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Soul Survivors

(Mid-Day, India, November 12, 1999) – Every year around November, the Radha Soamis converge at Bhayander for spiritual cleansing of the mind and soul.

Dera Baba Jaimal Singh is a small patch of land on the bank of the River Beas in Punjab. A secluded and serene place, it was chosen by Guru Jaimal Singh, in 1891 to meditate. Today it is the abode of the Radhasoamis (Radha meaning soul and Soami meaning its creator).

This abode has great spiritual vibes left by the gurus, Huzur Baba Jaimal Singhji, Huzur Baba Sawan Singhji, Sardar Bahadur Jagatsinghji, Maharaj Charan Singhji and the present Master Gurinder Singhji Dhillon (Babaji). The ambiance is perfect for meditation. Immaculately clean, it is looked after by sewadars (volunteers) under the guidance of the present Master Gurinder Singhji.

All the gurus have contributed tremendously to this spiritual path, but also preached the satsangis (followers) to lead a good life.

The teachings of the gurus is like this: Human beings are all the time tempted by desires, attracted and influenced by the worldly environment. To overcome all this and realise the divinity within us, this human form is a big blessing. God is within each one of us, but we cannot realise God without a true and perfect living master. The purpose of every saint coming into this world is to save his chosen souls, put them on the right path and take them to their eternal home. Only a living spiritual master can guide us to initiation. The master initiates you, shows you the path of meditation which leads to the ultimate goal of salvation to the soul.

Like all true masters their services and teachings are free. There are certain conditions if one has to be a member of this spiritual path. One has to be a total vegetarian, abstain from alcohol and drugs, meditate for two and a half hours and lead a clean moral life. The Radhasoamis do not believe in idol worship or any kind of superstitions. The satsangis must set examples for others to follow.

Huzoor Maharaj Singhji built the 300-bed Maharaj Sawan Singh Charitable Hospital, brick-by-brick with the help of the devotees. It has the latest equipment and has treated lakhs of people free of charge. He even started an eye camp in 1965 where everything, from the operations (mostly cataracts) to accommodation and food is free for the patients. About 8,000 operations are performed in one week. Most of the patients are from the neighbouring rural villages. This is now held every year in Beas in October/November.

The devotees, including the medical fraternity, from all over the world come to do this sewa. All this only for the love of their guru.

The present master, a graduate, is in his 40s, widely-travelled, and is totally committed to Sant Mat. The discourses by him focus on the spiritual path and stress only on meditation, to overcome materialist attractions. During the discourses he quotes extensively from the Bible, Kabir, Guru Granth Saheb and Muslim mystiques namely Bulleshah and Rabia Basri. He holds the sangat in pin-drop silence.

Discourses are simple, easy to understand in Gurmukhi, Hindi and English. Some of the examples given by him leave a distinct impression on you. He once mentioned that we all know what is right and wrong. We choose to do the wrong because it is easy to do it. Not only that, we also try to justify why we have done wrong. That's the human mind! The sangat was like a sapling that has become a huge tree today. In any centre, the numbers of the devotees are astoundingly large. Their personal experiences have led to total faith in their guru. With his grace one glides through and gets the strength to bear the worst of any calamities or disasters, which one has to go through because of your karmas. The present master educated abroad, widely travelled is a strict disciplinarian and believes in perfection. He is concerned about the facilities which have to be provided to the followers.

The basic necessities of the increasing sangat are his prime concern. Since the last four years the discourses in Mumbai are held at Bhayander around November/December. The Sangat consists of almost a lakh of devotees hence Sewa in Mumbai (for that matter in any centre) begins almost 30 to 45 days before the satsang programme. One does sewa (service to mankind) together with all classes of people rich and poor to bring about humility and humbleness which helps us in meditation. Sewa is of various kinds and includes cereal cleaning, construction work of temporary toilets, (besides four permanent ones which can accommodate 400 persons), leveling of the ground, erecting of pandals, painting of banners, utensil cleaning including big drums and buckets of drinking water, vegetable-cutting, store keeping, electrical wiring, bichai, etc. To organise any programme for almost a lakh of people, with an objective to see that the sangat is not inconvenienced, enormous efforts are required, to seat them in proper rows, provide transport facilities, food and water. Most of the sewadars and satsangis look forward to this annual event.

The ultimate goal is to see that the sangat is pleased and the seekers get what they aim for initiation. In any organisation which is growing, like the Radhasoamis, discipline is a must if we have to achieve perfection.