Radha Soami Satsang Beas
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Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) was founded by Soami Shiv Dayal Singh Ji and Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj in 1891 at a site called Dera Baba Jaimal Singh on the East bank of the River Beas, India. A philosophical center based on the spiritual teachings of all religions and dedicated to a process of inner development under the guidance of a spiritual teacher.
Today Radha Soami Satsang Beas is succeeded by Babaji Gurinder Singh, who was officially appointed by Maharaj Charan Singh (guru). Radha Soami Beas satsang is a non-profit charitable society and is an autonomous body, which doesn't bear allegiance to any of the other Radhasoami/Sant Mat groups or satsangs.
Teachings and Philosophy
'Radha' means Soul & 'Soami' means Lord i.e. In Hindi it means 'aatma parmatma'. Hence Radhasoami can be translated into meaning merger of the Soul with the Lord.
The Radha Soami teachings lay down a method for Self Realization leading to God Realization, through the means of Surat Shabd Yoga. Satsang describes a group that seeks truth, and Beas refers to the town near which the main centre is located in northern India. There are a number of other contemporary movements that use the name ‘Radha Soami’ but Radha Soami Satsang Beas is not associated with any of them.
The technique of the yoga/meditation is imparted under the instructions of a teacher (present day teacher: Baba Gurinder Singh), or his personally selected representatives. It is through this union of the soul with the Audible Life Stream that gives this meditation practice its name - The Surat Shabd Yoga.
To assist in the practice of the Surat Shabd Yoga, one must be a lacto vegetarian (no eggs, fish, fowl or meat), abstain from recreational drugs and alcohol, and lead a moral life (including among other things confining sexuality to a legal marriage). The vegetarian diet encourages respect and empathy for all life and acknowledges that there is a debt to be paid for taking any life. The required lifestyle aids concentration, calming and centering the mind.
Before one decides to adopt the Surat Shabd Yoga meditation, one is strongly advised by the present master Baba Gurinder Singh, to research not only Radha Soami Satsang Beas philosophy and teachings, but any other mysticism teachings or yoga systems that may interest the seeker. This allows the seeker to be 100% intellectually satisfied that this is the right choice for them as individuals. Also that they are able to adhere to the vegetarian diet and the lifestyle change of no alcohol or recreational drugs and are able to take time out to practice the meditation.
People are able to practice the Surat Shabd Yoga meditation, while still remaining a part of their community and religious customs. It is a solitary practice that is done in the quiet of one's own home for at least 2 1/2 hours each day. Members commit themselves to a way of life that supports spiritual growth while carrying out their responsibilities to family, friends and society.
The teachings are also referred to as Sant Mat, meaning 'Teachings of the Saints' (past and present). The Radha Soami Satsang Beas community and members are from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds. The teachings are available to anyone interested and no fees are charged for imparting the philosophy or Surat Shabd Yoga system.
Today the Beas ashram, known as simply the 'Dera', maintains a free kitchen called 'Langar', as well as canteens and snack bars at a nominal price.
Three Charitable hospitals were built and run by RSSB. Beas Hospital, Sikanderpur Hospital and the Bhota Hospital provide free medical care for the rural community surrounding it and aid the needy. They include free accommodation for relatives of their patients. RSSB has also helped in relief efforts of victims of natural disasters. For a number of years an annual eye clinic was run and held at the Dera, giving medical aid to people suffering eye-ailments, including the removal of cataracts, this has now stopped. Volunteers at the Dera are from diverse ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds.
A Library has been constructed to house nearly 500,000 books on all the world religions, philosophies and mysticism. The library is open to all seekers, researchers and scholars.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas encourages voluntary service to the community.
This group is environmentally aware and plants thousands of trees yearly, applying organic farming methods and encouraging social awareness within the community.
The mission begun by Baba Jaimal Singh at the turn of the 19th century, Radha Soami Satsang Beas, has its headquarters known by the name of 'Dera Baba Jaimal Singh' near the river Beas in Beas, Punjab, Northern India since 1891. Today the colony has expanded enormously and houses nearly 6000 residents and the average number of visitors daily is about 200,000 or more. Visitors come from all over the world. Radha Soami Satsang Beas, today has Science of the Soul Spiritual Centres in many overseas countries, meetings and gatherings take place in nearly 90 countries worldwide. They also have a 'Science of the Soul Research Centre' based in New Delhi. Its objective is to promote betterment of humanity. The 'Science of the Soul Research Centre' is a non profit charitable Society and also acts as a mail order book seller for Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, or simply the ‘Dera’ as it is generally known, is a mini-township with 6,000 residents. Since the Dera is the home of the spiritual leader of the organization, large crowds visit on specially designated weekends to hear his discourses. These crowds average more than 250,000 people daily.
The Radha Soami Headquarters provides a sheltered venue for these gatherings.The dera is among the most well planned colonies of India with no air pollution as no private vehicles are allowed inside . It is self sustaining community. The RSSB Headquarters is also known as the 'Dera'.
Food is available to visitors, several approaches are taken. The langar (a place where food is served free of charge) is the primary means. The free langar complex covers over 48 acres (190,000 m2) and operates around the clock. Capable of feeding up to 300,000 people per meal, 50,000 in a single sitting, it has a mostly volunteer staff who prepare and serve simple but nourishing food.
The colony is visited by people from around the world and by all walks of life. To provide temporary accommodation for everyone, a variety of facilities are offered. There are a number of guest hostels with individual rooms and attached baths, hostels with dormitory-style rooms, and other large buildings to house visitors. The visitors are provided free accomodation
The Dera seeks to be as self-sufficient and environmentally friendly as possible. Every year thousands of trees are planted. Many lawns and parks beautify the colony and provide space for visitors and residents to rest and relax. More than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land are cultivated for growing vegetables and fruits that are used in the langar and by Dera residents. Organic farming methods are being adapted to local conditions. The Dera has its own water supply, water treatment plant and solid waste treatment facility. It has its own electrical sub-station and large electrical generator back-up facility to supply emergency power to the whole community.
Radha Soami Satsang Beas Lineage of Successors
Radha Soami movement begun by:-
- Sant Seth Shiv Dayal Singh also known as Swami Ji. It was succeeded by
- Baba Jaimal Singh Ji The founder of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. Ministry lasted from 1884 to 1903.
- Baba Sawan Singh Ji, also known as The Great Master, Ministry from 1903 to 1948.
- Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh Ji. Ministry lasted from 1948 to 1951.
- Huzur Maharaj Charan Singh (guru) Ji, full name Charan Singh Grewal. Ministry lasted from 1951 to 1990.
- Baba Gurinder Singh Dhillon- Radha Soami Satsang Beas. Ministry began 1990 to present day.