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RADHASOAMI FAITH - A HISTORICAL STUDY: The First Guru - Establishment of the Faith

Prof. A.P. Mathur
M.A., PhD, F.I.H.S., F.R.A.S. (London)
Former Vice-Chancellor, Agra University, Agra, India

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His Thought and Philosophy

(A) Concept of Supreme Being

Soamiji's Supreme Being is formless, indescribable, unfathomable, endless and nameless. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. His attributes are grace, mercy, love, light, bliss and peace. He is all pure and all spiritual and as such far beyond the reach of mind and matter. When manifested, He is known as Sat Purush Radhasoami and this name, according to Soamiji, has been by the Supreme Being Himself who is the ultimate and highest reality.

In his writings, Soamiji has often elicited the relation of a devotee with the Supreme Being with the help of such similes as were used by medieval saints and mystics. He did not challenge the existence of the Brahman and His Avatars of Hinduism or the God of Christianity or the Allah of Islam. He only contends that the region of their origin are lower than that of Sat Purush Radhasoami and are not absolutely free from maya; hence it would be wrong to conceive any one of them as Supreme Being. According to him, Radhasoami is the highest authority and the Lord of them all. No one except the sants could conceive Him. The sants alone have the knowledge of the purely spiritual region beyond the limit of maya.

(B) Concept of Creation

According to Soamiji, before the creation, the Supreme Being was in a state of sunn samadhi- ellipsoid. Through His mauj (divine will ) or inner vibrations, a spiritual current with a resonant sound emanated from Him and created a spiritual grand division or the Nirmal- Chaitanya Desh or the Fourth region. Beginning from Radhasoami pad, it created first the Agam Lok, then the Alakh Lok and finally the Sat Lok. He describes these regions as refulgent having pure spirituality, bliss, love and peace. Radhasoami Pad- the highest of these regions- is so infinite and fathomless, that it can not be styled as a "Place". Soamiji considers the Fourth Region as indissoluble because of its all- pervading spiritual attributes.

Below Sat Lok, Soamiji in conformity with the Hindu concept, believes in the three regions of creation. One of the emanation of Sat Purush known as Kal, who possessed mind and matter, was provided with spiritual energy (adya ) which he required for creation through the grace of Sat Purush. Kal with adya (prominent spiritual energy) and with akshar purush (latent spiritual energy) created Brahmand, the second grand division. Its important regions are Sunna, Trikuti and Sahasdal Kanwal. Spiritual components dominated the Brahmand but pure matter (maya) was discernible there. Brahmand is seat of Universal Mind and the five tattvas and the three gunas emanated from there. Kal and adya, then, assumed the forms of Niranjan and jyoti to create the third grand division known as And Desh or the three sub-regions of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. In the end Pind Desh was created which consisted of sixth ganglia and nine apertures pertaining to the physical body. Soamiji propounds that the spirit entity is encased in the Pind (material world and physical body) and has thus fallen a prey to Kal's oppression and exploitations

(C) Concept of Surat or Spirit Entity

The spirit Entity has been described as surat by Soamiji. It is an infinitely small unit of the Supreme Being; naturally it has the same characteristic as those of the Supreme Being. Surat is therefore a descendent of the highest region of creation. After traversing through the different regions it has come down to the teesra til just below the Sahasdal Kanwal in the physical body. Here surat gets enmeshed in five tattvas, three gunas, mind and matter, and the indriyas. It also gets chained in several bondages such as that of property honour, position, fame family and kinfolk. The surat in such a state is called jiva- which has to undergo the cycle of birth, death and rebirth and assume various forms (chaurasi laksh) in accordance with its insatiable desires and the load of karma.

The surat is thus rendered helpless in extricating itself from these bondages. The feelings of pleasure, pain and suffering increase so much that it forgets all about its return to its original home and loses all consciousness about the reality of its nature.

(D) Concept of Salvation

According to Soamiji, surat can return to its original abode after it has extricated itself from worldly bonds. This home-coming, he holds, is true salvation. The surat would then be freed of the pangs of worldly pleasures and pains and the cycle of chaurasi laksh. It would, therefore, easily cross the jurisdiction of Kal and enjoy eternal bliss and peace. Salvation is the ultimate goal of surat and it can advance towards it only through its affinity with and attraction for shabd. Shabd alone can guide the surat on its way back to higher regions of creation and finally in reaching its eternal abode.

(E) Concept of Shabd

According to Soamiji, shabd (eternal sound-current) is the first manifestation of the Supreme Being. It is the supreme energy and the prime source of all creation. The resonance of the sound-current is known as nam (holy name) which resounds in the inner self of all jivas.

Shabd and surat both have the same attributes; rather surat has an inherent attraction for shabd. Soamiji holds that by following the prescribed inner practice (surat shabd yoga) Surat can get attached to Shabd and after passing through several higher regions, it can one day reach its final abode. The Santsatguru of the time alone possesses the key to the secret of the shabd.

(F) Concept of Sant Satguru

While maintaining that Santsatguru is the manifestation of the Supreme Being on earth. Soamiji confirms to the earlier sant traditions and revives the ancient beliefs of Hinduism. He holds that although the Santsatguru has assumed human form,yet he should not be identified with a human being. In fact,he is the spiritual -current personified and has come to this world with a mission to grant redemption to suffering humanity. In his grace,the Santsatguru grants spiritual progress and eternal peace and bliss to all those jivas who are real seekers after truth and are keen on throwing away the shackles of Kal and maya.

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