Excerpt from the book “The Way of the Saints: SANT MAT” by Sant Kirpal Singh, first part of chapter “The Life of Baba Sawan Singh” (pages 2 to 26)
This brief biographical study of Hazur Maharaj Baba Sawan Singh Ji is a combination of several different writings of Kirpal Singh. The basic narrative framework is “A Brief Life Sketch of Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj”, the Master’s first published writing in English, issued by him in 1949, the year after Sawan Singh’s death. This pamphlet is especially rich in vivid detail in its narrative of the last months of Hazur’s life. With this we have combined “Scenes from a Great Life“, a talk given by the Master on one anniversary of Hazur’s birth (published in Sat Sandesh in July 1970) which is much more specific than “A Brief Life Sketch” in regard to Hazur’s earlier life. Brief sections from two other talks in which Kirpal Singh referred to his Guru are also included.
Zuban pe bare-Khudaya ye kis ka num aya
Ke mere nutq ne base meri zuban ke liye.
By the Grace of God whose name did I mention
the faculty of speech has begun to kiss my tongue.
Who is not acquainted with with the name of that Messiah of the modern age? — that living personification of morality, the fountain-head of Spirituality, who in the dark abyss of this material world helped many a helpless wanderer to the path of Truth and lighted their dark path. Just a little while ago we ourselves were witnessing the wonderful miracles and the instructive eye-opening incidents which are usually associated with the names of the past Saints and were the actual recipients of the great benefits from that Godman who lived and moved amongst us and showed us the path leading to Reality.
Guftai-oo-guftai Allah bavad
Garche az halqum-i-Abdullah bavad.
His eyes were intoxicated with love of God
and His hand was one with that of God.
He was the mouthpiece of God
and God Himself spoke through that human throat.
This spiritual luminary assumed the garb of man on 27th July, 1858, in a respectable Grewal Jat family of Mahmansinghwala, District Ludhiana, Punjab. His father, Sardar Kabul Singh Ji, loved the society of godly people and freely mixed with them, and his mother, Shrimati Jiwani Ji, was a living specimen of the ancient virtues of simplicity, good-will, resignation and contentment. Baba Sawan Singh Ji was the only son of his parents and was the
cynosure of all their hopes and aspirations (1).
The privilege of being the parents of such a great personality must surely be founded on some noble background from past lives. From a very early age Kabul Singh frequently kept the company of holy men, serving them with sincerity, and because of this Baba Sawan Singh Ji had the opportunity of doing the same, remaining constantly at his father’s side up to the year 1870. The passion to serve and be near godly men developed within him and he spent every available spare moment in this way, from 1870 to 1878. After passing his tenth class in 1878 he took some employment, but became sick and was called home, where he stayed for two years.
The lives of those who are destined to take the dear souls across the river of life are predestined to prepare them for the important work. In this period of two years, Hazur met a great renunciate, an expert in Vedanta and Yoga by the name of Bhoop Singh Ji, and benefited greatly from the time spent in his company. As a result, Hazur was filled with the desire to renounce the world and become a sadhu. Profound thinking does not arise from merely another’s promoting, but is already there, from the Beyond. A hen may good-naturedly hatch a nestful of eggs in which some duck eggs have been mixed, but when the little birds come out and go near the pond, the ducklings will jump in and start swimming and the chicks will stand and gaze in wonder. Similarly, wise souls are not earthly but heavenly beings. Guru Nanak was once made in charge of a shop in Sultanpur, and one day whilst carrying out his duties a fakir approached him and remarked, “We do not come into this world for this.” That very day Guru Nanak left everything and “tightened his belt” ready to serve humanity for its upliftment.
From a very early age the conscious awareness of his predisposition toward spiritual things and aversion to worldly affairs was deeply embedded in Baba Sawan Singh’s heart. However, truly exalted souls conceal their own inclinations and perform whatever tasks the worldly duties demand. Whenever he had a tendency to renounce the world he would thrust aside the noble aspiration in consideration of his parents, for being the only son he preferred to serve them, knowing that a renunciate may not serve according to his choice but must be prepared to serve humanity at large — wherever its need may call him. This is indicative of Hazur’s great wisdom, for he who shirks his duty will never reach perfection.
Up to 1883, when the Master was 25 years old, his time was spent as described. Sardar Kabul Singh Ji then insisted that he should enter military service, and approached his commanding officer about a commission for his son. While this was being processed, Hazur started teaching at an army training school in Farukhabad, but the company of illiterates, alcohol drinkers and meat eaters became unbearable, so he went to Roorkee and passed an entrance examination into the Thompson College of Engineering there. During his stay in Farukhabad he had spent his leisure hours on the banks of the Ganges, where he met many holy people, in particular a man by the name of Bhai Nihal Singh. He then [after his graduation from college] got his commission in the army, but simultaneously he was given an offer in civil engineering, and preferring the latter, he accepted a post as overseer in Nowshera. When searching for a place of residence there, some people told him about a lovely house which was available, but unfortunately was haunted by ghosts and unsuitable to live in due to the danger to life. Hazur persisted in taking the house, and the people were amazed to witness how the ghosts magically disappeared. He who belongs to the Lord of all creation has nothing to fear, men and angels are waiting to serve him.
“All creation is at Thy feet,
and Thou art in command over all creation.”
Baba Sawan Singh Ji always had an open mind, and studied all religions. Study can be a preparation of the ground, for the flowers to burst forth into bloom at a later date. In Nowshera, Hazur listened to the discourses of Baba Karam Singh of Mardan, and when he went to Peshawar he met Baba Kahan Ji, an enlightened soul, and spent many hours with him. One day Hazur requested, “Baba, give me something.” But Baba Kahan replied, “No, I cannot give you what you want, but most surely you will get it — someone else will give it to you.” Outwardly these people are simple men, but they are really the knowers of the three worlds. From Peshawar, Hazur was transferred to Koh-marie where he took a house near a famous gurudwara named Bhuramul Gurudwara. It was a place where the pilgrims and yogis rested on the way to Amar Nath, a Hindu place of pilgrimage, and Hazur spent his spare time talking with them about spiritual things. One can see how nature helps to build the inner strength of those destined to be spiritual giants, by keeping them surrounded by uplifting company. (2)
He loved all, even atheists. Once when he was posted at Murree Hills, an atheist who was suffering from tuberculosis and was advised to sojourn in the hills by his doctors, came to Murree Hills. He knocked at every door for accommodation, but found them all closed; nobody was willing to take him in. First, because of the highly infectious disease he was suffering from, and also because he did not believe in God. He came to the residence of Hazur Maharaj Ji, who was away on duty at the time. He asked the housekeeper for accomodation, and was refused. It so happened that Hazur Maharaj Ji was just then returning home and saw the man being turned away from his house. He asked the housekeeper about it, and was told that it was a tuberculosis patient asking for accommodation whom nobody was willing to take in. “And what did you say?” asked Hazur. “I also refused him, for he was an atheist,” said the housekeeper. Hazur Maharaj told him, “Look here, this man may not know that God resides in him, but we know it, don’t we? Please give him accommodation.” (3)
The time passed by until the day arrived for the foundation to be laid which would eventually support the destiny of all humanity. The Perfect Master of that time was Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj, who was the chief disciple of Swami Ji Maharaj, and who, after Swami Ji left the world, settled in the Punjab to carry out his spiritual mission. One day in August 1894, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji and a disciple were walking along the Koh-marie Road, where Hazur was inspecting the work in progress there, in his capacity as Sub-Divisional Officer. As Baba Jaimal Singh Ji passed by with his companion, he pointed to Hazur and said, “I have come here because of that person.” The disciple remarked, “You have come for a funny person, who does not even turn his head to greet you.” Babaji kindly explained, “This personage has come into this world specially for a very high expression of life, and after four days he will come to me.” Hazur Maharaj came to Babaji in the company of one Mr. Sukh Dyal. After four days’ Satsang he took initiation, and stayed near Baba Jaimal Singh Ji for two months. After Babaji left Koh-marie, Hazur spent most of his time in meditation and as the love for his Guru increased, his heart grew heavier with sadness at being separated from his Master. He would visit Babaji at every available opportunity to derive the invaluable blessing of his presence.
Baba Jaimal Singh Ji lived on the edge of the River Beas, where in 1898 the foundation stone of the Dera Baba Jaimal Singh was laid and a Satsang hall built. Whenever his leave occurred Hazur would go straight to Beas and on arrival leave all his pay at Babaji’s feet, from which Babaji would give him enough for his maintenance and send whatever was necessary for housekeeping to Hazur’s wife. In all the thirty years of working, Hazur spent only a total of six months with his wife, for all his leave was spent with Babaji and he would visit his home only on orders from his Master.
In 1902 the foundation stone of the big Satsang hall was laid, and on completion of this building, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji said to Bibi Rukko, an enlightened soul who lived in the Dera, “I will not hold a Satsang in this hall.” She started crying, but after some moments she asked, “Maharaj, who is going to hold the Satsangs after you?” Babaji said, “Go into the hall and see for yourself,” and when she entered the empty hall she saw Baba Sawan Singh Ji quietly sitting on the dais. On 29th December, 1903, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj left his physical form, after bestowing the spiritual work upon Baba Sawan Singh. Babaji had been heard to say that after him a very high soul would come and hold Satsang, and that the Dera would become seething with humanity. Up to then, only about five to seven hundred people around Beas and district had become his disciples. However, Hazur did not immediately leave his work, but came to live in the Dera on his retirement in 1911, when he then gave all his time to the spiritual work. Everyone is aware of the change that took place in the Dera during his residence there, where from merely one or two houses a small town shaped up through the years. A huge T-shaped Satsang hall was erected, with dimensions of 120 feet long in both directions — each forty feet in width. Whoever wanted the Truth came to him and gained the priceless boon, no matter to what religion they belonged. All were endowed with the riches of Spirituality.
One might ask what lessons one can learn from the life of Baba Sawan Singh Ji. Without hesitation, the following observations can be upheld as food for study and an example to mankind:
Chastity. In Shri Hazur Maharaj’s life we find the highest virtue of brahmcharya or chastity. He was married at the age of about eleven or twelve, but according to custom, after the ceremony the girl returned to her parents’ home without even seeing her husband. The final ceremony is normally performed after eight or ten years when the girl has matured, so after nine years had passed the arrangements were made, but unfortunately the girl died twenty days before the appointed date. Hazur was twenty years old at this time, and the second marriage was arranged when he was twenty-five, so this means twenty-five years of chaste life. Then during his thirty years of marriage he lived with his wife for only a sum total of six months. His wife’s name was Krishna Vanti Ji and they had two sons — Bachint Singh and Harbans Singh. Hazur used to say, “By my own wish I was living a chaste life many years before Babaji left this world.”
A keen student of literature, Hazur read enthusiastically his whole life through, and studied carefully whatever sacred books he could get. In his huge library of holy books selected from many sources, more than a thousand had annotations in his own hand throughout the pages. There are certain books which are not normally available to the public but Baba Sawan Singh Ji had many of these copied for his own library.
Never idle. Hazur was always occupied with something — with either Satsang, meditation or reading holy books. His activeness started early in the morning and continued until late in the night.
Now a few words about the criterion of a true Master, although truly speaking only a Mahatma can recognize a Mahatma. However, there are indications for the keen observer.
A Mahatma’s outer form has a certain attraction for the heart. They are not like cobblers who are concerned only with the leather or skin, but their attention is always on the soul. They are the Lord’s messengers Hazur used to say, “We are not here to make religions, so everyone should stay in whatever religion he already belongs to. The connection between you and me is through the soul. Get the connection with the Holy Naam.”
Mahatmas always live on their own earnings and not on donations. Kabir Sahib, Guru Nanak Sahib, Maulana Rumi Sahib and others all earned their own sustenance.
“Earn and give with your own hands to others.
O Nanak, only he who lives thus would know the True Path.”
They depend only upon God. Hazur also had this criterion for he lived within his pension and performed free service unto others. His love and kindness extended to all souls, and with joyful enthusiasm he would spend up to eighteen hours per day in selfless service. Throughout his life, which was ninety years in length, Hazur cared little for rest and when he started his spiritual mission he devoted his whole time to awakening the souls. He taught the true seekers to live in the world and simultaneously progress in their meditation.
Mahatmas never encourage the people to be attached to outer worship, but explain that the true temple of God lies within man. Emerson also said, “Tap inside,” meaning that one should search for God within. Bulleh Shah says, “When you seek the inner path, only then can the secret of the Godman be realized.” Rise above the mind and the senses, and whilst living learn the secret of death. Learn this mystery, separate the awakenedness from the physical form, and reach to where your Satguru is waiting with mercy and love in both hands. Whosoever has realized God has done so in the temple of the human form, and whosoever desires to realize God will have to do the same. This is the third criterion for judging a true Master, and Hazur Maharaj always taught the method of inversion.
He repeatedly informed the seekers that salvation can only be achieved through the Holy Word, or Naam, and that Naam was the highest form of devotion of all the sadhnas [devotional practices]. Hindus call it Nad, Udgit and Shruti. Muslims call it Naqnzai-i-Asmani, Kalam-i-Illahi, or Kalma. Christians call it the Word. The Lord manifested Himself into Creation through the form of the Shabd or Word, so if the soul gets a connection with the Holy Word, then it can reach back to God.
“When you get the Shabd, you have got a contact with God.
Through that service, everything is achieved.”
“Contact with Naam is the true devotion.
There is no true worship without the Holy Naam.
The whole world is in a delusion.”
The Saints never interfere with outer forms and rituals, but give excellent advice for achieving the best results. Hazur would tell his followers, “The Word is within you — just be devoted to that and nothing else.” Those who search for God outwardly remain empty within.
“He who forgets himself through the nine outlets (of the senses),
will never find the priceless treasure lying within him.”
I have briefly placed before you four criteria for judging a true Master, and all these could be seen in Hazur. There are also outer indications: a Mahatma’s eye is deep as a lion’s, the forehead is broad, his way of walking is graceful like a dove’s. Hazur had all these features. Masters also have a sign of the lotus on their foot. It has been written that Lord Krishna and Guru Amardas both had this sign, and so did Hazur.
Hafiz Sahib said, “If my Master takes possession of my heart, then I will give (in exchange) my faith, my world, my home here and hereafter, just to see the black mole on his face.” Hazur Maharaj had a beautiful black mole on his face.
The lives of these great personalities cannot be fully understood by the common man. They are not simply man alone, but manifested God in man, and only those who have the rare secret opened up to them can know what this means. Most other people think of them as atheists. On this very subject, Khusro Sahib once remarked, “People say that Khusro is the worshiper of a human being, and I say, ‘Yes, I do it’ and do not care for the world and its opinions.” True seekers will sacrifice their mind and body for the privilege of the company of a true Mahatma.
Many seemingly miraculous things can happen around a true Master. I saw many amazing incidents through being connected with Hazur Maharaj Ji, from which I will tell of two. In the Holy Bible it is written that Jesus Christ gave sight to the blind. In the early thirties in Rawalpindi a lady lost her eyesight, and after consultation with the best specialist it was found that the optical nerves had shriveled, and there was no hope of recovering the sight. She could see nothing, though outwardly there seemed to be no difference. Inwardly however, she was constantly enjoying the darshan of Baba Sawan Singh Ji, and was therefore not at all dismayed. Two days of blindness passed, and on the third day I was sitting with her and her husband when she said, “The Master and another man are discussing something. The gentleman is beseeching Hazur, saying ‘Hazur, have mercy — please give her sight back.’ Now Hazur is saying, ‘Alright, alright.’ ” The lady’s husband, sitting with closed eyes, suddenly saw a brilliant light, and at exactly that time, the lady, who was lying on the bed, got up and ran across the room saying, “I can see — I can see.” In an apparently magical way, her eyesight had been restored. (*)
There is also an account in the Bible of Jesus feeding five thousand people with a little bread in a basket, each one being fully fed and satisfied. Hazur used to visit his home town from time to time, usually accompanied by hundreds of followers, and there was always a free kitchen arrangement for them. On one visit there was a large group of Akali Sikhs camped nearby for some special celebration. These Akalis were against Baba Sawan Singh’s teachings, so they planned to bring disgrace upon him by going to his free kitchen after the meal had finished and the kitchen closed. Nearly three hundred of them sat down outside the kitchen door and demanded that food be served to them immediately. Someone told me what had happened and I hurried to the kitchen to find that there was just half a basket of bread. I called the cook and told him to light the fires and make more bread, but the three hundred people outside started shouting for food. Just then, Hazur entered the kitchen and said, “Kirpal Singh, why are you not giving them food?” I replied, “Hazur, there is only half a basketful of bread, how can I feed three hundred people with that? We have to make more.” Baba Sawan Singh smiled and said, “Fear not, but cover the basket with a cloth and go on serving the bread.” I did as Hazur had instructed, and the three hundred men ate and ate until they could eat no more, and when the meal was finished there was still the same amount of bread left as there had been at the start.
It is very often considered that miracles are just stories invented out of the imagination, but in fact, very few people know what a miracle truly is. The word itself literally means “things which astonish.” Coleridge says that the fact that Christ performed miracles was verification that he was carrying out his Father’s orders. Locke says that miracles are like a letter of promise from God, which Saints and Avatars bring with them to this world. The common man does not know how such happenings are performed, and calls them “miracles” which actually shows his ignorance of the real facts. In the Patanjali Sutra of Maharishi Patanjali, in the third stanza, verses 5-51, it is written that creating worldly things like curing the sick, making barren women fertile, producing precious gems, etc., are called riddhis and siddhis and performing these things beset the way of perfection; it is no proof of perfection. For he who goes into samadhi (the state of leaving the body at will) such things are like plucked flowers scattered before and behind him on his path — a true pilgrim in search of God will never stoop to pick them up. So-called miracles are merely a child’s play which can be done by focusing the mind to a single point. All perfect Masters are in control of these powers, but do not work through them.
In Peshawar, some years ago, a hypnotist came to the Edward Mission College and to show what he could do he hypnotized a boy and then asked anyone to question the boy in any language they chose. The boy answered all questions accurately, even replying to the questions of a professor of Latin. When Madam Blavatsky visited Lahore, she was having a discussion with a number of people when a certain professor exclaimed, “Madame, all that you are saying is a rigmarole and as impossible as flowers falling from the ceiling.” Madame Blavatsky replied, “Professor, do you think that is really impossible?” At once, a shower of blossoms fell from the ceiling and covered the table. Madame Blavatsky turned to the professor and said, “These things are according to the laws of nature, but we are not acquainted with them.”
Maulana Rumi was a teacher, and he first met his Master Shamas Tabrez when he was giving a lesson to a number of children. Hazrat Shamas Tabrez approached and asked, “What is this?” Maulana Rumi replied, “This is that knowledge of which you know nothing.” Shamas Tabrez kept quiet, but when the boys left for the break period he took all the books and slates and threw them into a nearby pond. When Maulana Rumi returned with the boys they demanded to know where their books were. Shamas Tabrez took them to the pond, and one by one took out the books — but astonishingly, they were all dry! Maulana Rumi, his eyes wide open with surprise, said, “What is this?” Shamas Tabrez replied, “This is that knowledge of which you know nothing.” As is well known, Maulana Rumi later became the disciple of Shamas Tabrez and eventually succeeded him in Mastership. What I want to impress about this subject is that miraculous happenings are merely the fruit of concentrated attention, and that true Masters do not give them any importance because they have gone far past this stage. Hafiz Sahib says, “Do not mention miracles to me, because I have crossed that stage, and I am where such things are not necessary.”
Perfect Masters never work through these lower powers, and they forbid true seekers from doing so because they are an obstruction on the path to God. However, through meditation the student will automatically acquire them, but they are forbidden to be used. Even though the Masters use them at times for certain purposes, they will tell you that the greatest “miracle” is when they raise the soul above the mind and the senses, thereby severing the knot which binds it to the wheel of births and deaths. The progress which the Mahatmas used to achieve in thousands of years, by the grace of Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, is today achieved in months. Great Masters have the most miraculous power of making the Holy Naam manifest in others — what more miracle than this is to be desired? (4)
Hazur revived the teachings of the holy Saints and brought them into the limelight. Like his predecessors Guru Nanak, Kabir Sahib, Tulsi Sahib, Paltu Sahib, Swami Shivdayal Singh Ji, Maulana Rumi, Shamas Tabrez and others, he pulled up the aspirants from their deep slumber and put them on the path of Surat Shabd Yoga or Sultan-ul-Azkar which is the most ancient and eternal path leading to Reality and which being natural is unchangeable from times immemorial and will ever remain as such without any modification whatever.
His teachings are esoteric and not exoteric. He taught:
“God is in every heart. Spirituality is the common heritage of the entire world and humanity and is not reserved for any particular country or nationality. The be-all and end-all of spirituality is the union of the soul with the Omnipotent Over-Soul. Man is the roof and crown of all creation and nothing else is greater than he.
He is the direct manifestation of God and is the marvel of God’s greatness. In the twinkling of an eye he can rise to Heaven and can come back. The sun and the moon, paradise and hell, the earth and the sky arc his playgrounds. As is correctly said: ‘In short, thou art next to God.’ He is just like a drop from the Ocean — Creator.
He is a ray of the Almighty sun. Both the drop and the ray feel restless so long as they are separated from their source and find rest only when they become merged in it.”
“Man is the noblest of God’s creation and in his essence is made a perfect being. He can work on two planes — outer and inner. On the outer plane he has the knowledge and science of the world to aid him in his endeavors to pass through; but beyond the limits of all knowledge and philosophy, on the inner plane, he is quite unable singly to fathom the abysmal depths of the secrets of Nature. With the help of learning religious scriptures he tries to attain the Goal, but stumbles at every step. Very soon he realizes that he has deficiencies in this respect and is helpless; and until he gets the guidance of a practical spiritual Master, the Knowledge and the Reality remain undecipherable conundrums and enigmas which baffle all attempts at solution. Spiritual living is acquirable during our lifetime only from an awakened and really conscious Master. Such a Master is deep rooted in the Reality and all the qualities of Godly Light are fully reflected and shine forth in him in abundance. He is fully conversant with the narrow and slippery spots on the path leading to Reality. He gives to aspirants a link of life impulse which is commonly known as Shabd or Nad among the Hindus, Kalma or Kalurn-i-Rabbuni among Muslims, Such, Naam or Hukam among Sikhs, and ‘Word’ among Christians. Under His superintendence and guidance such a Master opens the inner eye of the seeker and leads him from plane to plane until He places him at the feet of God — and all this during his lifetime and not after death.”
“It is therefore of absolute importance for every intelligent person — no matter of what religion, color or creed — to betake himself, as he would to the living king or living physician, to the present Living Master of the age if he wants to drink the Nectar of Immortality and attain life everlasting.”
This is why Maulana Rumi says:
“Take hold of the hand of the Master, for without Him the way is full of untold dangers and difficulties. Never for a moment get separated from the Master and never place too much confidence in thy own valor or wisdom.”
And the same is said in the Guru Granth Sahib:
“Meet the Master and get initiation from Him. Surrender thy body and mind to Him and invert within. Thou shalt find the path only through analyzing the self.” …
Mere darshan of Hazur’s person awarded calmness to the perplexed and disturbed mind, bestowed consolation to every heart and above all conferred the boon of concentration and the joy of internal satisfaction. His mode of expression and interpretation was extremely clear and impressive. Simple and illuminative words and phrases uttered forth by him to unravel the problems of Reality were particularly sweet and intoxicating. Ordinary pulpit-preachers when they deliver their addresses on the basis of intellect and reasoning simply betray that it is only imitative art as if they were scattering scentless flowers, distributing un-intoxicating wine, beauty without attraction and body without soul. But Hazur unfolded the Divine mysteries with such an easy and facile grace that his words went home and penetrated deep down into the hearts and made an everlasting impression. This is possible only when a really competent personage with practical personal esoteric experience within expounds the truth of the actual spiritual experiments and has the competency to infuse into the innermost recesses of the brain not only mere words but the results of his own vast spiritual experiments along with the pith of the essential principles thereof. In his speech, there was an uncommon magical charm which captivated the hearts of his hearers.
This sacred and grand Master travelled throughout the length and breadth of the country and his spiritual messages worked like a balm to hundreds and thousands of lacerated hearts. There is not a village or town in the Punjab where his followers are not found in large numbers. In different parts of India more than thirty Satsang halls were constructed which formed centers for imparting practical spiritual knowledge. Despite reaching an old age, this venerable personality gave spiritual talks and discourses for hours and hours together — thus quenching the thirst of millions of spiritually thirsty seekers.
At monthly congregations sixty to eighty thousand souls ran to Beas to derive benefit from this spiritual spring. In his lifetime his public reputation traveled to different lands. His followers comprised about one hundred thousand persons, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians of all status and position — rich and poor, literate and illiterate, of various castes and creeds including Asians and Christians of European nations.
Hazur used to say:
“All religions and all countries are mine
and I love them equally.”
His innate desire was to bring together all the religions on a common platform and to knit together the entire humanity in one thread and then to put them all on to the one ancient path of spirituality which leads to the common goal of all religions. He said:
“The essentials of all religions are the same. God is one.
All the humanity are His children and are thus related as brothers.
The whole creation is just a manifestation of that One Reality —
one soul that stretches its force and influence everywhere —
one Light spreading its radiance in the entire universe —
one Sun that shines upon each atom.”
Why then all this discord and disharmony in the world? The passion of hatred and animosity which has led to the bloodshed of hundreds and thousands of innocent souls, is certainly the outcome of wrong interpretation and degeneration of the “ways of living.” The one successful method to check this storm of reckless devastation and vandalism and to unite the whole mankind into one Universal Brotherhood is that sensible and conscious leaders and heads of all sects instead of concentrating their activities in their own limited narrow circles should meet at one place to educate and inculcate the common principles of Religion — viz. exalted noble character — emanating from one-ness of soul. We are all souls, we are indwellers of the house (the body) and not the body itself.
Thus by rectifying the condition of the indweller all the rest of the bodily concerns can surely be improved in the right manner. (5)
No religion permits the immolation of women or the killing of persons; but alas! what man has done with man is too scandalous to be put on record. After the partition of this country the people in the name of religion polluted the chastity of women and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent persons. If all this gruesome and ghastly dance of death cannot serve to open our eyes, we cannot possibly mend ourselves. If we had a grain of feeling in us we ought to hang our heads in shame. There are, however, a few awakened souls among us but these are very rare, and such rendered a valuable yeoman’s service in those most trying and troubled times.
I would like to relate a couple of instances of Hazur in those days.
Hazur was physically ailing; for the body alone is subject to diseases and the great souls very often vicariously take upon themselves the people’s burden of karmic action. During partition days, when passions were running high, some Muslims came to Hazur for protection. He lovingly kept them in the Dera. In September 1947 Hazur planned to go to Amritsar. When I went to see him with the hope of accompanying him to Amritsar, Hazur bade me remain at Dera and look after the comforts of the Dera people and the Muslims, according to the exigencies at the moment. A Muslim caravan was to leave that day for Pakistan. Hazur therefore enjoined me to escort the Muslims of the Dera to that caravan. It so happened that a torrential downpour of rain came on that day. Hazur felt a deep agony and said, “Our Muslim brethren are in a very poor plight, but we have no sympathy for them in our heart.”
As Hazur started for Amritsar, he saw a huge crowd of Muslims near Beas Railway Station. A Jamadar (**) was in the car with him and in spite of his protests, Hazur ordered the car to be taken right to the Muslim horde and pulled it up just in their midst. He called for the leader of the Muslim caravan and with tears in his eyes said, “I have in the Dera a few Muslim brethren, and would very much like to see them safely escorted across the border.” Such indeed are the acts of high souled Saints. His heart was full of compassion and pity for the suffering humanity.
In the evening a truck load of Muslims prepared to join the evacuees on the march, when all of a sudden I heard the news that a band of armed Akalis had gathered near Dera and intended to raid it and massacre the Muslims. All alone I went to them full of confidence in Hazur’s munificence and greatness. A few of the Akalis with spears and spades blocked my way. I said to them, “These helpless brethren have come to Hazur for protection. It behooves the Khalsas extend the protection that they seek. The spirit of the Khalsa requires, no demands, that those who seek mercy must be given mercy. You had better hug them to your bosom.” Hearing these words a couple of aged Akalis came forward and said, “You have this day saved the Khalsas from what would otherwise have been a great sacrilege and heinous crime of taking away the life of so many of these poor souls. We shall not now touch a hair of these people.” All this transformation from a bloodthirsty mood to that of sympathy and fellowfeeling came through the grace of Hazur.
As the truck was about to pass by the Akalis I stopped it and said, “These brethren of ours are today quitting their hearths and homes not because of any hatred toward us but are being driven to it by sheer necessity. We have all these years been living together in peace and concord. Will it not be good if we bid goodbye to them with loving embraces?” This touched them to the core. In an instant I found the two (Akalis and Muslims) hugging each other with tears streaming down their cheeks — the two who just a short while before were anxious to cut each other’s throats. No religion permits manslaughter or genocide.
We indulge in these things because we are taught the wrong way, and rebelion is used as a smoke screen for the perpetration of terrible deeds to serve selfish ends. There are instances on record wherein Muslims also saved the lives of Hindus and vice versa. . . .
The fact remains that whosoever has learned the true import of his religion, has an all-embracing love for the entire humanity, and is not torn by sectional and communal love. It is said:
O man of wisdom (Moses) thou wert sent
to knit people unto me (God) —
And not to lead my people away from me.
Once a shepherd boy leading his goats to pasture in a meadow sat under a tree and lovingly began to commune with God in this wise, “O God! I wish that both of us should live side by side. I shall not make Thee discomfortable. Should Thou fall ill, I shall attend Thee day and night. Should Thou get tired I shall massage Thy hands and feet. I shall bring Thee barley bread and spinach to eat and give Thee goats’ fresh milk to drink. I shall pick up lice from Thy hair and give Thee a hair-wash with milk and curd . . .”
The shepherd boy was deeply absorbed in these thoughts when the Prophet Moses passed that way. He shouted at the boy and said, “O fool, why art thou blaspheming? God is altogether unlike thee and shall not eat thy barley bread and spinach nor shall He ever fall ill or get lice in His head.” The boy was stunned to hear this, and began to tingle in every nerve and inquired, “Perhaps I am wrong. . . . I ought not to have talked like this. . . . Will the great God be annoyed with me?” With these thoughts within him, he began to cry. As he sobbed he felt comforted and in harmony with the higher power. In that blissful state he had a vision of God. The celestial Visitant consoled him with the words, “I shall accept all thy offerings, for I am well pleased with thee.” In the meanwhile Moses having reached the heights of Mt. Sinai, sat in meditation and felt within him the voice of God, saying, “O Moses! I am thoroughly annoyed with thee. Thou art guilty of breaking the heart of that shepherd boy, who was communing with me, with all love and affection.” The Prophet was surprised and said, ”O God, his words were not of love but were blasphemous.” The great God replied, “Thou knowest that the world of that boy contained nothing else but barley bread, spinach, goats’ milk and lice. I gave thee wisdom and had thou utilized it, thou wouldst not have spoken like this. I sent thee into the world that thou mayest knit me to those who are separated from me and not that thou shouldst rend asunder loving hearts that are one with me.”
Hazur possessed this attribute in great abundance. He would unite thousands of people in one common brotherhood. All of us that are assembled here belong to that great fraternity into which Hazur bound us together. We must not only live in peace and harmony, but have love and affection for all humanity. This will only be possible when one understands the true import of Hazur’s teachings. Generally when such High Souls pass away, the following degenerates; petty-mindedness creeps in and we begin worshipping mammon and sin (6).
Continue with second part “The Sun of Hazur is About to Set”
(1) “A Brief Life Sketch of Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj,” Delhi: Ruhani Satsang, 1968, pp. 1-2.
(2) “Scenes from a Great Life,” Sat Sandesh, July 1970, pp. 2-4.
(3) “The Spiritual Revolution Explained,” Sat Sandesh, April 1973, p. 27.
(4) “Scenes from a Great Life,” Sat Sandesh, July 1970, pp. 4-9
(5) “A Brief Life Sketch,” pp. 5-10.
(6) “Selections from an Early Discourse,” Sat Sundesh, April 1970, pp. 29-31.
(*) See “With a Great Master in India” by Dr. Julian Johnson (Beas: 1953), p. 26, for another version of this story. The lady of course, as Dr. Johnson points out, was Bibi Hardevi (the wife of Raja Ram) ; and Bibi Hardevi has since confirmed that the “gentleman” who interceded for her was Kirpal Singh himself.
(**) A Jumudur is a soldier, and he protested because Hazur’s action in driving into the midst of the supposed “enemy” was insane from the military point of view.