Heaven on Earth is the English rendering of Diwan Daryai Lal Kapur’s popular and absorbing Urdu work, which traces the beginning and growth of Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, the centre of Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
The history of the Dera is, in fact, the life story of the great Saints whose love and grace, diligence and dedication, have developed this place- once a wilderness into a flourishing centre of peace and beatitude. It is also the story of the expansion of Sant Mat, which, beginning from a tiny spot on the west bank of the river Beas,, has spread not only to every state and town of India but also every corner of the world.
Born in 1889, Diwan Sahib –as the author was popularly know-graduated in law and arts began practice as a lawyer in Jullundar. He joined the Kapurthala State Civil Service in1920 and soon rose to become a judge. He also served as finance minister in Kapurthala State.
Diwan Sahib retired in 1947 and began to spend more time in the Dera, adopting it as his permanent place of residence in 1957. Initiated by Maharaj Sawan Singh Ji in December 1910, Diwan Sahib was a devoted dispel and a keen satsangi all his life. During his last twenty years, he served the present Master, Maharaj Charan Singh Ji, as his personal secretary. Active even till his last, diwan Sahib departed from this world in 1977.
Diwan Sahib’s earlier book, Call o the Great Master, is very popular with satsangis and seekers. Several editions have been printed, and it has been translated into a number of Indian and Western languages. Heaven on Earth is the outcome of the author’s lifelong experience on the path. Having come in close contact with the three Masters at the Dera-from the Great Master to the present Master and Having personally known many disciples of Baba ji Maharaj, Diwan Sahib was well qualified to undertake this work.
Heaven on Earth has already been translated into several Indian languages, and we are happy to present this English translation to our Western readers. The reader should keep in mind that Diwan Sahib, in preparing the revised edition of this book, has brought the narrative up to the years 1971/72. But the Dera, under Maharaj Charan Singh Ji’s kind patronage and loving guidance, has continued to develop in all directions- physical and spiritual. To narrate the story of this development and of the present Master’s boundless love and grace would required anther volume. In spite of all its physical growth, the Dera continues to be a centre of inner tranquility, of love and understanding; in this world of strife and turmoil, it is truly a unique place of peace and bliss.
The idea of writing a history of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas first came to my mind in 1912. I had accompanied the Great Master on his visit to Soami Bagh, Agra, on the occasion of a bhandara in honour of Soami Ji Maharaj. The Master’s group also included devoted disciples such as Sardar Bhagat Singh, Sardar Jagat Singh (later our Satguru at Beas), Pundit Lal Chand, lala Mushi Ram, and a few other.
We stayed in the rooms built by Baba Ji Maharaj with the Great Master’s seva contribution. Although I was young (just twenty-four) and a new satsangi (initiated) only two years earlier), I was thrilled to stay in those rooms and to meet the few initiated of Sami Ji Maharaj who were still living, as well as some satsangis who had personally known Baba ji Maharaj. When Bibi Sewadasi and Seth Sudarshan Singh-both initiates of Soami Ji – would talk about Baba Ji, and the Great Master.
Although I began to note down a few incidents, no serious attempt in this direction could be made because of my worldly preoccupation. In 1964 my revered and Dera and its Master. Reminding me that during the previous seven years satsangis like Prof. Jagmohan Lal, Rai Bahadur Gulwant Rai, Lala Balak Ram, Lala Munshi Ram, and Babu Gulab Singh all close to the Great Master-had passed away, Rai Bahadur Shankar Dass added, “And what certainty do we have? We may be guests in this words for a few more years, months, or maybe weeks.”
Within two months of my receiving this letter, Rai Bahadur Shankar Dass also left us for his final journey. Shaken out of my mood of procrastination, I took up the work in all earnestness, and the manuscript of Firdaus- -Barin (Urdu) was ready in 1966.
The incidents included in this volumes are based on information obtained from satsangis who have close to the Masters at the Dera, and on my own personal experiences; for, having come to Sang Mat in 1910, I have been a witness to many things narrated herein.
There account of events before 1910 is based on informed received from Rai Bahadur Seth Sudarshan Singh, Baba Garib Das, and Bibi Sewadasi- all disciples of Soami Ji Maharaj- who had close contact with Baba Ji Maharaj. Many details about the early days of the Dera and about Baba Ji and the Great Master are based on accounts gathered from Bibi Rukko, Baba Bagga Singh,Mahant” Inder Singh, Bhai Manna Singh, Lala Parmanand Bajaj, Babu Gulab Singh, Milkhi Ram, Munshi Chananmal, Bhai Surain Singh, and Maghar Singh, and Maghar Singh, who were all initiates of Baba Ji; old satsangis from the neighbouring villages of Waraich and Balsarai, such as Sardar Lal Singh and Nambardar Jadat Singh; old attendants of the Great Master’s family members, particularly his wife, Mata Kishan Kaur, and his son Sardar Bachint Singh; and many other prominent satsangis, such as Lala Munshi Ram, Rai Bahadur Sahnkar Dass, Sardar Sewa Singh, Rai Bahadur Gulwant Rai, Bakshi Chanan Shah, Bhai Shadi, and Bibi Ralli.
In his satsangs and personal talks, the Greats Master would often narrate incidents of Baba Ji’s life and sometimes also reminisce about his own. I have tried to make use of this precious material, which forms a part of my most cherished memory of our beloved Master.
After the second edition of Firdaus- i- Barin, some of my friends, old residents of the Dera and senior satsangis pointed out certain discrepancies in the book and gave more details about Dera history and life of Baba Ji, Great Master, and changes in the original text, and have also added some material.
Not much was written about Sardar Bahadur Maharaj Jagat Singh in the first two editions. Pundit Lal Chand Dharmani and the Dharmani family, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) K. L. Sondhi, and Prof. Balwant Singh – all of whom had know Sardar Bahadur Ji from his days in Lyallpur – and Bibi Ralli Sardar Gurdial Singh, Nambardar Jagat Singh, Bakshi Maluk Chand, Ram Nath Mehta, and Dr (Miss) S. Sinha gave me some more material about him. On the basis of their information I have rewritten the chapter on Sardar Bahadur Maharaj Ji
Similarly, I have almost rewritten the portion about our present Master, Maharaj Charan Singh Ji, and have tried to bring the narrative up to date. In this connection I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the satsang secretaries of centres in India and abroad, and of good friend like Miss Louise Hilger, Mr H. F. Weekley, Mr Sam Busa, Mrs Bea Jauncey, Mr R. N. Mehta, Prof. Janak Puri, Mr Krishin Babani, AVM K. L. Sondhi, and Mr Madan Mehta, besides many other satsangis from India and abroad.
My good friend and a very devoted satsangi, Prof. Jagmohan Lal, who was working as the present Master’s personal secretary, left this world in 1958, and the Master gave me that seva. I am Blessed with the rare privilege of coming in close contact with Maharaj Charan Singh Ji and have a few times heard him reminisce about the Great Master and Sardar Bahadur Ji, and also about himself. I have taken the liberty of basing some parts of my narrative on these reminiscences.
I do not claim to be an author, historian, scholar, or thinker. The urge to write this book has come from my sixty-three years of association with three great Masters at the Dera. I have no words to express my gratitude to my beloved Satguru for all his compassion and grace, which I have done little to deserve. For the many flaws in the narrative, flaws of language and style, I pray for the Master’s forgiveness, as also for that of the kind readers.
In the end, I would like to submit that the history of the Dera is closely relates to the life of the masters. It may be easy to write the history of an institution, but it is not easy to depict the glory of the perfect Masters. It is beyond comprehension and beyond words. To quote Tulsi Sahib, “If anyone claims he has understood a Saint, Tulsi – dismayed –shouts in reprobation: Enough!
It will be my great good fortune if this humble contribution to satsang literature is accepted at the feet of my beloved Satguru.
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