PODCAST: The Origins of Sant Mat, Part 4: The Five Names and Kabir Panth Connection -- Spiritual Awakening Radio
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The Origin of the Five Names, the Panch Naam Mantra
In some branches of Sant Mat and Radhasoami, part of the meditation instructions includes the use of five special names. These particular five names serve as the mantra -- sacred names used during meditation practice and simran/zikhr (remembrance). These names appear in the Sar Bachan Poetry of Seth Shiv Dayal Singh, (Soamiji Maharaj, a.k.a. Sant Radhasoami Sahib, founder of the Radhasoami Satsang). The consensus is that Seth Shiv Dayal Singh had been given instruction about the use of these five names or panch naam by his guru: Tulsi Sahib.
These five names are in fact used by the Tulsi Sahib group based in Hathras. David Lane, accompanied by Mark Juergensmeyer, recalling a visit to India and an encounter with Sant Prakash Das of the Tulsi Sahib Ashram or Mandir: "...The Mahant we spoke with in Hathras (1978) said Tulsi gave out the five names.... He was part of Tulsi's lineage." (Radhasoami Studies Yahoo Group)
So, who was using the panch naam mantra -- these five names -- prior to the time of Sant Tulsi Sahib? It's an important question as it may shed further light on the identity of Tulsi Sahib's guru and the origins of this spiritual path called Sant Mat. If Tulsi Sahib did not invent the usage of the five names himself, then it's rather likely he was continuing the practice he had learned at the feet of his own guru, reflecting an even older tradition of Sants. It would be most informative to know the identity of this earlier Sant Mat path that represents the "people of the five names", if you will, those who chanted these sacred mantra-words during earlier centuries.
The Panch Naam Words Traced Back to Kabir/Dharamdasi Texts
One of the five names is nowhere to be found in the Sikh world, however, the third name -- indeed all five of the names of Tulsi Sahib's panch naam mantra -- are to be found present in the Sant literature associated with Guru Kabir and Sant Dharam Das! I can not say with certainty when these five names were first adopted by a Kabir Sant Satguru (or Dariya's Guru, Dariya, or Tulsi) as a mantra in this Kabir line of masters, but I will say that these names, which are associated with the inner cosmology and Sound Currents of the Sants are to be found in certain writings of the Kabir tradition, and in other Sant writings that make use of the literature of this Kabir tradition. The "people of the five names" and "the people of the Anurag Sagar" are one and the same community: the Dharamdasis. This is the source-group and Sant tradition for the five names that existed in India prior to the time of Dariya Sahib, Tulsi Sahib, and Seth Shiv Dayal Singh.
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