Radha Soami Satsang Beas
Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) is a registered spiritual society. It is a non-profit and charitable society, and is an independent body which does not bear allegiance to any other Radha Soami, Sant Mat group, or satsang. Radha means "Soul," Soami means "Lord," Satsang describes a group that seeks truth, and Beas refers to the town of Beās in Punjab State in North India.
It had its origins when the saint Bābā Jaimal Singh settled in 1891 near the town of Beās at an isolated rural site, which later came to be called Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, on the west bank of the Beās River in the Punjab region of British India.
Baba Jaimal Singh Ji especially wanted a master who could explain the Guru Granth Sahib's reference to the Panch Shabd, the Five Sounds. Between the ages of 15 to 17, Jaimal Singh undertook an arduous journey through North India on a lengthy quest for a teacher, having had decided at age 14 that he needed to find a Master of the Panch Shabd. In 1856, his travels culminated in Agra at the feet of his master "Soami" Shiv Dayal Singh who initiated him into the Practice of the Five Sounds. His guru, however, told him that the followers of the Sant tradition earned their own living. Jaimal, on the other hand, had no inclination to follow his family tradition of farming since it would entail taking a wife. Hence, Shiv Dayal advised the teenaged Jaimal to join the Army. The Dera is now located within Punjab State in the Republic of India.
Jaimal Singh ji was a disciple of Soāmi Shivdayal Singh, who taught Surat Shabd Yoga in Agra, Uttar pradesh. Today the spiritual master of Radha Soami Satsang Beas is Bābā Gurinder Singh who was officially appointed by Charan Singh.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) is a philosophical organization based on the spiritual teachings of all religions and dedicated to a process of inner development under the guidance of a spiritual teacher. 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.
RSSB was established in India in 1891 and gradually began spreading to other countries. Today RSSB holds meetings in more than 90 countries worldwide. It is a registered non-profit society with no affiliation to any political or commercial organizations. The basis of every religion is spirituality. With the passage of time and changing social values, the basic spiritual teachings become embellished with extra rules and considerations, and eventually take the shape of a religion. RSSB is trying to maintain the core of spirituality without allowing it to take on a formal structure. The philosophy teaches a personal path of spiritual development which includes a vegetarian diet, abstinence from intoxicants, a moral way of life and the practice of daily meditation. There are no rituals, ceremonies, hierarchies, or mandatory contributions, nor are there compulsory gatherings. Members need not give up their cultural identity or religious preference to follow this path.
In Satsang or spiritual discourse done by present master, Baba Ji explains different bani (verses) of different masters irrespective of their caste or religion or their time or place of arrival.
Baba ji tells that all religions have one thing in common that is word, as Jesus has said; or kalma in the Qur'an; shabad or naam as in adi granth or bange aasmani, ram naam, dhun as Hindi saints describe. By concentrating at the eye centre (third eye) and practising word/shabd/naam and listening to the inner sound during meditation we will cross different inner levels which is the only way to reach one's inner real home and to find god from which our soul was separated billions of years ago. This is called Sachkhand (home of truth). Baba Ji tells us that out of 8.4 million species we have received this precious human life which is given to us in order to reach back to the real home of the soul. The teachings say that whatever karma (deeds) we accumulate we sow the seed and reap the fruit. Doing good deeds throughout one's life and practising meditation daily as well as being a lacto vegetarian is the only way to get back to our true home and experience god realization. Practising this spiritual path is a technique rather than a belief and everyone who works hard at it will soon experience the benefits for themselves as well as others.
RSSB holds meetings (spiritual discourses) in more than 90 countries worldwide.
The teachings are often referred to as Sant Mat, "Teaching of the Saints." The Radha Soami teaching lays down a method for self-realization leading to realization of God through the means of Surat Shabd Yoga. Surat refers to the individual "Soul," Shabd refers to the "Divine Spirit," and Yoga means "Union." Hence, Surat Shabd Yoga can be translated as "merging of the Soul with the Lord". The technique of the yoga/meditation is imparted under the instructions of a Master, or his personally selected representatives. It is through this union of the Soul with the Audible Life Stream that gives this meditation practice its name – Surat Shabd Yoga.
To assist in the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga, one must be a lacto vegetarian (no eggs, shellfish, fish, fowl, meat, and products of these), abstain from recreational drugs and alcohol, and lead a moral life (among other things confining sexuality to a legal marriage). The vegetarian diet encourages respect and empathy for all life and acknowledges that there is a debt to be paid for taking any life. The required lifestyle aids concentration, calming and centring the mind.
Seekers are strongly advised by the master to first research other mystical teachings or yoga systems that may interest the seeker (not only Radha Soami Satsang Beas teachings). In this way, the seeker can be 100% intellectually satisfied first that Sant Mat is the right choice before deciding to adopt the Surat Shabd Yoga meditation.
People are able to practise the Surat Shabd Yoga meditation while remaining a part of their own religious community. It is a solitary practice that is done in the quiet of one's own home for at least 2½ hours each day. Members commit themselves to a way of life that supports spiritual growth while carrying out their responsibilities to family, friends, and society.
The Radha Soami Satsang Beas community and members are from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds. The teachings are available to anyone interested and no fees are charged for imparting the philosophy or Surat Shabd Yoga system, i.e., "Bhajan Simran".
The Beas ashram, known simply as "Dera," (Satsang Ghar) maintains a free kitchen, langar (as well as canteens and snack bars at a nominal price).
Three charitable hospitals were built and are run by RSSB. The Beas Hospital, Sikanderpur Hospital, and Bhota Hospital provide free medical care for the surrounding rural community and aid the needy. Services include free accommodation for relatives of patients. In the past, the Society also ran an annual eye surgery clinic at the Dera.
RSSB has also helped in relief efforts for victims of natural disasters.
A library of world religions and mysticism has been constructed, housing a collection of nearly half a million books. The library is open to all seekers, researchers and scholars.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas encourages voluntary service to the community and environmental awareness, planting thousands of trees yearly, applying organic farming methods, and encouraging social awareness within the community.
Dera Baba Jaimal Singh
"The Dera" is a community with 6000 residents. These crowds average more than 350,000 people daily. Visitors come from all over the world. It has a sheltered venue for these gatherings which can hold 275,000 people. The Dera is among the most well-planned of communities in India, with no air pollution as no private vehicles are allowed inside. It is a self-sustaining community.
At the Dera, the free kitchen operates all year, round-the-clock. A complex of over 48 acres (over 19 hectares), the langar is capable of feeding up to 300,000 people per meal, 50,000 in a single sitting. Its staff is composed mostly of volunteer workers (sewadars). In 2007 the langar cooked over 200,000 kilos of rice and used as many kilos of wheat to prepare chapati (unleavened bread).
Any person of any religion or caste can go to the Dera. The sewadars of the Dera respect all, by the Master's order. The colony is visited by people from around the world and from all walks of life. Free temporary accommodation for visitors is available.
Branch centres of Beas
Radha Soami Satsang Beas has a Science of the Soul Research Centre in New Delhi. Its objective is to promote the betterment of humanity. The Science of the Soul Research Centre is a nonprofit charitable society, and also acts as a mail-order bookseller for Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
There are also Science of the Soul Spiritual Centres worldwide (also named Science of the Soul Study Centre and Science of the Soul Study Centre). Meetings and gatherings take place in nearly 90 countries.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas leaders
Soami Ji Maharaj and Tulsi Sahib Ji were not first to practice surat shabad yog. All the saints mention word or shabad or kalma or naam. They may be of any caste or may come at any time. Radha Soami movement traces its origins to Soami Ji (Shiv Dayal Singh Ji Maharaj) from what is now in Uttar Pradesh State. There are a number of other contemporary movements that use the name "Radhasoami" but Radha Soami Satsang Beas is not associated with any of them. The Beas Satsang was founded by Shiv Dayal Singh's disciple Jaimal Singh. Soami Ji Maharaj ordered Baba Ji Maharaj (Hazur Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj)to go to Beas and spread Radha Soami teachings in Punjab. The Beas lineage is:
- Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras
- Soamiji Mahārāj Shivdayal Singh of Agra
- Sant Jaimal Singh Mahārāj - Master at Beas, 1884–1903.
- Hazur Bābā Sāwan Singh Mahārāj - Master at Beas, 1903–1948.
- Sardār Bahādur Jagat Singh Mahārāj - Master at Beas, 1948–1951.
- Hazur Mahārāj Charan Singh - Master at Beas, 1951–1990.
- Bābā Gurinder Singh Mahārāj - Master at Beas, 1990–present.
- Charan Singh, Spiritual Heritage, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1983, 1998. ISBN 978-81-8466-107-1
- Glimpses of the Great Master, Hong Kong: Cami Moss, 1986.
- In the Footsteps of the Master, Hutchinson, Kansas: Radha Soami Society Beas-America, 1993.
- Jaimal Singh, Spiritual Letters, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1998. ISBN 81-8256-129-9
- Johnson, Julian, Call of the East, Beās: Sawan Service League, 1936. (out-of-print)
- Johnson, Julian, With a Great Master in India, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1934, 1982, 1988, 1994.
- Juergensmeyer, Mark, 1991, Radhasoami Reality, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01092-7
- Kapur, Daryai Lal, Call of the Great Master, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1972, 1975, 1986, 2005. ISBN 978-81-8256-089-5
- Kapur, Daryai Lal, Heaven on Earth, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1986, 1996. ISBN 978-81-8256-122-9
- Kirpāl Singh, A Brief Life Sketch of Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1949.
- Kirpāl Singh, A Great Saint: Baba Jaimal Singh: His Life and Teachings, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; SK Publications, 1998; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani. ISBN 0-942735-27-7
- Labour of Love, 1995, Beās: Maharaj Jagat Singh Medical Relief Society.
- Love in Action, 1990, USA: Radha Soami Society Beas-America.
- Munshi Rām, With the Three Masters, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1967.
- Sāwan Singh, Dawn of Light, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1985, 1989. ISBN 81-8256-028-4
- Sethi, Shanti, comp, Treasure Beyond Measure, Beās: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1991. ISBN 81-8256-133-7