Glimpses of His Life and Miracles Associated with His Name
The second guru of the Radhasoami Faith, Rai Saligram Bahadur,
popularly known as Hazur Maharaj, was born in a kayastha family of Peepal
Mandi, Agra, on 14 march 1829. His father, Bahadur Singh, a lawyer of repute,
was a highly religious and generous man. He died early leaving behind his
widow, two sons and a daughter. At that time, Rai Saligram was only four
years old. His mother, a talented lady, had therefore to struggle hard
against heavy odds to provide her sons with the best possible education.
Throughout his academic career, Rai Saligram was a brilliant
student. After completing his primary education in a maktab [Urdu
school], he went to Agra College for higher studies. He passed the Senior
Cambridge examination from this college in 1847 with distinction in Theology,
English, Mathematics and Urdu. Subsequently he devoted himself to higher
studies in Persian and Arabic. He also studied advanced books on religion,
philosophy and astrology. He took great interest in learning Hindi and
Sanskrit and within a short time acquired high proficiency in these languages.
His ever-increasing thirst for knowledge knew no bounds.
He really desired to reveal unto himself the secrets of
absolute Truth. Driven by an inner urge to seek a perfect guru,
he visited many holy places in the country where he met many religious
teachers and saints. He came to the conclusion that many reputed religious
leaders were themselves labouring under delusion, and that they were deluding
their disciples. Nevertheless, on the insistence of his mother, he agreed
to receive initiation from the family priest on the clear understanding
that he would discard the priest and his teachings as soon as he had found
a true and perfect guru. His first marriage was short lived and his
wife died after giving birth to a female child. He married again in 1852.
His second wife was a talented lady and devoted to her husband. She gave
birth to two daughters and three sons out of whom only one survived.
He was appointed as a second clerk in the office of Postmaster
General, North Western Provinces soon after he had finished his studies.
since he proved to be an honest and efficient in the department, he got
rapid promotions. First he was promoted to the office of inspector of post
offices, and then head assistant and later personal assistant to the Postmaster
General. In 1871, he was appointed chief inspector of post offices in India,
and in 1881 as the Postmaster General of the North Western Provinces with
headquarters at Allahabad. He was the first Indian to hold this coveted
Being an administrator of outstanding ability, Rai Saligram
introduced a number of new practices in the postal department, namely,
land revenue money order scheme, insurance of parcels, value payable parcel
[VPP], procedures regarding bearing letters, under stamped articles and
telegrams and the total amalgamation of the district postal arrangements
for official letters with general postal department. He toned up the services
in the department during the difficult period of its growth and development.
By his extraordinary grasp of departmental working, he successfully dealt
with complicated pending cases. He removed confusion and redtapism prevalent
in the department. These schemes proved very useful and convenient for
departmental work and immensely benefited the people. He also recommended
the issue of one-price post-card for the benefit of poor people. Further,
he himself translated the rules and regulations of the postal department
in the North Western Provinces and Punjab, into vernacular to acquaint
the educated few with them. The government honoured him with the award
of the title of Rai Bahadur in 1871, in appreciation of his meritorious
For enforcing honesty and efficiency in the rank and file
of the department, he strictly dealt with persons found guilty of embezzlement.
He had become so indispensable to the postal department that no scheme
would go on paper without his prior consultation. The British authorities
felt so much beholden to him for his outstanding contributions that they
did not want him to retire early when he expressed such a desire in 1884.
The Director-General personally requested him in a letter not to press
for his retirement. However, when he insisted he was relieved of his duties
in 1887. In a personal letter, the Director-General paid glowing tributes
to him for his efficient work.
Worldly achievements, howsoever great, had no significance
for Hazur Maharaj. What really mattered to him was the guidance of a true
preceptor who would satisfy his spiritual thirst. His long - cherished
ambition was realised when he met Soamiji Maharaj in 1858; in whom he could
discern a real guide in flesh and blood. For twenty long years (1858-1878),
he served the guru in manner unparalleled in the annals of bhakti.
When in 1878, Soamiji departed for his heavenly abode,
Rai Saligram Bahadur succeeded him as the guru and inaugurated an
era of consolidation in the history of Radhasoami Satsang. After his retirement
from official duties, he finally settled at Agra and devoted his entire
time to religious duties. For twenty years (1878-1898) he served humanity
at large and spread the divine light of love which he had received from
his master. He took very little food and slept less than four hours a day.
Excessive work weakened him physically. He left for his heavenly abode
on 6 December 1898 after a brief illness. Thousands of his followers rushed
to Agra for his last darshan and paid homage to their benevolent
guru. His samadhi was built by his son Rai Ajudhya Prasad
at the very place where satsang was held. Paying a tribute to him,
the Indian Mirror observed : " The death of Rai Saligram Saheb Bahadur
of Agra will be sincerely regretted by the people of the North-west Provinces.
The deceased gentleman occupied a high position in the Postal Department
and enjoyed the confidence and respect of both the Government and the public.
But we notice Rai Saligram death not so much because of his official position
as because of the hold he had over the hearts of his countrymen. Indian
official, who are in anyway in the service are apt to become some time
denationalized. Rai Saligram, on the contrary, was a Hindu of Hindus, and
the leader of a recognized Hindu association. He was a very charitable
man, and his death is a distinct loss to the community."
Miracles beyond the reach of human reason have been generally
associated with mystic saints of India and Saligram was no exception to
it. Many stories about his occult are current at different centres of Radhasoami
Satsang. A few miracles are mentioned below to illustrate the tremendous
faith his followers had in him.
It is said that when he was about to be born, the gestation
period of his mother extended eighteen instead of the normal nine month
and his mother experienced no trouble on that account and the delivery
was normal. When he was only a few month old, a cobra would come to his
bed-room every night and to his mother's horror the child would catch hold
of the cobra by the neck and with it. The poisonous creature did not harm
Another story relate to an accident in which the boy Saligram
fell down in the flooded Jamuna. Just when he was about to drown, some
unseen hand caught hold of him and put him back into the boat.
Many of his followers experienced his miraculous power
when he became the Santsatguru. Max Mueller, his contemporary, writes
"the people are convinced that he can miracles, but he himself regards
such thing as unbecoming and below his dignity." It is said that he granted
vision and initiation in dreams to persons who were keen on initiation
into the Radhasoami faith by Hazur himself but could not personally approach
him. Many proof are available about his capacity to cure patients merely
by his personal touch or a glance. Dr. Mukund Lall, the then assistant
surgeon to the viceroy, often sent patients of chronic hysteria to Hazur
Maharaj and all of them were fully cured.
It is said that many a foreigner came to his satsang
after knowing his supernatural talents. A German theosophist and an American
lady felt an inner call impelling them to seek spiritual guidance from
Hazur Maharaj after having seen him in their dreams. The sanctity and spiritual
impact of his residence are revealed by the belief that anyone who walked
under the lamp-post in his lane, was sure to be attracted to the Radhasoami
faith. People also thought that there was some magic in his eyes; even
his casual glance would draw them towards him. Devotees who came to attend
his satsang at Agra got so absorbed in the spiritual ecstasy of
the saint's company that they would forget to attend to their official
duties at the prescribed hour. To their surprise, they would find on reaching
their office that the work allotted to them had been duly completed and
they were marked present in the attendance register. Many of his followers
recorded their experiences acknowledging Hazur Maharaj's grace and mercy
in every walk of life. He granted them strength against evil forces. A
compilation of these records would be sufficient material for an interesting
book on mystic revelations.