Swamiji (1818 - 1878)
Shivdayāl Singh Seth (called “Swami or Soami Ji Maharaj” by followers and devotees) was born 24 August 1818 (Agra, Uttar Pradesh) and died 15 June 1878 (Agra). He was a Satguru of Sant Mat and Radhasoami tradition.
At the age of five, Shivdayāl Singh was sent to school where he learnt Hindi, Urdu, Persian and Gurumukhi. He also acquired a working knowledge of Arabic and Sanskrit. The recitation of the Sikh scriptures was a regular practice in his family. His father, Sardār Dilwali Singh Seth was a Sahejdhari Khatri and Nanak Panthi. His family including his father, mother, mother-in-law, sister and his wife Nārāini Devi (called “Rādhāji” by followers and devotees) were followers of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, India.] Sant Tulsi initiated him at the age of six.
His marriage to Nārāini Devi (later known as Radha Ji), daughter of Izzat Rai of Faridabad was arranged at an early age. She was of a generous disposition and was very devoted to her husband. Shivdayāl was selected direct from school to act as a Persian expert to a government officer in Banda. As the job did not suit him, he gave it up and took another job as a teacher of Persian with a talukdar of Ballabhgarh estate. His spiritual cravings, however, were so intense that worldly attainments no longer attracted him and he gave up even this lucrative job. He returned home for devoting his entire time to religious pursuits.
After the death of Sant Tulsi, Shivdayāl practiced Surat Shabd Yoga for 15 years in almost total seclusion in a room within a room. He started holding satsang publicly on Vasant Panchami (a spring festival) in 1861, and continued for 17 years.
Shivdayāl originally referred to the Supreme Being with the names “Sat Nām” (True Name) and “Anāmi” (Nameless). The term Rādhā Swāmi (“Rādhā”=”Soul” and “Soami”=”Lord”, hence “Lord of the Soul”) was used after Salig Rām became a disciple. The yoga system taught by Shivdayāl is known as Surat Shabd Yoga.
Shivdayāl has described the secret of divine and True Name (Sat Nam).
- 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 Rai Saligram and part two compiled of notes taken from the discourses of Shivdayāl, 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.