A Story of Love
Baba Ji’s satsang program in Agra – January 25 and 26, 2012
Agra satsang, January 2012 – an occasion to make us reflect. Hazur Maharaj Ji had given satsang in Agra in 1978, and now this occasion would be only the second time that a Beas master would give satsang in the place we all associate with the beginnings of Radha Soami Satsang.
From the time Baba Ji’s plans to include Agra in his 2012 tour schedule were announced, it was made known that anyone from the Indian sangat would be welcome to attend. Normally the sangat is discouraged from moving with the master from one centre to another, since Baba Ji visits the main centres in India every year, to meet us near where we live, and moreover, the entire sangat is welcome to visit Beas. If the sangat were to follow him around on his tours, it would put unnecessary strain on local centres and their sevadars.
We were very excited – and not without good reason. The statistics tell their story. Approximately 320 acres of rural land, some seven miles to the north of Agra with access from the Delhi highway, were loaned to the sangat by 14 farmers and a developer to host the event. The farmers were compensated for any possible loss of income from crops they would not be able to grow for the season. There were 27,000 visiting sevadars who gave their time to prepare and manage the satsang program. It took 2 ½ months to level the land and build the road network, the langar, four canteens, toilet facilities, and so forth – all the arrangements needed for a temporary dera, or camp. It’s hard to imagine: 2,200 buses, 9,000 cars, 10,000 two-wheelers, and numerous trains passing through Agra brought the sangat to the site. Almost 250,000 people attended the first satsang and 300,000 the second, of whom 125,000 slept at the site overnight, under tenting. All were fed, and facilities were created for bathing and toilet needs. Records show that 168,000 people took lunch at the free langar on the second day, and the canteens and langar functioned round the clock. The scale of the occasion took our breath away.
Agra is not a large centre for the Radha Soami Satsang Beas satsang. It is 134 years since Soami Ji Maharaj first gave out the teachings in Agra, after spending 17 years in intense meditation. And it is more than a century since he sent Baba Jaimal Singh to spread the teachings in Punjab, thereby originating the Radha Soami Satsang Beas lineage of spiritual masters, with their unlimited love for the Lord’s creation and their untiring service to humanity. Soami Ji taught his disciples to distinguish true from false to make their lives fruitful, and now once again Baba Ji is giving the teachings of the one truth for all, with people from all over India attending the satsang in their commitment to Soami Ji’s message. No one could have imagined the power of the Lord’s love as it was manifested through the sevadars who worked together to make the occasion possible. With their love for the one Lord reflected in their behaviour, and following the example and leadership of our master – obedient sevadar to the generous Lord – the sevadars had worked tirelessly to prepare for Baba Ji’s visit. It was beyond belief.
Sevadars were all over the city. There were 2,500 of them along the various routes to the venue, covering 160 miles. Distinguished by the reflective strips on their jackets and by their courtesy and alertness, these traffic sevadars didn’t get to see Baba Ji. They didn’t get to hear the satsang. Another 1,500 of them directed the flow of the sangat within the site. They came mostly from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, sevadars young and old, men and women. They stood for hours and hours in the dusty environment, with all the craziness, noise and fumes of India’s traffic, and they guided, cajoled, and shepherded the sangat on their way to hear the Master speak.
Finally, the site! Vast, vast, vast, it stretched as far as the eye could see. Sangat everywhere, with tented walls and tented areas directing and controlling the spaces. Earth and sand had been flattened and packed hard by sevadars working through the winter weeks to make roads and designated spaces for all the activities. (Even a four-wheel-drive vehicle could not have crossed the land before preparations had begun). By the time we reached the pandal (satsang tent), thousands and thousands of cars had already been parked in an orderly fashion, parking lines numbered – was that line number 481 we just noted? Masses of people were moving on foot, without any crush, without any apparent difficulties, masses of them. Earth-moving machines had been parked in a side lot, some even now filling sand into places where the earthen roads need bolstering to support the arriving throngs. The signage everywhere was excellent; we never had to ask, as our every concern was anticipated. Even the temporary bathrooms were kept spotless by the sevadar army. We were requested to conserve water at all times. Sevadars greeted us with affection and respect at every step. We finally reached and were shown into the pandal.
Satsang. Pin-drop silence. Literally pin-drop! The pandal stretched back farther, it seemed, than even the largest covered area one sees in Dera Beas at the time of the biggest gatherings. This special place was created from a rural wilderness for a two-day program, where the living master has come to teach us, to share his message with all who will hear, to wake us to truth. Shabads were being sung. The sound system was flawless. The message was simple: “Listen, my loved one; this is a story of love. Millions and millions of blessings are with those upon whom the Satguru casts his merciful glance.”
Baba Ji himself spoke on both days. On the first day, he gave his satsang from a text by Guru Amar Das: “Naamai hi te sabh kichh hoaa” (Everything has come from Nam). On the second day, he took a Soami Ji text – “Dhun sun kar, man samjhaa’i” (Listen to the melody of Shabd and bring your wayward mind into line.) Baba Ji’s choiceof texts was totally consistent with his rigorous, focused approach to transmitting the message of the saints to us: Nam, Nam, Nam on the first day; bhajan, bhajan, bhajan on the second. Baba Ji is so consistent in his message because the teachings are always the same. He repeats the message over and over again because we are so dense. He leaves us no scope to get confused on account of varying texts or varying explanations of the saints’ one message. The message is simple: Nam is the only thing of true value. The only thing worth doing is Nam practice. Meditation alone is worth our unreserved commitment. Open your hearts to the music of the Shabd-dhun. Don’t compromise this one activity that is needed to make your life fruitful. Get on with it in a spirit of faith and love. Go within yourself. In the end, nothing will be left with us but this. Cultivate love within your heart through meditation. Do not leave the love. This practice will bring us everything. This is what we are here for. Act now. Do what the master asks us to do.
Baba Ji’s two satsangs were longer than they usually are. Several of us noted that he spoke with a certain authority. He explained, as he always does, how the only way out of this field of action and reaction, the sphere of karma, is to attach oneself to Nam, and this can only be done through the grace of the master, by going within through meditation, and by the practice of listening to the Word. He reminded us of how many years have passed since the masters who followed Soami Ji have been telling us the same truth and asking us to take action by going inside ourselves to experience it for ourselves. But do we do it? Have we done it?
At the end of the second day’s satsang, Baba Ji implored us – here, at this place where Soami Ji had first taught more than one hundred years ago – he made a passionate plea as we had never heard before. He spoke quietly, deliberately, slowly, and with unbearable intensity. As he spoke, many of the sangat started crying. Many sobbed – men and women alike. How can it be, we asked ourselves, faced with the absolute selflessness of his service, that we do not fulfil this one simple request from Baba Ji to do our meditation daily? Who did not feel moved? He said an extraordinary thing: It is not for us to do anything but simply to sit. Whatever has to be done, he said, has already been done and completed by Soami Ji himself, by Baba Jaimal Singh Ji, by Great Master, by Sardar Bahadur Ji and by Hazur Maharaj Ji, in all the years they have put in for us in communion with the Lord. They have done the work. They have already done what is necessary. There is nothing left for us to do but to sit in meditation. Ours is simply to put ourselves where they can give us what they are already holding in trust for us. This is all that is required. That was how Baba Ji ended the Agra 2012 satsang program.
More than 300,000 people came to Agra for these satsangs. All gathered in the love of the divine. All were drawn to come and wait for hours and sleep in tents overnight in the cold of late January, to make their way in a disciplined and loving fashion to a place they themselves had prepared from a wilderness of fields, ravines and hillocks to accommodate his visit. What a miracle of supreme love on earth! How fortunate we are to experience this miracle for ourselves. It is love and love and love. And from this love, Baba Ji requests of us one thing: to act, to be “doers of the Word”– spiritual activists, parmarthis – to be true satsangis, companions of truth. This is our master’s one request.