Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Garland Publishers Publication date: 1992
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AGRA GURUS AND BRANCHES
A Genealogical Glossary
There are many lesser known masters and sects with links to Shiv Dayal Singh which have yet to be discovered. And though future research will, undoubtedly, encompass a larger selection, a totally exhaustive genealogical glossary of gurus may be an impossibility, especially given the tremendous proliferation of subdivisions within Radhasoami.
Each section, carrying the name of a Radhasoami master, will have the following easy to access information: 1) ministerial dates: the tenure of the guru's reign. 2) name of the guru's guru; 3) name of the guru's known successors; 4) distinctive aspects of the guru's ministry; 5) name and location of center/ashram; and 6) key sources about the guru and his work. For sake of clarity, I have given the list of gurus by genealogical descent. By reading from the beginning to the end, one can see by biography the progressive history of Radhasoami.
SHIV DAYAL SINGH "Soamiji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: Mid-1850's to 1878. Guru: Tulsi Sahib of Hathras (according to Beas); no guru (according to Soami Bagh and Dayal Bagh). Successors: Rai Salig Ram; Jaimal Singh; Gharib Das; Sanmukh Das; Partap Singh; and Narayan Dei (Radhaji). Center: Panni Gali and Soami Bagh, Agra. Distinctions: Regarded as the founder of Radhasoami; popularized surat shabd yoga; expressed the teachings of Sant mat in a simplified and easy to understand manner. Sources: Sar Bachan Radhasoami (both the prose and poetry volumes) by Soamiji Maharaj; Biography of Soamiji Maharaj by Chachaji Maharaj [Partap Singh]; and Last Discourse of Soamiji Maharaj and Letters of Soamiji Maharaj & Huzur Maharaj .
NARAYAN DEI "Radhaji" Ministry Dates: 1878 to 1894 Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: none (or, at least, no one popularly known) Center: Panni Gali, Agra Distinctions: Wife and successor of Shiv Dayal Singh. One of only a few women in the Radhasoami tradition to be accorded an elevated status within the spiritual community. Served as a guru and a guide to women devotees in Agra. Instrumental in helping her husband's ministry. Sources: Radhasoami Faith: History and Tenets ; Biography of Soamiji Maharaj by Chachaji Maharaj [Pratap Singh]; and Holy Epistles (Volumes One and Two).
SANMUKH DAS Ministry Dates: 1878 to date unknown Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: none Center: Soami Bagh, Agra Distinctions: Sadhu successor of Shiv Dayal Singh; apparently initiated sadhus and other wandering religious mendicants into the path; unclear what relationship he had with his initiates (whether he acted as a representative for Soamiji's teachings or as a full fledged guru in his own right). Sources: Bhaktamal of the Radhasoami Faith ; Biography of Soamiji Maharaj by Chachaji Maharaj [Pratap Singh]; and Radhasoami Faith: History and Tenets by S.D. Maheshwari.
RAI SALIG RAM "Huzur Maharaj" Ministry Dates: Early 1880's to 1898 [apparently started gathering his own initiates around 1884] Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: Brahm Shankar Misra; Ajudhia Prasad; and Shiv Brat Lal. Center: Peepal Mandi, Agra. Distinctions: Responsible for articulating Radhasoami mat as the Supreme Incarnational religion of all time; expanding membership in the Radhasoami movement; publishing the writings of Shiv Dayal Singh as well as his own. Sources: Prem Patra (six volumes) by Huzur Maharaj [Rai Salig Ram]; Biography of Huzur Maharaj by S.D. Maheshwari; and Holy Epistles (Volumes One and Two). BRAHM SHANKAR MISRA "Maharaj Saheb" Ministry Dates: Early 1900's to 1907 [did not succeed Rai Salig Ram immediately, since he was unsure for a year or two who was to be the rightful successor] Guru: Rai Salig Ram Successors: Maheshwari Devi; Kamta Prasad Sinha Center: Benaras; Agra Distinctions: Highly educated, receiving his Master of Arts in 1884; founded the Central Administrative Council in 1902 in Agra; and developed the idea of interregnum (period of time when no guru is publically manifested). Sources: Discourses on the Radhasoami Faith by Maharaj Saheb [Brahm Shankar Misra]; Solace to Satsangis by Maharaj Saheb [Brahm Shankar Misra]; and Radhasoami Faith: History and Tenets by S.D. Maheshwari. MAHESHWARI DEVI "Buaji Saheb" Ministry Dates: 1907 to 1913 Guru: Rai Salig Ram Successors: Madhav Prasad Sinha; Yogendra Shankar Tewari Center: Benaras Distinctions: One of the only women in Radhasoami to be acknowledged as a Sat Guru. Brahm Shankar Misra's sister and a follower of the purdah system--the custom of not allowing women to go out in public. Close confidant and immediate predecessor to Madhav Prasad Sinha. Sources: Biography of Buaji Saheba by S.D. Maheshwari; Radhasoami Faith: History and Tenets by S.D. Maheshwari; and Redemptive Encounters by Lawrence A. Babb. MADHAV PRASAD SINHA "Babuji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: 1913 to 1949 [did not immediately succeed Maheshwari Devi, but waited for a couple of years to emerge fully as her successor] Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: Interregnum/Soami Bagh/Central Administrative Council; Dr. J.N. Hazra; S.D. Maheshwari?; J.B. Mathur? Dr. Padam Adhar Sinha? Center: Allahabad; Soami Bagh, Agra Distinctions: The last living human guru to be acknowledged by the Central Administrative Council at Soami Bagh [at least up until 1990]. Responsible for the continued construction of Soamiji's samadh; carried on legal dispute with Dayal Bagh over worship rights of satsangis; consolidated the Soami Bagh Satsang in Agra; and published several English books on Radhasoami doctrines. Sources: Biography of Babuji Maharaj by S.D. Maheshwari; Discourses of Babuji Maharaj, Volume Five ; and Phelp's Notes by Myron Phelps. [INTERREGNUM] "Central Administrative Council" Ministry Dates: 1949 to present  Guru: Madhav Prasad Sinha Successors: Central Administrative Council; S.D. Maheshwari?; Dr. J. N. Hazra?; Dr. Padam Adhar Sinha?; J.B. Mathur?. Center: Soami Bagh, Agra Distinctions: One of only a handful of Radhasoami institutions without a bona fide living human guru. Generally recognized as the most "orthodox" (read literalistic) of Radhasoami groups. Retains controlling rights to most of Shiv Dayal Singh's possessions. Sources: S.D. Maheshwari, Radhasoami Faith: History and Tenets; A Brief Description of Radhasoami Faith and a Short Note on the Holy Samadh ; and Henry Marvin Harper, Gurus, Swamis, and Avatars . DR. J.N. HAZRA Ministry Dates: 1949? to 1966 [started his ministry after there was confusion over Madhav Prasad Sinha's successor] Guru: Madhav Prasad Sinha Successors: Bibi Rani Center: Agra Distinctions: Led a division within the Soami Bagh ranks away from the idea of "no living guru." Solidified a small, but forceful, camp of followers in Soami Bagh and outlying areas. Sources: Agam Prasad Mathur, The Radhasoami Faith ; S.D. Maheshwari, Correspondence With Certain Americans (Volumes One through Three); and Mark Juergensmeyer, Radhasoami Reality. BIBI RANI Ministry Dates: 1966 to date not known Guru: Madhav Prasad Sinha Successors: Santosh Kumar Sahgal Center: Agra Distinctions: One of a only a handful of women gurus. Before Dr. Hazra died he appointed Bibi Rani, Madhav Prasad Sinha's daughter, via a written will as his spiritual successor. Sources: Agam Prasad Mathur, The Radhasoami Faith ; S.D. Maheshwari, Correspondence With Certain Americans (Volumes One through Three); and Mark Juergensmeyer, Radhasoami Reality. THAKUR ANUKUL CHANDRA Ministry Dates: 1920's to 1969 Guru: Kamta Prasad Sinha [although he is reported by Agam Prasad Mathur and others to have had a spiritual relationship with Madhav Prasad Sinha] Successors: Amarendranath (Baro Khoka) Center: Pabna; Deoghar Distinctions: According to Religious Movements in Modern Bengal , Thakur was initiated by Kamta Prasad Sinha (Sarkar Saheb) of the Ghazipur satsang after his mother had written about his yogi tendencies to the Radhasoami guru. Agam Prasd Mathur, who cites S.D. Maheshwari Jeevan Charitra Babuji Maharaj as his source, states that Thakur, along with his mother, attended the satsangs of Madhav Prasad Sinha for many years. The Pabna satsang of Thakur Anukul Chandra has branches throughout India and abroad. Sources: Ray A. Hauserman, Ocean in a Teacup ; Ray Benoy Gopal, Religious Movements in Modern Bengal ; and Agam Prasad Mathur's Radhasoami Faith . YOGENDRA SHANKAR TEWARI Ministry Dates: Unknown Guru: Maheshwari Devi (?) Successors: Sri Charan Sharma Center: Premashram Satsang, Eastern Uttar Pradesh Distinctions: Eldest son of Maheshwari Devi; wrote Sar Bhed and Shabd Bani . Sources: Very little information at present is available; see Agam Prasad Mathur, Radhasoami Faith . SRI CHARAN SHARMA Ministry Dates: Unknown Guru: Yogendra Shankar Tewari Successors: Unknown Center: Kantabanji, Orissa Distinctions: According to Mathur, Charan Sharma established his own satsang after the death of his guru. Sources: See Agam Prasad Mathur, The Radhasoami Faith . KAMTA P. SINHA "Sarkar Saheb" Ministry Dates: 1907 to 1913 [Did not emerge as a full fledged successor to Brahm Shankar Misra, however, until a couple years after his death] Guru: Rai Salig Ram Successors: Anand Sarup; Hari Ram; Indar Singh; and Shri Parmanand Center: Ghazipur Distinctions: Key rival to Maheshwari Devi; responsible for the eventual split between the Central Administrative Council and the outlying branch satsangs. Sources: Kamta Prasad Sinha wrote several books, including Shabd Sangrah and Prem Samachar . Marvin Henry Harper, Gurus, Swamis, and Avatars ; and Souvenir In Commemoration of the First Centenary of the Radhasoami Satsang (1861-1961) . ANAND SARUP "Sahabji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: 1913 to 1937 Guru: Brahm Shankar Misra Successors: Gur Charan Das Mehta; Gur Das Ram Center: Dayal Bagh, Agra Distinctions: Established Dayal Bagh in 1915; responsible for expanding the Agra branch of Radhasoami into a political and economic force. Sources: Anand Sarup, Diary of Sahabji Maharaj [three volumes]; Yathartha Prakasa [three parts]; and Souvenir . GUR CHARAN DAS MEHTA "Mehtaji" Ministry Dates: 1937 to 1975 Guru: Anand Sarup Successors: Dr. M.B. Lal Sahab Center: Dayal Bagh, Agra Distinctions: Solidified Dayal Bagh's economic and educational system. Sources: Souvenir . DR. M.B. LAL Ministry Dates: 1976 to ? Guru: Gur Charan Das Mehta Successors: ? Center: Dayal Bagh, Agra Distinctions: Elected by a large gathering of satsangis at Dayal Bagh; highly educated; former head of Lucknow University. Sources: Radhasoami Reality by Mark Juergensmeyer. SRI GURDAS RAM "Rajji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: Not known Guru: Anand Sarup (?) Successors: Not known Center: Dasna Distinctions: Chief rival successor to Gur Charan Das Mehta; author of several English Radhasoami books, including One Truth, One People . Sources: Souvenir (1975); Searchlight ; and One Truth, One People (1940's publication date). AJUDHIA PRASAD "Lalaji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: 1898 to 1926 Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: Gur Prasad Center: Peepal Mandi, Agra Distinctions: Blood son of Rai Salig Ram; instrumental in the development of the Central Administrative Council. Sources: Biography of Huzur Maharaj ; Radhasoami Faith ; and Correspondence with Certain Americans (all six volumes). GUR PRASAD "Kunwarji Maharaj" Ministry Dates: 1926 to 1959 Guru: Rai Salig Ram Successors: Agam Prasad Mathur Center: Peepal Mandi, Agra Distinctions: Grandson of Rai Salig Ram. Sources: Radhasoami Faith . AGAM PRASAD MATHUR "Dadaji" Ministry Dates: 1959 to present Guru: Gur Prasad Successors: ? [Sidebar: it has been suggested by close followers that Agam Prasad Mathur's eldest son would succeed him after his death] Center: Peepal Mandi, Agra Distinctions: Professor of History at Agra College; author of the book, The Radhasoami Faith ; great grandson of Rai Salig Ram; and Vice Chancellor of Agra College. Sources: A Thesis on a Thesis ; Turning East by Malcolm Tillis; and Radhasoami Reality.
SHIV BRAT LAL "Maharishi Data Dayal" Ministry Dates: 1898 to 1939 [Most likely did not begin his guru ministry, however, until the beginning of the 20th century] Guru: Rai Salig Ram Successors: Faqir Chand; Nandhu Singh; and Sheri-Boa Dutt (Pir Munga) Center: Lahore; Gopiganj Distinctions: Perhaps the most prolific author in the history of Radhasoami; estimated to have authored over 3,000 books and pamphlets. Sources: Light on Ananda Yoga ; Dayal Yoga ; and Shabd Yoga . FAQIR CHAND "Param Dayal" Ministry Dates: 1939 to 1981 [Appointed to serve as a guru, in 1919, though Faqir did not fully assume his role until after his master died] Guru: Shiv Brat Lal Successors: Dr. I.C. Sharma; and others in lesser capacities (including Yogini Mataji and M.R. Bhagat) Center: Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur Distinctions: Radical guru in the Radhasoami tradition who developed an unorthodox interpretation of religious visions and miracles, claiming that no guru really knew about appearing to their respective disciples. Sources: The Unknowing Sage ; The Secrets of a Faqir ; and The Lord as Guru . ISHWAR C. SHARMA Ministry Dates: 1981 to ? Guru: Faqir Chand Successors: ? Center: Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur Distinctions: Professor of Philosophy in the United States for a number of years; travels world-wide frequently; fuses New Age teaching with Sant mat. Sources: Manav Mandir , monthly magazine published in Hoshiarpur. NANDHU SINGH Ministry Dates: 1939 to date not known Guru: Shiv Brat Lal Successors: Sri P. Anand Rao Center: Secunderabad; Hyderabad Distinctions: Chief successor of Shiv Brat Lal in South India. Sources: The Master Speaks to the Foreigners ; Dayal Yoga . SRI P. ANAND RAO Ministry Dates: Not known Guru: Nandhu Singh Successors: Unknown Center: Be Man Society, Secunderabad/Hyderabad Distinctions: Chief successor of Nandhu Singh. Sources: Manav Mandir (monthly magazine published by the Faqir Charitable Trust Library in Hoshiarpur). PARTAP SINGH "Chachaji" Ministry Dates: 1878 to 1911 [Unclear when he started acting as a guru] Guru: Shiv Dayal Singh Successors: Shyam Lal; Sudarshan Singh; and K.A. Bavnani Center: Soami Bagh, Agra Distinctions: Youngest brother of Shiv Dayal Singh, the founder of Radhasoami. First President of the Central Administrative Council. Sources: Bhaktamal of the Radhasoami Faith ; History of the Radhasoami Faith & Tenets ; and Biography of Soamiji Maharaj.
SHYAM LAL Ministry Dates: 1915 to 1940 Guru: Partap Singh Successors: Managing Committee; K.S. Man Singh Center: Gwalior Distinctions: Main successor of Seth Pratap Singh Sources: Transformation of Self . K.S. MAN SINGH "Malik Sahib" Ministry Dates: 1941 to 1983 Guru: Shyam Lal Successors: Kripal Singh Center: Gwalior Distinctions: Unique guru in the Radhasoami tradition, having initiated disciples into shabd yoga and kundalini yoga. Sources: A Brief History of K.S. Man Singh ; The Lord as Guru .
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I want to go back to the home base now.