1st Sant Sat Guru
Soami Ji Maharaj was born in 1818 as Shiv Dayal Singh in Agra, India, and was a Swatah Sant, which means He was born with infinite knowledge and thus did not need a Guru. He was the full incarnation of the Supreme Being RADHASOAMI Dayal Himself on earth and the highest born Param Sant Sat Guru to ever grace our world. While it is true that St. Kabir and Guru Nanak had come from the same spiritual region and had preceded Him by hundreds of years, in reality They and others were sent here to pave the way for the coming of the 'God of all Gods' in human form - Soami Ji Maharaj. St. Kabir's successor, Dhani Dharm Dasji, had once prophesied, "It is in Agra that the Supreme Father will come to this world."
In 1858, Pratap aka 'Chachaji' (Soamiji's brother) had told Huzur Maharaj (Salig Ram), with whom he had worked at the post office, of the divinity of his brother as a Param Sant Sat Guru and arranged the historic meeting of the two at Soami Ji Maharaj's home in Panni Gali. After five or so hours spent with Him in the 'room within a room', when Huzur Maharaj emerged he had pro-claimed, "I have finally found the one I was seeking!" This began a relationship that would last some 20 years, where Huzur Maharaj would perform every task high and low for His Sat Guru and was the first to recognize who He truly was - Radhasoami Dayal in human form. Huzur Maharaj had written the following about this event: "RADHASOAMI Name was revealed by the Supreme Being Himself when the humble devotees of Soami Ji Maharaj, as a result of their successful Abhyas (meditation) and Satsang, came to realize His exalted position and immense spiritual powers and when He too, in His Grace and Mercy, enabled them to recognize Him, they started addressing Him by the appellation of RADHASOAMI, the Name of the Original Abode from where He made His advent to this world for showering HIs Grace on Jivas in this Kali Yuga." It is a well documented fact that Soami Ji Maharaj did not reveal the Supreme Mantra of RADHASOAMI to any of His disciples prior to meeting Huzur Maharaj. Why? Because as Babuji Maharaj (5th Sat Guru) had said, They were of the same soul, one fulfilling the function of Swatah Sant and the other as His Gurumukh, or perfect disciple and successor, and only by meeting could They redeem humanity.
In 1861, at the insistence and prayer of Huzur Maharaj, Soami Ji Maharaj began public Satsang at His home and would eventually initiate thousands into the Radhasoami Faith. Throughout His Sar Bachan Poetry and Sar Bachan Prose, jointly published by Huzur Maharaj and Chachaji, He revealed 'RADHASOAMI' as the Supreme Mantra that would lead jivas to Sat Lok and not the 'Five Names' as has been erroneously represented by some Sant Mat groups. During these years, Soami Ji Maharaj had also stated, "I do not know whether I am Guru, or Rai Salig Ram (Huzur Maharaj) is my Guru." Thus confirming the spiritual attainment of Huzur Maharaj and that They indeed had both come directly from Radhasoami Dham (18th and highest spiritual region).
In 1878, when Soami Ji Maharaj was about to leave His mortal coil and was asked by His nephew Sudarshan who they were to turn to for their spirituality, He answered, "Anyone who has anything to ask, must refer it to Salig Ram (Huzur Maharaj)." In the history of Sant Mat, there has never been a more clear successorship than this, of the August Founder to His Gurumukh Huzur Maharaj, and whatever is propagandized to the contrary by dissident groups is categorically incorrect. The August Founder Himself had said, "When the Sat Guru of the time departs, He appoints someONE as His successor in whom He reincarnates (i.e., in Shabd form) and thus continues the work of regeneration of Jivas as before.” What Soami Ji Maharaj had established was a single line of Gurumukh-Sat Gurus that would continue to incarnate until His return, and He clearly stated that there was, and is, only one 'Sat Guru of the time' functioning in the world and not multiple ones as others allege. Furthermore, that the 'Sat Guru of the time' would have but one Gurumukh (perfect disciple) in which the Nij Dhar (Sat Guru spiritual current) would transfer, "There is only ONE Gurumukh (Sat Guru successor) and through Him or the mediation of His personality, innumerable spirit entities are saved."
That Huzur Maharaj was the sole Sant Sat Guru successor to Soami Ji Maharaj was also confirmed by the August Founder's wife Radhaji, His brother Chachaji and all of His top disciples.
2nd Sant Sat Guru
Huzur Maharaj was born in 1829 as Salig Ram in Agra, India. His residence was in Pipal Mandi, while Soami Ji Maharaj's was in Pánní Galí, the two places being less than a mile apart. As there are eight primary spiritual regions with Radhasoami Dham being the highest, so both the Param Sants were born on the 8th day, the former in the Badi (dark fortnight) and the latter in the Sudi (bright fortnight); one in the sixth month and the other in the twelfth month of the Hindu calendar. In truth, Their births, Their close proximity to each other and Their eventual meeting was not by accident. How could it be, when it effected the salvation of every spirit in this world? It was by Mauj of the Supreme Being RADHASOAMI. And just as Soami Ji Maharaj had come from the 18th and highest spiritual region, incredibly, Huzur Maharaj had been in His mother's womb for 18 months before giving birth to Him. Both were of the same spiritual essence, Huzur Maharaj fulfil-ling the role of Gurumukh whose spirit descended to the lowest chakra like all of humanity and lived the life of a family man; while Soami Ji Maharaj as Swatah Sant never descended lower than the third eye, and accordingly, never had children. This was the necessary arrangement in order to lift all humanity to a higher level of spirituality where salvation could even be possible.
After Soami Ji Maharaj had departed in 1878, Huzur Maharaj held Satsang both at Panni Gali and Soami Bagh for the next few years before accepting the highest position of Postmaster General at Allahabad. When He retired from government service in 1887, Huzur Maharaj began to manifest Himself more publicly as the Sat Guru of the time. Upon returning to Agra, He held Satsang at His residence at Pipal Mandi and thereafter published His Prem Bani poetry. This would later be followed by His Prem Patra discourses and the first English-translated Sant Mat book, Mat Prakash. Radhaji (Soamiji's wife), who was Herself the level of Sant Sat Guru although not a redeeming Sant, made sure there was no opposition to Huzur Maharaj when He came out publicly. Huzur Maharaj became known far and wide as a Param Sant Sat Guru and the incarnation of the Supreme Being. He had initiated thousands more into the Radhasoami Faith throughout many regions, fulfilling Soami Ji Maharaj's prediction that Sant Mat would indeed spread far and wide.
Before Soami Ji Maharaj's departure, He had told Huzur Maharaj that there were two Nij Anshas (God-incarnated souls) of His in Benares as brother and sister, and they were to be found. These were Maharaj Saheb and His sister Buaji Saheba, both of whom had been born and raised in Benares (Varanasi). In 1884, Huzur Maharaj had taken Babuji Maharaj under His wing and in the following year Maharaj Saheb, who was already Babuji's best friend in college. When Maharaj Saheb first read Sar Bachan Prose, it had a life-changing effect upon Him. This would only be eclipsed when He first laid eyes upon and met Huzur Maharaj. This event had spiritually trans-formed Him and in the next few years His body changed from a once-powerful athlete into a love-charged and submissive Gurumukh Sant. Huzur Maharaj had once stated that He had faith in only two of His disciples to give initiations or updesh, they were Maharaj Saheb and Babuji Maharaj. When senior satsangis became jealous of Huzur Maharaj's preferential treatment to both at Sat-sang, He abruptly stopped giving discourses. It then became apparent to all who They were.
There was an occasion when Maharaj Saheb's wife 'Naiyanji' had asked Huzur Maharaj if He would give discourses again after He had not done so. Huzur Maharaj replied, "Don't worry. You will be having discourses at your own house." He then smiled and added, "The next Sant incarnate will be in a Brahmin family." Maharaj Saheb was indeed Brahmin by caste and gave discourses at His home, fulfilling His beloved Master's words. Huzur Maharaj left His mortal coil in 1898, and there was no question who His Gurumukh and Sant Sat Guru successor was after His departure.
3rd Sant Sat Guru
Maharaj Saheb was born as Brahm Sankar Misra in Benaras in 1861, the same year Soami Ji Maharaj had opened public Satsang. He came from a family of intellectuals and His father had been a professor. After briefly exploring law, He eventually entered government service at the Accountant General's Office, along with Babuji Maharaj. Although He had married at a young age and had a large family with many close associations, more than anyone else Maharaj Saheb had a spiritual connection and love for Babuji Maharaj as they were often inseparable.
When Huzur Maharaj returned to Agra as Sant Sat Guru in 1887, He authorized Maharaj Saheb and Babuji Maharaj to hold Satsang at Allahabad, while referring to them both as "Companion Spirits" and "Joint Presidents of Allahabad Satsang". After Huzur Maharaj's departure in 1898, Maharaj Saheb became the spiritual leader and Sant Sat Guru of the Radhasoami Faith. His discourses left His followers spellbound as complex spiritual truths were often elucidated along scientific terms. Once He had declared that just as Soami Ji Maharaj was the Spiritual Father and Huzur Maharaj the Spiritual Mother, so He was the disciplinarian. Like His predecessors, Maharaj Saheb became known far and wide as a Param Sant and initiated many into the Radhasoami Faith.
While it is true that Maharaj Saheb's tenure as Sant Sat Guru was relatively short, He had accomp-lished a great deal. For instance, after the departure of each Sant Sat Guru there had popped up a new dissident group promoting their own version of Sant Mat, and so Maharaj Saheb had formed a Central Council at Soami Bagh to deal with this issue, which remains there to this day. He also began the building of the great Samadh of Soami Ji Maharaj at Soami Bagh, after He had dis-mantled the smaller version that had been constructed by Huzur Maharaj at the same location. In 1907, Maharaj Saheb shifted the headquarters of His Satsang from Allahabad to Benares and com-menced dictating His English book, Discourses on Radhasoami Faith. Although, never finished, it was later published and has since become a Sant Mat classic worldwide, along with Discourses of Maharaj Saheb, also published posthumously.
When it became apparent to many that Maharaj Saheb might depart soon due to His deteriorating health condition, satsangis began to speculate who His successor would be. A little more than a month before leaving His mortal coil, Maharaj Saheb declared in open Satsang, "Why do people grope about here and there? Some pin their faith in one person and some in another. This is all humbug. If they are really serious, why don't they seek where there is Nij Ansh? The Nij Ansh (i.e., Sat Guru successor) is in the female form and as such she cannot be expected to function fully." This was in fact referring to His sister Buaji Saheba, which He had also conveyed to several other satsangis as well. After Maharaj Saheb's departure in 1907, Babuji Maharaj Himself had answered many of the letter inquiries of satsangis, and in one of these He had stated the following: "Maharaj Saheb informed in camera four or five satsangis including Babu Prem Prashad that the Nij Dhar (Sat Guru spiritual current) was in His sister. This fact was also communicated to me in strict confidence by Maharaj Saheb some time in 1887. Maharaj Saheb told me at the time that this was what Soami Ji Maharaj communicated to Huzur Maharaj, and Huzur Maharaj in His turn communi-cated it to Maharaj Saheb."
Here, yet again, there should be no question as to who Maharaj Saheb's appointed spiritual suc-cessor was. Unequivocally, it was His sister Buaji Saheba. In spite of this overwhelming evidence, namely, the public statement made by Maharaj Saheb, His telling multiple higher level satsangis that the Nij Dhar was in His sister and Soami Ji Maharaj's own earlier declaration, yet another dissident group arose following Maharaj Saheb's untimely passing who would not accept a female Sat Guru and left the Parent Satsang at Soami Bagh. But as we shall discover, this was all the Mauj (divine will) of the Supreme Being RADHASOAMI Dayal.
4th Sant Sat Guru
Buaji Saheba was born as Maheshwari Devi in Benaras in 1857, and was the elder sister of Maharaj Saheb by four years. In 1887, She was initiated into the Radhasoami Faith by Huzur Maharaj at His home in Pipal Mandi.
Like most all women during this period in India, She married at a young age and had a large family. This was Her mainstay occupation prior to discovering the Satsang of Huzur Maharaj: "I was engrossed in the affairs of family and household, nevertheless, He (Huzur Maharaj) blessed me with His grace there. Guru has granted me inseparable union with Himself. My Surat remains absorbed in Shabd all the time. My Spirit now remains absorbed in bliss day and night. I get His Darshan internally. How should I sing the praises of Radhasoami! He has attracted my Spirit to His Holy Feet." What makes these words all the more palpable is that Huzur Maharaj had actually composed them for Her as His Arti Shabd, and He above anyone else on Earth had internally known Her level of spiritual competency. While it is true that She was not able to be in His Satsang but only on a few occasions, She was a Nij Ansh, nevertheless.
For some time after Maharaj Saheb departed, Buaji Saheba would not conduct Satsang or accept homage from anyone, primarily because of Her failing health. When She did so, it was only through Babuji Maharaj who had generally conducted Her Satsang, often held at odd hours, and had performed most all Her initiations. This is why Maharaj Saheb had previously said in open Satsang, "She cannot be expected to function fully" as the Sat Guru of the time, which is also the reason She did not give discourses. One might ask, why was it the Mauj to have a female Sant Sat Guru during this period who stayed behind the curtains and did not function openly? Simply because it was the time of shifting and cleansing of the pure Satsang.
During the last month or so of Maharaj Saheb's tenure, many times He had hinted that the pure Satsang and number of satsangis would be greatly reduced and following Him would be a weeding out period. This was necessary then just as much as it is today to eliminate many of the unfit or worldly in the Faith, or perhaps, who might have had ulterior motives for being there. This is essentially why many left the parent Satsang at this time and were lured by the newest schis-matic group to pop up. In reality, however, it was a testing period for all satsangis and only the true and most committed stayed with Soami Bagh during this period. Buaji Saheba departed from the world in 1913, and once again left no uncertainty who Her Sant Sat Guru successor would be, it came as no surprise to anybody and was perhaps long overdue - Babuji Maharaj, Himself.
Babuji Maharaj was born as Madhav Prasad Sinha in Benaras in 1861 - the same city and year Maharaj Saheb had been born and the same year Soami Ji Maharaj began public Satsang. Soami Ji Maharaj's older sister 'Sardhoji' had prayed to Him that a gifted devotee could be born in her family. Not only did Radhasoami Dayal grant her request, but He sent a Sant Sat Guru all the more! Babuji Maharaj was the last of the five Nij Anshas who had incarnated in the world with the August Founder, and was the beneficiary of all Their Spiritual Currents after having attended all Their Satsangs. Soami Ji Maharaj had once told Babuji's mother (niece and daughter of His sister), "This boy will redeem you from the world". Huzur Maharaj had given Babuji the parmarthi name of "Prem Adhar", and He was greatly loved by Radhaji Maharaj as well.
In 1874, Babuji Maharaj was initiated into the Radhasoami Faith by Soami Ji Maharaj Himself when He was a mere teenager. At the time, Babuji's father had been a jeweler, although he died about a year after this pivotal event. For many years, Huzur Maharaj would periodically check on Babuji Maharaj's spiritual progress, but for the most part stayed aloof during His educational years. When Babuji had befriended Maharaj Saheb at school, the latter had no idea of the religion or spiritual practices His friend had followed, nor was it the Mauj at this time for Him to discover it. Both future Sants graduated from college with honorary M.A. degrees, both had married young and had families, and both went into government service at the Accountant General's Office together.
After Maharaj Saheb's departure in 1907, a great void entered Babuji's life, particularly when He had returned to work at Allahabad without His beloved friend and Sat Guru. Eventually He started giving Satsang again at Buaji Saheba's request and assisted Her until Her departure in 1913. During this period, Babuji Maharaj came in contact with an affluent American satsangi whom He had initiated and had taken notes of His discourses during the years 1913 to 1914 at their private carriage outings. These would later be published as Phelps' Notes, which Babuji Maharaj had dictated entirely in the English language. It is regarded by many to be one of the greatest meta-physical masterpieces on Sant Mat ever written that vividly describes the creational spiritual hierarchy, the true reason for man's spiritual fall into the lower material regions and the higher principles of the Radhasoami Faith. Years later, Babuji Maharaj's assistant, Sant Das Maheshwari, had reproduced many of His Discourses into Four Authorized Volumes that were reviewed and approved by the Great Sant Himself, and are now essential scriptures for all satsangis today.
Babuji Maharaj's 36-year tenure was the greatest of all the Sants, and there were many significant accomplishments during His reign. First, He renovated Soami Ji Maharaj's home and made sure that every brick, mud and mortar that was "highly spiritualized", was to be used again in addition to new material. This work was completed in 1916 by Lala Tota Ram, whom Babuji had appointed as the Supervising Engineer. Babuji Maharaj also appointed the same to supervise the construc-tion of Soami Ji Maharaj's Samadh, and was the true impetus behind its design and eventual completion.
In late 1937, Babuji Maharaj shifted His Satsang from Allahabad to Soami Bagh permanently. It had been over 40 years since He first began the Allahabad Satsang with Maharaj Saheb and many satsangis were upset at this move, while others simply came with Him. And yet, it was at His home in Soami Bagh that He would live out His days until His departure in 1949. Babuji Maharaj was recognized throughout the land as the Supreme Sant Sat Guru of the Radhasoami Faith, even by those who were falsely held up as gurus by dissident groups. Of all the Param Sants, Babuji was perhaps the most reluctant and hidden. There was a high-level female disciple who used to ask Him, "Why do You hide Yourself? Why don't You manifest Yourself openly?" And yet it was said that no one could even stare more than a half minute into the eyes of Babuji Maharaj, due to the great light that emanated from Him. After April, 1943, Babuji Maharaj was confined to His bed due to illness and old age, although His condition never affected Him mentally. When a satsangi once posed the question, "When Sants do not have any Karma, why do They fall ill?... What is Their Mauj and purpose behind all this?" Babuji replied, "The Karmas of the Creation are reduced."
In one of His last recorded interviews with satsangis in December of 1948, Babuji Maharaj had twice indicated that "Interregnum" would follow Him. This is the period when the Sant Sat Guru successor is not publicly manifest, but rather hidden, following the departure of His predecessor. In the interview, He is asked, "Maharaj! It is said that the Sant Dhar (Sat Guru spiritual current) which has come down to this earth shall not recede until the salvation of all has been effected. It shall continue. Is there any likelihood of an 'Interregnum' taking place before this?" Babuji an-swered, "Interregnum there will be, but the current will not go back. Sants will again manifest." Shortly after this He is again asked, "Maharaj! But there is going to be no Interregnum in the near future?" Babuji Maharaj replied, "Hope not. But Interregnum there will be."
Babuji Maharaj left His mortal coil on October 17th, in 1949, and Soami Bagh has been in a state of Interregnum ever since this time. WHY? Satsangis and outsiders alike continue to ask this question. In truth, it has been the Mauj of the Supreme Being RADHASOAMI Dayal. This does not mean, however, that we do not have a living Sant Sat Guru. As Babuji Maharaj Himself had previously stated (see 'About' link for complete quote), if the Sant Sat Guru of the time is not publicly manifest, then He most certainly is operating behind the scenes incognito. Furthermore, that at no time would Soami Bagh ever be without an adept or Sant. Who was the true Gurumukh and Sant Sat Guru successor of Babuji Maharaj? This has been the great mystery we shall endeavor to explore, as well as the Sat Guru of the time.
5th Sant Sat Guru
Hidden Sant or Sants
from 1949 - Present
Before the 'Sat Guru of the time' departs from the world, He raises the spirit of His Gurumukh to the third eye and from that point on it never descends below this level. Soami Ji Maharaj had also stated that the Sat Guru "reincarnates" Himself in His Gurumukh, which is to say in His Shabd (Sound) form. They then become One and the Same with access to all the highest regions. It is only at this point that the Sat Guru departs and His spiritual succession is complete.
Since the departure of Babuji Maharaj in 1949, the identity of His Sat Guru successor has been the source of much debate and speculation, as a clear candidate had not revealed Himself. Nor had the Council at Soami Bagh ever endorsed anyone as its spiritual leader, although this was the prime reason for their creation. While many believe that the Nij Dhar may have gone to someone who was closely associated with Babuji Maharaj at Soami Bagh, this has never been proven and there are several reasons not to subscribe to these contender theories based on the following:
1.) A Gurumukh can never die before the Sant Sat Guru, as was the case with probably the most serious contender and closest to Babuji Maharaj at the time, Guru Mauj Saran.
2.) It is inconceivable that the Council at Soami Bagh would have ever opposed Babuji Maharaj's Gurumukh, whose members Babuji had hand picked Himself, and this was the case with more than one contender after His departure.
3.) One of the clear indications of a false guru lineage, which you often see with dissident Sant Mat groups, is that they promote a family line of 'hereditary gurus'. In other words, a father-to-son succession. All of the authentic Sant Sat Gurus at Soami Bagh had opposed hereditary gurus without exception.
4.) The Sant Sat Gurus never wore Sikh turbans on Their heads, only hats, starting with Soami Ji Maharaj and on through the era of Babuji Maharaj.
We have seen the irrefutable evidence that the true Sant Sat Guru lineage never left Soami Bagh. They are still effectively the Parent Satsang of all Sant Mat groups today. This was the intent of the August Founder, Soami Ji Maharaj, when He originally purchased the land and declared that a Guru Dwara (place of worship) would be erected at the very location of His future Samadh. With every succeeding Param Sant, Soami Bagh in Agra, India was confirmed as the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Radhasoami Faith, where the Sat Guru of the time had either lived or was connected to Soami Bagh by way of satellite Satsang.
Babuji Maharaj was once directly asked by His assistant who the next Sat Guru would be after Him, to which He responded, "I do not know that. After me will come 'SO' (HE)." What was the meaning of this statement? His reference to "SO" is actually the highest region of SOAMI, that apparently would make Its advent as Guru after Him.
Huzur Maharaj had made the following comments about Interregnum in His 'Prem Patra':
“Huzur Radhasoami Dayal is ever present with all, in His Shabd-form,
i.e., He is present within everyone. Often it happens that He does
not manifest Himself in Satguru-form. Some good is intended in this,
for otherwise it is feared spiritual progress and betterment may stop.”
“One should pray for the manifestation of that Form within. If the physical
Form of Sat Guru is not near at hand, the real Spiritual Form is always
present within everyone.”
“If, per-chance, the Sant Sat Guru is not met with, a person should go
to the Satsang held by His loving devotees. There he should meet the
devotees and hear the holy Bachans and Banis. From this he will derive
the same benefit as he would have done by meeting with the Sant Sat
Guru, for the Sant Sat Guru is present in gupt roop (hidden form) in
the Satsang held by His lovers and devotees. Through them, Jivas are
enabled to acquire understanding and to receive updesh (initiation). In
this way, He showers His grace, and effects their salvation. Those who join
such a Satsang and perform Abhyas with sincerity and love, will sooner or
later get His Darshan. Internal grace is showered on them from the very
moment they receive initiation and commence Abhyas (meditation).”
Every satsangi today should take these words to heart, as the Mauj continues to be that the Sat Guru of the time is not publicly manifest. And yet, as we have seen, He is most certainly func-tioning through Soami Bagh. In truth, the connection to the Supreme Being RADHASOAMI Dayal is established the moment we are initiated in the Radhasoami Faith and do our spiritual practices as Huzur Maharaj Himself had said. For those who believe they must have a Guru to see and converse with, it is infinitely better to be without a Guru than to follow a false one who will lead us into hell. The Spirit of Radhasoami Dayal that is within us all is our Sat Guru at this time, unless of course we have been so blessed to be in His physical presence and attend His Satsang. In either case, the moment we join the True Faith at Soami Bagh our salvation is assured.