Brief Life Sketch of Sant Sadhu Ram Ji
Choti jat da Kabir julaha,
Kabir was once a low caste weaver,
Sant Sadhu Ram Ji was born in August 1944 and his parents, Mangla Ram and Chena Devi, lovingly named him Ladhu Ram. He grew up in a low-caste family, in a village in the former state of Bikaner, now located in Rajasthan near the Indo-Pakistan border. He did not have much formal education, and after completing up to the 9th grade in school, he started helping his father in farming. From his childhood he was strongly inclined towards spirituality and had a burning desire to realize God and to solve the mystery of life.
His relatives wanted him to take an interest in the world and to accept responsibility for the family. His grandfather is reported to have given him 25 acres of his land in Punjab. However, young Ladhu Ram politely refused this gift of land, and, setting out on his own, took up work as a hired laborer on other people's farms. Although this life was very difficult, he found it conducive to spiritual pursuits. As a farm laborer he received a meager wage in exchange for his hard physical work, but his mind was free for the remembrance of God. He would always do an excellent job, charging less than the other workers. If a job was worth Rs. 100 he would charge Rs. 80; if it was worth Rs. 50 he would charge Rs. 40. He had also acquired an extensive knowledge of medicine - traditional and modern - and he treated those in his area who could not afford to pay for medical care, free of charge. He could have set up a prosperous practice, but he did not feel right charging large fees for prescribing a small amount of medicine, or recommending a treatment, or giving an injection.
Speaking of this early time he has said, "Poverty may seem difficult to live with, but it has many advantages for a spiritual aspirant. I have seen both poverty and riches. I saw affluence in life first, and later much poverty. I can tell you from my own experience that a poor person has more contentment than a rich one. He can be more humble and meek, his heart is generally cleaner, his ego is less, he is more inclined towards God, and, his world being smaller, his involvement in the world and worldliness is also less. In short, if a poor person is fortunate enough to get the refuge of a Perfect Master, he can progress in the spiritual field more easily and more quickly than a rich person."
Since Ladhu Ram was from the harijan, or untouchable caste, it was not unusual for him to receive rough treatment. When he would stay on the farms of the people he worked for, he was often not allowed to eat with the higher caste people. Those serving him the food would sometimes not even place the chapatis on his plate, but would toss them to him to avoid being polluted by contact with an untouchable. If the landowners chose to give him food he was happy, and if they didn't feed him he was also content in the will of God. From his wages he would support his family and take care of his own few needs.
Tanana bunana, tajyo Kabira,
Kabir has quit weaving,
Around 1972, Ladhu Ram came across a fakir who initiated him into Sant Mat and revealed to him the mystery of the first two words. The fakir instructed Ladhu Ram to continue to earn his own livelihood, to cook his own food while absorbed in the sweet remembrance of God, and to be grateful to Him with every morsel he put into his mouth. The fakir also told him to remain aloof from the world and to devote all his precious free time to meditation. This was Ladhu Ram's only meeting with his first Guru, who departed after initiating him, and he says regretfully that perhaps there was some lacking in his own fate that he couldn't meet him a second time. Ladhu Ram followed his Guru's instructions wholeheartedly, working all day in the fields and then devoting 10-12 hours at night in meditation. He continued in this way for around fifteen years and made phenomenal progress on the spiritual Path, acquiring inner ascent, experience, and proficiency up through the second spiritual stage, crossing Trikuti and reaching Brahm Desh.
However, he was aware that there were regions beyond, and he kept looking for someone who could guide him further. One of the landowners he worked for was going to a Guru and in 1987 Ladhu Ram asked him who he followed. And he enquire if a poor, low-caste person such as himself would be allowed to go to Him. The landowner replied that he was a follower of a Perfect Saint named Sant Ajaib Singh Ji, of Village 16 PS, Rajasthan, who was competent and commissioned to take the souls across the ocean of life. He told Ladhu Ram that at Ajaib Singh's ashram no one looked to high or low caste and that all were welcome to sit at His feet. In October 1987 Ladhu Ram took initiation from Ajaib Singh. At that initiation he sat at the very back of the assembly, but when Sant Ajaib Singh heard the experience he had during the initiation sitting, He called him up to the front and made him sit right at His feet. Sant Ji said, "Normally in this world, those whose clothes are inferior are not given any attention or place. But I have brought this dear one ahead of everyone, despite his simple clothes, because he has had a very high and wonderful experience which has pleased me immensely." Sant Ji embraced him and told him he would have to fight the mind with much courage and fortitude. He patted him on the back and said that Satguru would always be behind him and would want him to succeed and become His very own self.
THE PERFECT DISCIPLE
Ochhi mat meri, jat julaha,
I am of low community, my caste is weaver,
After his initiation, he obeyed Sant Ji's instructions implicitly, living the life as enjoined by his Master and spending long hours in meditation. When Ladhu Ram would attend the Satsangs in his area, he would come and sit quietly, listen to the Satsang, and then slip away as soon as the Satsang ended. Sant Ji told him, "Ladhu Ram, become a hard-core brave warrior, determined to decimate the Mind - our deadliest foe. Never fear for anything for I am always and ever with you in this battle, and want you to succeed, sooner rather than later, because that will make me happy and relieved, and will enable the most sacred work entrusted to me by my Satguru - the responsibility of giving out the Truth to those sincere and seeking souls who are keenly in search of the God - to continue without interruption." Around this time Sant Ji also changed his name from Ladhu Ram to Sadhu Ram.
His family did not understand his devotion to Sant Mat and encouraged him to sleep at night instead of staying awake to do the practices. He stayed in a separate room, and when all the family had fallen asleep at night, then he would sit for meditation. In the morning, he would leave off before his wife brought him tea. One morning, not long after he was initiated, she brought the tea early and found he had vacated the body and was completely absorbed within. Thinking he was dead, she started weeping loudly. Hearing her, their children also came running and started crying, "Our papa is dead. Our papa is dead." They called a doctor, who lived about 15 km. away. When he arrived and examined Ladhu Ram's lifeless body, he thought perhaps he was in the throes of pneumonia or some other serious illness and gave him an injection. About an hour later, when Sadhu Ram reentered his body, he was surprised to find all the commotion going on. Of the incident he says, "I never made that mistake again. After that I told my wife to bring the tea only when I called for it."
He made rapid progress on the Path. Six months after his initiation, in March 1988, he went to 16 PS ashram to participate in a ten-day program of meditation and Satsang. At these retreats Sadhu Ram would spend all of his time in meditation. Before coming to the retreat, he told a friend who would be accompanying him that at the retreat his task was going to be accomplished, though he did not understand fully himself what that would mean. Much later he explained that, with the infinite grace of his Satguru, he completed the spiritual journey at that time up to the stage of self-realization, removing all the three sheaths from the soul - physical, subtle and causal - and reaching the third stage where the soul is revealed in its pristine glory, having the light of twelve suns. He asked his friend to arrange an interview for him with Sant Ji, and that dear one replied that, as Sant Ji was extremely busy during the retreat, it would not be possible. Then he told the dear one to simply send a note to Sant Ji with the request and leave the rest to Him. Sant Ji called Sadhu Ram and, upon hearing of his high experience, expressed happiness and told him that one important milestone on the inner journey had been crossed and that the next should also be covered with the same zeal, enthusiasm, and devotion. After he came back from meeting with Sant Ji, his friend asked him what Sant Ji had told him, and he replied that Sant Ji had said, "It is good that at least one has come out; one has swum across."
Sadhu Ram continued meditating 10-12 hours a night, moving on through the stages of the spiritual journey, until he became one with his Guru, and no difference was left between them. As Sadhu Ram has explained, "The dear one who is asked to carry on the spiritual work of a Saint after Him, is under preparation and perfection for many births. It is not as if after obtaining initiation, one meditates for ten years and becomes perfect. No dear ones, it does not happen like this. He is nearly perfect when he comes into this world, but still works hard, spends nights in weeping for the face of his Beloved, sleeps less, speaks less, and eats less, and is never involved in passions, possessions, pride, and prejudices. If it were not so, everyone would have become a Saint." Before Sant Ajaib Singh left this physical plane, He bestowed all His spiritual powers on Sadhu Ram. However under the orders of his Guru, Sadhu Ram did not let even those who were closest to him have any inkling of what he had achieved or the high status he had attained in the Guru's durbar.
THE SUN HAS RISEN
Kahat Kabir, suno meri mai,
Kabir says: "Listen, my mother,
When Sant Ajaib Singh left the physical plane, His followers were bereft. It is true that those who can fly to the inner regions and meet the Master within have special comfort, but for the eyes longing for the darshan of the Master on the physical plane there is no remedy except the blessed sight of Him. About two weeks before Sant Ji left the mortal frame, He was speaking with Mr. A. S. Oberoi, who had the great good fortune to sit at the feet of both Hazur Sawan Singh Ji and Master Kirpal Singh Ji, before coming to Sant Ji. In the course of that conversation Sant Ji asked innocuously, "What do we do if an elder or senior member of the family disappears? Do we sit at home? Do we not run anywhere and everywhere, trying to find any hint, however small and however unhelpful, of where he has gone? Do we not use all our resources and energies to find him and bring him back so that the family may feel at ease, may regain its peace, and may be able to enjoy the guidance and help it has been deprived of?" Mr. Oberoi was struck by this passing remark, even though he couldn't fathom its real significance at the time. Later he developed the strong conviction that Sant Ji, in His own way, was advising him to look for his Friend in a new coat, so that the sangat could enjoy His presence once more. Mr. Oberoi traveled extensively, following any clue, however slight, that might lead him again to the Master's feet. He was always guided by Sant Ji's September 5, 1986 message: "Of course, if you find someone who has meditated like my Master made me meditate, very happily you can take advantage of him."
After many fruitless missions, his search took at dramatic turn on March 12, 2002 when he was traveling in western Rajasthan. He unexpectedly met Sadhu Ram and realized immediately that he was no ordinary soul. In subsequent meetings he became convinced that Sant Ji's power was working at that human pole. Those around Sadhu Ram who had thought of him only as a hard-working farm laborer who charged less for his work and spent his nights in meditation, also began to gradually realize that the Perfect Disciple had been living quietly and secretly in their midst for years, undetected by even his closest associates.
During one of Mr. Oberoi's later visits to Sadhu Ram, a local gentleman described to him how Sant Ji, on two different occasions, about four years before leaving the earth plane, had told him that Sadhu Ram was a very noble and advanced soul and had made Him pleased and happy by his matchless efforts and exemplary obedience and should be taken advantage of by those who were having difficulties in meditation and wanted to progress. That gentleman asked Sant Ji if he should share this information with others. Sant Ji told him that such matters should be kept secret and not publicized, but that the gentleman himself should not waiver or delay in taking advantage of Sadhu Ram. Sant Ji added strongly, "If, as Kabir Sahib has said, worship done in the cellars below the ground gets manifested in the sky in due course of time, then Sadhu Ram, who has practiced and perfected the simran and mediation marvelously, will, in due course, shine like a bright star in the spiritual horizon. But that will take place much later, as such is the will and intent of the Satguru."
Gradually news of Sadhu Ram's discovery spread among the disciples of Sant Ajaib Singh, Master Kirpal Singh, and Hazur Sawan Singh and many came to His feet to take advantage of him. Dawn was breaking in Rajasthan, and the dark night of separation was coming to an end. The spiritual sun was rising, and its rays were spreading all over the world.
Sadhu Ram agreed to come to New Delhi for a program of Satsang and meditation in May 2002 and has come in almost every two months since then. Dear ones from the Indian sangat have also been able to visit him at his home in Village 4 LM, Rajasthan. Under the orders of his Master, Sant Ajaib Singh, he is always ready to help the souls struggling sincerely to make progress in the meditation. Sant Sadhu Ram Ji has said, "With the grace of my gracious Guru, I have done all this myself. He got it done fully and completely from me in His lifetime, and then only asked me to help others. I am at your disposal all the time. If you have any difficulties, I am prepared to help you and hopefully the same will be removed. That is my word of honor. But mind you, the doing part has to be performed by you, and none, repeat none, else. The earlier you do it, the better will it be for you, and for the beloved Satguru, as He will feel relieved and happy."
Sadhu Ram Ji has said repeatedly that the Master's primary duty is to help the new souls and on September 13, 2002 at his home in Village 4 LM, he gave Naam initiation to 25 people, along with four children who were connected to the Sound. One dear one asked him why there had been such a very long gap between the last initiation conducted by Sant Ji and the initiation he was due to grant that day. He told that dear one that initiation by a Perfect Master is a great blessing, and that it is not come by easily and cheaply. However, as the mission of the Satguru progresses, many people start collecting around Him who take it to be a routine affair and do not attach due importance to it. This is always a cause of uneasiness and discomfort for the Saints, as They have no interest in building an army of disciples. He also added that the dear ones in the sangat need to understand initiation as a very sacred and special affair. And they need to start doing meditation themselves before requesting the gift of initiation for their children and grandchildren. Therefore, the Saints cause such gaps, which in Their divine wisdom are considered to be necessary, so that the value and importance of initiation may be restored and maintained, so that keenness and anxiety develop, and so that those who are granted the boon of initiation realize its real significance." In December 2002, the first initiation for Westerners was conducted in New Delhi. Many initiations, for both Indians and Westerners, have taken place since then, and the Master's grace is showering in abundance.
The number of people wanting to spend time in the company of Sadhu Ram has increased tremendously. An ashram has been built in Village 4 LM for the convenience of the Indian sangat and a hall has been constructed in New Delhi for the combined programs for Indians and foreigners. Further, people from across the globe have been requesting Him to visit their countries, so that the longing of the dear ones who are not able to come to India to be with him can be fulfilled. In Columbia about 5000 people are waiting for Him to visit. In Italy, the U.S.A., and UK about 500 people area waiting in each location, and invitations have also come from Spain, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand. Sadhu Ram Ji has agreed to visit the West this summer to hold programs in the UK, Colombia, U.S.A., and Italy.
Sadhu Ram's life has been a story of humility, simplicity, and incomparable devotion. The Saints come from the Court of the Lord, but They take on the human form and live out a normal life to give us courage to tread the Path and to inspire us on the way Godward. Still, concerning the details of his life Sadhu Ram Ji has said, "Instead of looking into my biography or other details, the dear ones are welcome to come with an open mind and a big heart, filled with all their love and longing for our gracious Guru, Baba Ajaib Singh Ji, and to see how great a Master Soul He is, how His orders reign supreme in the inner realms, and how much love and grace He is showering without limit, even though He is not with us physically. All this can be seen and experienced by the soul and the self - not by the mind. For this we will have to focus all our attention within, towards the ringing forehead and the mystical eyes of our Beloved Satguru, so that we may become receptive enough to partake of His flowing grace and limitless beneficence. Let the dear ones understand that I am a very small and insignificant human being, and let them come not to see me, but to see their own gracious and great Guru, and witness how His Mauj is endlessly unfolding."
This brief life sketch has been drawn from stories related by Sadhu Ram Ji and from the accounts of Mr. A.S. Oberoi.