Baba Jaimal Singh Ji (July 1839–December 29, 1903), also known as “Babaji Maharaj,” was the first Satguru of Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) until his death in 1903. Baba Sawan Singh succeeded him as the second RSSB Satguru. Baba Ji is the founder Of Dera, Radha Soami satsang Beas which is known by the name Dera Baba Jaimal Singh.
Jaimal Singh ji was born in village Lath Ghuman (Ghoman) near Batala, Distt. Gurdaspur, Punjab, India, in July, 1839. His father was Sardar Jodh Singh ji a farmer by trade, and his mother was Sardarni Daya Kaur ji. She was a devotee of Bhagat Namdev, and from the age of four Baba ji started visiting the local shrine dedicated to the memory of this Sant Mat Sant.
At the age of five he started his education with Baba Khem Singh ji, a Vedanti sage. Within two years he became a good reader of Guru Granth Sahib and read Dasam Granth also.
At the age of 12–13 years his studying of the Guru Granth Sahib brought him to the understanding that this scripture rejects Pranayama, Vairagya, Hatha yoga, Japa, places of pilgrimage, fasting and rituals as means to finding the absolute God described by Nanak and the other sikh gurus. He reached the conclusion that to follow its method of realising God, he must first find a perfect Master, a Satguru who practices Anhad Shabad, the meditation on the inner sound principle.
In particular he understood his search must be for a master who could explain the reference in the Granth Sahib to the Five Sounds (Panch Shabda). For example a key phrase for him was the following quote from Guru Nanak “Ghar meh ghar daykhaa-ay day-ay so satgur purakh sujaan. Panch sabad Dhunikaar Dhun tah baajai sabad neesaan.” Which can be translated into english as “The True Guru, the All-knowing, Primal Being shows us our true home within the home of the self. The Five Primal Sounds resonate and resound within; the insignia of the Primal Sound is revealed there, vibrating gloriously.”
Some time after the death of his father when Jaimal was fourteen he started the search for a Perfect Master of Panch Shabdi Naam as per the description in the Guru Granth Sahib. After temporarily returning home he again took up the search, undergoing a long and arduous journey around northern India from age fifteen to seventeen. Finally, in Swamiji Shiv Dayal Singh of Agra, he found the one whom he accepted as his Satguru and was initiated by him 1856.
After taking initiation he asked his guru Shiv Dayal if he could become a sadhu and devote his attentions fulltime to abhyas. But his guru told him that the Sant Mat tradition was for followers to earn their own living by honest means. Jaimal told Shiv Dayal that his family tradition was farming but that would involve marrying which he said felt no inclination to do. Therefore Shiv Dayal advised the teenage Jaimal to join the local regiment of the British Indian Army, which he did in 1856.
In Oct 1877, Shiv Dayal ordered Baba Jaimal Singh ji to start initiating “true seekers” in Punjab Swamiji advised him not to interfere with the religious choice of a devotee, and to “steer clear of sects and creeds.”
During his service in the Army, Baba Jaimal Singh ji met and initiated Baba Bagga Singh ji in Multan, now in Pakistan. Bagga Singh started a new line of gurus at Tarn Taran after Jaimal’s death.
Baba Jaimal Singh Ji retired from the Army on June 7, 1889 and started living in his village, and later built a hut in village Bal Saran at the bank of river Beas, Punjab, India, and started living there. Slowly, a number of devotees increased and one of his devotees donated three beeghas of land for the colony known as the ‘Dera’ and Radha Soami Satsang Beas.
Once he went to Mari Pahar, a city in Pakistan, where he initiated Baba Sawan Singh ji who became the successor guru at Dera Beas after Jaimal’s death.
Baba Jaimal Singh spent his whole life in the service of Dera Beas and its devotees. He left his mortal body on Dec 29, 1903.