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“Consciousness of the Master is imparted to us at the time of initiation in Sant Mat”

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The South Asian Times: In India people know the tradition you come from as Radho Soami Satsang faith, but in Science of Spirituality, that term is not used…

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj: Like in all faiths there are differences of opinion. The Radha Soami faith started with Soami ji Maharaj (founded in the 1850s in Agra, India), until some parts were left in Agra and some went to Beas, Punjab. Later in 1950, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj started Ruhani Satsang from Delhi. He was succeeded by Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj, who founded Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission. We are not trying to convert people into any faith. Our path (Sant Mat) is asking people to stay in their own faith but add meditative practices to their day-to-day life. Because when we go into each faith, we find there are meditative practices. So we have tried to stay away from having to start a new thing. And that is the main difference between us and the Radha Soami faith.

Have you tweaked in some way the system or teachings coming down from Sant Mat?

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj: The connection with the Light and Sound of God is based on being able to have the inner eye open and connect with a Divine Power within. So that process which is called Naamdaan (or diksha) in Surat Shabad Yoga is there. So there is no tweaking of faith. The belief in Sant Mat is that the Master Power helps you to be able to connect with the Divine Power. It is the power of God, which is helping every one of us. And that power is lying latent in each one of us. So it is a matter of how that power gets to a state where it is ignited.

Your followers seem to come from varied religious backgrounds…

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj: We believe that there is one God, but saints have come in all ages in all faiths, whether you call them Sons of God or Enlightened Beings or Spiritual Masters. When we look at their teaching, we find that their teachings are very similar. We feel that there are two sides to every faith, the esoteric which is inner, and the exoteric, which is how we behave and the kind of rites and rituals we have. The exoteric side is different in different faiths. But the esoteric side, which is based on the soul and the spirit, is one and the same. So our mission focuses on the esoteric side and we do not touch on the outer side. But we tell people to make sure that the inner side – spirit and the soul–is nourished and put some effort to experience the soul.

But now the lot of the esoteric is also being made exoteric. What was mystical knowledge is coming into the public domain. So should the five-word mantra of Surat Shabad Yoga be made public?

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj: Knowing the words will not make a difference. The belief in the Sant Mat is that when the five words are given to us, they are charged by the attention of the master. The names will not make a difference, only the attention of the master does. So the tradition is that the consciousness of the Master is imparted to us at the time of our own initiation, and that makes the words work so they can still the mind.

Now that you are based in America, how is your connection with India holding?

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj: Half the year I am in India, making three trips there of two months each. And half the year I am in the States or some other part of the world.