Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami by Soamiji
The spiritual classics, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Nazm yaani Chhand bandh (Poetry), and, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Bartik (Prose) by Soami Ji Maharaj are very complex books even in Hindi, and all-the-more-so if the attempt is made to translate them into English, especially the mystical poetry. Swami Ji himself says, “How shall I openly speak of its process (the process of creation in Pinda: the material universes, And: the astral dimensions, and Brahmand: Universal Mind realms — this best remains confidential), for none can comprehend its secrets and idioms which I will have to have to employ to reveal them.”
Swami Ji’s mystic-verses are quite intricate with layers of meaning, and contain countless terms for various heavenly regions, states of consciousness, visionary and auditory experiences he encountered as he was in communion with his Beloved Radhasoami (Soul-Lord, Lord of the Soul). The Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry is a most other-worldly, heavenly document, based upon Swami Ji’s own inner travels, attainments and spiritual realizations. “For about fifteen years, Soami Ji Maharaj used to shut Himself up in a room which is within another room [a meditation room within a room of his home in Agra]. He was all the time absorbed in the bliss of Surat Shabd Yoga.” (Huzur Maharaj) After this period of deep exploration of the inner regions and union with his Beloved Radhasoami in Sach Khand, Swami Ji emerged and began his Mission of public satsang.
“In January 1861, Soami Ji started publicly explaining the method of Saints (Sant Mat) to a few people who gathered at his home. This satsang (true association, association with Eternal Truth) continued for nearly seventeen years, during which period about four thousand persons — men and women — Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sravagis, and a few Christians were initiated by him into Sant Mat (the Path of the Saints), i.e. Radhasoami path (the Path of the Supreme Being). Most of these were householders; but some (about three hundred) were Sadhus also.” (Encyclopaedia of Saints of India, Volume Nineteen: Radhasoami, Criterion Publications, New Delhi)
Soami Ji even makes use of some Persian or Sufi mystical terminology at times, and composed some ghazals in Persian. “Soami Ji’s father and grand-father were Persian scholars.” (The Biography of Soami Ji Maharaj) Soami Ji “acquired a working knowledge of Arabic and Sanskrit”, earlier in his life for a time taught Persian, and even “wrote a book in Persian.” (Radhasoami Faith — a Historical Study) It seems rather appropriate then for someone who has translated all six volumes of the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, the poetry of Sarmad, and the Diwan-i Hafiz to produce this most excellent translation of the Sar Bachan Poetry and Prose in English – all three volumes: The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami — Sar Bachan Radhasoami Prose, The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami — Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume One, and The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami — Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume Two, Translation and Commentary, M.G. Gupta, MG Publishers, Agra.
If any group loses the ethical principals of the Masters such as truthfulness, vegetarianism, and ahimsa (non-violence), or removes — takes away — the God-Bhakti aspect, that changes the path (for them) into something else — something lesser or lower, and would make it an incomplete version of Surat Shabd Yoga. One key teaching often not comprehended by some in the West is the centrality of Bhakti: love, devotion — direct communion with God (Radhasoami) as the quintessential or foundational experience of Sant Mat mysticism. Some may ‘soul travel’ and find dim or faint astral light and sound experiences in lower realms, but without love for the Beloved, that too remains merely an illusion of spiritual progress and enlightenment, an imitation of Divine Light and Sound. Kal-worlds of duality have many lights and sounds too, and those do not lead the soul Above. As it says in the Anurag Sagar:
“A moth loves the lamp. It becomes happy on seeing the lamp burning. It goes near the lamp and dances around it. It then tries to catch the light of the lamp and in this attempt burns itself. Kaal Niranjan (Universal Mind-illusion) is like that light. He has entangled the creatures in the net of illusive worldly things. It is very difficult to come out of this net.”
“When we collect the scattered thought and focus it behind the eyes, we first see a light called “Sakha Jot” and then at that very place appears ‘Jhilmil Jyoti’: Showing these lights, Kaal arrests the souls (Jeevas) there. The third ‘Jagmag Jyoti’ or the Twinkling Light is in the Thousand Petal Lotus region. Only the saints see this Light. This is above the eyes and below the ‘Turiya Pad.’ This real Light is known only to the saints.” (Anurag Sagar, Tarn Tarn version)
For Swami Ji, love for the Beloved Radhasoami, the Lord of All Souls, is central to traveling upon the right Light and Sound Currents of Divine Love within. This Bhakti spirit is the right-foundation and the Positive Power to base one’s spiritual practice upon.
“Always remember the Lord,
and, knowing that He is always with you,
imbue yourself with His love.”
Soami Ji, in a letter to Huzur Maharaj)
In the Sar Bachan are hymns of praise, conversational prayers directed towards the Friend, the Beloved, the Object of his Communion, the Lover of his soul: the Merciful Lord of the Soul: Radhasoami Dayal. In this loving context of devotional Bhakti, mystical experiences (Surat Shabd Yoga, Divine Light and Sound of God) take the devotee-soul upon an interior journey beyond illusion, beyond time and duality, to an Ultimate Reality, the Ocean of Love, Swami Ji Maharaj describes as “Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent with attributes of Grace, Mercy, Love, Bliss and Peace.” Swami Ji Maharaj says, “From one step to another the soul beholds strange things which cannot be described in human language. Every region and everything is utterly beyond words. What beauty and glory! How can I describe them? There is nothing here to convey the idea. I am helpless…Love plays the supreme part. It is all love. So says RADHASOAMI.” (Sant Radhasoami Sahab)
Radhasoami is the name for the Soundless One and Soundless State, Anadi, the Highest Region. As one Master said, “The individual soul has descended….from the Soundless State to the essence of Sound, from Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness…..[In Surat Shabd Yoga meditation practice] we travel back from the realm of Darkness to the realm of Light, from the Light to Divine Sound, and from the realm of Sound to the Soundless State.” (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj)