Discourses are the primary instrument used by spiritual Masters to communicate their universal message: the inner path of the inner path of the Word that leads to self-realization and God realisation. Each discourse in this book explains Cleary the fundamentals of their message and also have its own particular focus.
This first discourse speaks of why we experience so much stress in our modern lives. The second clarifies the one effective way of true worship for the present age. In the third, Maharaj Charan Sing emphasizes the primary importance of love on the spiritual path, and in the fourth, the universal nature of human suffering and its remedy.
The fifth discourse warms us of our ignorance of our true condition. The sixth explains the important of the spiritual teacher and tells how to turn the mind towards devotion for the Lord. The seventh is again a warning, altering us to the way we lose sight of who we really are. The last discourse is a celebration of the oneness of the creation. Calling us all to raise our consciousness so that we can understand this truth.
Maharaj Charan Singh (1916-1990), the spiritual Master of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas, India, spoke to everyone. He reached beyond differences of race, culture and religion, so that every person in the audience felt the discourse was addressed. Rich or poor, simple or sophisticated, Hindu, Christian, Sikh or Muslim, on matter what their background, he communicated with each the spiritual message that lives beyond the sphere of time and space.
The discourses presented herein were delivered by His Holiness Maharaj Charan Singh Ji-the present* Satguru of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas-during his foreign satsang tours of the United States of America, Canada, the Continent of Europe and the South-East Asian Countries. The original satsangs were very long, replete as they were with appropriate quotations of many saints, and each one had taken nearly two hours in delivery. This volume contains a condensed version of them.
Wherever these discourses were delivered, they were listened to in pin-drop silence and with great reverence. The moving lips enunciated the simplest Truths but what could soar higher or plumb deeper than those verities. Every word was a revelation, every parable a marvel. A strange calm descended upon the audience. A divine love pervaded their entire being. A transcendent bliss enveloped the whole environment. Every one was magnetized, as it were, and ennobled beyond measure.
The reader will find that the discourses explain many of the basic principles of the Radha Soami faith which as the "Foreword" points out, is but another name for the Ancient Wisdom which has been taught since the beginning of mankind's long history on this earth.
The sole object of this ancient spiritual science is to withdraw the soul gradually from the affairs and entan-glements of the world and to unite it to the Lord in this very life. It is essentially a training in practical mysticism, which aims at self-realization and realization of the Lord within ourselves. The emphasis is on meditation while leading a life which enables one to discharge one's obligations and duties in the world.
This is the second book to be published by the author. The first, "Light on Sant Mat", had a unique reception, for it has already run into its third edition in the short span of six years. It contains a number of the Master's discourses as well as a large number of excerpts from his letters in reply to seekers and disciples in all parts of the world.
For forty years, Maharaj Charan Singh spoke to gatherings of seekers of spiritual truth, from all parts of India and the world. Now, six years after his passing from the physical plane, this book reminds us, once again, of the fundamentals of the path he taught.
He always began his discourses saying that the essential teachings of every saint are one and the same. The eight discourses or satsangs in this volume reflect that truth. The texts on which they are based are drawn from the writings of three great saints of Uttar Pradesh, who lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and two of the Gurus in the line of Guru Nanak of Punjab, who lived in the sixteenth century. He illustrated his teachings with dozens of quotations from a wide range of saints, so the universality of their message became very clear.
This universality is offset by the particular focus Maharaj Charan Singh drew from each text. In the first discourse, My Friend, Why Stay Caught in This World?", he explains why we experience so much stress in our modern lives. In “O Friend, Observe the Law of This Age", he clarifies the one effective way of true worship for the present age. He emphasize the primary importance of love on the spiritual path, through Paltu Sahib's text, "In the Court of the Lord”, and the universal nature of human suffering and its remedy, through Tulsi Sahib's poem, "Cleanse the Chamber of your Heart”.
The fifth discourse, "Among Your Companions, None Is Your Friend", warns us of our ignorance of our true condition. And in the sixth, "Hold Fast Your Mind", he explains the importance of the spiritual teacher and gives details of the technique for controlling the mind and turning it towards devotion for the Lord. "Come, My Friend, to Your True Home" is again a warning, alerting us to the way we lose sight of who we really are. The last satsang, "He Is the True Creator, the Only Giver", is a great celebration of the oneness of the creation, the one family of God, calling us all to raise our consciousness so that we can understand this truth.
Satsang is the primary instrument of the Masters to reach out to the world. Through their satsangs, they communicate the simple message of the inner path of the Word. This path has been known over the centuries by many names. The Beas Masters generally refer to it as Sant Mat (the path or teachings of the saints), Surat Shabd Yog(the yoga or union of soul and Word) and Radha Soami Mat (the teachings of Radha Soami, the supreme Lord of the soul). They repeatedly explain that Radha Soami is not the name of a religion, and the teachings it represents are not new. The message of the saints is age-old, and rather than letting ourselves be distracted by the difference in words and outward forms, the saints always guide us to seek the spiritual essence itself, by putting into practice their words.
The discourses contained in this book were given by Maharaj Charan Singh Ji the present Master*of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas in the Punjab, at various places during his satsang tours abroad. They deal with the basic concepts of the Radha Soami faith or spiritual science. Radha Soami means load of the Soul", and is an appellation given to the Supreme Being by the great Saint or Master, Seth Shiv Dayal Singh, 1818-78, who was affectionately known as Soami Ji to his many disciples. Soami Ji gave out in a simplified form, well suited to the present age, the age-old spiritual teachings of the East of the highest order. The Radha Soami teachings are also widely known as Sant Mat, or The Teachings of the Saints. They are also called Surat Shabd Yoga, meaning the Yoga that unites the individual soul with the dynamic power of the Supreme Being.
Soami Ji, who gave out his teachings at Agra, directed one of his best disciples, Baba Jaimal Singh, to settle on the banks of the Beas river and give spiritual discourses there. Baba Jaimal Singh selected the site of the present Radha Soami Colony and settled there in a small hut in 1891. His presence and the spiritual power of his discourses soon began to attract spiritual seekers and before his death in 1903, he had given initiation to several thousand souls.
Before his death he, in turn, as is often the custom in India, appointed one of his most advanced disciples to be his successor. This was Huzur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj who, for many years. has been referred to throughout India as the Great Master. Under his aegis, the Radha Soami Colony increased very greatly in size. During his 45 years of service as the Satguru, he gave initiation to more than a hundred thousand seekers who were athirst for spiritual truths and guidance.
This Great Master departed from the earth-plane in 1948, after appointing as his successor Maharaj Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh Ji. This Master carried on the noble traditions of those who had preceded him, but left this earth in 1951, after only three-and-a-half years of serving as Satguru at Beas. He was a Master of great spiritual powers, and devoted himself whole-heartedly to carrying out the duties assigned to him, by the Great Master.
Maharaj Jagat Singh Ji appointed as this successor Maharaja Charan Singh Ji, who was the eldest grandson of the Master. He was the fourth of the line of Satgurus established at Beas, and his frequent discourses carry on the tradition of instructing true seekers on spiritual matters and the path to God-Soul, which has now existed at Beas for a full three-quarters of a century. Under his supervision and spiritual guidance, the Radha Soami Colony has become one of the most important centers s in India for spiritual instruction of the highest order.
The discourses contained in this book make frequent mention of Saint, Satgurus of Perfect Masters. The Saints of the East are highly advanced souls who have actually attained union with the Supreme Being are in constant communion with Him, and who possess spiritual powers beyond the range of the limited human comprehension. These Great Souls, or Elder Brothers of the race, come to the earth from the higher regions solely for the purpose of teachings and guiding humanity to the higher life of the spirit that exists above and beyond the physical universe. It is said that one or more of these great Spiritual Guides has always been present in the world to help those who have longed for their aid. In the eastern countries the names of scores of these great True Teachers or Satgurus are household words to millions. In the West, however, their names and their teaching, the unchanged and unchanging Ancient Wisdom which has been given out to the world since the beginning of time, are virtually unknown.
Another term frequently used in the discourses is Nam, which is also referred to as the Shabd or Bani of the Saints, Nam means the Name of God, while Shabd means Word or Spiritual Sound, and Bani means Teachings or Inner Sound. All these terms are synony- mous with the Word, Logos, Name of God or Holy Spirit of the Christian Bible. Many equivalent terms are used in the Muslim. Zoroastrian and other scriptures, and in the Vedas, the sacred books of ancient India. In short, Nam, the Word or divine Inner Sound of God is common to all religions. It was taught and practiced by their founders and has been taught by all the hundreds of Saints or Masters of the highest order who have blessed this planet with their sacred presence.
If we want to discover the nature of the truth, where in the world do we go? If we want to know who we are, whom can we go to? There are practically infinite resources available to us if we want to understand our bodies. We have all sorts of options if we need to explore the workings of the mind. But is there anyone who knows who we really are, who understand the truth of our spirit, the soul?
Modern times are dominated by the physical sciences, by materialism and technology. For many, even the very notion of the spirit is an idea we have outgrown.
What if we think that we are more than mind and body? What if our hearts tell us, somehow, that we are something more than the reality described by the physical sciences?
In the past, we would go to the religions of our parents, our cultures, for answers to these questions. In this Information things are different: we meet people, both physically and electronically, from all over the world. We soon discover that the absolute unqualified Truth of our parents' religion is often contradictory with the absolute unqualified Truth told to the people we meet from neighbouring cultures. But surely if we are all human beings, equal in every fundamental with the same needs and aspirations-the Truth must be the same for all of us?
Instead of a universal Reality, a Truth that is the same and whenever we are, we have been given a God that is dependent on the culture we live in. The characteristics of our God depend on our time and place in the pageant of human history. His nature reflects our condition in this physical, material world.
As a global perspective emerges in this Information Age, it allows us to transcend our national, cultural and regional perspectives. We see how humanity, to help achieve worldly ends, has manipulated the natural and fundamental human longing towards the spirit. Misunderstanding the nature of the spirit, we have failed to make contact with it. Indeed, far from making contact with it, we have been deluded to the point that we misuse religion to justify slaughter and oppression.
Where, then, can we go to find that truth of the spirit? If it could be expressed or understood through the use of mere words, then surely such constant disagreement as to the nature of God would be impossible? Is there any similar disagreement about the nature of electricity, or about the components of water or of blood, from one culture to another, from one language group to another? It is precisely because the spirit cannot be known through the mind and senses- because it cannot be rendered or expressed in symbols-that there is this endless disagreement amongst human beings as to what the spirit really is.
Again we ask: where can we go? Whenever we want to study a subject, we look for a teacher who has practical knowledge and experience of that subject. Whether it is dancing, particle physics, football or medicine, only someone who has explored the subject thoroughly, who has worked with it and loves it, who can communicate it and teach others how to learn it for themselves, only such a person will make a proper teacher. We enrol in a class; we attach ourselves to our teacher; we study and practise-only in this way do we learn. It is no different with spirituality. To find the spiritual Truth, we attend a spiritual discourse. It is the forum in which one who knows the truth of the spirit-a spiritual Master-bears witness to that truth, so that others may catch a glimpse of it also.
Imagine for a moment that you are in a wilderness, without any shelter, and it is bitterly cold. As your body gets colder and colder, you put on more and more layers of protective clothing. The sun may be shining, but its warmth is not reaching you. You dare not take off even one layer, even though other people keep telling you that the sun is, in fact, warm. You can't feel it yourself. You don't trust them. You are chilled to the bone from the biting cold.
But then you happen upon a sheltered spot where, for a moment, the sun's warmth does penetrate. Enjoying the relief, you stay there for a while. Eventually you cautiously re-move one layer of clothing. You allow yourself to feel the warmth of the sun. Your confidence builds and you take off still further layers as you delight in the power of the sun to revive your frozen limbs.
The discourse of a spiritual Master is that shelter where the warmth of God's truth first touches our hearts. Swathed .s we are in the layers of the mind, only the truth, spoken by m adept who knows that truth, has the power and authority b penetrate the thick layers covering our souls.
When we attend such a discourse, our souls, lying petrified within us, come to life. They respond to the vibrant ring of the truth. They hear their own language. They hear them-elves spoken of. They recognize their friend. If the time is right, just one word, one phrase, can strike us with such force that from that day on our entire lives are transformed. As long as we focus primarily on the material, the world of mind and matter, the soul's power remains subdued, latent and unknown. Like a child in a large gathering, the soul is inward and shy. But give it company of its own kind and it revives-our hearts gladden. Then we say with conviction, “yes! That is who I am!" we had been confused for so Long! The core of us, our very heart, the wellspring of our being' had been ignored, unrecognized, neglected and in exile.
Then our soul is able to shout out in joy, “This is me! This is I. This is you. We are all one." From that day we see every- thing in a new light. We understand, we see, that spirit is the prime reality-eternal and unchanging. The spirit is our life: it unites us in its power. Our minds and bodies are suits of clothes in which our spirits live in this world. These outer shells are transient and perishable. But our souls never die.
The true spiritual discourse gives us this certainty. It is the key that unlocks the door to our spiritual hearts. Self-realization must come before God-realization. If we do not even know what we are, what hope is there for us to under- stand what God is?
Through a spiritual discourse, we associate with those that know and love the world of the spirit. We associate with the spiritual adept who has explored this world, who knows how to realize it, who speaks with the authority that only practical experience can bring. For us this encounter is a mean to an end for ultimately, to know the truth' we have to experience it ourselves. Until that day, the discourse is our lifeline, securing us to the reality that is the fulcrum of our lives. We are reminded of what is real. We remember who we are. Gradually, we begin to understand the true order of the world.
The eight discourses in this book were given by one of the greatest teachers of spirituality of the twentieth century. From 1951 until 1990, Maharaj Charan Singh carried the mantle of spiritual Master of the Radha soami Satsang Beas. He travelled ceaselessly the length and breadth of India and to every corner of the globe, to spread the universal message of spiritual truth.
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