Lord of The Soul

Radha Soami Sat­sang Beas is a philo­soph­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion based on spir­i­tual teach­ings of all re­li­gions but still a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion with­out any po­lit­i­cal or com­mer­cial af­fil­i­a­tion

The Day After - - CONTENT - By Su­Nil daNg

With an aim to teach per­sonal path of spir­i­tual de­vel­op­ment which in­cludes a veg­e­tar­ian diet, ab­sti­nence from in­tox­i­cants, a moral way of life and the prac­tice of daily med­i­ta­tion, Radha Soami Sat­sang Beas (RSSB) was founded in In­dia in 1891. As its name in­di­cates the RSSB is a philo­soph­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion based on the spir­i­tual teach­ings of all re­li­gions, ded­i­cated to a process of in­ner de­vel­op­ment un­der the guid­ance of a spir­i­tual teacher. Radha Soami is a Hindi ex­pres­sion mean­ing ‘Lord of the Soul’ in English. Sat­sang means ‘as­so­ci­a­tion with Truth’ and de­scribes a group that seeks truth. The main cen­tre of RSSB is at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, lo­cated on the banks of the Beas River, in the north­ern In­dia state of Pun­jab. Im­me­di­ately af­ter in­cep­tion in 1891 in In­dia, it started to spread its wings in In­dia and in other coun­tries. Today, RSSB holds meet­ings in more than 90 coun­tries world­wide. It is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion with no af­fil­i­a­tion to any po­lit­i­cal or com­mer­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The phi­los­o­phy which RSSB teaches is a per­sonal path of spir­i­tual de­vel­op­ment that in­cludes a veg­e­tar­ian diet, ab­sti­nence from in­tox­i­cants, a moral way of life and the prac­tice of daily med­i­ta­tion. There are no rit­u­als, cer­e­monies, hi­er­ar­chies or manda­tory con­tri­bu­tions, nor are there com­pul­sory gath­er­ings. Mem­bers do not need to give up their cul­tural iden­tity or re­li­gious pref­er­ence to fol­low this path.

At the core of the RSSB phi­los­o­phy is a be­lief that there is a spir­i­tual pur­pose to hu­man life – to ex­pe­ri­ence the di­vin­ity of God, who re­sides within all of us. It is through this ex­pe­ri­ence that we will re­al­ize the truth of the con­cept that there is only one God and we are all expressions of his love. Cen­tral to the RSSB phi­los­o­phy is a spir­i­tual teacher who ex­plains the pur­pose of life and guides and in­structs mem­bers in a method of spir­i­tu­al­ity based on a daily med­i­ta­tion prac­tice. The present teacher is Baba Gurinder Singh, who lives with his fam­ily at the main cen­tre in north­ern In­dia.

By per­form­ing the med­i­ta­tion prac­tice ac­cord­ing to the teacher’s in­struc­tions, in­di­vid­u­als can re­al­ize the pres­ence of God

within them­selves. It is a soli­tary prac­tice that is done in the quiet of one’s own home. Mem­bers com­mit them­selves to a way of life that sup­ports spir­i­tual growth while car­ry­ing out their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to fam­ily, friends and so­ci­ety.

By per­form­ing the med­i­ta­tion prac­tice ac­cord­ing to the teacher’s in­struc­tions, in­di­vid­u­als can re­al­ize the pres­ence of God within them­selves. It is a soli­tary prac­tice that is done in the quiet of one’s own home. Mem­bers com­mit them­selves to a way of life that sup­ports spir­i­tual growth while car­ry­ing out their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to fam­ily, friends and so­ci­ety. There are no rit­u­als, cer­e­monies, hi­er­ar­chies or manda­tory con­tri­bu­tions, nor are there com­pul­sory gath­er­ings. Mem­bers need not give up their cul­tural iden­tity or re­li­gious pref­er­ence to fol­low this path.

To build on the pri­mary spir­i­tual prac­tice of med­i­ta­tion, mem­bers are lacto-veg­e­tar­ian, ab­stain from al­co­hol and re­cre­ational drugs, and are ex­pected to lead a life of high moral val­ues. The lacto-veg­e­tar­ian diet en­cour­ages re­spect and em­pa­thy for all life and ac­knowl­edges that there is a debt to be paid for tak­ing any life un­nec­es­sar­ily. Ab­stain­ing from in­tox­i­cants im­proves one’s abil­ity to con­cen­trate and calms the mind dur­ing med­i­ta­tion. Mem­bers are en­cour­aged to be self-sup­port­ing and not be a bur­den on so­ci­ety. They are free to make their own choices in life and main­tain any cul­tural or re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tions they choose. RSSB does not in­volve it­self in the per­sonal lives of its mem­bers.

The RSSB is in­dulged in so­cial ser­vices also. They have de­vel­oped an eco-friendly town­ship known as Dera among the lo­cals. This town­ship has schools, hos­pi­tals, guest houses, can­teens, and lodges — all at no cost. Peo­ple com­ing to the Sat­sang can book their place in the Sat­sang de­liv­ered by present teacher Baba Gurinder Singh Jee. The Dera Se­vadars would come to the rail­way sta­tion to re­ceive their vis­i­tor if he or she is an el­der who find it dif­fi­cult to com­mute. As the rail­way sta­tion passes through the town­ship men­tioned above, by the time you deboard the train, you are in the Dera cam­pus. So, even an un­known can iden­tify the place where he or she needs to go.

Since, RSSB is a spir­i­tual and philo­soph­i­cal in­sti­tu­tion and it doesn’t have any lin­eage with any re­li­gion, peo­ple from all cross-sec­tions of the so­ci­ety have joined the Dera and be­come full time Se­vadars here. For them, the cam­pus has fa­cil­ity for board­ing, food­ing and lodg­ing. Ir­re­spec­tive of their level in Se­vadar fra­ter­nity, their ac­com­mo­da­tion is based on the ba­sis of the size of their fam­ily. They take care of their kids and other mem­bers needs. They pro­vide free stud­ies for their Se­vadars kids in their schools and col­leges. Af­ter­wards, they even ac­com­mo­date them in their in­sti­tu­tions if they wish to. Else they are free to get their job out­side the cam­pus as well.

In­her­ent to the So­ci­ety’s phi­los­o­phy is the im­por­tance of seva, mean­ing self­less ser­vice, or vol­un­tarism. Vol­un­tary ser­vice is the back­bone of all ac­tiv­i­ties con­nected with RSSB. All ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions, con­struc­tion of In­dian and in­ter­na­tional cen­tres, feed­ing of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors who visit the head­quar­ters in In­dia, writ­ing and trans­lat­ing books and mag­a­zines ex­plain­ing the teach­ings, are done by mem­bers on a vol­un­tary ba­sis. Ma­hatma Gandhi em­bod­ied the im­por­tance of ser­vice in his state­ment: “The best way to find your self is to lose your­self in the ser­vice of oth­ers.” It is be­lieved that through ser­vice, one loses one’s sense of self-im­por­tance and be­comes hum­ble. That is the foun­da­tion of a spir­i­tual life.

Radha Soami Sat­sang Beas Baba Gurinder Singh

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