Radhasoami Satsang Beas


Radhasoami Satsang Beas
Founding Place
Radhasoami Satsang, is a religious organization founded by Shiv Dayal Singh in 1861 on V/Basant Panchami day in Agra. The main centre of RSSB is at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, located on the banks of the Beas River, in the northern India state of Punjab.

Name Meaning
Radha Soami is a Hindi expression meaning "Lord of the Soul".  Radha means soul and Soami refers to True God or One God. God is swami of all souls as all souls are created by Him.
Satsang   means 'association with Truth' and describes a group that seeks truth. And Beas refers to the town near which the main centre is located in northern India.
            According to Mark Juergensmeyer, the term "Radhasoami" is a vaishnava phrase for God (lit. "the lord [Swami or Soami] of Radha, the concert of Krishna") despite the movement does not believe in an anthropomorphic God; however, so the term "Radhasoami" mean the master of spiritual energy.
Whereas the Agra branches viz. Dayalbagh, Soamibagh believe that Radhasoami is neither a phrase nor a derivative, but the supreme being itself in the form of sound (Dhwanyatmak) and light(Chaitanyam).
            The writings of Swami Dayal use the term Sat Nam, rather than Radhasoami. The gurus and the tradition that followed him used the term Radhasoami during the initiation rites, meditation practices and as mutual greeting. This has led to the fellowship being commonly called Radha Soami.
In some subtraditions of Radhasoami, states Lucy DuPertuis, the guru's charisma is considered as the "formless absolute", being in his presence is equivalent to experiencing the incarnation of the Satguru, the guru is identified as the Radhasoami.
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.


Life of Shiv Dayal Singh 
He was born on 24 August 1818 in Agra.
 His parents were Sikhs who moved from Punjab to Agra at the behest of the colonial British government who had set up a major military center there and relied heavily on Sikhs from the Punjab region to staff the base.
At the age of five, Shiv Dayāl Singh was sent to school where he learnt Hindi, Urdu, Persian, and Gurmukhi, Arabic and Sanskrit.   His father, Dilwali Singh Seth was a Sahejdhari Khatri and Nanak Panthi (Sikh).
His marriage to Nārāini Devi (later called "Rādhāji" by followers and devotees), daughter of Izzat Rai of Faridabad was arranged at an early age. 
After completing his education, he worked as Persian language translator to a government officer.
He left the job and became a teacher of Persian language. Once his brother gained an employment at Indian post office, he left his Persian language job, and joined his father's money lending business.
Later, left the job and spent increasing amount of his time to religious pursuits. He began giving spiritual discourses based on the scriptures of Sikhism and writings of Tulsi Sahib.
After the death of Sant Tulsi in 1843, Shiv Dayāl Singh practiced Surat Shabd Yoga[1]  for 15 years in almost total seclusion in a room within a room. He started holding Satsang (spiritual discourse) publicly on Vasant Panchami   (a spring festival) in 1861, and continued for 17 years. Thus Basant Panchami is a very special day for the followers of the Radhasoami Faith.
His discourses attracted followers and thus the movement was founded. He died on 15 June 1878 in Agra. Disciples and devotees called him ‘somiji maharaj’.

Teaching
The nameless God beyond the gods is given a name: it is Radhasoami. Repetition of the name (or names) enables the seeker to gain access to their energy to lift his/her own internal energy currents to the higher levels of God-consciousness, the realm of ethereal light and sound.
The Radhasoami conception of the interior realm alluded to by the sants has multiple tiers, the discovery of which involves a journey through increasingly rarefied strata of consciousness.
At the heart of the RSSB teachings 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.

They believe in social equality.  Forbid caste distinctions. They have attracted Dalits to their movement.
They are active in charitable work such as providing free medical services and help to the needy.  

Works of Shiv Dayāl Singh
Works of Shiv Dayāl Singh described the secret of the True Name (Sat Nam).
Soami Bagh- Soamiji’s Samadh
His bani (poetical compositions) and sayings from satsang were published in two books
after he died. Both are called Sār Bachan or Sār Vachan (meaning 'essential utterances') :
Sār Vachan Vartik (Sar Bachan in prose)
Sār Vachan Chhand Band (Sar Bachan in verse)
Sār Vachan Vartik is in two parts: part one being an introduction written by Salig Ram and part two compiled of notes taken from the discourses of Shiv Dayāl, which he delivered in satsang up to 1878. They cover important teachings of the faith. His poems in Sār Vachan Chhand Band are replete with emotional appeal - a successful blending of popular poetic expressions from different languages of north India such as, Khari-Boli, Awadhi, Brijbhasha, Rajasthani and Gurumukhi.

Six Elements of Basic Faith
1 A living guru. Living gurus are necessary for guided spiritual life.
The Radha Soami Satsang believes that living gurus are necessary for a guided spiritual life. They do not install the Guru Granth Sahib   or any other scriptures in their sanctum, as they consider it ritualistic. Instead, the guru sits in the sanctum with the satsang (group of Sikh faithfuls) and they listen to preachings from the Adi Granth and sing hymns together. 
Central to the RSSB teachings 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.
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. 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.

2 Bhajan – remembering the Sat Nam

3 Satsang –fellowship and community

4. Seva- serve others without expecting anything in return.
Inherent to the Society’s philosophy is the importance of seva, meaning selfless
service, or voluntarism. Voluntary service is the backbone of all activities connected with RSSB. All administrative functions, construction of Indian and international centres, feeding of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the headquarters in India, writing and translating books and magazines explaining the teachings, are done by members on a voluntary basis. It is believed that through service, one loses one’s sense of self-importance and becomes humble. That is the foundation of a spiritual life.
They are active in charitable work such as providing free medical services and help to the needy.

5 Kendra/ Dera - community organization, shrine

6  Bhandara- large community gathering.
            They do believe in some orthodox Sikh ritual practices such as covering one's head inside the temple or removing shoes, and they serve karah prasad (offering) at the end of prayers.

Basic Practices
They believe in social equality, forbid caste distinctions and have attracted Dalits to their tradition. They are active outside India, and attracted converts to their movement.
Their basic practices include Surat Shabd Yoga (sound assisted meditation), initiation of disciple into the path by a living guru, obedience to the guru, a moral life that is defined by abstinence from meat, drugs, alcohol and sex outside marriage.
They also believe that jivanmukti  or inner liberation is possible during one's lifetime with guidance of the living guru.
           
Vegetarian
The Radhasoami are strict vegetarians.
The group 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 do not need to give up their cultural identity or religious preference to follow this path.
To build on the primary spiritual practice of meditation, members are vegetarian, abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs, and are expected to lead a life of high moral values.
The Radhasoami are strict vegetarians.  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. None of the Radha Soami teaching suggests the change of one's religion.
            They do not believe in orthodox Sikh ritual practices such as covering one's head inside the temple or removing shoes, nor do they serve karah prasad (offering) at the end of prayers.

Different Groups
There were an estimated 3 million followers worldwide in 2004, with many sub sects based on gurus.
There are over 30 different Radhasoami groups in the world. The main reason for schism or division is succession.
Today RSSB holds meetings in more than 90 countries worldwide. It is a non-profit organization with no affiliation to any political or commercial organizations. It owns a number of properties worldwide called Science of the Soul Study Centres, where meetings are held. The centres are constructed and maintained primarily by volunteers.

Different or Same as Sikhism
In Pujnjab it is considered as an offshoot of Sikhism because its founder’s teaching are based on the teaching of Guru Nanak. Also during their worship they recite verses from Adi Granth.
They are different from Sikhism because they do not accept the view that there were only ten gurus. Some of them do not accept the Khalsa Sikh dress code. They accept saints and living gurus from anywhere.
Can also be considered a part of Hinduism because they share their cultural outlook, some practices and theological concepts such as karmayoga(shabd) and guru.
However, they are also different from Hindus and Sikhs because they reject the concept of a sacred scripture, rituals such as karah Parshad and pilgrimage gatherings and ceremonies. The Radhasoamis are a religious fellowship that accepts saints and living gurus from anywhere
           
Salig Ram
After Shiv Dayal Singh died, several persons took over as guru. One of them, 
Salig Ram (honorific: "Huzur Maharaj") served the Radhasoami Faith as the second Sant Satguru. Salig Ram had three successors: his son Ajodhya Prasad who continued satsang at Salig Ram's home Huzuri Bhavan in Pipal Mandi, Brahm Shankar Misra who established the Radhasoami Central Administrative Council at Soami Bagh, and  Shivbratlal Mirzapur.

Soami Bagh and Dayal Bagh
The locality called "Soami Bagh" ("Soami's Garden"), the former home of Shiv Dayal Singh and the present location of his tomb-shrine, is currently owned and controlled by the twin organizations known as the Radhasoami Satsang Central Administrative Council and the Radhasoami Trust (called "the Council and the Trust" for short). Its across-the-street neighbor "Dayal Bagh" ("Dayal's Garden") is owned and controlled by the organization Radhasoami Satsang Dayalbagh Sabha.
 Dayal Bagh and its founder-guru Sir Anand Swarup, Kt. were broadcast to the Western public by Paul Brunton in his famed A Search in Secret India. Sir Anand Swarup received a knighthood for the massive social construction work performed at Dayal Bagh. The two rival organizations, Council/Trust and Dayalbagh, are both existent and functioning. The major dispute between the two groups is due to two divergent views: The members of Council/Trust claim that Council/Trust is the "parent stock" of Radhasoami, and hence must be the ruling entity of the Radhasoami religion. The members of Dayalbagh Sabha feel slighted by the religious hegemony which they feel Council/Trust is imposing. Also, the members of Dayalbagh Sabha want access to the tomb-shrine of the revered Shiv Dayal Singh. In this light, Dayalbagh Sabha organised "SPIRICON 2010", a conference of various organizations who revere Shiv Dayal Singh (boycotted by Council/Trust), to promote mutual respect and to petition access to the tomb-shrine of supreme guru Shiv Dayal Singh.




[1] Etymologically, Surat Shabd Yoga means the ‘Union of the Soul with the Essence of the Absolute Supreme Being’. It is also known as Sehaj Yoga,   The Path of Light and Sound, The Path of the ’Saints’, The Journey of Soul, and The Yoga of the Sound Current.


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