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Notes on Rai Salig Ram, Shiva Dayal Singh, etc.

Nov 10, 2002 09:45 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell

Notes on Rai Salig Ram, Shiva Dayal Singh, etc.

by Daniel H. Caldwell

In the latter part of 1883, A.P. Sinnett, a well-known Theosophist, 
wrote about a deceased seer who had lived at Agra, India and one of 
his followers then living in Allahabad, India:

". . . up to within a few years ago, a very highly spiritualised 
ascetic and gifted seer [Shiv Dayal Singh, the acknowledged 
founder of Radhasoami] was living at Agra, where he taught a group of 
disciples and by their own statement has frequently re-appeared 
amongst them since his death. This event itself was an effort of will 
accomplished at an appointed time. I have heard a good deal about him 
from one [Rai Salig Ram] of his principal followers, a cultivated and 
highly respected native Government official, now living at 
Allahabad. . . . " Quoted from Sinnett's article titled " 'The 
Brothers' of Theosophy", LIGHT (London), December 22, 1883, pp. 557. 

Dayal Singh died in Agra in 1878.

Earlier in 1883, Sinnett had given more information about Dayal Singh 
and Salig Ram in his book ESOTERIC BUDDHISM:

". . . I know one native [Rai Salig Ram] of India, for example, a man 
of European education, holding a high appointment under Government, 
of good station in society, most elevated character, and enjoying 
unusual respect with such Europeans as are concerned with him in 
official life, who will only accord to the Brothers of Tibet a second 
place in the world of spiritual enlightenment. The first place he 
regards as occupied by one person [Shiv Dayal Singh, the acknowledged 
founder of Radhasoami], now in this world no longer --- his own 
occult master in life --- whom he resolutely asserts to have been an 
incarnation of the Supreme Being. His own (my friend's) inner senses 
were so far awakened by this Master, that the visions of his 
entranced state, into which he can throw himself at will, are to him 
the only spiritual region in which he can feel interested. Convinced 
that the Supreme Being was his personal instructor from the 
beginning, he is naturally inaccessible to suggestions [as given in 
Mahatma Letter No. 40] that his impressions may be distorted by 
reason of his own misdirected psychological development. . . . "  
Quoted from Sinnett's book titled ESOTERIC BUDDHISM, 1st ed., June 
1883, p. 9-10.

According to S. D. Maheshwari, "On the 28th April, 1881, he [ Rai 
Salig Ram] had the unique honor of being the first Indian to be made 
the Postmaster General of the North Western Frontier 
Provinces. . . . " BIOGRAPHY OF HUZUR MAHARAJ [Rai Salig Ram], by 
S.D. Maheshwari, p. 62

It would appear that in the latter part of 1881, Sinnett had met Rai 
Salig Ram in Allahabad. Salig Ram told Sinnett about his deceased 
guru Shiv Dayal Singh. Sinnett, who was at the same time in 
correspondence with Madame Blavatsky's teachers, wrote to Master 
Morya inquiring about Shiv Dayal Singh, Rai Salig Ram and their 
claims. Master Morya answered Sinnett's queries as follows:

". . . Suby Ram [Rai Salig Ram] -- a truly good man -- yet a devotee 
of another error. Not his guru's voice -- his own. The voice of a 
pure, unselfish, earnest soul, absorbed in misguided, misdirected 
mysticism. Add to it a chronic disorder in that portion of the brain 
which responds to clear vision and the secret is soon told: that 
disorder was developed by forced visions; by hatha yog and prolonged 
asceticism. S. Ram is the chief medium and at same time the principal 
magnetic factor, who spreads his disease by infection -- 
unconsciously to himself; who innoculates with his vision all the 
other disciples. There is one general law of vision (physical and 
mental or spiritual) but there is a qualifying special law proving 
that all vision must be determined by the quality or grade of man's 
spirit and soul, and also by the ability to translate divers 
qualities of waves of astral light into consciousness. There is but 
one general law of life, but innumerable laws qualify and determine 
the myriads of forms perceived and of sounds heard. There are those 
who are willingly and others who are unwillingly -- blind. Mediums 
belong to the former, sensitives to the latter. Unless regularly 
initiated and trained -- concerning the spiritual insight of things 
and the supposed revelations made unto man in all ages from Socrates 
down to Swedenborg and 'Fern' -- no self-tutored seer or clairaudient 
ever saw or heard quite correctly."

"No harm and much instruction may come to you by joining his 
[Radhasoami] Society. Go on until he demands what you will be obliged 
to refuse. Learn and study. You are right: they [Salig Ram and his 
devotees] say and affirm that the one and only God of the Universe 
was incarnated in their guru [Shiv Dayal Singh, the acknowledged 
founder of Radhasoami], and were such an individual to exist he would 
certainly be higher than any 'planetary.' But they are idolators, my 
friend. Their guru was no initiate only a man of extraordinary purity 
of life and powers of endurance. He had never consented to give up 
his notions of a personal god and even gods though offered more than 
once. He was born an orthodox Hindu and died a self-reformed Hindu, 
something like Kechub-Ch-Sen but higher purer and with no ambition to 
taint his bright soul. Many of us have regretted his self-delusion 
but he was too good to be forcibly interfered with. Join them and 
learn -- but remember your sacred promise to K.H. . . . M."
Mahatma Letter No. 40

Concerning Morya's comment that Rai Salig Ram had "a chronic disorder 
in that portion of the brain which responds to clear vision and the 
secret is soon told: that disorder was developed by forced visions; 
by hatha yog and prolonged asceticism." 

Compare this with what Prof. A.P. Mathur writes about Rai Salig Ram:

"Huzur Maharaj [Rai Salig Ram] has criticized the various forms of 
yoga prevalent in the country since the days of yore . He discards 
hathyoga as a purely external exercise which, instead of generating 
love for the Supreme Being, gives rise to pride and conceit. It is 
devoid of any spiritual benefit. Discussing the practice of pranayam, 
he says that it is difficult to perform it in the modern age. Its 
ancillary observances are so hazardous that a slight lapse or neglect 
may result in serious illness or even death. Huzur Maharaj holds that 
even ascetics find themselves incapable of practising pranayam. For 
persons leading a family life, it is impossible to achieve any 
success. He further asserts that even if it is correctly and 
successfully performed, it will not lead to true salvation, because 
its gains are limited to the region of Brahmand." Quoted from:

Regardless of what Mathur writes above, it has been documented that 
earlier in life, Rai Salig Ram had practised pranayama.
See Radhasoami Reality: The Logic of a Modern Faith by Mark 

Compare the above with what Master KH writes about another person who 
had practised pranayama:

". . . he has nevertheless, by the injudicious practice of pranayam, 
developed in himself to some extent mediumship --- IS TAINTED FOR 
LIFE WITH IT." caps added. quoted from:

Compare this again with what is given in Volume III of THE SECRET 
DOCTRINE, p. 502:

"Now, the science of Hatha Yoga rests upon the 'suppression of 
breath,' or Prânâyâma? . . . Prâna, as said, is not
Jîva, the eternal 
fount of life immortal; nor is it connected in any way with Pranava, 
as some think, for Pranava is a synonym of AUM in a mystic sense. As 
much as has ever been taught publicly and clearly about it is to be 
found in Nature's Finer Forces. If such directions, however, are 
followed, they can only lead to Black Magic and mediumship. . . . The 
science of the Five Breaths, the moist, the fiery, the airy, etc., 
has a twofold significance and two applications. The Tântrikas
take it literally, as relating to the regulation of the vital, lung 
breath, whereas the ancient Râja Yogîs understood it as
referring to the mental or 'will' breath, which alone leads to the 
highest clairvoyant powers, to the function of the Third Eye, and the 
acquisition of the true Râja Yoga Occult powers. The difference 
between the two is enormous." 


Encyclopædia Britannica says the following about Radhasoami
religious movement:

"Radha Soami Satsang . . . also called Radhasvami Satsang, esoteric 
religious sect of India that has followers among both Hindus and 
Sikhs. The sect was founded in 1861 by Siva Dayal Saheb [Shiva Dayal 
Singh] (also called Sivdayal), a Hindu banker of Agra, who believed 
that human beings could perfect their highest capabilities only 
through repetition of the sabd ('sound'), or nam ('name'), of the 
Lord. Radha soami signifies the union of the soul with God, the name 
of God, and the sound heard internally that emanates from God. Great 
emphasis is placed on the 'congregation of truthful people,' the 

"On the death of Siva Dayal Saheb, the Radha Soami sect split into 
two factions. The main group remained [under the leadership or 
guruship of Rai Salig Ram] at Agra. The other branch was started by a 
Sikh disciple of Siva Dayal Saheb named Jaimal Singh. Members of this 
latter group are known as the Radha Soamis of Beas, because they have 
their headquarters on the bank of the Beas River, near Amritsar."

Quoted from: "Radha Soami Satsang" Encyclopædia Britannica 

"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 .
Quoted from David C. Lane's The Radhasoami Tradition, Appendix One,

"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). 

Quoted from David C. Lane's The Radhasoami Tradition, Appendix One,


David C. Lane writes:

"Scholarly attention was first paid to the Radhasoami movement 
indirectly when Max Mueller included a small section on Rai Salig Ram 
in his often quoted, Ramakrishna: His Life and Work (1899). Prior to 
this time, however, Salig Ram and Radhasoami were mentioned in 
passing in several Theosophical books. Due to the diligent research 
of Daniel Caldwell of Tuscon, Arizona, an authority on the early days 
of Theosophy, a number of references to Salig Ram and his teachings 
have been located. First, there is a paragraph on Salig Ram on page 
151 of the "Appendix to Fourth Edition" in The Occult World by A. P. 
Sinnett (London: Trubner & Company, 1884). Second, there is a brief 
mention of him in Esoteric Buddhism by A. P. Sinnett in 1885 (San 
Diego: Wizards Bookshelf, 1981) on pages 9 and 10. Third, there is a 
short description of Salig Ram and his guru in a letter allegedly 
received around February 1882 on page 251 of The Mahatma Letters 
(Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1979). And fourth, 
Salig Ram's name appears as a subscriber in the December 1880 issue 
of Theosophist magazine. . . . "

Quoted from David C. Lane's The Radhasoami Tradition, Introduction:  
The Birth of a Guru,

David C. Lane writes:

"Rai Salig Ram, according to this perspective, did [see Note 1] not 
start the Radhasoami Faith, as such, but was rather the first 
disciple and the only true gurumukh . . . to have the Mehr (Grace) to 
recognize the unique stature of his guru. Subsequently, Shiv Dayal 
Singh was pleased to reveal the nij mat (original doctrine/path) of 
Radhasoami Purush (the Absolute Supreme Lord) to his beloved disciple 
which he had not done previously to anyone. . . . "

[Note 1]: "I have termed Rai Salig Ram's perspective as 
incarnationalist in my M.A. thesis, Radhasoami Mat (Berkeley: 
Graduate Theological Union, 1981), since he believed that his guru, 
Shiv Dayal Singh, was the FIRST ABSOLUTE manifestation of the Supreme 
Lord on earth. . . . " caps added.

Quoted from David C. Lane's The Radhasoami Tradition, Chapter One,

For biographical sketch of Shiv Dayal Singh, see:

"The first guru of the Radhasoami faith was Shri Shiv Dayal Singhji 
who was later named Soamiji Maharaj. . . . "

For biographical sketch of Rai Salig Ram, see:

"The second guru of the Radhasoami Faith, Rai Saligram Bahadur, 
popularly known as Huzur Maharaj, was born in a kayastha family of 
Peepal Mandi, Agra, on 14 march 1829. . . . " 

See one of Salig Ram's works at:

Photo of Salig Ram at:


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