Maharaj Charan Singh Ji Grewal

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Received via email the day before Charan Singh’s birthday, which is December 12, 1916 (minor grammar and punctuation edits):

Maharaj Ji’s words — “May your Love of the Form, culminate in the Love of the Formless”


Maharaj Charan Singh Ji (1916–1990) was the Fourth Sant Satguru from India. He became the fifth Satguru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) in 1951 following the death of Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh, and served until his death at the age of 73.

He was born in the Moga district of Punjab, his father was Shri Harbans Singh Grewal, the youngest son of Baba Sawan Singh Ji. He had two brothers and four sisters. He was married to Harjeet Kaur Ji who was from a Royal Satsangi family of Pisawa, U.P. He has three kids: two sons, Jasbir and Ranbir Grewal, and a daughter, Nirmaljeet Kaur.

He was a practicing Lawyer at Sirsa, Haryana. When his father died, he had to quit his profession and help in his family farm business in Sirsa.

His Satguru was Baba Sawan Singh Ji. His successor and the present Satguru is Baba Gurinder Singh Ji, headquartered at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, Punjab, India.

He taught that, because of our attachment to the mind and body, we have lost sight of our true self. However, by using the ancient mystical practices of Sant Mat and Surat Shabd Yoga, we could be aligned with our higher selves.

He travelled to many parts of India as well as rest of the world and spread Sant Mat there.

He started the concept of the famous Seva known as ‘Mitti ki Seva’, which, was the levelling of the earth. It was started when the Beas river started changing its course towards the other side of Dera, as against earlier times when it flowed in front of the Foreign Guest House. When the ground for Langar became small to accomodate the growing size of the Sangat, he made another ground for Langar where now nearly 50,000 people can have langar together. He also built the Dera colony and inspected every corner of Dera personally and got the houses, Sarais, etc made. He also was the one to make the Dera Boundary Wall, which was not built earlier.

He did a lot of charity work by organizing various blood donation camps, Annual Eye Camps at Dera where every year thousands of people used to get treatment for cataracts and got operated on and after-treatment for free. He also opened a charitable hospital where the common man was treated as a VIP — ‘Baba Sawan Singh Charitable Hospital’, which is located at the NH-1, Grand Trunk Road and was built in the 1980′s, He also started another hospital project for Sikanderpur, Haryana, which was known as ‘Maharaj Charan Singh Hospital’ and completed in 1999.

Photography was his hobby. He loved his camera. He used to take photographs of nature, flowers, people and everything. He was also fond of travelling around the world. He used to love getting photographed with the Sangat and Sevadars. He also liked travelling with his family and close friends. His last trip was to Jaiselmer in 1990.

He gave Open Darshan to the Sangat and used to sit for the entire day wherever the Seva took place.

After his death in 1990, he was succeeded by his nephew, Satguru Baba Gurinder Singh Ji.


Bhandara means free langar, where free food is served to everybody. Here every day is a Bhandara, nobody is charged for meals. Call them Bhandaras, call them monthly satsangs, it is the same thing. They started from the Great Master’s time because he used to be in service for probably 11 years after becoming the Master. Being still in service, He selected certain days and told satsangis and devotees, “I will be here in Dera on these days for the satsang so people may come to hear satsang.” The rest of the time He was doing his job. The particular days when He would be in Dera were always the last Sunday of the month. In between, He might come if He got leave, but, on those particular days, He saw to it that He would be there. The sangat knew He would be there so they would gather from all the villages and cities to hear His discourses. So that is how the tradition started, and it continued after He retired from the government service, and it is being continued even today. “People know that on these days I will definitly be here.”


“You see, the seed of a banyan tree is very small. But, when the banyan tree grows, so many birds, so many animals, so many people, sit under the shade of the tree. But to begin with, the seed is very small. This foundation started with that hut that Baba Jaimal Singh Ji built here. Now you can see the hut, how it has expanded.”


A group of satsangis from the mountanious region of Kulu were given a group Darshan during their visit to Dera. As it was raining outside, the Guest House dining room was cleared and rugs were put down for them. When Huzur came into the room, everyone spontaneously started crying, it was one of those charged atmospheres which made your hair stand on end, so intense was their love and devotion. Some of them were permitted to approach Maharaj Ji to speak to him, but they could not say anything, they just cried and cried and cried.


Every bhandara, as the crowds came into the Dera and ate the langar, Maharaj Ji made twice daily tours of the entire area. He would walk from his house and then go from section to section, ending in the hall where vast number fo chapattis were stacked. As he moved from one part of the langar to the next, he would stop for a few minutes in front of the groups of sevadars to give them darshan. The atmosphere would be so charged, only a heart of stone could fail to be moved.


Once during an evening meeting, Huzur Maharaj Ji spoke most lovingly about his own Master, Maharaj Sawan Singh Ji. Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled his relationship with the Beloved. “I would give my life to see him again in his human form,” he said.

By this incident, the Master revealed to us that even though the Shabad Master is always with us in his spiritual form, as human beings it is only natural to feel great love for the physical form. On this coarse plane of material existance where the Shabad form is inaccessible to us, it is the physical Master who teaches us how to go within and get in touch with the Inner Master. He is the one who guides us with infinite love, patience and understanding. In fact, it is only because of our love and trust in him that we are able to move forward and progress on the spiritual path.

But it was only after Huzur Maharaj Ji’s sudden passing that we understood the pain and agony Huzur felt that evening. The shocking news of the unexpected departure on the first of June 1990 turned our whole world upside down, it may as well have been doomsday. How could he leave us orphaned and alone? We were inconsolable.

With the years gone by, as initiated of Huzur Maharaj Ji, we still find ourselves in pain. Like Huzur, we too shed tears when we think of our Beloved, his beautiful radiant face — if only we could see him again.

Knowing well the grief we would go through, Huzur made sure that we would not be left alone. He left us a precious gift — his most loving discpile, the one who would take over the guidance and care of all his souls and continue his spiritual work on this earth.

It is often said that everything happens for a purpose, and perhaps there was an important lesson learned from the passing of our Master — that our attachment to the physical was making us complacent towards our spiritual duty. Huzur often quotes Christ in the Bible “It is expedient for you that I go away… when I leave you it will be in your interest.” He explained again and again that the disciple must connect with the Shabad within, that without the physical form, the disciple would have no choice but to seek him within. In the end, the message is clear, that Meditation and more Meditation is the only way to see him again.


In the last years of his life, with his travels limited by security constraints and his schedule leaving him so little time, he concentrated on photographing flowers. In particular, he loved and photographed roses and took slides of them in thousands. Once he was giving someone a slideshow, someone asked him if that was really how they looked. He explained, “First I dress them up in all their finery, and then I capture them in my lens.” When his mother asked him why he took so many pictures of flowers, he told her, somewhat philosophically, “They dont ask anything of me — and they always smile.”


The first hint of the momentous event that was to come in 1990 was in the previous year, when Maharaj Ji fell ill. In April 1989, for the first time ever, he cancelled a scheduled satsang programme.

In March 1989, he had called together all his closest family members to join him on what was to be his last holiday with his family. He squeezed those days into his schedule, driving non-stop 10 hours back to Delhi to present himself to the overseas sangat who were awaiting him there, since Punjab had not yet been opened to the foreigners.

He released the book Treasure Beyond Measure just weeks before he left. No book had been rushed through the press so quickly. Here, for the first time, a book was released that revealed the private face of Maharaj Ji to the entire sangat. He took personal interest that every family member and friend read the book. It put the record straight and in the open about the difficulties a successor might face in his situation. Many who were close to Maharaj Ji could not understand at that time why he should choose to publish such a book. After 1 June 1990, it became eminently clear.

When Maharaj Ji returned from the Delhi satsang in March 1990, it was observed that he did not appear interested in what was happening around him. When asked what the matter was, he replied, “Nothing interests me and nothing holds me here, my work is done.”

On 17 May 1990, he sent Madan Mehta, his close associate and friend in all his photographic activities, a roll of film wrapped in a note which read, “Madan, this is definitly the last, I have even taken out the cells from the camera. Thanks. Love, Charan Singh.”

Maharaj Ji delivered his last satsang on 27 May 1990. That morning, he felt cardiac pain, which later in the afternoon became quite severe. He didn’t consult the doctors lest they should ask him to cancel the satsang, which would have disappointed a huge gathering numbering over 300,000 people. All through 80 minutes of the satsang, he took care to see that his voice, gestures and expressions would not betray the real state of his health. The entire satsang was delivered in his usual mellifluous but forceful voice. To many, he looked unusually radiant. This was the last occassion on which the sangat saw him, yet little did one realize that he decided to leave this world.

On 29 May 1990, he was not well enough to make his daily visit to his mother. On 30 May 1990, he requested that she be brought to him. He took her hand and placed it for some minutes upon his head, the blessings of a mother to her son, and took her leave. She never saw him again. He also called his other close family members and gave personal and specific guidance to each. He asked his son to bring some of his personal funds to his room, and then to each and everyone who had been employed in the household, he handed a gift of money. To Dr. Joshi, he gave a clock that was not working at that time. Ironically, the time showing on the clock was the exact time that Maharaj Ji left his mortal coil two days later.

Unknown to the family, he called the Dera Secretary, Shri S.L. Sodhi, and some other senior satsangis. What he said came as a terrible shock to them. He dictated his Will, appointing Sardar Gurinder Singh Dhillon from Moga, Punjab as his spiritual successor, entrusting him the power and authority to give satsangs and initiate seekers, and appointed him as the patron of Radha Soami Satsang Beas Society and Maharaj Jagat Singh Medical Relief Society, Beas. After the draft was complete, Maharaj Ji put on his reading glasses and went through it carefully.

On 31 May 1990, he commented to Dr. Joshi, “This body is no longer fir for seva, so what is the point of keeping it?”

When, around midday on 1 June 1990, he finally left his body, it was with the same simplicity that he had lived. He requested those attending him to help him lie down — he said he wanted rest. Once he was comfortable, he asked that they cover him with a sheet, turn out the light and leave the room. The moment they reached the adjoining room, the line on the heart monitor went flat and the alarms went off. Beloved, beautiful and wonderous being, he had left his physical body — he had merged with the Shabd.

His mortal frame was brought for darshan to the satsang compound and placed on a specially prepared reclining dias in front of the platform from where he had delivered satsangs for several decades.

On 2 June 1990, in the early hours of morning, thousands filed past the bier — about 1,250,000 people reached the Dera to have a last look of their beloved Master. There he was, beautiful, serene as ever, the magnificiant white beard, and same benign expression of tranquility on his face, and the familiar divine glow, which had won the hearts of friends and foes alike. It was the start of a new beginning, the light had merged, but another had been lit.

Consummate friend and inseparable, divine companion, he is both the life-giving Shabd that sustains us, and he is the successor, with us still on the physical plane. Our Master is at all times giving us his immeasurable perfection. It is a great, good fortune to meet a perfect saint such as he in one’s lifetime. When we view it from the standpoint of total existance, life after life and aeon upon aeon, such good fortune cannot be conceived. We can only marvel that any being can be so blessed.

(27 May 1990)

Here are the Last Wordings of our beloved ‘Maharaj Charan Singh Ji’ when He delivered His Last Satsang in Beas on 27th May 1990. These have been edited from the DVD of His Satsangs which we get but are there in the old cassette which we have at home.

After the Satsang was over, ‘Maharaj Ji’ took out a small paper from the pocket of His kurta and read it as follows:

“Sangat de agge binti hai badi khushi naal apne ghara nu jaao, agla Satsang 29 July nu hovega, jinnane vi aana hai badi khushi de naal aa sakde han, Radha Soami”.

Books written by Maharaj Ji:

1. Die to live
2. Heaven on Earth
3. Divine Light
4. Quest for light
5. Light on Sant Mat
6. Light on Saint John
7. Light on Saint Mathew
8. Spiritual Discourses
9. The Path
10. The Master Answers
11. Thus Saith the Master
12. Teasure beyond measure.

Books about Maharaj Ji:

1. With a living Master
2. Legacy of love
3. Labour of love
4. Love in action
5. Where Masters Walk

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  • corpaims

    Nice coverage on life of Satguru… May I know who is the Author of this splendid article?