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May 16, 2023

On the Origins of Modern-day Sant Mat: In the beginning there was one Sant Mat Path founded by Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras with Satsang centers in Hathras, Agra, and Lucknow. Sant Tulsi Sahib sent Girdhari Sahib to the city of Lucknow a few years prior to his passing in 1843.  During the period of time between the passing of Sant Tulsi Sahib in 1843 and the passing of Maharaj Girdhari Sahib of Lucknow in August of 1860 -- that seventeen year period -- in addition to doing much meditation, Soamiji Maharaj also was affiliated with, attended and supported the Satsang of Sant Girdhari Sahib in the city of Lucknow. 


Girdhari earlier had spent some time in Agra and gave Satsang talks at Soamiji's home. According to Seth Pratap's Biography of Soamiji Maharaj, after the passing of Tulsi Sahib, Soamiji Maharaj had Girdhari move into his (Swamiji's) other house, located in the city of Lucknow. This became a new base of operations, a headquarters for the Lucknow Satsang, very much like the family home at Panni Gali, Agra had served as the place of Satsang for the Tulsi Sahib Sangat there since Soamiji was a small child and even earlier. Another reason for Swami Ji to have a house in Lucknow was that sometimes Swami Ji traveled to Lucknow to attend the Satsangs of Girdhari Sahib.


Soamiji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Radhasoami Poetry, Hidayat Namah section: "For a long time the spirit of this faqir (i.e. Soamiji Maharaj Himself) sauntered and stayed there [Maha-Sunn, Great Dark Void] and then under instructions from the Teachers and Guides, moved ahead."


Sant Garib Das commenting on the above verse: "Soamiji in his Discourses has said that his surat descended into the dark regions of Maha-Sunn but could neither locate the bottom or the end of it nor did it feel it worthwhile to go down any further. Thereafter, his surat adhering to the signs as revealed to him by his Gurus ascended upwards. Here Soamiji says that it was the inner Mercy of his Satguru Tulsi Saheb and that of Maharaj Girdhari Das Ji whose Satsang he attended for a very long period of time." (Anmol Vachan)


Soamiji viewed Girdhari Sahib as Tulsi Sahib's successor, supported him, and attended his Satsang. Soami Ji Maharaj treated Girdhari Das as his Guru, as well as donated and "gave substantial material support" to his spiritual mission for "a number of years" according to, The Biography of Soamiji Maharaj, and according to Daniel Gold in, The Lord As Guru: Hindi Sants in the North Indian Tradition.


Professor Mark Juergensmeyer in, Radhasoami Reality observed: "Girdhari Das is described as being the 'chief disciple' of Tulsi Sahib, a term that would usually imply he was understood as his designated successor (Pratap Singh Seth, Biography of Soami Ji Maharaj, p. 108). After Tulsi Sahib’s death, Swami Shiv Dayal brought Girdhari Das into his house, treated him with love, and accorded him respect due to a pious Mahatma.'" (Pratap Singh Seth, Biography of Soami Ji Maharaj, p. 37).


RUMI's Ode to the Unknown Mursheeds, Sages and Guides


"In every age, God’s mercy and pleasure graces their (Saints') pure spirit and breath. The names of lakhs of (cloistered, secluded, hidden) majestic spiritual personages (Saints) whose heads are adorned and distinguished by His grace have remained unknown and unsung because they were the cynosure of God who (must have) felt envious of their spiritual grandeur (and chose to keep them obscure and unhonoured as obscure heroes are unsung)." (Jalaluddin Rumi, The Mathnawi)



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