Essential Teachings of Baba Devi Sahab of Moradabad
Note: All translations below are by Pravesh K. Singh, except for the discourse titled, “God is the Creator of Yoga”, rendered in English by Amit Jyoti.
“This spiritual path and its destination is divine love….. The remover of difficulties is the one spiritual teacher who has given you the secret knowledge (spiritual guidance and experience).” — Baba Devi Sahab
“We should understand that bhakti [love] is the life or soul of the entire universe.” (Baba Devi Sahab)
“The pathway to the liberation of the ‘jiva’ (individual soul) already exists within each one of us.” (Baba Devi Sahab)
“God and Love (Bhakti) are one and the same thing”. (Baba Devi Sahab)
“The other Music or Sound is internal and the way to listen to that is by focusing our attention on the internal `Shabd’ or Sound which is Ringing within each one of us. Shabd is a highly precious wealth in the life of every human being. So long as this Shabd is present in a man he is alive; as soon as the Shabd exits, it is the end of him.” (Baba Devi Sahab)
“The waves or vibrations of Sound permeate the whole of the body…… It exists in the body in the form of vitality or Life-Current. It exists in the mental sky in the form of Light, while it exists as Sound in the void…. It is the highest duty of every individual to acquire experiential knowledge of this Sound and to investigate or explore the Origin or Source from where this Sound flows out.” (Baba Devi Sahab)
Hymn Dedicated to Baba Devi Sahab by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans
After a lot of wandering search, I found my Guru at Moradabad. (*1) ||refrain||
He spread the light, infinitely resplendent light of wisdom from the ward of Atai. |
The grief-stricken people mired in dark dungeons of ignorance,
began to smile with hope, finding a heartening saviour in him. ||2||
Baba Devi Sahab, the Complete Master of inner secrets, is a renowned name all over the world. |
Upon those who show even slight love to him, Baba showers infinite compassion,
Mehi, the humble servant, gratefully sings his glory. ||3||
— Verse No. 101 of Maharshi Mehi from “Maharshi Mehi Padavali”
Translated by Pravesh K. Singh
NOTE: *1. Moradabad (Muradabad) is a town in Uttar Pradesh province of India
Baba Devi Sahab (1841 - 1919)
According to Veena Howard, Baba Devi Sahab’s parents were followers of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, India. As an infant he was blessed by Tulsi Sahib (indeed, even before birth according to the account from the SadGuruMehi website below), and grew up being part of the spiritual community (sangat, satsang) founded by Param Sant Tulsi Sahib, Hathras, India.
Baba Devi Sahab eventually spent some time in nearby Agra and was close friends with Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram) of the Agra Radhasoami Satsang. He regarded both Soami Ji and Saligram as true Sants. He eventually settled in Moradabad, where he established an ashram and spiritual mission.
“Baba Devi Sahab became a great Sant after Sant Tulsi Sahab. Sant Tulsi Sahab had predicted the incarnation of Baba Devi Sahab as a born yogi. Munshi Maheshwari Lal had utmost devotion for Sant Tulsi Sahab. So, due to that love Tulsi Sahab used to visit his home. Maheshwari Lal had no son and so he used to remain sad. Being pleased by his selfless service and love, Sant Tulsi Sahab once blessed Munshi Maheshwari Lal, saying that soon he would have a great sant-soul as his son who would change millions of lives by his spiritual power. Sants’ sayings never become false. Thus Munshi Maheshwari became father of a boy that very year, March 1841…..Baba Devi Sahab started the propagation of Sant Mat widely from the year of 1887, visited many places in India and neighboring countries and spread the knowledge of Sant Mat. He delivered many discourses on different subjects such as Salvation, Devotion, the Universe, God, and Meditation.” (SadGuruMehi.com)
Baba Devi Sahab used to travel widely to awaken the masses by propagating the precepts of Sant Mat. In this process, he had also traveled and delivered his discourses in a number of cities located in what is now Pakistan, such as Multan, Quetta, Karachi, etc.
Baba Devi Sahab was in possession of a hand-written manuscript of Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras printed at Hathras itself in the year of 1896, and had it published, sharing the teachings of the great Saint of Hathras with spiritual seekers everywhere: “The book Ghat Ramayan is said to be the work of Tulsi Saheb of Hathras. The first edition of this book was published by one Munshi Devi Prasad Saheb alias Devi Sahib. Subsequently, an edition was brought out in the year 1911 from Belvedere Press…..” (“The Esoteric Meaning of the Ramayan”, by S.D. Maheshwari, Agra)
Baba Devi Sahab was the Guru of Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj (see the book, “Philosophy of Liberation”).
Video of Baba Devi Sahab’s Samadh and Scenes from the Sant Mat Satsang Ashram, Moradabad: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=431125083644531
Some Rare Passages That Have, For the First Time, Appeared in English
Spiritual Teachings of Baba Devi Sahab
“Those persons who live and practice in accordance with this tradition and principle are called sadhus (sages), and those who have reached or raised themselves into that Realm, where the Truth alone exists, are called Sants [the English word ‘Saint’, though close and the nearest match, is not an exact translation of the Hindi or Sanskrit word ‘Sant’].”
“The pathway to the liberation of the ‘jiva’ (individual soul) already exists within each one of us. Unless one treads onto this Path himself/herself, it is not possible for him/her either to attain freedom (from the cycles of existence) which is the real fruit of any religion, or to know the true wisdom inherent in other religions, or to understand the right meaning of the scriptures belonging to his/her own religion or sect, regardless of however great a ‘pundit’, ‘maulavi’, or priest he/she might be.”
“The common message that all the Sants have to give is that whatever – inside or outside — can be seen (comes into sight — gross or subtle), and as far as there is “roop” (form or shape), all is illusory and impermanent; beyond this (roop) is a Realm which has never been born and will never die or be destroyed. That alone is Truth. It is indestructible. It has no color, no shape or form, and no particular name [is Nameless, Soundless, Formless]; but it is something which can be perceived or understood and, therefore, is entitled to be described or explained with the help of a (symbolic) name. Jiva [the soul] is a part (inseparable part) of it, because jiva, too, is indestructible. Merging this (jiva) into God is known as internal Satsang and where (in the outside world) spiritual people gather together to discuss (these principles) is called external Satsang.”
“We should go to that place where the way to remove these veils is taught. In the terminology of Sants and noble people, such a place is called ‘Satsang’ (association of devotees to discuss God, meditation and the teachings of the Sants) where methods are taught to inculcate bhakti [love and devotion] and remove the veils that keep it under-cover.”
“Only seeing great souls does not bring well-being to anyone. What’s needed is to listen to their words, contemplate their teachings, and put them into practice. This means to listen to the words of great souls with veneration, ponder their meaning, and live accordingly. This is what works.”
Guru is Indispensable for Self-Realization
Very little of what Baba Devi Sahab said is available in written form and the poems composed by him are still rarer to find. Given below is English translation of one such poem taken from the book, “Satsang Bhajanaavali,” compiled and edited by Swami Achyutanand ji. Swami Achyutanand ji is a direct disciple of Maharshi Mehi, still very actively involved in propagation of Sant Mat even at his ripe age of about 80 years. He was the founder editor of the spiritual monthly, “Shanti Sandesh”, founded by Maharshi Mehi.
“Our Lord resides in all of us.
He is so wonderful that though He pervades
everything, (yet) He is separate from
and transcends everything.
It is not possible to see Him (in His true form)
without meeting, and learning the secrets from
an accomplished Guru.
He is blessed and adorable within whose body
He reveals Himself (i.e. who can see His true form
He is without form, color and shape, (so that)
the Vedas sing ‘neti neti’ (meaning, ‘nothing in this
creation is like, or resembles Him’) in His praise.
Baba Devi Sahab wonders as to how and in
how many ways he should describe Him, as He
(God) is indescribable, beyond the faculties of
speaking and hearing.”
Sayings of Baba Devi Sahib on Love (Bhakti)
“God and bhakti are otherwise one and the same thing”.
“In short, bhakti is such a thing without which no worldly or heavenly acts can be accomplished. He alone is a human being (in the true sense) who knows the key to or secret of bhakti. He whose heart is devoid of the spirit of love is not even as good as an animal; he is rather much more inferior to that”.
“Bhakti is that essential substance without which any work, either of this world or of the other world, can not be fulfilled; for all such tasks which a man performs with genuine zeal get accomplished well, and all other works in which we do not feel sincerely involved remain incomplete or are only half done.”
“Bhakti makes a person immensely wise and of pure intellect. Virtues such as of honesty and truthfulness stand with folded hands in attendance of a devout being. Bhakti is the religion/duty of the whole world; no creed, faith or sect can remain steady and stable in absence of it”.
“What is most significant about bhakti is that is opens up inside man the easy pathway to God, treading on which man reaches his centre or destination from where he never (needs to) return”.
Sayings of Baba Devi Sahab On Meditation Practice
When Sadguru Baba Devi Sahib was nearing the time of his departure from this ephemeral world for his true destination, satsangis humbly requested him to bless with his parting words. To their request, Baba Devi Sahab had obliged by saying, “Duniyaa waham hai, abhyaas karo”, meaning, “This world is an illusion — practice meditation.”
“Do not live even a single day without inner meditation.”
“Such persons who are all the time busy in mundane worldly affairs and are not able to spare even one or two hours a day (for meditation), are not fit to be initiated into inner meditation, for even if these persons get to know about the way to the inner secrets, of what use it would be to them!”
“The loftiest or the highest outcome of adopting and following the ways of these (Sants) is that it takes one beyond ‘aawaagaman’ (the repetitive cycles of birth and death).”
From the Preface to, “Baal Kaa Aadi Aur Uttar Kaa Ant”, of Sant Tulsi Sahib:
“Sages and Sants adopt the straight and simple way of living and teach us to meditate with surat (concentrated or focused, alert attention); this meditation can be practiced in any posture — sitting or reclining, and by anyone whether a follower of Vedic Religion, Islam or Christianity whatever. What is important is not to live a single day in life without practicing meditation, all the experiences of pains and pleasures of the world, one has to go through, notwithstanding.”
God is the Creator of Yoga, By Param Sant Baba Devi Sahib (Translated by Amit Jyoti)
“There are two types of dharma in the world. They are first, “udhaar”, and second, “nakad”. Udhaar dharma is that in which it is said, one attains salvation after death, and nakad dharma is that in which the state of salvation is believed to be experienced/attained during this lifetime. People keep thinking and living on-borrowed-dharma. Some are involved in rituals and outward devotions, while others are pretending to have become divine themselves. They are unaware of the natural screens or veils of Darkness, Lights and Sounds between jiva-souls and God. (God is veiled by five different bodies and subtle bodies, each one inside the other [physical, astral, causal, mental, and etheric]). These are veils which can’t be transcended by merely reading some mantras or performing yagna or outward devotions/rituals. For them to be shed, you will surely have to be oriented towards going within, perform Dristi-sadhana [Yoga of Inner Light], and Shabd-sadhana [Yoga of Inner Sound], which will make it possible for your consciousness to travel along the solitary Inward Path, crossing the natural and supra-natural realms to reach to such an auspicious place from where your soul would never become detached again to return back in the outer world. But no one can really know of, and practice, these processes by simply reading authentic scriptures.
“First of all, the screen of Darkness can be accessed by closing your eyes. Secondly, the screen or veil of Light can be experienced by crossing the Darkness. Thirdly, the veil of Sounds can be known by listening to them. Fourthly, not so much a screen or veil, but there is a Mystery which can not be understood like the first, second and third. It can only be experienced by perfect practice.
“According to Sant Mat, having crossed these realms or levels, we achieve the final goal called Mukti (i.e. salvation). To attain liberation/salvation, Sant Mat does not follow numerous complicated practices, but two essential methods:
1) Drishti Marg (i.e. the Path of inner Light/Vision) and,
2) Shabd Marg (i.e. the Way of inner Sound/Transcendental Hearing).
“Unlike other worship methods popular in religions and sects with different names, these two methods are not man-made. God himself is the founder and operator of these methods. Since the beginning God has kept these two methods inside human beings with full qualifications. The way of redemption of jivas (i.e. bounded souls) is available within all human beings. Unless the jiva walks along this way, it can’t achieve salvation; the real and ultimate goal of religion.”
Discourse on Bhakti By Baba Devi Sahab
Baba Devi Sahab departed from Multan and reached Karachi (now in Pakistan) through Queta and many intermediate places. In Karachi, He delivered a marvellous speech on Bhakti i.e. devotion.
Sayings of Baba Devi Sahib on Love (Bhakti) Excerpted From “Baba Devi Sahab: Jeewan Aur Updesh” (Baba Devi Sahab: Life and Teachings), authored by Baba Nandan, a main attendant and great disciple of Baba Devi Sahab:
“Friends! At this time I want to say something to you on a topic which is often talked about, which is often at the tongue of all the people of the earth, but alas! They pay no attention at all to it and regard it as a petty thing. In my view this is an extremely valuable thing that has been considered by the sages of all faiths and creeds to be absolutely essential for accomplishment of their goals. They treat this as the quintessential principle and reckon all other principles as secondary and subservient to this. Also, they believe that without its help, no (other) principle can be effective, nor can success be achieved in any activity - this worldly or the other-worldly. If we choose to call it a ‘mystery’, it undoubtedly deserves being called so, because that Supreme Soul (God) is the biggest of all mysteries; but, in fact, its rank is no lesser than His. There is a relationship of equality between it and God, and even between the two, it holds the higher rank God coming second after it. If God is considered as a lock, it is the key (to open that lock); because without its help neither has the secret of God, nor the secret of creation been revealed to anybody. Whoever comes to possess even a precious little of this wealth also comes to know of both the above secrets, or else there are millions of people who part this world without having realized the secrets of God and (His) creation.
“Now the question is: what is this entity called and where is it to be found? Well! Its name is ‘Bhakti’, ‘Ishq’, devotion and love. Seen superficially, these three words might appear to be different but in essence these are one and the same. Call it ‘bhakti’ (devotion), call it ‘Ishq’ (Urdu equivalent of intense love) or call it love. This (bhakti) has the quintessential and innate character to unite two things together and give birth to a new shape or form. These shapes may be of different kinds, small or large. Some of these shapes at this time are so large that we come to recognize that this is this. And, some shapes are so small that it is not possible to know them even with the help of a microscope. In such a situation how can such an intricate subject be easy of comprehension to common people!
“Thus it is evident that these extremely tiny entities or atoms are definitely acted upon by some such thing which has a natural propensity of uniting. Had there been no such thing in action, all these bodies and things would not have come into existence; such a vast world would not have been there for us to see. Beginning from the atom to the whole world, there is a common thread running through all of these so that they can not budge from their position in any way, and that (thread) is bhakti. If that part of indwelling bhakti leaves these the whole of world and its atoms would be disassembled and broken into pieces.
“Therefore, we should understand that bhakti is the life or soul of the entire world; it is responsible for the existence of everything from the tiny atom to all the bodies and masses….”
For the Rest of the Discourse on Bhakti, go to:
The Inner Music — From the Discourses of Baba Devi Sahab of Moradabad
“Music casts a direct influence on body, organs and the soul; diseases of body, organs and soul get cured by this (music). This is the explicit impact of sound, which is concerned with the external use of ears.
“The other music or Sound is internal and the way to listen to that is by focussing our attention on the internal ‘Shabda’ or Sound that is ringing within each one of us. Sound (internal Sound) is a highly precious wealth in the life of every human being. So long as this Sound is present in a man he is alive; as soon as the Sound exits, it is the end of him. Thus, the difference between a corpse and a living man is that while a man is alive he walks and speaks, and when the Sound leaves him, he is able to neither walk nor talk. The cycle of life is the result of the inspiration of Sound only…
“Within there are three compartments apart from the natural (physical) part, namely, ‘Shabda’ (Sound), ‘Prakaash’ (light) and ‘Andhakaar’ (darkness). The waves or vibrations of Sound permeate the whole of the body through light, darkness, the brain and the tiny blood vessels (arteries/veins), in that order. It exists in the body in the form of vitality or Life-Current. It exists in the mental sky in the form of light, while it exists as Sound in the void. This Sound is an immensely valuable entity. In ancient times Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Hindus had authored several books on Sound. That is why, I say that it is the highest duty of every individual to acquire experiential knowledge of this Sound and to investigate or explore the Origin or Source from where this Sound flows out.”