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An Introduction to Sant Mat and RadhaSoami -- The Path of the Masters and Sant Tradition of India

posted May 24, 2014, 7:06 PM by James Bean   [ updated May 25, 2014, 1:19 AM ]

Introduction: Sant Mat and Radhasoami Faith (Pronounced "Radha-Swami") -- "Introduction to the Path of the Masters" -- India's Sants and Poet-Mystics (Lovers of the Beloved), and Surat Shabd Yoga Meditation Practice: Bhakti of the Inner Light and Sound of God

NOTE: On the Usage of the Term "Sant Mat" and the Sant Tulsi Sahib Connection  -- GO TO: https://www.Facebook.com/SantMatRadhasoami/info

"Blessed are the souls who in today's materialistic world have an inclination towards Spirituality." (Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj) 

Seven Teachings of Sant Mat 

1. God is Real. 

2. God is Love, the Ocean of Love and Compassion. 

3. All of the world scriptures teach about the same manifestation of God as inner mystical Light and Sound. 

4. Our true identity is soul, the Self. Soul is part of God and therefore is, like God, pure love. 

5. During this human existence we have an opportunity to experience God. 

6. As we experience communing with God's love during meditation -- Surat Shabd Yoga -- we can rise above body-consciousness and explore Inner Space, the "Kingdom of the Heavens" that are within us. "We travel back from the realm of Darkness to the realm of Light, from the Light to divine Sound, and from the realm of Sound to the Soundless State [Anami, Radhaswami, Anadi Purush, Ram]." (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj) The drop merges back into the Ocean of Love. 

7. As we get initiated into the Mysteries of the Spirit by a Living Teacher (Master, Sant Satguru), the purpose of our life is fulfilled. Reuniting with God is our reason to be here: "It was for the sake of the God-conscious beings that our True Lord created this earth, and began this play of death and birth". ("Adi Granth") Guru Kabir says: "For millions of years you have slept. This morning, will you not wake?". 

The Goal of Sant Mat Spirituality and Meditation: Our Path Back to the Source -- The Inward Journey Back to God 

"Sant Mat (the path and teachings as taught and practiced by Saints [Sant Satgurus]) delineates the path of union of soul with God. The teachings of the saints explain the re-uniting as follows: 

"The individual soul has descended from the higher worlds [the Realm of the Divine] to this city of illusion, bodily existence. It has descended from the Soundless State to the essence of Sound, from that Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness. The qualities (dharmas, natural tendencies) of the sense organs draw us downward and away from our true nature. 

"The nature of the soul (atman) draws us upwards and inwards and establishes us in our own true nature. Returning to our origins involves turning inward: withdrawal of consciousness from the senses and the sense objects in order to go upward from the darkness to the realms of Light and Sound. [We experience this phenomenon of withdrawal as we pass from waking consciousness to deep sleep.] Another way to express this is to go inward from the external sense organs to the depth of the inner self. (Both of these expressions are the metaphors that signify the same movement). The natural tendencies of the soul (atman) are to move from outward to inward. The current of consciousness which is dispersed in the nine gates of the body and the senses, must be collected at the tenth gate. 

"The tenth gate is the gathering point of consciousness. Therein lies the path for our return. The tenth gate is also known as the sixth chakra, the third eye, bindu, the center located between the two eyebrows. This is the gateway through which we leave the gates of the sense organs and enter in the divine realms and finally become established in the soul. We travel back from the Realm of Darkness to the Realm of Light, from the Light to the Divine Sound, and from the Realm of Sound to the Soundless State. This is called turning back to the Source.

"This is what dharma or religion really intends to teach us. This is the essence of dharma." (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, "Harmony Of All Religions"). 

The Soul's Return to the Ocean of Love 

How could the love between Thee and me sever? As the leaf of the lotus abides on the water, so thou art my Lord, and I am Thy servant. As the night-bird Chakor gazes all night at the moon, so Thou art my Lord and I am Thy servant. From the beginning until the ending of time there is love between Thee and me; and how shall such love be extinguished? Kabir says: "As the river enters into the Ocean, so my heart touches Thee."
(Guru Kabir) 

Brief Summary of the Teachings of Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters 

* All souls (jivas) are in essence drops of love from the Ocean of God. 

* The attachment and association with mind and body makes the soul lose sight of the real Self. 

* God assumes the form of a Saint to lead the soul back to its Original Home. 

* One must surrender one's entire being to the Ocean of Love of which we are a part, instead of limiting ourselves to sensual pleasures which leave us unhappy and discontented. 

* This can be done by the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga [Inner Light and Sound Meditation]. 

* By attuning oneself to the Life Current which proceeds from the Heart of Anami Purush [God, The Nameless One/Radhasoami] in the form of Light and Sound, one can finally achieve union with the True Self, finding the joy one is seeking. ("R.S. White Paper on Religion of Sants and Radhasoami Faith") 

Seven Principals of Sant Mat 

The Following Principles Below are Recited Daily by Some in India: 

1. Ultimate Reality is beyond any beginning or end, infinite, beyond birth, beyond the senses, all-pervading yet even beyond pervasiveness. It must, therefore, be understood as the Supreme Being. This Essential Element is known in Santmat [the Teachings of the Saints] as the Lord of All and is the foundation of all things. This Being is beyond both the inanimate and animate aspects of nature. It is without qualities and beyond qualities. Its nature is infinite, imperishable, all-powerful. It is beyond time and space, beyond sound and beyond form (Nirguna). It is the One without a second. The Supreme Being is beyond the scope of the mind, the intellect and the senses. This entire universe is powered by the energy of this Being. This Being is not human. It is not manifested in physical form. It has existence beyond the illusion of maya [illusion], and there is nothing that exists outside of it. It is the Being which is eternal and is in existence from the beginning. Santmat considers this Being to be the Divine Reality, and this [knowing or merging with] this Being is the goal of all spirituality. 

2. The individual soul is an inseparable part of the Supreme Being. 

3. The physical world of nature was created. It has an origin and an end. 

4. The individual soul (jiva), bound by illusion (maya), remains in the cycle of death and birth. This is the cause of one's suffering. In order to escape from this cycle of death and birth we must experience realization of this Supreme Being. 

5. By practicing devotion through these four techniques: Manas Japa (Simran, recitation of a divine name or names), Manas Dhyana (Dhyan, focus on the divine form), Dristi Sadhana (Yoga of Inner Light, Inner Seeing, Inner Light Meditation, focus on the Infinitesimal Point), and Nadanusandhana Yoga (Surat Shabd Yoga, concentration on the inner divine Sounds) -- the practitioner consecutively transcends the realms of darkness, Light, and Sound which cloak the Supreme Truth -- the Divine Reality. Only in a human body an individual soul is able to achieve unity with the Divine. [In other forms of existence, animal, etc..., it is not possible to tread the spiritual path.] 

6. Lying, stealing, intake of intoxicating substances, adultery, and violence (including harming other beings) are the five sins to be avoided. Eating meat or fish is also considered to be a form of violence and should be avoided. The aspirants of Santmat must abstain from these vices.* 

(* Note: In Buddhism and other Eastern Religions (Jainism, Taoism, Hinduism) these five abstinences are known as the Panch Shila -- "The Five Precepts" (see further below). 

7. The following are considered to be the requirements for the attainment liberation: (A) Trust and belief in God; (B) Commitment to seek the Divine within; (C) Devotion and service to a Satguru -- spiritual Master; (D) Satsang, listening to the teaching and spiritual discourse including study of the Teaching of the Saints and the scriptures; and (E) Dhyana, diligent meditation practice. ("Padavali of Maharshi Mehi", also quoted in, "Harmony Of All Religions") 

Seven Stages of Mystic Ascension to Heaven According to Sant Mat 

1. Praise or Bhakti (singing praises: banis, bhajans, kirtans, odes, psalms, hymns); 

2. Prayer (Communion With God -- Conversations With God); 

3. Manas Japa (Simran, "Praying Without Ceasing", Mentally Repeating/Chanting the Name or Names of God -- Mantra -- the First Stage of Meditation); 

4. Manas Dhyana (Visualizing the Form of the Master* -- the Second Stage of Meditation); 

5. Dristi Sadhana (Seeing Inner Light at the Third Eye Center -- the Third Stage of Meditation); 

6. Nada Sadhana (Hearing the Inner Sounds -- Surat Shabd Yoga -- the Fourth Stage of Meditation); 

7. Reaching Kaivalya: Oneness with Soundlessness, the Nameless One (ANAMI), the Formless Supreme Being, Supreme State, the Ocean of Love (beyond all forms, lights and sounds) -- the Fifth Stage of Meditation -- the Isht or Goal; 

Couplets About Meditation Practice, By Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj 

"Begin meditation with internally chanting or repeating the Guru-mantra-incantation (the charged words given by the Guru). And then try to visualize the radiant form or image of the Satguru in the still darkness of the inner sky (with eyes closed)*. Follow that with focusing your attention at the seat of the soul within, i.e. at the Third Eye or the Inner Eye or the Til Dwaar, by making the two streams of consciousness in your two eyes converge in a Point." 

"When the two currents of consciousness meet in a Point, Divine Light appears within. Then, practice Surat Shabd Yoga (Yoga of Divine Sound) i.e., try to shift your attention to listening to the Divine Sounds or myriads of melodies (Anahad Naad) ringing inside. Listening to the Divine Sound destroys all the agitations and fickleness of the mind." 

"Ascending beyond or transcending myriads of sounds, try to identify and tune in to the Quintessential Unstruck Melody, called "Saar Shabd" or "Anaahat Naad" which alone is capable of taking you and merging you into oneness with the Supreme Lord; this is the ultimate emancipation or liberation." 

*NOTE: "In Kali Yuga, no spiritual activity would be successfully performed except the contemplation of the Swarup (Form) of the Sat Guru, Simran of Naam (Repetition of the Holy Name) and Dhyan of Naam (contemplation of the Holy Name) [Meditation of the Inner Light and Sound]." ("Last Words of Soami Ji Maharaj", Agra) 

Satsang (Associating with Eternal Truth) 

One major custom or mode of practice according to Sant Tulsi Das is called Satsang -- the society of realized Saints. Satsang means "association with Eternal Truth" as well as "association with God," and is to some extent comparable to "church" or "temple," but not in any institutional sense. A saying of Jesus in the New Testament provides a good definition of this spiritual gathering called a "Satsang": "Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in their midst." When devotees or initiates of a spiritual Master gather together in his name for worship, instruction, and meditation, the Masters teach that there's a spiritual charge or energy, a stronger manifestation of the loving Presence of God and a kind of 'communion of Saints,' past and present.

Satsang is an experience of spiritual community -- meeting together, an opportunity to be uplifted by the collective energy of our brothers and sisters on the Path, for we're influenced by the company we keep. Devotees make this a time and place of spiritual Remembrance, and this helps to keep us on the Path. 

The format of Satsang can include: a spiritual discourse, guidance about following the teachings of the Masters, a recording of a Master giving a talk, readings from the writings of the Masters, the reciting or singing of banis, bhajans or kirtans (hymns of worship composed by Sants), and silent group meditation. It's considered the greatest of blessings if it is a genuine spiritual Master (Sant Satguru) who conducts the Satsang in person. 

The effect of Satsang is that of divine remembrance, thus, with such a spiritual boost, encouragement and support for the spiritual journey, those who attend Satsang are much more likely to stay-on-the-Path and put effort into daily spiritual practice at home. (from the article, "The Yoga of Love, Becoming a Lover of the Beloved") 

"Dear Aspirants! Each day strive to do both kinds of satsang: inner and outer. Outer satsang is listening to the teachings of great saints and studying the sacred texts. Inner satsang is the practice of one-pointed meditation." (Maharishi Mehi) 

"Without the association of great saints, there is neither discourse of the Divine nor the understanding of the scriptures. Without these two, selfish attachment does not loosen its grip. And without dispelling attachment to the world one cannot attain the realm of the Divine and the true devotion that is essential to realize the Divine." (Sant Tulsi Das) 

"On the gate of liberation are found four gate-keepers endowed with wisdom. These four are: discipline, thoughtfulness (reflection), contentment and association with Saints." (Maha Upanishad) 

"Discord and delusion can be removed by the power of the association of saints. For those who associate with saints, suffering dissolves and they will remain immersed in joy. Joy arises from noble company and pain arises from association with the wicked, says Kabir, go to a place where saints dwell and their association is possible." (Guru Kabir) 

"By association with a pure soul the mind becomes pure and the darkness of attachment is dispelled. In attending to these quotes from different saints it becomes clear that satsang is vital and very necessary for any serious spiritual seeker." (Yogi Panchanan Bhattacharya) 

Three Levels of Sat-Sang 

The word 'satsang' is comprised of two words 'sat' and 'sang'. What is 'sat'? 

'Sat' is that which can never be destroyed. It is the essential element which is indestructible and beyond the limitations of time. And it is Truth. 'Sang' means association or contact. Thus association or coming in contact with Sat or Truth is satsang. 

In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says:

"Whatever is Truth always exists and is never non-existent. That which is non-Truth has no existence whatsoever." 

* The First Level of Satsang (Association with God) 

What is this element which is indestructible, has always been constant and will forever remain as such? That element is the Supreme Being of the universe. Association with this Being, in reality, is association with Truth (satsang). But, what is it that would associate with this Supreme Being? Is it the body or the senses? The answer is that it is neither of these two. It is only apart from the body and senses that we will be able to associate with the Supreme Being. This is because it is only our soul that is an inseparable part of the Divine. It is only we (our soul) that is capable of merging with the Divine. Our individual soul is truth, and also, the Supreme is Truth. True satsang is the unity of the soul with the Supreme Truth. This is the highest kind of sat-sang. However, this highest kind of satsang, unity with the Divine, does not occur all of a sudden. This category of satsang requires many lifetimes of good actions and spiritual imprints (samskaras). 

* The Second Level of Satsang (Association with the Saints) 

Sant Tulsi Das says: 

"The association of the saints brings association with the Divine, and alliance with people who are engrossed in the world leads the way back to this world again and again." 

To attain Ultimate Liberation it is essential to have association with the saints. Saints, having realized the true form of God, become that True Form. The accomplished great beings who have attained unity with the Divine, and who have experienced the Supreme Being even while living in this body, have become the Supreme Being [They become one with their true Divine Form]. Association with these saints is this second category of satsang. However, finding such a saint is not an easy task. A true Saint is rare and difficult to find. 

Sant Tulsi Das says: 

"Without accumulation of many good deeds one will be unable to gain the association of a great saint." 

When our good karmas permit, we are able to come to experience the association of these sentient beings. A more important point is that even if we have a direct encounter with such a saint, we often do not have the wisdom to be able to recognize a genuine sage. 

Sant Tulsi Das, says: 

"If someone says 'I have recognized a saint,' then I put my hands on my ears in astonishment. [It is not an easy task.]" 

If ordinary people could recognize saints, then why, since antiquity, have so many great saints, sages, and prophets been tortured, maimed and killed? Many saints have had to face horrible atrocities. This simply would not have happened if we were able to recognize the genuine great saints. 

* The Third Level of Satsang (Association with the Writings of Sages and Saints) 

In daily life we need the guidance of a great sage or saint. Even though we might encounter many so called mahatmas or sadhus, the task of finding and identifying an accomplished guide is difficult. So, in consideration of this, how would satsang (association with a true saint) be possible? The answer is that we can study the teachings of the great saints of the past, because in their teaching we will find the elaboration of the Truth. This then is the third category of sat-sang. Generally, when we speak of satsang, it is this third category that is meant. This kind of satsang includes the study of scriptures and the words and writings of the saints and prophets of the past. 

As we continue diligently in this third type of satsang we accumulate the meritorious karmas which will lead to the meeting with a true saint. Then we will be able to do the second category of satsang. As we continue in association with a great saint, and with the saint's blessings, we will gradually begin to meditate and undertake the prescribed spiritual disciplines. By diligently practicing these disciplines, we will one day, experience the first category of sat-sang -- the association with the Supreme. When we have thus accomplished the highest category of satsang, our life's purpose will be fulfilled. (Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, "Harmony Of All Religions") 

Seven Key Practices of Sant Mat Mysticism 

1. Satsang (Association with the Saints which Includes the Study of Their Writings and Scriptures); 

2. Selfless Service of the Spiritual Master [Seva]; 

3. Love for God [Bhakti]; 

4. Moral Rectitude; 

5. Purity of the Heart; 

6. Japa (Repetition of a Divine Name [Simran]); and, 

7. Dhyana [Meditation]. (In the practice of meditation both gross and subtle meditations are described. In subtle meditation is meditation of the bindu-point -- the meditation of Inner Light -- Drishti Yoga [the Yoga of Vision], and Nadanusandhana [the meditation of Inner Sound] -- Surat-Shabda-Yoga [the Yoga of Sound].) 

The Ethical Foundation of Sant Mat -- Ahimsa Values -- The Five Precepts 

Moral Requirements to Qualify For Initiation: 

1. Abstinence from alcohol and drugs (intoxicants); 

2. Ahimsa (Non-Violence in thought, word, and deed) including in the area of diet, as in following a vegan (abstinence from animal products) or vegetarian diet (abstinence from meat, fish, and eggs) -- "In Sant Mat all Masters have decried killing and meat-eating." (Sant Tulsi Sahib, "Ghat Ramayan"); 

3. Leading a truthful life; 

4. Practicing non-stealing: an honest, ethical source of income; 

5. Loyalty to ones spouse; 

Another Version of the Five Precepts: 

1. Refrain from taking the life of sentient beings. This precept also requires strict adherence to a vegan (no animal products) or lacto-vegetarian diet (no meat, fish, poultry nor eggs, fertilized or non-fertilized). 

2. Refrain from speaking what is not true. 

3. Refrain from taking what is not yours.

4. Refrain from sexual misconduct. 

5. Refrain from using intoxicants. 

Initiation Into Surat Shabd Yoga -- Inner Light and Sound Meditation By A Living Master (Sant Satguru) 

The Master said to his students: "What your own eyes cannot see, your human ears do not hear, your physical hands cannot touch, and what is inconceivable to the human mind -- that I will give you!" (Jesus/Yeshua, "Gospel of Thomas", Nag Hammadi Library of Egypt, one of the Gnostic Gospels or Lost Books of the Bible, a contemplative gospel for mystics) 

In the Sant tradition, the complete methods and secrets of meditation practice are communicated at the time of INITIATION (Diksha) by a living Master (Sant Satguru, Competent, Qualified Teacher) or a representative of a Master (not a past Saint or holy book). A Living Teacher, being fully acquainted with the 'landscape' of Inner Space, is able to impart to initiate-candidates valuable guidance on how to safely make the journey of ascension to the Inner Regions during meditation practice within. This kind of spiritual transmission and the details of Surat Shabd Yoga practice are not found in books, old scriptures of the past, and are not for sale, but are given freely to seekers by a living Teacher. 

At the time of Initiation one vows to practice meditation each day. The spiritual path is a life-long commitment. 

Key Words 

Path of the Masters: Sant Mat -- Santmat, Radhasoami -- Radha Soami, Satsang, Inner Light and Sound Meditation: Surat Shabd Yoga, Audible Life Stream, Nada Yoga, Quanyin, The Quan Yin Method, Shurangama, Surangama Sutra, The Sound of Silence -- Transcendental Hearing in Buddhism, Spiritual Science, the Soul, Spirituality, Kabir, Anurag Sagar, Maharshi Mehi Ashram, Kirpal Singh, Gnosticism, Third Eye, Out Of Body Experiences, Near-Death Experiences, Inner Space, the Kingdom of the Heavens Within You, Mystic Poetry, Vegetarian Vegan, Ahimsa, Love (Bhakti), and God.

If you have questions, comments, are seeking information, perhaps searching for a book, trying to locate a satsang meetup in your area, initiation, etc..., contact James at this address: SantMat_Mystic["at"]Yahoo["dot"]com