Sant Mat refers to a loosely associated group of teachers that became prominent in the Indian subcontinent from about the 13th century CE. Theologically, their teachings are distinguished by an inward, loving devotion to a divine principle, and socially by an egalitarianism separate from the qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste system, and to those between Hindus and Muslims.
Tulsi Sahab 1763-1843
The branch of Santmat which is described in these pages begins with a spiritual adept known as Tulsi Sahab. Tulsi Sahab was born in 1763 and was likely of royal ancestry. Historians speculate that he was the son of of the King of Poona. As the king wished to retire he arranged to have his son coronated. Tulsi Sahab known then as Shyam Rao was of a spiritual bent and fled to search for the Truth. He surfaced many years latter near Hathras as a spiritual adept and teacher of Santmat. Although, he speaks with reverence of his teacher he never mentions him by name. Some scholars claim Tulsi Sahab has a direct lineage with Guru Nanak (see below). This however, is incidental as the true measure of an adept is his spiritual accomplishment. Tulsi Sahab was such a one, he writes in his poetry:
"Who have seen within, the splendor of the celestial region with their inner eye, they alone can show the beginning of the beginning.
....Who have penetrated the current of spiritual regions above, they alone know the state of the Inaccessible.
Baba Devi Sahab 1841-1919
From birth Baba Devi Sahab was chosen by Tulsi Sahab to be his disciple. Baba Devi Sahab was born in 1843 to a devout high class hindu family. Before his birth Tulsi Sahab prophesized that he would achieve great spirituality as well as have a major spiritual impact on countless individuals.
Baba devi Sahab lived a simple life as a postal clerk while practicing his spiritual discipline. He was able to retire early and lived his latter years in Moradabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was a kind teacher and had a large following. Baba Devi Sahab says:
“You may remain Hindu, Muslim, Christian or a follower of any other religion. But while living the pleasures and pains of human life do not live even a single day without inner meditation.”
Maharishi Mehi 1885-1986
Maharishi was born in 1885 and from early age was a seeker of Truth. His search which was wide and far lead him to the feet of his teacher BabaDevi Sahab in 1909. As directed by his teacher Maharishi spent many years in intense meditation and eventually located on the banks of the Ganges near Bhagalpur in the state of Bihar.
Maharishi taught all sincere seekers but was especially fond of the poorer villagers. There is a story of a lower caste old woman who was quite devoted to Maharishi. Once she came to give prashad (usually a food item meant as a gift for the teacher). She had in her hand a ladu which is a simple sweet which she had herself prepared. She was so poor that although the ingredients were common it was a considerable expense for her. As she waited in a line with others who were also giving prashad she must have thought her gift to be so small as to be unworthy. And for good reason- in front of her were persons of considerable means bearing expensive and ample prashad. Maharishi typically took prashad and gave a blessing and the prashad gift was latter distributed to other devotees. He himself rarely ate these gifts and it was considered a great blessing to have him eat an individual prashad. Although in line and with considerable devotees in front of her Maharishi suddenly, looked up at her. He said: " Come here devotee of God". As she came forward she clutched her gift still certain that it was altogether unworthy. "Give me the prashad" demanded Maharishi. Obediently she obliged her teacher. Maharishi commented on what a fine gift and ate a good deal of it. Everyone was quite surprised that the great teacher would eat the prashad from a low class woman. But such was the heart and mind of Maharishi. Not only did he know the true heart of those who came to him but he especially respected the humble.
True to BabaDevi Sahabs' prophecy he lived to be over 100 years of age and left the body in 1986. Maharishi says:
“Stillness or steadiness is the essence of Shanti (supreme Peace).
The one who has attained Shanti is a saint.
Santmat encompasses the thoughts and the Way of Saints.
The desire for attaining a state free from suffering and to attain happiness of Shanti (absolute Peace) is natural in human beings. The purpose of Santmat is to provide a system which fulfills the desire of attaining absolute Peace.”
Santsevi Ji Maharaj 1920-2007
The latest teacher and accomplished adept is Santsevi Ji Maharaj. Santsevi Ji met his teacher Maharishi Mehi in 1939. Santsevi Ji served his teacher with devotion and service rarely seen. Although, Santsevi Ji attended school only to the 7th grade his intellect is remarkable. On behalf of and at the direction of Maharishi Mehi he wrote prolifically and profoundly. He freely cited quotes from a variety of scriptures and sages. His quarters largely lacked books which begs the question: from what source do these quotes came? The quotes were often extremely detailed and extremely varied. His spoken Hindi was lucid, scholarly yet clear and easily understandable. Shri Santsevi Jis' greatness is only eclipsed by his humility. He was a living embodiment of what he taught and while traveling extensively on teaching tours he maintained a discipline which included ample time for meditation and other spiritual duties. Still this description does not convey the spirit and individuality of this great sage. He cared for his devotees intensely and often wept on hearing of some sad news or sad story. His heart was as tender as a mother, however if you were fortunate enough to be given advice by him-that advice always was true and resulted in the best. Although, he might appear to casually suggest a future event, that event always occurred. While he did not perform public miracles, there are hundreds of stories from his devotees relating to miraculous events clearly orchestrated by his Divine hand. He was always encouraging especially in regards to individual sadhana (spiritual practices). Everyone who was close to Swamiji felt as though they were singled out for special care and love. In fact everyone close to him had that experience, such was his grace and sense of service. It is said "a great Master serves even his disciples", Shri Santseviji was the embodiment of that saying.
Santsevi Ji refused numerous invitations to come and teach in the West. Recently, he expressed his wish that Santmat be taught by his representatives. Santsevi Ji says:
Current Living Teachers of This Tradition
Below is a list of a few of the current teachers of this tradition, there are of course many many others who live and teach throughout India, most are disciples of Maharishi Mehi. More information will be posted in the future on these and other current teachers of this tradition.
Harinandan baba, Bhagirath Baba, Guru Nandan Bab is the head of the Bhagalpur Ashram which is the main ashram. Harinandanbaba is a disciple of Maharishi Mehi
Vyasananda currently has an ashram in Dehra Dunn India and Haridwar both located in the state of U.P. and is a disciple of Maharishi Mehi and was mentored by Shri Santseviji.