The Out-Of-This-World Mystic Poetry of Sant Radhasoami Sahib — Exploring the World Religions,
by James Bean
Soami Ji Maharaj, the Great Saint of Agra
The spiritual classics, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Nazm yaani Chhand bandh (Poetry), and, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Bartik (Prose) by Soami Ji Maharaj are very complex books even in Hindi, and all-the-more-so if the attempt is made to translate them into English, especially the mystical poetry. Swami Ji himself says, “How shall I openly speak of its process (the process of creation in Pinda: the material universes, And: the astral dimensions, and Brahmand: Universal Mind realms – this best remains confidential), for none can comprehend its secrets and idioms which I will have to have to employ to reveal them.”
Swami Ji’s mystic-verses are quite intricate with layers of meaning, and contain countless terms for various heavenly regions, states of consciousness, visionary and auditory experiences he encountered as he was in communion with his Beloved Radhasoami (pronounced “Ra-Dha-Swammm-E, meaning: Soul-Lord or Lord of the Soul). The Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry is a most other-worldly, heavenly document, based upon Swami Ji’s own inner travels, attainments and spiritual realizations. “For about fifteen years, Soami Ji Maharaj used to shut Himself up in a room which is within another room [a meditation room within a room of his home in Agra, India]. He was all the time absorbed in the bliss of Surat Shabd Yoga.” (Huzur Maharaj) After this period of deep exploration of the inner regions and union with his Beloved Radhasoami in Sach Khand (heavenly region), Swami Ji emerged and began his Mission of public satsang. “In January 1861, Soami Ji started publicly explaining the method of Saints to a few people who gathered at his home in Agra. This satsang (true association, association with Eternal Truth) continued for nearly seventeen years, during which period about four thousand persons – men and women – Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sravagis, and a few Christians were initiated by him into Sant Mat (the Path of the Saints), i.e. Radhasoami path (the Path of the Supreme Being). Most of these were householders; but some (about three hundred) were Sadhus also.” (Encyclopaedia of Saints of India, Volume Nineteen: Radhasoami, Criterion Publications, New Delhi)
Soami Ji even makes use of some Persian or Sufi mystical terminology at times, and composed some ghazals in Persian. “Soami Ji’s father and grand-father were Persian scholars.” (The Biography of Soami Ji Maharaj) Soami Ji “acquired a working knowledge of Arabic and Sanskrit”, earlier in his life for a time taught Persian, and even “wrote a book in Persian.” (Radhasoami Faith – a Historical Study) It seems rather appropriate then for someone who has translated all six volumes of the Masnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, the poetry of Sarmad, and the Diwan-i Hafiz to produce this most excellent new translation of the Sar Bachan Poetry and Prose in English – all three volumes: The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami – Sar Bachan Radhasoami Prose, The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami – Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume One, and The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami – Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Volume Two, Translation and Commentary, M.G. Gupta, MG Publishers, Agra.
For Swami Ji, love for the Beloved Radhasoami, the Lord of All Souls, is central to traveling upon the right Light and Sound Currents of Divine Love within. This bhakti spirit of love and devotion is the right-foundation and the Positive Power to base one’s spiritual practice upon.
“Always remember the Lord,
and, knowing that He is always with you,
imbue yourself with His love.”
(Soami Ji, in a letter to Huzur Maharaj)
In the Sar Bachan are hymns of praise, conversational prayers directed towards the Friend, the Beloved, the Object of his Communion, the Lover of his soul: the Merciful Lord of the Soul: Radhasoami Dayal. In this loving context of devotional bhakti, mystical experiences take the devotee-soul upon an interior journey beyond illusion, beyond time and duality, to an Ultimate Reality, the Ocean of Love, Swami Ji Maharaj describes as “Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent with attributes of Grace, Mercy, Love, Bliss and Peace.” Swami Ji Maharaj says, “From one step to another the soul beholds strange things which cannot be described in human language. Every region and everything is utterly beyond words. What beauty and glory! How can I describe them? There is nothing here to convey the idea. I am helpless…Love plays the supreme part. It is all love. So says RADHASOAMI.” (Sant Radhasoami Sahab)
Radhasoami is the name for the Soundless One and Soundless State, Anadi, the Highest Region. Radhasoami is a name for the Nameless God beyond all names and forms. As one Master said, “The individual soul has decended….from the Soundles State to the essence of Sound, from Sound to Light, and finally from the realm of Light to the realm of Darkness, 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.”
Examples of the Poetry of Swami Ji Maharaj in The Quintessential Discourse Radhasoami
O Lord! Tell me as to how shall I reach there and fill my mind with zest, enthusiasm, courage and drive. My guru has revealed to me the path of inner Light and Sound; without his grace and charity, none can treat it and make it to His Abode.
If you are a lamp, I am turned into a moth which in the company of the lamp reduces itself to ashes. If you are a black bee I am turned into a small worm (keet which thinks constantly of the bee and eventually cecomes it); in my case, I think only of the most perfect, sagacious, skillful, shrewd and wise Radhasoami who has graciously met me. If you are the sandalwood tree, I am a serpent intertwined with it; by the touch of your feet, I have become serene, tranquil and calm (sheetal bhayee). If you are an ocean, I am like a surge; I rise from you and I return unto you. If you are a pearl, I am the thread (round which the pearl is woven); I, like the thread, never let go and forsake you.
Lord Radhasoami! Do shower mercy and grace on me now, for you are seated inside each and everyone as the knower of all inner secrets (antaryami). If you are the moon, I am like its phases – rotation and revolution causing its phases, new moon and full moon – so that I depend on you and I am conditioned I by you both in my waning and waxing. I am like a small girl while you are both my father and mother; day and night I play in your lap.
I hear the sonorous sounds of bell and conch-shell which resonate and reverberate (in Sahasdal Kanwal), and I hear the melodious and wondrous sounds of the harp and flute. The tune and rhythm of drums and fiddle, reverberations and the sound of kettledrum and tabor resonates every moment. The ambrosial rain falls in a thousand currents and the heavenly sphere (gagan mandal) revolves like a wheel. I go round and round (ghoomland), losing all my strength and ego and becoming utterly humble and dependent upon the Lord, so that the sheen of my doxology becomes intense and scintillating. The atmosphere that is created beggars description, and all the satsangis (initiates, gathering of devotees) join together in singing the doxology. Diamonds and rubies are being showered all around as propitiatory offering; the strings of pearls and quartz are being interwoven.
I behold Radhasoami every moment. I have now completed this doxology! O Lord! Confer upon me your grace which is ambrosia (and which will immortalize me, putting me beyond the ken of decay, decline and death). I am now unfurling the banner (flag) of love in the Heavenly Spheres of Three Prominences (Trikuli or Gagan) where the resonance of the anhad shabd (Unstruck Melody) emanates from the Inaccessible Sphere.
In those islands, the lakes of ambrosia are full to the brim and the hamsa-souls there have the glimpses of Sat Purush for their nourishment (substance that nourishes; food, nutrient). There every time, there is a new sport (lila); how shall I speak of the majesty and grandeur thereof? Beyond that, the Alakh (Invisible) Sphere has been carved out, and there the soul goes, abandoning the non-Self (“I-ness” or ego).
How shall I admire the splendour and lustre of Alakh Purush? Billions and trillions of moons and suns feel humble and humiliated and are put to shame for they are all surpassed by the glory of Alakh Purush and feel disgraced. The surat (soul) acquires such a brilliant form there that crores of suns cannot do justice to its mien and beautiful aspect.
Then the surat steps forward and goes to perceive the Agam Lok (the Inaccessible Sphere). The sheen and lustre of the Inaccessible Purush is peculiar, wholly distinct, for His brilliance and shine excels the light of trillions of suns.
Beyond that is the Nameless One (Purush Anami), who is called as indescribable and Infinite. None can go there save the saints, who have termed it their own, Original, Eternal Abode. O Lord (Soami)!
Radhasoami, I adore and adulate you, for you have revealed to me the Mystery.
The Gupta Translation of Sar Bachan Prose: http://www.vedamsbooks.com/no21697/quintessential-discourse-radhasoami-sar-bachan-prose-translation-commentary-discourses-sri-shiv-dayal-singh-alias-soamiji-maharaj-revealer-faith-mg-gupta
Gupta Translation of Sar Bachan Poetry, Volumes I and II:
North American Importer of Indian Spiritual Books Including Radhasoami Books: Nataraj: http://www.NatarajBooks.com
Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Prose, and Other Writings of Soami Ji Maharaj Online: http://www.SpiritualAwakeningRadio.com/radhasoami.html