Swami Shiv Dayal Singh, also known as Swamiji Maharaj founded the Radhaswamy faith in the year 1861 at Agra. His disciple, Baba Jaimal Singhji, after being initiated by Swamiji Maharaj founded the Radhasoami Satsang at Beas, Punjab, in 1891 and carried forward His message. Baba Jaimal Singhji was succeeded by Huzur Sawan Singhji, who devotedly carried on the work the mission of His Master at Beas from December 1903 till April 2, 1948. Baba Somanathji was a disciple of Param Sant Sadguru Huzur Sawan Singhji Maharaj at Beas and was ordered by his Master to spread the Radhaswamy faith in South India.
Param Sant Sadguru Baba Somanathji Maharaj, affectionately referred to as Babaji, founded the Sawan Durbar Ashram on 24th March 1958. Babaji, a true saint of recent times, established this Ashram with the sole purpose of disseminating the teachings of Santmat to all earnest seekers of Truth and named it in the sacred memory of his beloved Guru, Param Sant Sadguru Huzur Sawan Singhji Maharaj. The Ashram is situated on Uttarahalli road, in Kengeri, Bangalore. The Ashram has been functioning since 1958 and has attracted seekers of Truth from many parts of India, and also from countries like Germany, Switzerland, England and U.S.A, and provides a serene atmosphere to learn and practice the teachings of Santmat.
Apart from this Ashram, over a period of time, Baba Somanathji founded the Baba Somanathji Radhaswamy Satsang, Worli, Mumbai, the Dakshina Bharat Radhaswamy Satsang at Enumaladoddi, the Soham Prakash Mandir at Davangere and the Nada Prakash Mandir at Dhareshwar in North Karnataka, to preach and propagate the Radhaswamy faith in the South as ordained by His master, Baba Sawan Singhji Maharaj.
The Ashram is self-supporting through income from agriculture and voluntary donations from initiated satsangis. Funds are not collected from visitors or general public. There is no commercial orientation or context in any of the activities in the Ashram since the basic objective is to afford opportunities for disciples to do service out of free will and for their own benefit. The Ashram is wholly devoted to the cause of spiritual seekers and all its activities are geared towards the promoting spirituality and the spiritual progress of seekers of Truth.
A brief history of the Ashram
When Babaji bought the land, it was a rocky, thorny shrub forest. Over the years, Babaji developed the land and through seva, it was transformed into what it is today, a productive arable farm land. From the beginning, many satsangis played key roles assisting Babaji in the establishment and maintenance of the Ashram. Prominent among them were Sri. Ramappa, Anjanappa, S.B. Pathrappa, Nanjundappa, A.K. Keshavachar, A.D. Anandan, P.K. Mukundan, Munivenkatappa, P.K.S. Menon, P.I. Joseph, Manickam, R.K. Nair, Shivarudrappa, Meghanadan, Karagappa, Teekamma, N.T.Nanje Gowda, Engineer Shivappa and scores of other satsangis.
Along with the development of the land, Babaji also created many facilities in the Ashram. Namnirnaya Mandir, a hall to hold satsangs and bestow Nam was constructed in 1963. The gate to the Ashram, the Mahadwara, was built in 1974 and has a symbolic dome which represents the five spiritual regions to be traversed by a soul back on its homeward path. Babaji used to live in the old bungalow that existed when the land was purchased until 1968, after which he moved into the first floor of the then newly built ‘Soham Shabd Gunjar’. Someshwara Bhuvan and Veermahal were built as living quarters for sevadars and initiates in-waiting. A common kitchen, a dining hall, and a garage were built during Baba Somanathji’s time.
The Ashram was well equipped with agricultural tools and farm implements such as a tractor, ploughs, bullock cart etc., a car and a van were maintained for travelling to satsang centres and to bring provisions from the city. There were 70-80 cattle consisting of oxen, cows, buffaloes and calves. Babaji was fond of animals, birds and children. A peacock, a dog and doves were reared with love and affection.
Baba Premanathji, who became the Guru-in-Peeta after Baba Somanathji, further developed the Ashram, bringing in more land under cultivation, drilling bore wells and canals to irrigate the land and built buildings for the use of sevadars and during his tenure much of the land that was wild with shrubs and weeds was cleared and used for agriculture. He also was responsible for planting many fruit yielding trees such as cashew, coconut, sapota and mango.
The present Guru-in-Peeta, Dr. M.B. Vasudevachariji developed the rest of the area of the land for agriculture. Hundreds of trees of various types have been planted to provide a green cover, two artificial lakes were constructed to harvest rainwater, and several energy conservation methods are adopted for daily use at the Ashram. Roads have been created to various points in the Ashram area, which were previously unapproachable. This includes a road around the perimeter of the Ashram. One of these roads, ‘Radhaswamy Marg’ is paved and all the others are unpaved. Under his guidance, varied activities are undertaken which promote and conserve the environmental aspects of the Ashram environs.