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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Radhasoamis cont'd

Shiv Dyal died in 1878. His mausoleum in Agra became a major pilgrimage center for followers of Radhasoami sect. He was succeeded in Agra by his chief disciple, Rai Saligram Kaisath.

Rai Bahadur Saligram Kaisath
Successor to Shiv dyal and author of many Radhasoami texts

Rai was born in 1828, and had met Shiv Dyal in 1858. Leading the Radhasoamis for twenty years (1878 – 1898), he wrote a number of books in Hindi, Urdu and even English. Rai Saligram, being a Postmaster General was in an excellent position to spread Radhasoami literature around India. In time, the movement gained many followers. Rai eventually died in 1898. A Brahmin Pandit named Shankar Missar succeeded Rai. Shankar was born on 28th March 1861, and became a disciple of Rai in 1885.

Pandit Shankar Missar

Born to Hindu Brahmin parents in the sacred city of Varanasi

During his lifetime, he lived in Pryag, Karachi, and Hyderabad where he spent time preaching the way of the Radhasoamis. He produced an English text named ‘Discourses on the Radha Soami Faith’, and later died in 1907. A mausoleum was made in Benares. Shankar was succeeded by Kamat Parsad Sinha, and then by Anand Saroop in Agra.

Kamat Parsad Sinha (left) and Anand Saroop (right)

It has to be noted that after the demise of Shiv Dyal, it was Rai who established himself in Agra. Another disciple of Shiv Dyal, a Jat Sikh named Jaimal Singh who was a former soldier in the British Raj, established himself on the banks of the River Beas in the district of Amritsar.

Jaimal Singh
Started his education at the age of 5 under the guidance of Baba Khem Singh, a Vedanti sage

The original branch of Radhasoamis in Agra began to gain a distinctively ‘Hindu’ tinge, thus divorcing it from its Nirmala Sikh origins. Jaimal Singh however, kept up the Sikh attachment amongst the Radhasoamis of Beas. The successors of Jaimal Singh such as Sawan Singh and Charan Singh were all ‘Keshadhari’ (kept unshorn hair), as was he.

Charan Singh
Initiated the largest number of seekers in the history of Radhasoamis

They appearance was that of S.G.P.C. Sikhs, yet the doctrine the adhered to, and subsequently preached was very different. Their ideology is considered to be a strange blend of Sikhism, combined with esoteric Hindu Yoga practices.

Sawan Singh
Responsible for developing the largest Radhasoami group in the world

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