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|Born||6 February 1894|
|Died||21 August 1974|
|Predecessor||Baba Sawan Singh of Beas|
Sant Kirpal Singh (6 February 1894 – 21 August 1974) was a spiritual master (satguru) in the tradition of Surat Shabd Yoga.
Kirpal Singh was born in Sayyad Kasran Punjab which now belongs to Pakistan. He lived in Lahore during the period of his discipleship and attained a high position in the bureaucracy as a deputy controller of military accounts.
He was the President of the World Fellowship of Religions, an organization recognized by UNESCO, which had representatives from all the main religions of the world. Beginning with the publication of Gurmat Sidhant, authored by him in the late 1930s and published under his Guru's name, during the period of his ministry he published many books and circulars that were translated into numerous languages.
The teaching of the Surat Shabd Yoga is a path of personal spiritual attainment under the guidance of a living spiritual master. The basic teachings consist in opening the inner eye or third eye to develop vision of inner light and inner sound. This is considered to be the power of the unmanifested Godhead coming into expression and is called Word in the Bible, and Naam, Shabd, Om, Kalma, and other names in the other scriptures. Kirpal Singh taught that the practice of meditation on the Divine Word, or the Yoga of the Sound Current (Surat Shabd Yoga) was at the spiritual base of all religions.
From youth, Kirpal Singh had visionary experience and foreknowledge of events. He sought guidance from various sufis, yogis and mystics, but never accepted any of them as a master, and continued his spiritual practice and prayers for the guidance of a living teacher. In 1917, he began to see a spiritual form that he believed was Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion. In 1924, he met Hazur Sawan Singh, the famous Saint of Beas, in his Ashram on the banks of the Beas River, and in him recognized the luminous form he had seen during the seven previous years. Hazur initiated him into Surat Shabd Yoga, and from then on Kirpal Singh dedicated his life to the mission of his spiritual Master and to his practices, while married, with children and in a responsible government position. Baba Sawan Singh asked him to meditate six hours daily, a practice which he maintained throughout his discipleship, despite his life responsibilities.
From early the 1930s on, when Hazur was asked if he had a disciple who had made great progress, he cited Kirpal Singh. In the same years, on inspiration from his master, Kirpal began writing the "Gurmat Siddhant" ("The Philosophy of the Masters"), a two-volume spiritual work, in the Punjabi and Urdu languages. It was published, on Kirpal request, under the name of Hazur Sawan Singh. In the 1960s, it was published in English in five volumes. Ruhani Satsang published a number of books under Kirpal Singh's name that were essentially portions of Gurmat Sidhant.
On the morning of 12 October 1947, Hazur Sawan Singh entrusted his disciple Kirpal Singh with the work of continuing his spiritual mission. The next month, Hazur approved the project of the "Ruhani Satsang" (School of Spirituality or Science of the Soul) Kirpal presented to him. Hazur Sawan Singh died on 2 April 1948, following a brief illness.
At the end of this period of intense meditation, Kirpal Singh received an inner command from his master: "Return to the world and bring my children back to me." He moved to Delhi, where people from Punjab were looking for refuge because of the division from Pakistan, and there began his spiritual and humanitarian mission.
Kirpal initiated over 80,000 followers
In Delhi, Kirpal Singh founded his new school of spiritual research and realization, called Ruhani Satsang (School of Spirituality or Science of the Soul), which would go on to have branches in many nations of the world. In 1951 he built the Sawan Ashram, in the neighborhood of Shakti Nagar on the outskirts of the city, where his spiritual talks (satsangs) were soon followed by thousands of people.
He began to have visits from western disciples. The first was Rusel Jacque, whose account of his six months at the ashram in 1959 (Gurudev: the Lord of Compassion) encouraged others to make the journey. At the beginning of the sixties, an average 40 to 50 disciples stayed at the ashram from three weeks to six months.
World Fellowship of Religions
In 1957, Singh was elected the first president of the World Fellowship of Religions, an organization recognized by UNESCO, comprising representatives from all the major world religions. He held that position until 1971, and presided over four World Conferences.
In 1962, he became the first non-Christian to receive the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta) for his spiritual and humanitarian work. On this occasion he received the congratulations of India's prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and established a spiritual tie with him that continued with prime ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.
Singh's mission continued to grow rapidly. In 1955, he made his first trip abroad to spread his teachings, and spent months in the United States and Europe. It was the first time an Indian spiritual master had visited the West. In those years, Eastern spiritual practices were generally unfamiliar to the West. Singh had hundreds of Westerners initiated and placed on the path of meditation, which he claimed led to contact with the Divine Light and Harmony.
In 1963, Singh made his second world tour, this time as president of the World Fellowship of Religions. He met with political leaders and other religious leaders, including Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Churches Atenagora I. At the same time, he continued to instruct new seekers on the path of the Way of the Masters (Sant Mat).
On 26 August 1972, Sant Kirpal Singh conducted his third and final tour of the West, where he received and instructed more than 2000 new disciples of the Path of Spirituality.
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In Delhi in February 1974, Singh organized the World Conference on Unity of Man. More than 2000 delegates attended, including religious and political leaders from India and around the world. Over 100,000 people attended the conference in total.
At the Kumba Mela (Festival of Religions) in Haridwar on 2 April of the same year, Singh gathered sadhus (itinerant monks) and "saintly men" in the Conference of National Unity, with the aims of promoting cooperation, eliminating religious barriers, and bettering the economic status of India's poor.
In 1974 Kirpal Singh established the Unity of Man conference, which was intended as a platform to bring together both religious and political leaders towards finding common ground and improved relations. This conference, under the name, Human Unity Conference, continues to this day.
Legacy and succession
Kirpal Singh died on 24 August 1974 at the age of eighty. His death caused an intense succession dispute amongst his followers.  Kirpal was not expected to appoint a successor by will given his own mode of succession.
In 1963, he had declared that he knew of no one competent to be his successor. Then He stated most forcefully: "Whoever may come up in the future, I tell you most definitely that he will NOT be a member of my family!"[additional citation(s) needed]
The most popularly recognized successor was Darshan Singh. However, Russell Perkins, leader of the Sant Bani Ashram in the United States which had been responsible for Kirpal's English publishing, did not recognize Darshan, but instead supported Ajaib Singh. Arran Stephens, a well-known Canadian convert, also joined in supporting Ajaib, although he later rejected Ajaib and left the movement. Thakar Singh also claimed succession, as did Judith Lamblion. Reno Sirrine led the Ruhani Satsang organization in rejecting all successors.
There is also Pier Franco Marcenaro, who, after his Initiation in January 1968, was his Group Leader and Representative in Milan, Italy, and is today a recognized successor by many disciples organized in an association called The School of Spirituality.
These succession disputes ultimately led to the proliferation of satsangs without connection to any descendant of the Singh tradition. As of 2002, there were approximately 200,000 adherents of groups related to Kirpal Singh.
Kirpal Singh wrote an extensive collection of books on spirituality, including The Crown of Life (a comparative study of various religions and yogas); Prayer, Its Nature and Technique; Spirituality: What It Is; Godman (on finding a spiritual teacher or guru), and The Wheel of Life (on karma).
Books by Kirpal Singh
- The Coming Spiritual Revolution (compiled, edited and introduced by Russell Perkins) – New Hampshire, Sant Bani
- The Crown of Life: A Study in Yoga – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1961; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1980 (ISBN 978-0-942735-77-2)
- Godman – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications (ISBN 978-0-942735-70-3)
- A Great Saint: Baba Jaimal Singh, His Life and Teachings – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani (ISBN 978-0-942735-27-7)
- Heart to Heart Talks (2 volumes) – Delhi: Mr A.R. Manocha, 1975-6 (mentions Paul Twitchell)
- His Grace Lives On – USA: Ruhani Satsang (ISBN 978-0-942735-93-2)
- The Jap Ji: The Message of Guru Nanak – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1959; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1981 (ISBN 978-0-942735-85-7)
- Life and Death [combined edition of The Wheel of Life and The Mystery of Death) – Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani
- The Light of Kirpal – Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani (ISBN 978-0-89142-033-0)
- Man! Know Thyself – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1983; Irvine, California: Ruhani Satsang Books (ISBN 978-0-942735-06-2)
- Morning Talks – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1970; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications (ISBN 978-0-942735-16-1)
- Naam or Word – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1960; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1981 (ISBN 978-0-942735-94-9)
- The Night is a Jungle and Other Discourses – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani (ISBN 978-0-942735-18-5)
- Prayer: Its Nature and Technique – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications (ISBN 978-0-942735-50-5)
- Seven Paths to Perfection
- Spiritual Elixir – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1967 (ISBN 978-0-942735-02-4)
- Spirituality: What It Is – Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1959, 1964; Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications
- The Spiritual Path
- Surat Shabd Yoga: The Yoga of the Celestial Sound Current – Irvine, California: Ruhani Satsang Books; Blaine, Washington: Ruhani Satsang, 2006 (ISBN 0-942735-95-1)
- The Teachings of Kirpal Singh (edited by Ruth Seader) – Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1974-6; Bowling Green, Virginia: Sawan Kirpal Publications, 1981 (ISBN 978-0-942735-33-8)
- The Way of the Saints (edited by Russell Perkins) – Franklin, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1976, 1989 (ISBN 978-0-89142-026-2)
- The Wheel of Life and The Mystery of Death (ISBN 978-0-942735-80-2)
- Lewis 2002, p. 591.
- Sena 1976, p. xiv,353,364.
- Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 417-418.
- Singh 1993, p. 146.
- Lane 2015.
- Diem-Lane 2015. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFDiem-Lane2015 (help)
- Sat Sandesh USA (1974). "Sat Sandesh, the Magazine of the Master. page 26 - right column" (PDF).
- Melton 2003, p. 1060.
- Chryssides 2012, p. 304.
- Chryssides 2006, p. 282.
- Diem-Lane 2015, Chapter 2: The History Of Radhasoami In The United States. sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFDiem-Lane2015 (help)
- Lane 1992, Chapters Four and Five.
- Marcenaro 1995.
- Jiva. "Sant Kirpal Singh: His writings - Books and booklets on Sant Mat and spirituality". Ruhanisatsangusa.org. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Recorded Talks in MP3 format". Ruhanisatsangusa.org. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Hindi & Punjabi Talks in MP3 format". Ruhanisatsangusa.org. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Chryssides, G.D. (2012). Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6194-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Chryssides, G.D. (2006). The A to Z of New Religious Movements. A to Z guides. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5588-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Diem-Lane, Andrea Grace (2015). "The History Of Radhasoami In The United States". The Guru in America: The Influence of Radhasoami on New Religions in America. Mount San Antonio College. ISBN 978-1-56543-287-1. Retrieved 24 August 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link), also published as "The History Of Radhasoami In The United States". Sach Khand: Journal of Radhasoami Studies (3). 2015. ISBN 978-1-329-75562-8.
- Jones, C.; Ryan, J.D. (2006). "Singh, Kirpal Maharaj". Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Encyclopedia of World Religions. Facts On File, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5. Retrieved 28 August 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Lane, David Christopher (1992). The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Successorship. Garland bibliographies on sects and cults. Garland. ISBN 978-0-8240-5247-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Lane, David Christopher (2015). Radhasoami: A Critical History of Guru Succession. Mount San Antonio College/Philosophy Group. ISBN 978-1-56543-351-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Lewis, J.R. (2002). "The Radhasoami tradition". The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Prometheus Books, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-61592-738-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Melton, J.G. (2003). Encyclopedia of American Religions. Encyclopedia Of American Religions. Gale. ISBN 978-0-7876-6384-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Sena, B. (1976). The Ocean of Grace Divine: Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj. Ruhani Satsang. Retrieved 28 August 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Singh, K. (1993). The wheel of life & The mystery of death. Kirpal Light Satsang. Retrieved 28 August 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Marcenaro, Pier Franco (1995). The School Of Spirituality. Man Center. ISBN 978-88-86604-13-0. Retrieved 7 August 2019.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- AAVV, AAVV (2010). The never ending tale. The Master of our time. Man Center Edition. ISBN 978-1-936510-27-6. Retrieved 31 August 2019.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Nuvoli, Roberto (March 2013). "A Visit to the Sawan Ashram in 1972". The Source. 21 Mauri Court - Danville, CA 94526 USA: Man Center Edition. Retrieved 31 August 2019.CS1 maint: location (link) CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Avtār Singh Oberoi, Support for the Shaken Sangat, Sanbornton, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1984.
- Dressel, Hilde, The Eternal Connection, Bowling Green, Virginia: SK Publications, 1994.
- Dr Harbhajan Singh, Sant Kirpal Singh - His Mission in the Golden Age - http://spirituality.unity-of-man.org/images/1991-01.pdf
- Harbhajan Kaur, 1998, Nourished by Divine Love, Naperville, Illinois: SK Publications.
- Jones, George Arnsby, 1965, The Harvest is Rich: the mission of Kirpal Singh, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang; New York: Pageant; Indore: Kirpal Sewashram, 2007.
- Lane, David Christopher, The Making of a Spiritual Movement
- Lane, David Christopher (1991). The rhetoric of guru successorship: Ideological work among the Sants of the Radhasoami tradition (Thesis). University of California, San Diego.
- Lane, David Christopher (2010). "The God Experiment: Radhasoami's Version Of Science And The Rhetoric Of Guru Succession". In Lewis, J.R.; Hammer, O. (eds.). Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. Brill. doi:10.1163/ej.9789004187917.i-924.111. ISBN 978-90-04-18791-7.
- Malhotra, Sharan, 1994, Divine Darshan, New Delhi: Wiley Eastern Limited.
- Perkins, Russell, The Impact of a Saint, Sanbornton, New Hampshire: Sant Bani, 1980, 1989.
- Portrait of Perfection, Sawan Kirpal Publications.
- Sahai, B.M. & Rādhā Krishna Khanna, The Saint and His Master, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1968.
- Sena, Bhadra, ed, As They Saw the Master, Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1956.
- Sena, Bhadra, The Beloved Master.
- Sena, Bhadra, ed, Ocean of Grace Divine.
- Stephens, Arran, Moth and the Flame.
- The Third World Tour of Kirpal Singh.
- Tessler, Neil, "Crisis and Renewal: Succession in Modern Sant Mat"
- Unity of Man, "Sant Kirpal Singh Biography" - https://www.kirpalsingh-teachings.org/images/pdf/Sant_Kirpal_Singh_Biography.pdf
- Vidich, Andrew & Arthur Stein, eds, Heart of Compassion: the life and teachings of Sant Kirpal Singh, Larson Publications.
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