost in ecstasy; thereupon the Sat Purush spake giving forth the secrets of Alakh Lok and by His own power raised it further. The form of the Alakh Purush defies description; Agam Purush, the Lord of all creations His wondrous sight cannot be described and His Glory cannot be rendered in words …
Baba Ji strictly adhered to His Master’s original teachings and assured His disciples that if they lived by His instructions they most certainly would reach Sach Khand, and, passing through Alakh, Agam, Anami Radhasoami, get merged in the Wonder Region.
Saints in the past had attained the Highest State through the agency of the Five Names, so why change them now? Why travesty Swami Ji’s message merely for starting a new cult? The Surat Shabd Yoga was an ancient science and it had not changed overnight.
III. / (vii) An Ancient Science
The abovementioned book contains a letter written by Chacha Partap Singh to Baba Jaimal Singh Ji, dated 4th August, 1902 (chapter: ‘II. / (v) The Torch Bearer’), in which Chacha Partap Singh informs Jaimal Singh about the decision to found a ‘Radha Soami Satsang Central Association’:
Beloved of the Satguru, purified by Shabd, pure of face and intellect, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji.
I have received your letter and was very glad to read its contents. And the stone which you suggested will be put in the building, you may be assured about that. My son Suchet Singh has come back on pension.
I am, however, sorry to note that there is a tendency of forming different sects and cliques in our Satsang, and that all Satsangis are not in harmony with each other. For this purpose I have come here – to Allahabad.
We have decided that a ‘Radha Soami Satsang Central Association’ should be started. Pandit Ji (Brahm Shankar Misra) has insisted that I should be its president and he will be the Vice-president; that Lala Ajodhia Parshad, son of Hazur Sahib Maharaj (Rai Bahadur Saligram) and eight others, as well as yourself, should be members. Or, in whatever manner any ten members can be selected by the Satsangis by a vote of majority. I am, therefore sending you a pamphlet containing a complete description about this Central Association, and can send you any number of copies as may be required. Please send instructions to all your Satsangis that they should sanction the following ten names and endorse these pamphlets in token of their nomination. If you have Satsangis in far off places, they should also be asked to act accordingly.
I am giving below the names of the ten members above:
1. Lala Ajodhia Parshad (son of Rai Bahadur Saligram)
2. Pandit Brahm Shankar Misra Sahib
3. Lala Baleshwar Parshad
4. Lala Madho Parshad
5. Rai Ishwar Sahai, alias Raja Sahib
6. Lala Suchet Singh (son of Seth Partap Singh Ji Maharaj)
7. Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Sahib
8. Lala Sudershan Singh (another son of Seth Partap Singh Ji)
9. Munshi Hargobind Daya Sahib
10. Mr Bool Chand Sahib
It is expected that by the constitution of this society, different groups and cliques will disappear and Satsangis will love each other as brothers.
Kindly send this letter to Babu Sawan Singh also for his information.
In a letter, dated 19th June, 1903 by Baba Ji Jaimal Singh to Hazur Sawan Singh Ji, He refers to this decision as follows:
For your information, a membership committee has already been appointed. Chacha Ji will write a letter to you asking you to send him the Satsangis’ names. Chacha Ji also repeatedly stresses that Satsangis should cooperate harmoniously. So I said ‘yes,’ but I am not particularly keen to associate with them since their teachings are not like those of Hazur Swami Ji Maharaj, nor do they follow His method of sitting in Bhajan – no one even remembers Swami Ji’s technique. Because of this, we cannot join them in fellowship. Consequently, the connection is to be superficial. Whenever we meet them, we will greet one another.
You are being informed so that when Chacha Ji writes, you should refer him to me, as the matter concerns Baba Jaimal Singh. I will then reply myself.
We will send them the names if they satisfy my three objections. These are:
First: The teachings should be those of Hazur Swami Ji, as He used to impart them; the technique and tradition also should be that which He practised. The whole way of … is wrong; it is not according to Swami Ji.
Second: There should be three members from among our Satsangis since we do not fully understand their language. In brief, you and I should not become members; the members should be selected from among the others.
Third: As to donations and contributions, our Satsangis will not give them anything, because all our Satsangis are poor, and we do not wish to take anything from them. It is only for Bhajan and Simran that this teaching is imparted to them.
Please note down all these points in your journal, so that they can be used in your reply.
When Chacha Ji writes to you again for the names of the Satsangis, reply to him with these three points. If they accept all three points, we have no objection to sending in the Satsangis’ names. But please do not be in a hurry, wait until they write two or three times.
From the personal correspondence
of Baba Jaimal Singh with Sawan Singh
The following incidence also makes clear Baba Ji’s position that concerns the use of the term ‘Radhasoami’ as a salutation:
While at Murree, Bibi Rukko once – under the influence of a recent visit to Agra – instructed the Satsangis to greet Baba Ji when He came with the words Radhasoami.
Baba Ji was far from pleased:
See that in future you do not repeat the mistake,
We spirits come not to create new sects and creeds. We are here to dissolve all differences. Wherefore distract these simple people with these outer slogans? My task is to take them within and let them greet me each according to the traditions of his community.
A Great Saint / Baba Jaimal Singh –
III. / (xi) The Outer and Inner,
by Kirpal Singh 1894–1974
At the formation ‘Radhasoami’ which is active in many countries nowadays seekers after Truth cannot receive Naam. Indeed it is said that seekers after Truth are initiated there but this alleged initiation into Naam is nothing but a myth – seekers after Truth are not connected with the Almighty Power and do not receive a first-hand experience of the Light and Sound of God. Instead they are told to need themselves strive for a practical experience.
This statement, however, is absurd and impossible to be realised, since the Masters of the Surat Shabd Yoga explain unambiguously that only the True Master can give an experience of the beyond directly at the first meditation-sitting.
So it is said by Kirpal Singh in a talk about initiation which He had given on 1st January 1964 in Miami during His second world tour:
The One Who is competent to bring your soul up into the beyond and give you an experience of the Light of God and the Voice of God is also competent to guide you when you rise above body consciousness and traverse into those planes. It is the God in Him, which is called God-Power or the Guru-Power or the Christ-Power.
He also makes clear:
First of all, we should know what initiation means. Initiation is no ceremony, no rite, no ritual, no offering. It is just like a school, in which a lesson is given; and for that lesson, first the Inner Theory is explained, and then an Inner Experience is given.
Outer formations and groups are not necessary. They only lead astray the human souls by outer show, rituals and empty promises.4
Once Hazur Sawan Singh said to Kirpal Singh:
The mission of Spirituality can only be carried on successfully by one Adept in Spirituality. It cannot be entrusted to a blind person5. Whoever has a desire to find me out can reach me within through One Who is linked with me. You will not find me in the company of those who are after the possessions of the world. Be not deceived by such people. Do abhyas and peep inside your own self and meet me. I do not dwell in the midst of mayaic insects. Go to some selfless being who is after me and lives for me and is not after possession of Deras (ashrams). Gurumukh6 is delighted to have his Guru, while a manmukh7 wallows in luxury and pleasures of the world – Maya8.
Kirpal Singh! The people will flock to the place where they would find the riches of Naam. What have you to gain from Dera9? You better leave Dera. When Baba Ji came from Agra, He brought with Him neither money nor followers. He fetched within Him only His Guru and through His blessings the present Dera came into existence. […]
Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj
with a short narrative brief Life Sketch –
Hazur’s disease and His Spiritual Succession,
by Kirpal Singh, 1894–1974
It is therefore clearly defined above that Truth does not require any outer formations and that no new Dera will be established. The formation ‘Radhasoami’ is merely a social structure which is widespread in India, Europe and USA. However, one cannot find there the riches of Naam.
On the occasion of a book inquiry by phone, the Representative of the ‘Radha Soami Satsang Beas’ in Germany was asked by a disciple of Kirpal Singh if one really could receive Naam there. Unknowingly that the man was a disciple of Kirpal Singh and that he (the disciple) had received Naam himself, the Representative replied that only outer explanations were given to the seekers after Truth – i. e. the (so-called) correct way of sitting (according to the teachings of this organisation). However, he stressed – at least he was sincere in not proclaiming that seekers get the contact with Naam there – that they were concerned with the Highest Ideal and because of that everyone had to strive by himself in order to get a practical experience of Naam.
Explanations: 1) Baba Jaimal Singh.
2) The following quotation is an excerpt from the Satsang ‘Become His Channel’ held by Kirpal Singh, on 9th September 1970 – Sawan Ashram (Source: Heart to Heart Talks / Volume II; First Edition 1975):
Question: The Masters Who preceded You, Swami Ji, Baba Jaimal Singh and Your own Master Sawan Singh, all left writing behind Them or reports or records. How accurate and how pure are those records today?
Kirpal Singh: Truly speaking, you see, the Master-Power is not a thing which can be passed on through papers. It is not like lands or other things which are passed on through papers. It is sometimes passed on through the eyes. So Masters cannot put it in writing. They’ve never done it.
Question: Well, I mean the writing They left behind. How accurate is it?
Kirpal Singh: Why should it tax us?
Question: Sar Bachan, for example, and some of the other books.
Kirpal Singh: These books are there, of course. There are two parts of Sar Bachan. One is a collection of poems, one is in prose. Some of the poetry is by Swami Ji Himself. And the other part, the prose, is from Rai Saligram. Both are combined together and known as Sar Bachan. The portion in prose is not the direct statement of Swami Ji but of somebody who attended the Satsang and was detailed to convey what was given out there: a third person conveying the talks given by Swami Ji to Rai Saligram. So that is the prose part.
Question: Was Rai Saligram a Saint?
Kirpal Singh: Yes, surely, he was advanced. There were three disciples of Swami Ji. One was Baba Jaimal Singh, Who was very advanced in meditation, He went to the highest. Rai Saligram was a very loving and devoted disciple. And there was one Sadhu, whose name was Garib Das – he initiated only those who were Sadhus. Rai Saligram remained at Agra together with Swami Ji’s wife and Baba Jaimal Singh was detailed to come to the Punjab and continue Swami Ji’s work. Therefore, this line is coming from Baba Jaimal Singh, Baba Sawan Singh and still continues. So now in each initiate’s soul Swami Ji is passed on. With due deference, the only criterion is what you get. If a man gets that much, it is all creditable; it is for the people to see, not for anyone else to judge. So generally these things are passed on through the eyes, not through papers; it is not land or houses or anything like that to be passed on. Of course, those things are passed on through paper. But this is a gift of the soul through the soul.
A man is trained all through life and is in the make. Everything is in the make; one day doesn’t make a man a Saint.
3) See the ‘Anurag Sagar’ by Kabir which is to be found under the button ‘Anurag Sagar’ on this site, subsection ‘How Indra Mati, after reaching Sach Khand, finds Karunamai and Sat Purush as the same Form.’ 4) See the ‘Anurag Sagar’, particularly subsection ‘By Order of Sat Purush Gyani – later Kabir – comes to awaken the Souls; on the Way He meets Niranjan’ in chapter III. 5) That is spiritually blind, those whose Inner Eye is not open. 6) A mouthpiece of the Guru, the Master. 7) A mouthpiece of mind. 8) Maya means all that, which keeps us attached to the world and away from God – deep forgetfulness. 9) The Dera Baba Jaimal Singh near Beas: The Dera Baba Jaimal Singh is a settling at the river Beas. It was established by Baba Jaimal Singh, Who was also living there. Under Hazur Sawan Singh the Dera achieved the dimension of a small town. Before His physical departure Hazur advised Kirpal Singh – as it is mentioned above – to leave the Dera. That way it happened. Kirpal Singh took the Spiritual Blessing with Him. Today the Dera is a place of Gaddi Nashin – a title usually given to those, who work at locations where once there lived Saints and who display themselves in the names of Them, after the according Saints abandoned this location or deceased physically.