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Sant Thakar Singh (March 26, 1929 – March 6, 2005) was a spiritual teacher in the Sant Mat lineage of contemporary saints.
Initiated by Sant Kirpal Singh in 1965, he began work as a Satguru himself in 1976, following the passing of his beloved Master. Sant Thakar Singh distributed what he paraphrased from his own Master as, "a practical form of spirituality which is not connected to any particular religion, sect, or thought."
While he was born into Sikhism, and wore the traditional Sikh garb all his life, he gave up its traditional outer practices soon after initiation and devoted himself wholly to the inner, esoteric practice of listening to the Spiritual Sound Current, the Shabd, Naam, or Word manifestation of God as described in the world's major scriptures. Continuing his Master's emphasis on the unity of all religion, Sant Thakar Singh frequently referred to the Holy Bible when addressing Westerners, the Adi Granth, Ramayana and other Indian scriptures in India, and the Qur'an when addressing Muslim people. He gave thousands of talks in his 30 years as a Master, his message being one of transcendence of the material and devotion to God, the "unchangeable permanence behind all things".
- 1 Biography
- 2 Teachings
- 2.1 Basic proposition of spirituality: we are souls, not bodies
- 2.2 Requirement of personal experience in spiritual matters
- 2.3 Soul is the prisoner of mind and matter
- 2.4 Purpose of human life
- 2.5 Karma and the revolving powers
- 2.6 Nature of suffering
- 2.7 Functional role of the living master
- 2.8 Key concept of the Sound Current: Shabd, Naam, or Word
- 2.9 Love versus attachment
- 3 Notes
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The documentation on Sant Thakar Singh's life is mainly limited to the few details he communicated about himself during his talks and public appearances. A biography composed of stories about the Master was collected by Wendy Heid in 1994, and it touches the central points from the perspective of the inner, spiritual aspirations. It has few points of contact with concrete people, places, or times. Sant Thakar Singh corrected and edited this work, however, and it was subsequently reprinted in 2000 and again in 2005, so the facts presented are probably authentic. There are also some biographical materials made available by his organization Know Thyself As Soul, International, although they have few details or specifics and again focus in the main on the inner life.
Period of discipleship
Thakar's daily routine during his period of discipleship is described in a talk he gave at the Bhandara (death anniversary) of Sant Kirpal Singh on August 21, 2003:
I had already got my general schedule that I used to get up at about maybe two or three early in the morning and was taking a bath. After that, at about four, there were some services and performances in the holy temple of Sikhism. I used to go there, and some celestial music was going on over there from that holy scripture, Adi Granth, from four to seven. I used to attend to that, and after seven I used to come back home and was taking my breakfast. Then I was going on my duty as a civil engineer in the government and then was going on all day over there. I was coming back, and in the evening after taking food, then some people were there who were coming to me and we were about five or seven persons to have some music, what you call celestial music. I was teaching (it) to them and was also teaching them the Adi Granth, what is the meaning of it, (so) that they may go through the meaning of it really, not only relating. This work was going on two hours, and then I was just going to bed or doing some other work which was there. This was my general routine, just as general...
From that day after initiation I had a little change in it. I was getting up at the same time and going to the temple and attending over there for about fifteen minutes or twenty minutes. After that, I was coming back to my home and was meditating about three hours daily. My Master had told me that I should meditate for at least two and a half hours, but it was at least two and a half hours (and) not any limit further. I was feeling like meditating at least three hours. What Master had told is a must, but something more should be there that Master may be happy with me that I have done something more than he asked for. Then I was finding some things inside, and after about four or six months I was really having full confirmation that, "What I have found, it is there, it is my permanent acquisition. There is nothing (that) it is some kind of illusion or delusion at higher levels of mesmerism or hypnotism. It is something much beyond, much beyond that." When I was really confident about it, then I declared it.
Selfless service and devotional work
Thakar began to work in the capacity of a preacher, and to hold Satsang (spiritual gatherings) in his home and elsewhere. This was a logical continuation of the devotional music classes and study classes of the Adi Granth he had been giving privately for many years; the only difference was that instead of preaching against the physical master, he now explained the Guru Granth Sahib in the light of his inner experiences. Sant Kirpal Singh visited Thakar's city by invitation and visited his home in this time frame (exact date and location in the Punjab unknown, but near to Amritsar):
Today I will tell you about a time when I was living in a small town in India with a population of about 25,000. I had been posted in the (government) service there for four or five years, and I asked my Master to come to that town to give a satsang. I was well known in that area and, although I was the only initiate of my Master, I had some influence with the many aspirants and seekers after truth, and I knew they would come to listen to him...
Each Sunday on his day off, Thakar would travel from one town to another to give satsang. Sometimes he would visit as many as four towns in one day. He also increased his meditation time on work days to four, five, and then six hours. In 1970, Sant Kirpal Singh issued an invitation to all of his initiates in the form of a circular letter inviting anyone who wanted to have special instruction on how to give satsang to come to Delhi and receive personal lessons. Thakar applied for a four-month leave of absence from his work and began this intensive meditation retreat in the presence of the master with four other aspirants. The retreat consisted of 12 to 14 hours of meditation daily as the main regimen.
Thakar returned to work after four months and continued his practices. When Sant Kirpal Singh died in 1974, Thakar applied for a long leave of absence and went into intensive meditation for up to 16 hours a day for an extended period. Afterwards his did not return to work but kept extending his leave, taking unpaid leave or making other arrangements until he retired early, at the age of 47.
Sant Kirpal Singh did not publicly name a successor, and after his death in 1974, a number of proposed successors appeared including Sant Darshan Singh (Sant Kirpal Singh's physical son), Sant Ajaib Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Soami Divyanand, and others. Sant Thakar Singh began work in the role of Guru at Sawan Asham in Delhi on Feb 7th, 1976. Within four months he travelled to Germany and then later that year to Mexico. In 1979 he visited the United States for the first time. His first American representative was named Bernadine Chard.
Sant Thakar Singh's mission grew steadily over time and he was responsible for a number of innovations and records. He was the first Sant Mat Master to visit Africa, making a five-month tour through the continent and visiting twelve countries, from October to February 1989. He also visited the Far East for the first time that year, going to South Korea, The Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan during a three-month tour. He visited New Zealand on the same tour. Eventually he would reach all the continents with the exception of Antarctica and as many as forty countries. He moved his national headquarters to Nawan Nagar, near the Himalayas. In April 1992, Sant Thakar Singh went into seclusion about 25 kilometers away in Sai. He did not travel for some years except for brief visits, maintaining an intensive meditation schedule and very simple lifestyle. This regime continued for the rest of the Master's life. He visited the United States for the last time in the summer of 2003. At the end of his life he spoke of having initiated over two million souls.
Illness and death
Sant Thakar Singh died on March 6, 2005 in Nawan Nagar, India, at the age of 76; however, he had been ill for the entire previous year when he underwent open heart surgery in February 2004.
The documentation of the teachings of Sant Thakar Singh is both extensive and multi-media in character, including books, circular letters, video, and audio tapes spanning almost 30 years.
Basic proposition of spirituality: we are souls, not bodies
If we are to eat, we are to eat for God. If we are to have a body, it is only for finding God. If we have got a family, it is only for finding God. We have got our house, it should be for finding God. If we have got some property, it should be for finding God. That the aim (of life) is to be one with our own Self. – Sant Thakar Singh, May 6th, 1994 Mur-de-Sologne, France.
Our chief enemy in this pursuit is our own mind, which does not allow our Soul to be in control, but instead usurps control over us:
The mind has never known that there are accounts and that it will have to pay for what it has done. Mind knows nothing about what the payment will be and what it will have to suffer. Mind knows nothing, but goes on blindly. It is as if you have a car, and you close your eyes, letting it drive itself. It may hit human beings, drive over flowers, run off the road, or go into the ocean. The car knows nothing about what will happen, where it is going, what it is doing. It has no sense of present or future. This is the way of the working of the mind. People go along blindly. But when the soul comes up, it connects everything from the past to the present and the future, and begins to know the causes and effects. It begins to understand what we are to do and not do, what we have done that is bad, and if there is a possibility to undo the effects of it so that we may not suffer the consequences. All this life can be well-regulated by the soul. It knows. It has its own responsibility and knowledge. 
One of the Master's most well known analogies for the control of the mind over the soul is that of the frog in the dirty drain:
If you have a frog that is used to living in a dirty drain, and you put it in some flowers, it will say, 'What hell have you put me?' It will not like it. When it jumps back into the dirty drain, the frog will exclaim, 'What heaven is this! Can something be better than this?' The frog can only enjoy the dirty drain because its life is in the dirty drain.
Requirement of personal experience in spiritual matters
The Master often emphasized the essential requirement of personal experience in all things spiritual; not depending on others but finding reality for oneself:
It has not benefited mankind to be told that we are soul and belong to God, or that God and the Kingdom of God are in us. Throughout the ages people have been told this truth and have read about it. Even though it is clearly written in the Bible and other scriptures, no one believes it. This is because our mind is designed to believe only in something it actually experiences.
It is only when a man experiences something, and sees it for himself, ready at hand, that he can be sure of that thing.
Similarly, the main function of the experiences given to the disciple at the time of initiation is to convince the disciple there is something worth seeking inside—i.e., that the Master's instructions are worth pursuing. If something is provided initially, without any effort at all on the part of the disciple, a free sample as it were—then more will surely be available in the future with some efforts on the part of the meditator.
Soul is the prisoner of mind and matter
God is an essence and is subtle, matter is the opposite or negation of God. Mind is subtle matter, so both mind and matter are our enemies as soul. The purpose of life is to reunite with God, with whom we have been separated. Life is suffering due to this separation.
Purpose of human life
The human form has been especially created to serve this purpose as a vehicle for reuniting with the Lord; and it has no other function. It was earned by us after long lifespans in other forms. When a person suffers sickness or discomfort, those are reminders of our mortality. They are given only because we are not on the Way.
In order to find God, first we must acquire knowledge of who and what we are as soul, and then we will be able to find something greater. We are not bodies, but souls, and soul is of the same essence as God, i.e., soul is God, but on a smaller scale. The soul is entombed in layers of coverings, the chief of which are the body, mind, and intellect. These coverings are not alive; the soul is alive and provides the motive energy which is used to drive the coverings. We are so identified with these coverings, that we no longer have any idea we are souls and instead identify completely with the body and mind.
God has not provided anything useless, and human beings are functionally complete as regards their given purpose, they need nothing extra such as worldly education or money:
When we go somewhere, we take only those things with us that we need. When God sent us over here, he gave us everything that we needed and that was useful for us. Anything that was superfluous, he did not give to us.
The Master extends this even to food and drink, and tells stories sometimes of people who have subsisted on the inner food alone.[note 1] He sometimes quotes Jesus who said, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which comes forth from the mouth of God." According to the Master this reference has an esoteric meaning, and the Word which Jesus speaks of is the inner Sound Current.
Karma and the revolving powers
Regarding the other species of life, the Master follows the view expressed in Hinduism, namely that we are souls passing through a continuous process of phenomenological evolution, moving from one form to the next more complex form, gaining more and more complex consciousness and also more complex desires—until the soul is lucky enough to find itself incarnated as a human being.
This state of consciousness such as experienced by a human being is the top most rung of a ladder which continues upwards; a qualitative change is required to go higher. However, the soul can also fall lower if the attention is directed to lower things, such as pets, carnal desires, or drug use. Generally it must suffer hells for missing this crucial chance.
Nature of suffering
Regarding suffering, the Master totally rejects the premise of life as requiring misery:
We feel: "This world will go on as it is. Sometimes we laugh; sometimes we cry. Sometimes we are diseased; sometimes we are healthy. Sometimes we are in debt; sometimes we are prosperous. Sometimes we are weak; sometimes we are healthy. Whatever the situation is, there is no remedy for it. There is no help for it. We have to accept it." People do not say, "This is the will of our foolishness." They say, "This is the will of God. Accept it. Suffer." But what is truly the will of God? He says, "Enjoy. Be ye perfect even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." This is the will of God. You are to enjoy the life of perfection. As human beings, you are to come out of the way of suffering.
Life in this world is suffering; however, suffering is totally foreign to our natures and life is something we were meant only to live and enjoy. That enjoyment is not here, however, but with God:
All the people of this world find nothing in the end of this life, and they find themselves in nothingness, rather in hells. Why is it like that? Because what they have achieved, what they have found, and what they had depended upon, it was something wrong. It did not really work.
Anyone who thinks this life can be made into something enjoyable is deluded. Mankind grasps at the momentary pleasures only because he knows of nothing better. He enjoys sexuality and then the result—a child and all the attendant problems and worries—arrives. All the enjoyments of this world are traps like this, which seem sweet on the outset but turn out to be tragic.
Regarding renunciation, it is not possible as a practical matter to live without action or live without desire. However, action can be transcended by devoting oneself entirely to a being who has himself become One and living by his instructions.[note 2] Through the love of God in the form of a person who has become One with Him, we too can be One with Him. This person is the Guru. The Guru is the way out of suffering; he is like a lifeline leading to safety.
Functional role of the living master
God is not a silent spectator, watching the world impassively; He is fully conscious of the tormented situation in which his souls (which are really his own self) are suffering.[note 3]
However, God does not directly intervene in the universe but makes use of agencies. If there is to be rain, it does not fall from a clear sky. First the clouds gather, then the rain comes out from them. If a child is to be born, the mother and father are provided. In the same way, everything in this world works through the function of some agency above and all the higher powers operate in this way, even God. God is One, but has deputed control over vast regions of the universe (both physical and spiritual) to agencies which handle the management. The situation is analogous to a King, who has both a prime minister and many generals managing various aspects of his kingdom. No one approaches the King directly, but all interact with him via his functionaries. In this way he continues to enjoy the total purity, bliss, and ecstasy which is his nature; while the world goes forward in myriad forms.
Thus if God is to interact with mankind, He has to come in the form of a man.[note 4] There is no other means available for him to interact directly with us, as the functionaries are controlling the entire region we inhabit.[note 5] The Saints and Masters (spiritual teachers) have been coming since human beings first came into existence. They have come in our own time; and they will continue to come as long as there are people who need to be awakened.[note 6]
Key concept of the Sound Current: Shabd, Naam, or Word
Shabd, Naam, or Word is a form of God or a manifestation of God which human beings can experience, and contact with it has medicinal and practical benefits. The Word is not to be confused with the written words in the scriptures; the scriptures refer to the Word, but reading them does not comprise the experience of hearing it.[note 7]
In order to hear the Sound Current, some specific actions have to be taken on the part of the Master. Functionally, the Soul is buried under the karmic impressions of millions if not billions of years of existence in this world. The Master Saint has the power to burn these impressions so that they are neutralized; after this, the Soul can experience the Sound Current. The appearance of the Sound is a function of purity; the more pure the vessel, the more easily the sound resounds inside it.
Thus the Sound Current is a gift which the Master can give to those whom he chooses, or perhaps to those he is destined to help. Some souls are specifically marked as belonging to the Master; however "the new applicants can also be accepted."
Love versus attachment
Love is the criterion for the life of a human being. God is Love and love is God and the way back to God is also through Love, as the Master is Love Personified and the Sound Current is also a conscious current of love.[note 8] However, the only true form of love from the perspective of life lived in this world, is called devotion. All other forms of love are either debased through egotism or else a form of confusion and delusion, brought on at the level of mind.[note 9]
The nature of romantic love as a form of suffering is relentlessly analyzed:
Sometimes it happens that someone is interested in us for some reason, and we are also interested in that person for some reason of our own, and then we are friendly to each other. Then we believe in each other because we each need something from each other. For example, if I have some food and the other one has some fruit, and he needs food and I need fruit, then we cooperate with each other and become friendly with each other due to the interchange of our selfish motives. We misinterpret this exchange of selfish motives to be love, but it is not. All the worldly relationships and friendships are based on give and take, I am sorry to say...
Fundamentally, no one can love unless they are connected to God, as God is the source of Love and is sometimes described as Love itself. Our minds, on the other hand, are totally devoid of love:
Any person who is not working through God is always selfish. If anybody claims, “I love somebody,” and does not have this love connected from God, then it is not real love. It cannot be. It is impossible. ...The mind has only selfish love, selfish connections, selfish feelings—and no real love at all. That is how all the people at every level (in this world) are operating. However, the love we have for our children is not mental love. The love we have for our children is an arrangement of nature from God. But once the children are grown up, then that special system of love that was arranged by God is taken away, and again we have only the system of selfish exchange.
All relationships fall away in what might be called the doctrine of individual responsibility:
Guru Nanak, when he was to set out for his great expedition to save the souls of the world, he had got old parents, he was the only son to support to look after them and that his wife was also there dependent only upon him. Two small children were also there who were just made orphans if he goes away. In this state of the life when he was not really rich person that his family has so much money after him that they will be able to go along with that great money. He was just a poor person. But he did not take care of his family and he went out and God was there to take care of his family everything. This is the reality that a man is not responsible for any other man. No one is father, no one is child, no one is mother, no one is sister, no one is brother, it is only some kind of confusions which had been made by the evil, by the negative power just to keep the people confused. Everybody is child of God, everybody is having God, everybody is having kingdom of God and everybody is directly connected, nobody is mediator in between.
- Thakar Singh Online Audio/Video/Text Library at www.thakar-singh.com
- Thakar Singh's Teachings in his own words at www.thakar-singh.org
- About Thakar Singh, by people who knew him personally at www.thakar-singh.net