The Name of the True Supreme Being
The entire thought and practices of the Radhasoami faith, centre round the name Radhasoami which seems to be unique in the Sant traditions.
In the Radhasoami faith, the ultimate reality is Radhasoami. In Hinduism and its branches the ultimate reality is Brahman and Isvara. Brahman is considered to be the highest reality in Vedanta. The founders of Radhasoami faith, however, came forward with a new concept. According to them, The Brahman of Vedanta is limited to the second grand division of the creation whom they call “spiritual-material region”. They hold that the Brahman is not the true Supreme Being or the highest reality because he is not perfectly free from mind and matter. They assert that though spiritual components predominate in Brahman, there is Maya latent in the seed form and a Supreme Reality having the least admixture of Maya cannot be styled as the highest truth. They envisaged the highest and the first grand division of creation as the region of the true Supreme Being who is absolutely spiritual and totally free from mind and matter. Such a Supreme Being they have named as Radhasoami. In view of the said difference between Radhasoami and Brahman, the meaning of the word is not Krishna or the Lord of Radha. A casual observer however gets confused and straightway starts interpreting it for Krishna as Farquhar did when he observed : “It is necessary also to realize that the real meaning of Radhasoami is Krishna as Lord of Radha (His cowherd mistress in the latest cycle of myth) that Soami is only a curious phonetic misspell of Swami.
A careful study of the beliefs and practices of the faith shows that symbolic worship is totally rejected in it. The founders have openly criticized the traditionalism and ritualism of symbolism. As such their Supreme Being cannot belong to that category. Besides, the name of Lord Krishna occurs in the writings of the first guru who designates Krishna as the incarnation of a lower region who can never grant salvation to the jivas.
The True Shabd and Dhunyatmak Name
The founders assert that Radhasoami is a Dhunyatmak name because it is the true shabd. Shabd is energy and sound both. When there was no creation, pure and absolute spiritual energy rested in ellipsoid. Through divine will, creation started and the Supreme Being first manifested himself as shabd. The creativity in the pure spiritual energy led to a commotion which was accompanied by a pure spiritual resonance or a holy sound. The founders of the faith assert that Radhasoami is the all-pervading sound force in creation and a devotee can listen to this resonance within himself during the spiritual practice.
Soami is Ocean and Radha its First Wave
The founders of the faith have a few allegorical interpretations to put forward to explain the two components of the word – Radha and Soami. The second guru says that the Supreme Being may be compared to an ocean. A creative ocean cannot be perceived without commotion. The first wave of the endless ocean is Radha. The original current is not different from but is identical with the ocean itself and as it comes out so it is ever drawn towards it. The creative ocean, therefore, is Soami and the first original wave just identical to the ocean is Radha. The two together from the supreme ocean full of spiritual bliss and truth. Hence Radhasoami.
A Scientific Explanation
Brahma Shankar Misra, in his writings tried to explain the name on scientific grounds. According to him, the components of Radha and Soami represent in their letter form and in articulate speech the sound accompanying the spirit current and its focus. Comparing the action of the spirit force to that of a magnetic force he says : “The ions of Ether observed in a magnetic field are subject to two forces (given out by the two poles of magnet). At one pole, it is storage of energy and at the other it is its depletion. The ions are subjected to tremors. This is the first effect in the sphere of the attractive force. Similarly, prevailing attraction in spirit force can resolve into attraction currents which are made up of a series of attractive impulses. The letter sound Radha is accordingly the nearest approach in articulate speech of the subtle sound accompanying the action of the spiritual current. Soami is the prime source of the currents”. Thus Radhasoami is the source of all creation.
It Denotes Two Spiritual Components : The Lover and The Beloved
Radhasoami faith is the religion of pure and spiritual love. Love denotes two components, the beloved and the lover. The prime source of all love and spiritual energy is the beloved and is therefore known as Soami. The first wave of love and spiritual energy arising from its source and then being attracted towards it again, is the lover and therefore is known as Radha. The Supreme Love is Radhasoami identifying both the components and fusing them into one.
Radha is Adi-Surat And Soami is Adi-Shabd
As already explained, Radhasoami is the spiritual resonance reverberating incessantly in the highest region of creation where no mind and matter exist. The original resonance of adi-shabd (first sound) is Soami. Radha is the creative force which emanated from adi-shabd. In other words, Soami is the storehouse of the shabd and so it is called adi-shabd. Radha, being the first creative force, having its source in adi-shabd, and completely identical to it, is known as adi surat. Radhasoami together signify the storehouse of shabd which is sound and energy both.
Radhasoami is Soamiji Maharaj
The second guru used to address his guru as “Radhasoami Saheb”. When Hazur Maharaj practised the spiritual exercises of surat shabd yoga and attained the highest spiritual truth, he listened internally the refulgent resonance of Radhasoami incessantly resounding in the first and highest region of Creation and found his guru identical with the Highest Spiritual Being. He was then filled with divine grace and holy light of love. As such, he addressed him as “Radhasoami Saheb” and considered him to be the incarnation of the Supreme Being.
Radhasoami is Santsatguru
Maintaining the revelations of the second guru, the followers of the faith designate the living Satguru as “Radhasoami”. In fact, a devotee who practices surat shabd yoga and attains such spiritual heights as to identify the Satguru with the Supreme Being can alone reveal the secrets of this name. But as the Satguru is the human manifestation of the Supreme Being and is known as His son or representative in the world, he is generally addressed as “Radhasoami”. Such a one possesses all the attributes of the Supreme Being and like the tidal wave of the ocean, remains in constant union with Him.
It is Also the Name of The Sect
Followers of the faith are knitted in one organization known as “Radhasoami Satsang”. It was named thus when the first guru established the organization in 1861. The reason, evidently, is that devotees are required to keep the name of the Satguru constantly in their heart; by giving this name to the organization the first guru perhaps also meant to provide a built-in reminder to them about the holy name. It is, therefore, logically correct to name the sect as “Radhasoami Satsang”.