His Literary Works
The literature produced by Rai Salig Ram Bahadur deals
essentially with the fundamental tenets of the Radhasoami faith. He wrote
many books in Hindi, Urdu and English. His prose includes six volumes of
Prem Patra Radhasoami. His style in Hindi is easy and intelligible.
Persian and Urdu words are so aptly interwoven with Sanskrit and Hindi
that the whole thing presents a picture of unique linguistic entity. His
language is a model for those who are looking for a solution of the language
His writings directly appeals to the reader's heart. Prem
Patra is the original source of information about the philosophy and
tenets of Radhasoami faith. These volumes are indispensable both for devotees
and critics. Highly philosophical and abstruse topics - theory of creation,
emancipation of soul, meaning of the name "Radhasoami" and effective practice
of surat-shabd-yoga, importance of love and devotion for the Supreme
Being and the Santsatguru - have been dealt with succinctly in these
volumes. The meaningless rituals and abhorrent social practices of the
time have been logically evaluated and a comparative study of prevalent
religious practices and cults has been clearly presented. Also expounded
is a code of moral conduct for the followers which also prescribes remedies
for overcoming various types of interference in their daily spiritual practice.
Hazur's book of poetry presented in four volumes is entitled
as Prem Baani Radhasoami. Along with some philosophical elucidations,
Prem Baani is a dynamic force of love. The hymns create a soothing
effect and generate divine love in the minds of true devotees. Lyrical
as the compositions are, they leave a deep spiritual impact of Hazur's
mighty personality upon the reader. They are fascinating as well as thought
His other publications in Hindi are Sar-Upadesh, Nij-Upadesh,
Guru-Upadesh, Radhasoami Mat-Upadesh, Radhasoami Mat-Sandesh and Jugat
Prakash. Hazur's only work in English is Radhasoami Mat Prakash. In
lucid and captivating style, he has eloquently explained the tough concepts
of Radhasoami faith and given essential information to a casual reader
about the significance of the faith. His language is simple but forceful.
He is careful in his choice of words and logical in his approach to religious
topics. Even Farquhar, a critic of all critics, is full of appreciation
and praise for this book.
His Views of Social Problems of the Day
In denouncing the evils prevalent in Indian society, Hazur
Maharaj's approach is that of a cautious reformer who believes in gradual
but steady progressive change. Holding the caste prejudices as unbecoming
he brings out that the caste system not only provides rights and privileges
to people but also enjoins upon them certain duties, responsibilities and
obligations for humanity in general. Quoting a Sanskrit couplet in this
connection, he asserts that one cannot be called a Brahmin by virtue of
his birth alone. He who goes through the four stages of knowledge prescribed
to attain Brahman, can alone claim to be a Brahmin. He further writes
that in matters of religious devotion the distinction of caste is a sin.
He refers to the various avatars and bhaktas of Hinduism
who belonged to lower castes, but were held in esteem in the past and are
held in veneration even today.
According to him, the gradations in satsang can
only be determined by the extent of love and devotion a satsangi has for
the supreme being. One who is nearest to the Almighty is superior to all
others. Hazur Maharaj admitted people from all castes to the Radhasoami
faith and treated them on equal footing.
The Hazur is quite eloquent in his criticism of the treatment
meted out to women in Indian society. He raises objection to purdah
system on spiritual grounds. He upholds the equality of woman with
man, since the spirit entity is equally present in both. He categorically
asserts that high status in learning or devotion to religion cannot be
attained by living in purdah. On the contrary, he says, such women
become so backward and dull that they fail to give proper training to their
children. He permitted women to join the satsang, take initiation
into the practice of surat-shabd-yoga, and perform guru-bhakti.
He challenges the traditional belief that the husband is the virtual guru
of his wife and says that a husband, ignorant of his own spiritual well-being,
can never direct the wife to the right path. As such, a woman has as much
claim to search and adopt a true guru as a man. Defending women's
participation in satsang, he emphasizes that women attending satsang
were better than those who visited temples, attended fairs and observed
other uninspiring rituals and exposed themselves to all sorts of risks
in the crowd.
Hazur holds that Indian women are crippled on account
of their illiteracy. He pleads for their education as he feels that women
are as eligible as men to receive it. He is pained to see that women are
so heavily loaded with household work that they do not get enough time
for study. He feels that they should receive sufficient education to correspond
with their relatives, to maintain domestic accounts and to real the holy
scriptures. He thus presents a compromise between the orthodox sections
of society and the radical reformers inspired by the west.