Future of Radhasoami Faith
The Radhasoami faith has gained popularity in modern India as a simple
cult of love and devotion. It has made an impact on people who are fed up with
materialistic trends of present age both within country and abroad. It provides
a solution to those who are eager to embrace a religion which is free from
external ritualism but full of intuitive contemplation and devotionalism. The
search for truth of truth and philosophy of love propagated and practiced by
founders gurus is very unique and appealing.
The faith is growing everyday. A survey of various centres of
the faith indicates that the number of followers is steadily increasing. It has
been able to attract seekers of Truth as also those who are prudent, sensitive
and able to see efficacy of true religion through practice. People of lower
strata of society, primarily villagers have come to join the faith in large
numbers. They have sought relief from exploitations of priest in the principles
of spiritual equality observed Radhasoami faith. The faith also appears to
interest those who believe in mystic revelation. Some Muslims belonging to sufis
and other liberal schools of Islam have joined it as they see a
resemblance between their shagal-i-awaz and its surat-shabd-yoga.
The founders of faith have clearly spoken against
proselytization and have introduced it primarily for genuine seekers or
samskaris. After the founders of faith, however, often lack of spiritual
experiences of followers and preachers led to decentralisation and split. Some
of the centres did not adhere to pristine teachings of the founder gurus and
most of them started indulging in propaganda against the very essentials of
faith. As founder gurus did not create any organisation, many individuals opened
centres to start teachings on their own perception, understanding and
experiences. They gathered followers and were declared Guru. Till heavenly abode
of Hazur Maharaj in December 1898, there was no other Guru except Hazur Maharaj
and there was no gaddi(seat) in the Faith. It all proliferated with the Mauj
(divine will) of Radhasoami Dayal so that Radhasoami (Shabd) and
Surat-shabd-yoga could reach and spread in the vast humanity as a Goal and Path
The split within the faith has resulted in its disintegration
in the same way as with many past religious sects after their founder's death.
If this happens, the teachings of the founders may be lost and the faith may
adopt the very rituals and ceremonies against which it had revolted. It may also
become stagnant and rigid by its tendency to ignore bhakti and yoga, and , by
laying greater emphasis on material objectives. Such a diversion from pure
spiritualism to selfish materialism followed at some centres is, indeed, a bad
omen. The responsibility for the shift in emphasis lies with the self-styled
gurus of different centres or so called branches.
However, it is not always necessary for divisive tendencies to
create an unhealthy spirit or distort the pristine teachings of the faith. Apart
from the tendency of religious groups to split into sects, men of intellectual
vitality and independent judgment will always differ and wish to find new paths
of adventure and experiment. In Radhasoami faith, the differences should be
viewed in this light. It is evident, therefore, that differences relate largely
to emphasis rather than fundamentals.
Besides, even after the split, there are strong integrating
elements in their norms of life and principles of moral conduct. The leaders of
Radhasoami faith have come to evolve a common social and religious outlook.
Irrespective of belonging to different leaders and different satsang centres,
they greet each other with the holy name of Radhasoami. This salutation is not
only unique among the followers of faith but it also knits them in common bond.
Another affinity in various groups is the daily routine of satsang or holy
service whose programme is largely the same. The special meetings of satsang are
held on special occasions when followers assemble in large numbers to pay
homage to their guru. The special features of such congregations are also
similar at the different centres.
The annual bhandara of the past guru is observed with zeal and
enthusiasm in all centres and groups. The basic spirit of the bhandara is
maintained by all leaders and no satsang centre has yet stopped it. The annual
meet and community dinner present an ideal of the essential unity of the faith.
The followers of the faith are not only strict vegetarians, but they also
observe total abstention from liquor and intoxicants. No change is yet
discernible in different centres with regards to the "dos" and
The practice of a common devotional and spiritual exercise -
surat-shabd-yoga - is followed by all branches and groups and groups. It
signifies their basic unity. Leaders of almost all groups lay primary emphasis on
the fundamental importance of shabd and guru of the time. All of them strictly
believe that the secrets of shabd would be revealed through the aegis of
Satguru. They grant initiation by explaining to the initiatee the fixed point of
concentration and a definite posture for Yoga. They provide almost identical
information regarding the performance of inner practice. The Radhasoami's have a
common basic idea of self-help and the community is very active and enterprising
in this regard. With self-help they march forward to mutual help.
Finally, the faith is stronger than the split. The message of
true and selfless love is so poignantly preached and practised in the faith that it
could never be distinguished. The surat-shabd-yog would escape all decadence
and as long as there is a single practitioner of this yoga, the founders assert, the faith
would be able to avoid degeneration. The spiritual potentialities would potentialities
would ever remain in the world to meet all such challenges. The true seekers are bound
to find truth of truth as long as sincere efforts are made for the search of eternal
love. Retaining its sublime message of love and faith and maintaining its
flexible nature to move with times without losing its original objective, the
Radhasoami faith has a bright future to serve humanity.