Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sant Mat: Definition and Principals

Sant Mat: Definition and Principles

Translated Into English By Pravesh K. Singh
In the Announcement: "Three Day Santmat Satsang at Chandrapur, Maharashtra":

Sant Mat Quote of the Day:

Santmat, translated variously as: The Point of View of Sants, Teachings of Mystics, or the Way of Rishis or Sages, etc. has a long history of its own. References to it may be found even in Goswami Tulsidas ji's Ram Charit Manas:
"IhAn na pacchapAt kachhu rAkhaun |
Ved purAn santmat bhAkhaun ||"
[Here we don't nurse any sort of partisan attitude; 
we state the very ideas contained within Vedas, Purans and Santmat].
What we call as `sants' in modern times were known as `rishis' in the most ancient Vedic era. Some regard Lord Buddha as the first sant of modern times. Kabir Sahab, Guru Nanak Sahab, Goswami Tulsidas ji, Sant Mira Bai, Sant Surdas ji, Sant Ravidas ji, Sant Dadu Dayalji, Sant Paltoo Sahab, Sant Dariya Sahab, Sant Charandas ji, Sant Sahjo Bai, Sant Tukaram ji, Sant Namdev ji etc are only a few of sants to name that belonged to modern times. Not only this, Santmat respects, encompasses and propagate the teachings of  Jesus Christ, sants in Christian tradition, Prophet Mohammed, sufi mystics, etc. as well. The formal usage of the term `Santmat' in modern times is credited to Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. Subsequently, several branches of Santmat came into existence such as those after the names of Sant Radhasoami of Agra, Baba Devi Sahab of Muradabad, Baba Jaimal Singh of Beas (Radha Soami Satsang Beas), etc. all of which have been playing key roles in propagating the ideals of Santmat to the different parts of the world.
Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj (28.04.1885 – 08.06.1986), one of the most eminent disciples of Baba Devi Sahab, was one of the greatest-ever exponents of Sant Mat. His greatest contribution was that he very meticulously and diligently examined  and sifted the quintessence, the underlying postulates of Vedas, Upanishads, Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, literature of various sants, commentary of contemporaries such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand, etc..., and came up with a sound and resounding conclusion that there is no inconsonance whatsoever between the wisdom of the Ancient Scriptures and the Sermons and discourses of modern sants, that both unequivocally convey the same central idea or message. He wrote several books to lend credence to his inferences.
As the gist of the whole of his intensive research into literature and, more importantly, his own direct experience, he made a loud and confident proclamation that the scriptures and sants are essentially in unison and that any view to the contrary is wholly unfounded and worthy of rejection. He firmly opines that one has to accept the Upanishads as the base, the foundation, the underlying rock bed of the Santmat because the most sublime and the loftiest of the techniques of meditation known as Nadanusandhan or Surat Shabd Yoga, or Shabda Sadhana (The Yoga of  Inner Divine Sound) in which Santmat takes utmost pride, have been scintillating in all their splendour resting, since times immemorial, on this very terra firma called the Upanishads.
Thus, the greatest and the most unique contribution of Maharshi Mehi was that he brought together the two schools who had been steadily and increasingly turning mutual antagonistic to each other, bridged the gulf that had come to separate not only the Holy Scriptures and the Santmat but also the different traditions or sects of sants from each other.
He very diligently crafted the definition and principles of Santmat which are included in his book "Mehi Padavali" (Verses of Mehi) consisting of his own compositions mostly in verse form.
Presented below is an English translation of the definition and principles of Santmat, as formulated by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj himself, excerpted from his above book:
-Translated by Pravesh K. Singh   
· `Shanti' or phonetically`Shaanti', (meaning `Peace') is defined as stillness, equability, calmness, or motionlessness.
· Those who have attained `shanti' are called sants.
· The views or the virtuous ways of sages are known as `Santmat'.
· The urge or impetus to acquire `shanti' is so very natural to the human heart. Inspired by the same inner urge, the `rishis' or sages (who are said to have visualised the mantras - which were later compiled in the form of Vedas and Upanishads - during their meditation) in ancient times, made all-out attempts in search of `shanti' and having found the same in their own direct experience described the ideas or ways to obtain it (`shaanti') in Upanishads for the beneficence of common people. Sants such as Kabir Sahab, Guru Nanak Sahab, etc. also expounded thoughts or ideas resembling or identical to these (ideas expressed in the Upanishads) in their local languages or dialects such as Bharati (Hindi), Punjabi, etc. These very ideas or thoughts are termed as `Santmat'. However, the sacred verses of the Upanishads particularly have to be acknowledged to be the basic foundation or the bedrock of the Santmat, for the highest knowledge or wisdom and the precise principal means to attain that wisdom namely, the 'nadanusandhan' or 'surat shabd yoga' (the subtler and the subtlest meditation of Santmat, in which the practitioner ultimately meditates upon the Divine Sound/Vibration that springs directly from the God), in which Santmat takes so much of pride have been dazzling brilliantly engraved on this very terra firma since times immemorial. 
Because of the appearance of sants in different times (ages) and different lands or countries and because of different nomenclatures of Sant Mat sects or lineages after the different names of these sants by their followers, the views of sants might appear to be different or separate from each other. However, if the views of all the sants are analysed dispassionately, discarding the grosser and outer drapes or coverings and the sectarian thoughts, and the essence of the teachings of sants is gleaned or extracted, it would evidently emerge that there is an essential underlying unity in the views of all the sants (of all times, of all regions and of all religions the world over).
· That Absolute (superlative) entity alone Who is without a beginning and without an end, without any limits (boundaries), unborn (without birth), unintelligible or imperceptible to senses, all-pervading and even beyond all the spheres of nature (while at the same time pervading all of these) should be regarded as the `Lord of All' and the underlying base or essence of all-that-exists. Further, That Who (in His pure form) lies beyond the realms of the lower orders of (`apara prakriti' or `jad prakriti' or the gross creation) creations as well as the higher orders of (`para prakriti', or `chetan prakriti' or conscious creation) nature, that which transcends both the attribute-less-ness (that which is beyond the three `gunas' or qualities) as well as the attributes (the three qualities of `Satva', `raj' and `tama'), He who is without a beginning and without an end in his true form, unfathomable and possessed of infinite power, that who is beyond the mind, intellect and senses, that absolute authority which makes this whole nature (all the universes and their systems) operate or run systematically just like gigantic machinery, That Who is neither an individual person nor anything manifest, That Who is devoid of or beyond all the varied expanses of illusion in any form whatsoever, That beyond Whom no empty space can exist, That Who is the most eternal, the most ancient and has been in existence before anything else, That, precisely That, is regarded as the Highest Spiritual Entity, or the Supreme Sovereign Lord of the Highest spiritual Order, the Lord of All or God.
· `Jivatma' , phonetically `jeevaatmaa' (individual soul attached with the body), is the ever inseparable or undividable part of the Supreme Sovereign.
· Nature has a beginning and an end, and has been created.
· The individual soul, ensnared in `maya' or illusion, remains trapped in the cycle of births and deaths. To remain thus is at the root of all its miseries and afflictions. Devotion to the God is the only way out of these miseries and afflictions.
· Man alone is eligible or entitled to attain salvation, to becoming one with the God, by performing devotion to Him, the Supreme Sovereign, through practice of `Manas Jap' (internally chanting the sacred mantra given by the Guru without moving either the tongue or the lips), `Manas Dhyaan' (visualising internally the form of the Guru or the desired deity), `Drishti Sadhan' (focussing attention or the current of consciousness at the specified point in the inner sky as taught by the Guru) and `Surat Shabd Yoga' (Meditating on the Divine Sound in the inner sky).
· Human beings desirous of accomplishing this lofty goal must abstain from committing the five greatest of sinful acts namely, to lie, to consume or take intoxicating substances (such as tobacco, drugs, wine, etc), to commit adultery, to commit violence (including harming other creatures and/or eating non-vegetarian food), and to steal.
· Besides, the five virtuous acts namely, unmoving faith or belief in one God, rock-solid determination or conviction to realise or find Him within, honest selfless service of Guru, keeping noble company (of sants, sayings of saints and sacred scriptures, etc.) and rigorous practice of meditation should be considered as the means to Total Liberation (from cycle of births and deaths).

Also See: Maharshi Mehi: Bridge Between the Hindu Scriptures and Sant Mat: