Those who are interested in the history of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB), a contemporary Sant Mat movement headquartered in India, will want to read the following message I received from "SM Dass" (a pseudonym).
Others won't understand much about what is being talked about, yet will be able to follow the gist of the arguments.
Since I was a member of RSSB for over thirty years, I told SM Dass that his analysis was intriguing and I'd like to share it on my blog. I've added a few explanatory terms in [brackets], and some links.
By "intriguing" I don't mean that I agree with the thoughts below, just that SM Dass seems to have put considerable effort into researching the early history of RSSB and how the organization's teachings relate to traditional Sikhism and mystics revered by Sikhs.
My favorite part of the message is how "Radha Soami" might actually mean "Lord of Radha," the nickname of Soami Ji's wife.
I told my wife that I could be called "Laurel Soami" (Lord of Laurel). Her silence potentially meant agreement. However, and this is bad news for my Lordship, I have a feeling that Laurel's non-response said too ridiculous to even acknowledge.
Here's the message.
Let's begin at the source, i.e with the supposed originator of it all, Soami ji Dayal Maharaj ji.
1) Firstly, he had no Guru himself. There are many RS [Radha Soami] followers who believe that he was initiated by Tulsi Sahib of Hathras but Soami Ji's very own younger brother, Chacha Lala Partap Singh wrote in the Life Account of Soami Ji clearly that Soami Ji had no guru and neither did he take updesh/naam/initiation from anyone. Yes, he did attend satsangs of Tulsi Sahib Ji but did not take initiation from him.
If you are familiar with the great Kabir Sahib Maharaj, then you may be aware that he wrote:
"Guru bin mala ferteh
Without a Guru they circle the mala/beads ,
Guru bin dehteh dhaan,
Without a Guru they give initiation
Guru bin dhono nishfal hai
Without a Guru, both are useless,
Pucho vedh puraan,
Go ask the Vedas and Puranas"
There are many accounts by every great saint that has come to this earth, all preaching the need for a True Guru. If saints like Kabir Maharaj or Guru Nanak Maharaj didn't have Guru's themselves, then that would make them hypocrites!
2) Secondly, Soami did not start off the RS faith. It was Rai Saligram. In the book Sar Bachan, you'll find an account where Soami ji says that "My path is that of Satnaam and Anami. Rai Saligram has started this. Let him continue with it".
3) Thirdly, The word Radha Soami is not really a reference to the True Lord or "lord of the soul". That definition was concocted some time after Soami ji. The word "Radha" was the nickname of Narayani Devi (wife of Soami ji) , whom Chacha Partap Singh and Rai Saligram used to refer to as, and when they were referring to Soami ji himself, they used to say Radha Soami, meaning Soami/master/lord of Radha a.k.a Narayani Devi.
In India, it was very commonly widespread to refer to the husband as "Soami/Swami" and people used to take the wifes name first, accompany it with Soami/Swami to refer to the husband. e.g, Shiv ji's wife is also called Uma so whenever it is written or said "Uma Soami", then it's understood that the reference is going to Shiv ji i.e. Soami of Uma.
4) Fourthly, on many occasions, I heard a few RS followers say that a sign of a true saint is one who does not let anyone bow in front of them or touch their feet (which as you may know is a sign of great respect in India). But in Soami Ji's life account, Chacha Partap Singh writes that one of Soami ji's close disciples, Bukki, used to 'suck his toe' because she used to think that she got the same feeling as if she was drinking milk. When people used to come to Soami ji to pay their repects, he used to tell them to bow to the other foot which is not being sucked. Is this the sign of a Saint?
5) Soami ji used to smoke the pipe/hooka/tobacco. Now, some people may argue that what hindrance is smoking in spirituality. Those people obviously haven't heeded the teachings. Kabir Maharaj clearly expresses the abstination of bhaang/tobacco/hooka and says that those who do are deemed to never get salvation but more a repeat in this cycle numerous times.
6) At the time of his death, Soami ji was more concerned about what was going to happen on earth than where he was going. He was still concerned about the welfare of Bukki for some reason. After he passed, Bukki used to remain unconscious for hours on end, and Chacha Partap singh writes that she used to see him.
On seeing Soami Ji, she was told by him to prepare the bed, food and hookah for him, just as she used to when he was alive. After making the preparations, she used to eat the food herself, smoke the pipe herself, and then remain unconscious in the bed herself. In other words, the spirit of Soami ji went into Bukki Ji, even though his aim was Sachkhand. If this was the result of a so called "param Sant", what will be the result for the rest of the followers of RS?
7) If you aware of Kaal [subject to death, as opposed to Akal, immortal] then you should know that the 5 names given in RS all belong to Kaal and are up to his level only. The 5 names were actually taken from the original bani/sacred speech of Kabir Sahib Maharaj called "Santo Shabadai Shabad bikhana". The difference being RS changed the last name from Shaktee to Satnaam.
Now, in his book, Tulsi Sahib of Hathras writes that the 5 names all belong to Kaal. The truth is , 'Satnaam' in itself is not a mantra to repeat over and over again. It is just an indication of what the Name is. Sat means true, naam, means name so its just a reference to say the Name is True or True Name. Soami refers to 'Satnaam' as being the Name of the Lord, the place where He resides, the name of that Shabad. That's like saying the wheels of a car are called car, the driver of a car is called car, and the petrol of a car is called car, everything is called car.
Actually, Satnaam is made up of 2 mantras, 2 words, which we are advised to recite.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, Kabir Maharaj Says
"Kehai Kabir akshar dho bhaak
says Kabir speak/say those two words
hoega kasam tho laega raakh.
if he is authorised then he shall protect you"
Even Guru Nanak has written
"Soee Guru poora kehaavai jo dho akshar ka pedh butaavai"
That Guru is called complete who TELLS the identity of the two words.
The latter quote was taken from Sant mat prakaash vol. 4 as written by Sawan Singh ji.
Both Guru Nanak and Kabir Maharaj talk about 2 words and yet RS give 5???
The Bhagavad Gita says "Om, Tat, Sat, iti nirdesai, brhmnai, trivdidai, simritai" meaning Om+Tat+Sat is the final decision/ final for that Lord which should be recited. Tat and Sat are coded words and not the real words to be recited. Om+Tat = Satnaam and Sat= Saarnaam, its the One word that will lead to salvation.
Guru Nanak writes
"Ek akhar jo Gurmukh jaapai,
One word that the Gurmukh (one's who face is towards the Guru) recites,
Tis ki nirmal hoi"
they shall be purified.
This one word is the final Saarnaam which leads to salvation.
I have seen the proof myself that this satnaam made up of two words, is the same naam that Guru Nanak used to recite. Kabir Sahib Maharaj also writes about the same two words, made very clear in His Granth/spititual text.
8) Meditation will not lead to salvation. RS advocate the need to meditate as much as you can, close your eyes and ears and look inside. See the lights, hear the sounds etc, focus at the eye centre. What they fail to realise is that everything within this body is of Kaal's, all the lights, sounds etc, are of Kaal and not of the ultimate reality.
Maya made a false creation within this body and imitated the true regions/abodes. Kabir Maharaj says that the true abode is way beyond this body, it doesn't even exist in the body. None of the Saints which I've mentioned herein meditated for hours on end. What they did do is recite, (simar/simran) with each breath. They did Jaap whenever and wherever. There were no resrictions or rules. When you wake, when you sleep, when you get up, when you sit down, when you eat etc. They recited the naam with each breath and morsel of food, not restricted to 2.5 hours or more a day [the length of time RS disciples are supposed to meditate daily].
Kabir Sahib Maharaj says
"with each breath recite the naam,
don't let any go to waste,
for who knows when it shall come or when it will go"
9) Do you know of any true Saints who were multimillionaires who actively took an interest in generating millions?
Kabir Sahib Mahraj used to say
"Oh sahib, only give me that much so that I may survive.
Let not myself, my family go hungry and neither my guests"
Also, I have never known any true saint to sing contemporary songs of their time, whereas the current so called Baba of RS [Gurinder Singh Dhillon], revels in singing contemporary songs.
It's been written that Kabir Mahraj cried on the account of not reciting the naam for 2 breaths/ 2 seconds, and here we have a so called saint who sings contemporary songs, nothing related to naam, for hours.
10) Soami ji in one of his writings says that
"Satyug, treta, dwapur have passed, nobody knew the path of shabad"
and that the true lord with his grace gifted the world with Soami ji in this age of Kalyug.
This statement completely ignores the fact that Kabir Mahraj came in all four ages, as written in his Bani. He even gives an account as to what his names were in each age.