Satpal ji Maharaj, the son of Paramsant Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, was born on 21st September 1951 at Kankhal in the holy town of Hardwar. His father’s life was one of selfless service to humanity and of tireless devotion to the ideal of awakening man’s dormant spirituality. Birth in the family of an enlightened Yogi, combined with his own inherent tendencies, facilitated Satpal Ji Maharaj’s spiritual development from a very early age. By the age of two and half he was already sitting for long periods of meditation and he encouraged others to do likewise. His father once remarked that his consciousness was naturally drawn inwards but was to be drawn out for the benefit of others. Growing up in a spiritual environment, under the strict guidance of his parents and surrounded by mahatmas and devotees, he very soon became a master of the spiritual science.
When he was three years old, his father arranged a large procession through the main streets of Delhi in his honor. Thousands of devotees and interested people participated. At one point, a gigantic traffic jam halted the procession. Little Satpal Ji himself stood up and directed the traffic so that the way was cleared. So, even at a tender age, his innate leadership and organizational abilities were evident.
Besides his spiritual education at home, he received a formal education at St. George’s College, Mussourie. Right from the start he showed a keen interest in science. Practical by nature, he would not accept anything until he could verify it through objective analysis or practical experience.
Totally devoted to his own Master, Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj demonstrated the path of service in his own life. His life is an example of service, dedication and also to inspire others for the same. His father passed away in 19th July 1966, bequeathing his mission and unfinished work to his eldest son. When the time came, young Maharaj Ji took command with his characteristic zeal and efficiency, dedicating himself to fulfilling his father’s dreams. He has never deviated from the ideals and path taught by Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, no matter what the cost. His integrity and clarity of vision, his noble character, self-discipline and patient effort have earned him the respect of all sections of society.
He teaches the deepest esoteric mysteries of spirituality in a very down-to-earth fashion. He makes spirituality a living, practical reality in the lives of his followers. He emphasises the need of first living religion and then talking about it. Thus, spirituality has become a way of life for him and his disciples and he is the living embodiment of what he teaches.
Shri Satpal ji Maharaj is a multi-dimensional personality. He is a humanist, social activist, a reformer and claims to serve humankind. But he is even more than this. He is primarily a spiritual scientist and an enlightened teacher. He takes life in totality and wants to bring about a peaceful spiritual revolution in human consciousness, which will then transform society. To enlighten man and enlighten the Universe is the motto of his life.
He has been disseminating this spiritual knowledge, the living essence of all religions, for more than three decades. He teaches no scripture but believes in all, he stands for no rituals, but opposes none. He respects the great religious books and frequently quotes from them to indicate that the essence of all religions is one. And this essence is ‘Know thyself’. Know the image of God in which you are made, know your real entity, know the all-permeating consciousness.
His work, as he sees it, is to “restore respect for the past, find solutions in the present and devise a proper course of action for the future.
Message of Peace
Saints and sages have always taught that hidden inside us is the universe,but we don’t know ourselves. That is why we wander everywhere in search of peace, but we don’t find the peace that we are looking for.
Every father wants peace in his family. Relatives want peace in their homes. All members of society want peace. Citizens of a nation also want to live in peace. Why do we have such huge armies and police forces? To maintain peace. The United Nations was created for peace, so that nations could discuss, negotiate and talk about peace. However, until our lives are peaceful, until our family life is peaceful, our society cannot be peaceful.
The saints said that the Holy Name is the giver of peace, of bliss and perfect joy and if you meditate on it, you will feel peace. This mental peace has been expressed in different words, such as knowledge, samadhi, experience of God. Different religions have given it different names, and so different beliefs have arisen from the difference in languages, but peace is the same for everyone. Everyone wants peace and to get it, we have to search for the Truth. The Chinese saint Lao-Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath your foot.” In the same way, your search for Truth must begin within yourself.
We all want to have peace, but we tend to take the longest route. We always want to go though maya, through materialism, but peace is not there. If you cannot find peace within, then you cannot find it elsewhere. So all the saints have taught that if you want peace, then go within. Saints have the power to change human nature, to change society through Knowledge. This spiritual revolution is a revolution of individuals, because it changes individual natures. It is not a violent revolution.
Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj once said during a discourse at Bodh Gaya, “What is going on in society today is there for all to see. Even though India is the land where Divine Masters lived and taught, nowadays the poison of untouchability and prejudice is eating away at society like a cancer. Despite all the laws and legal structures which have been created, man still hates man. Why? Doesn’t he realise the God also dwells in the lowly and the downtrodden? We feel like this because we have lost our spiritual vision. We have forgotten the Knowledge which turned a prince into a Buddha. We have lost contact with the experience which changed people into saints and sages.
’Here at Bodh Gaya, where Buddha meditated and discovered the Way for one and all, we eulogies that experience and hope that it can spread throughout the world, so that man may tear down the walls of mistrust and prejudice and love all people as fellow human beings. India is crowned by the world’s highest peaks which seem to be saying, ‘Make yourselves lofty like us! Knock down the walls of hatred and nurture noble thoughts in your minds!’
People from other countries have always been attracted to India. Throughout history, famous explorers and travellers journeyed to India from China, Japan, Tibet, Indonesia and Europe, because India has always been known as the land of spirituality. India’s saints and sages developed a universal spiritual path which can guide the entire human race. India has always exalted the ideal of non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Real education is the evolution of the spirit”, but nowadays we are making zero spiritual progress. Our spiritual heritage teaches us to help one another, to love our fellow man. Whatever you share with others comes back to you multiplied.
A little while ago, here in the Temple, I wanted to light some candles. I didn’t have any matches, so I used a lit candle to light the others. In the same way, divine Masters are like lit candles. Why do thousands of pilgrims come to this Temple? Because Lord Buddha was himself a lighted candle, and simply by his touch those who were in darkness, like unlit candles, saw Light. When a snake hears music – i.e. vibrations – for instance, it forgets its natural tendency to bite. In the same way, the vibration of Spiritual Knowledge neutralises the negative tendencies within us.
So we are here to pay homage to the divine experience that Siddhartha had, due to which he is worshipped around the world. If we have the same experience, our lives will also be transformed. Society and the times can only be changes when we ourselves change. When we change, society will also change and our children will inherit a Golden Age.”
Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj is well-known as a social reformer. During his extensive Padyatras(tours by foot) in the northwestern Himalayan region of Garhwal, Maharaj Ji came to know about the endemic problems of the area and has been actively advocating various social welfare programs to promote literacy, employment and a fair deal for women ever since. His task, as he sees it, is to “restore respect for the past, find solutions in the present and devise a proper course of action for the future”. He is trying hard to unite all sections of society under the banner ‘One Nation, One Flag, One Spirit’. He urges people not to rely on the Government to solve their problems, but to break through their mental barriers and caste prejudices to uproot communal hatred, in order to work together for the sake of society as a whole.
Years of tireless effort and extensive touring of India, Nepal and Bhutan led to a series of padyatras (a long march with a spiritual and/or social purpose).
Welcome to Manav Dharam
What is the Power which energizes you? What is the mystery behind the process of respiration? What is the vital energy on which everything depends?
That life-energy isn’t something which can be expressed verbally, yet it is the source of all languages. It is invisible, yet it makes us see. It cannot be known through logic or philosophy, yet the powers of reason and memory spring from it. It is the Self in every single being and experiencing it, realizing it, is our natural dharam, or Manav Dharam (’the dharam of mankind’).
Manav Dharam is realizing one’s own innate potential and to evolving it to its ultimate levels. It means realising the common bond which encompasses the whole universe. It is universal, eternal, ever present and beyond matter and mind. Man is not merely a mechanism of body and mind but is Spirit in its truest sense. This is why it is said that we are one in spirit. In fact spirit is life and life is spirit. Manav Dharam therefore in simplest terms can be summed up in the phrase “Know Thyself!”.
Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj, the expounder of Manav Dharam, travels constantly to inspire and encourage others to experience this inner life force which is our true essence. He reveals the same techniques of spiritual insight to all, irrespective of nationality, caste or creed. Manav Dharam encompasses the teachings of all religions and is the source of them all. It is the eternal wisdom flowing from the practical Knowledge of the Soul.
Shri Maharaj Ji is the founder of the organization ‘Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti’, which aspires to manifest ‘Knowledge in Action’. It operates a wide range of charitable and social services through its network of more than 3000 ashrams and centers.