|Other names||Bābājī Mahārāj (honorific used by devotees)|
Ghuman, Khālsā Pañjāb
|Died||29 December 1903 (age 64)|
|Other names||Bābājī Mahārāj (honorific used by devotees)|
|Based in||undivided Pañjāb|
|Period in office||1884–1903|
|Predecessor||Shiv Dayal Singh|
|Successor||Baba Sawan Singh|
Jaimal Singh (1839–1903), popularly called by the honorific "Bābājī Mahārāj" by disciples and devotees, was a Pañjābī who became a disciple of Shiv Dayal Singh, the famous Sant of Āgrā. Jaimal Singh served in the British Indian Army as a sepoy (private) and attained the rank of havildar (sergeant). After retirement, he settled in a desolate and isolated spot outside the town of Beas (in undivided Pañjāb, now East Punjab) and became a spiritual teacher. The place grew into a colony which came to be called the "Derā Bābā Jaimal Singh" ("the Tent of Bābā Jaimal Singh"), and which is now the world centre of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas organization.
Jaimal Singh was the first spiritual master and head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas until his death in 1903. He was succeeded by Baba Sawan Singh.
Youth and education
Jaimal Singh was born in July 1839 in the village of Lath Ghuman, near Batala, District Gurdaspur, undivided Pañjab, undivided India. His parents were Jodh Singh, a farmer, and Dayā Kaur. His mother Dayā Kaur was a devotee of the North Indian Sant Nāmdev, and at the age of four Jaimal started visiting the Ghuman shrine of Nāmdev.
At the age of 12, he came to understand that the Guru Granth Sāhib rejected prānāyāma (energy culture), hatha yoga (psycho-physiological development), tīrtha yatra (pilgrimage), fasting, and rituals as means to finding the One God described by Guru Nānak. Jaimal came to the conclusion that he needed to find a master who taught the practice of the Anhad Shabad (Inner Sound).
He especially wanted a master who could explain the Guru Granth Sahib's reference to the Pañch Shabd (Five Sounds). One such phrase is from Guru Nanak:
- ghar meh ghar daykhā-ay day-ay so satgur purakh sujān.
- pañch sabad dhunikār dhun tah bājai sabad nīsān.
- The True Guru, the All-knowing, Primal Being shows us our true home within the home of the self.
- The Five Primal Sounds resonate and resound within; the Primal Sound is revealed there, vibrating gloriously.
Search and discipleship
Between the ages of 15 to 17, Jaimal Singh undertook an arduous journey through North India on a lengthy quest for a teacher, having decided at age 14 that he needed to find a Master of the Pañch Shabd. In 1856, his travels culminated in Āgrā city at the feet of his master Shiv Dayal Singh who initiated him into the Practice of the Five Sounds.
After his initiation, Jaimal Singh was set on becoming a sādhu and devoting his attention full-time to abhyās (spiritual practice). His guru, however, told him that the followers of the Sant tradition did not beg like most sādhus, but earned their own living. Jaimal, on the other hand, had no inclination to work in his family's tradition of farming since it would then entail taking a wife. Hence, Shiv Dayāl advised the teen-aged Jaimal to join the Army.
In October 1877, Shiv Dayāl Singh instructed Jaimal Singh to start teaching and initiating people into the practice of the Nām (Divine Name) and the Surat-Shabd Yoga (Soul-Spirit Union).
Jaimal Singh retired from the Army on 7 June 1889 and returned to his home village Ghuman. Later, he built a hut at the village of Bal Saran on the banks of the Beas River in the Pañjāb, where he settled. This place is now a huge township known as the Derā Bābā Jaimal Singh.
On a visit to Mari Pahar, now in Pakistan, Jaimal Singh initiated Baba Sawan Singh, a military engineer, who eventually became his successor.
Jaimal Singh spent the rest of his life in the service of disciples and followers who came to his "derā" ("hut"). He died on 29 December 1903.
Jaimal Singh's teachings were those of his master who taught the need for a living spiritual guide, adept in the practise of the Nām or Inner Sound. Having practiced many different sādhanās during his youth, Jaimal Singh was able to describe the merits and shortcomings of the various yogic methods in relation to Surat Shabd Yoga, the practice which he learned from his master.
Some excerpts from his teachings:
Suffering and troubles are blessings in disguise, for they are ordained by the Lord. If our benefit lies in pain, He sends pain; if in pleasure, He sends pleasure. Pleasures and pains are tests of our strength, and if one does not waver or deflect, then the Almighty blesses such souls with Naam (or Shabd).
What the Lord considers best, He is doing. Do not bring yourself into the picture. Live by the words of the Master, and continue performing your earthly duties. When the fruit is ripe, it will fall of its own accord without injury to itself or the bearing branch. But if we pluck the unripe fruit forcibly from off the tree, the branch is injured and the raw fruit shrivels and is of little use. Meeting a competent Master is the fulfillment of human birth: this is the fruit of life. To live by His commandments insures its proper nurture. Daily Simran and Bhajan, to the maximum possible, are the best food and nourishment, and mergence with Shabd is its ripening and falling off.
- Jaimal Singh, Spiritual Letters, translated from Hindi, Beas: Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
- Jaimal Singh, Spiritual Letters, new edition, translated from Hindi, Beas: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1998. ISBN 81-8256-129-9
- Jaimal Singh, Words Divine, Nevada City, California: Radha Soami Society Beas-America, 1981; Beas: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1988.
- Kapur, Daryai Lāl, Heaven on Earth, translated, Beas: Radha Soami Satsang Beas, 1986.
- Kirpal Singh, A Great Saint: Baba Jaimal Singh: His Life and Teachings, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Ruhani Satsang USA, 1971 Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1971; Unity of Man, 2007; The Almighty Param Sant Kirpal Singh. ISBN 0-942735-27-7