This edition marks the first complete English translation of the letters of Baba Jaimal Singh to his disciple, Babu Sawan Singh. Extracts of the letters were first translated in the early fifties under the instructions of Maharaj Charan Singh and published in 1958 as part of a larger work, Spiritual Gems. Two year later, additional translated material was added, and in 1967 the third edition was published as a separate book called Spiritual Letters.
Much of the front matter from the earlier editions has been retained as it provides valuable material for understanding the letter in context. The beautiful Foreword, written by Maharaj Charan Singh in 1958, explain how the book came to be; Rai Munshi Ram’s history was written at the same time and talks of the early years of the Radha Soami Masters; the letter by the Great Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh, written in the thirties and retained as the Introduction, gives th reader an overview of the spiritual teaching and the life of both his own Master, Baba Jaimal Singh, and his Master’s Master, Soami Ji Maharaj.
As in earlier editions, the letters from Baba Jaimal Singh to the sangat in Bhandal, and miscellaneous letters to Baba Ji and to Maharaj (Babu) Sawan Singh from the Agra sangat have been included after the main body of letters.
The main portion of the book consists of the letters Baba Jaimal Singh wrote to the Great Master when he was grooming his as his successor. Written a century ago, between 1896 and 1903, they must surely rank among the world’s great devotional guides, revealing a rare level of spiritual insight and practical guidance on the inner path to God.
Prof. K.S. Narang, head of Publications at the Dera from 1975 to 1995, used to tell how he had visited Maharaj Charan Singh in the intensive care ward of a Delhi hospital in 1971, when he had just had his first heart attack. The Master was reading Spiritual Letters in Punjabi. He commented to Narang Sahib that if he has to choose one book from all the books on the teachings, it would be Baba Ji’s letters to the Great Master.
It is a privilege for the Society to be able to bring out this first complete translation of the letters in English.
It was early in 1948 when the Great Master called me to his sick-bed and handed me a silk-lines jewel chest.
Before parting with it, Maharaj Ji pressed it against his bosom and then, with his eyes moistened with two big pearl-like drops, kissed it with devotion and humility, for it contained letter which his dearly beloved Satguru had written to him from time to time. I was told that this was the rarest and most precious gift in his possession, which was being passed on to my care as an heirloom.
I little realized at that time how precious the gift was and what a fund of esoteric knowledge on Sant Mat it contained. As I went through the letters in later years, however, I was deeply impressed with their profundity and practical character, and felt that this great gift must be shared by as many satsangi brothers and sisters as possible, not only in our country but also abroad. Most of the letters were written in Panjabi but, with the effort and zeal of Professor Jagmohan Lal and Miss Louise Hilger, now Appear in English translation, extract of which are in this book. These extract are not chronologically arranged, as in a number of cases either the letters bear no dates or the dates are not legible.
As is well known, Baba Ji himself went to the Murree hills to seek the Great Master who was to carry on his mission, and initiated him there on the 15th day of October 1894. The period between his initiation and the assumption of duties and responsibilities at the Dera is, almost in its entirety, covered by these letters. A great soul was being groomed for the highest spiritual achievement by another great soul.
The letters were primarily meant for the Great Master. Though we cannot generalize on all matters, we can profit by them in many ways. Some may think there is a lot of repetition in the letters, but it should be remembered that the sole object of the saints in life is to bring us in contact with the audible life stream, i.e., Shabd. Therefore they take all-important point.
I shall be very happy if these letters enable readers to grasp the basic teachings of Sant Mat and help them to mould their lives after this pattern.
Radha Soami is not the name of a religion. It is the name of the Creator of the universe, whom we also call Wahiguru or Akal Purush. Every Satguru has praised Soami. If in this world there is ant highest region of spirituality, that is Soami. When a saint has gained that region of Soami, he is called param sant. And there are numerous names of that supreme Lord.
The sages who gained the region of Radha Soami lives in different nations, belonges to different religions, and have called Him by some name in their own language. Similarly Guru Gobind Singh in his book Jap Sahib had mentioned about twelve or fourteen hundred names for the supreme Creator, which names are not found in any Veda or Shastra. In the same way other sages in their own language mention the names of the carious internal spiritual stages. The sages of the Panjab or of India as a whole named these regions in Sanskrit, while those in Persia or Arabia used Persian or Arabic names for them.
In the same way Hazur Shiv Dayal Singh (Soami Ji), Param Sant of Agra, gave the name ‘Soami’ to the supreme Creator and called the soul ‘Radha’. Therefore in his Sar Bachan Poetry he has said that Radha was the name of the primal soul, while Soami was the name of the highest region and sound current called Shabd. Therefore Radha Soami and Surat Shabd indicate the same thing. Radha (soul) Soami (Creator), Surat (Soul) Shabd or sound current (Creator), mean that the soul is to merge with the supreme Creator, just as a drop which joins the ocean becomes the ocean.
Sant mat is common to all sages of the world who attain the highest region. It is a natural science. It is complete in every human being no matter to what country, tribe or religion he belongs. When the supreme Creator is One and the structure of human beings is the same everywhere, then how is it possible that there should be a different way for Christians?
The sages who went to the highest region had the same ideal or goal and although their writings were in different languages, they were not bound by any religion or creed. They come to the world under the orders of the Supreme Being and their mission is not to create a new religion. Their mission is only to release the prisoners (bound in the cycle of births and deaths) by means of Shabd or sound current and take them to the highest region.
If we read their teaching with care, then we shall find that they are above all religions; that they liberate us from the shackles of religion and give us everlasting bliss. There is no doubt that the teachings are explained in some language or other in their books, but the real path on which they take their disciples is beyond speech and writing. As is said by Guru Angad Dev in the holy Granth, “It is seeing without eyes, hearing without ears, walking without feet, working without hands and dying a living death after recognizing the sound current.” (Adi Granth, p. 139) This means that the Reality cannot be seen with these material eyes. It cannot be heard with these material ears. It cannot be explained with this physical tongue. It cannot be described.
The world which gives salvation is unwritten and unspoken Or in other words, it can be said that the Word or sound current is not contained in any holy scripture or any religion. The holy scriptures of every religion sing the praises of Nam or sound current and induce us to work on That, and they cite the advantage of Nam. And though there us a mention of Nam in them, yet the Nam itself is not in them. That name is within the human being Says the holy Granth: “Nam lives within the human body. It is the immortal Creator. Nam is a treasure and lives in the mind of Masters. Everything is contained within the human body. Those who seek outside are in error.” (Adi Granth, p. 102)
The teaching of the Masters aims to release the souls which have been imprisoned for innumerable ages and births, to free them from the shackles of religion and castes, to take them to everlasting bliss and to merge them back in their source, the Supreme Being.
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