Lions and Loiness

Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji

Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji

 

It is as difficult and beyond imagination to express and narrate the spiritual spheres and virtues of a true saint, as if to capture the ocean in a bowl. The latter might be accomplished one day but the spiritual sphere of a saint will never be brought under limitation. Rare are the Divines who descend on this earth duly empowered and equipped with Divine Grace to shower the fragrance of the Holy Name. Invested with the Eternal Glory of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib, Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji arrived on this earth on Friday 5th August 1905, in Alowal, a village near Patiala, in the family of Baba Ram Singh Ji, who was the head of that village. Baba Ram Singh Ji,was always yearning for the company of saints. Incidentally there came a saint to that village who while leaving, gave a rose to Baba Ram Singh Ji and blessed him that he would have a son who would be worshipped by the rulers and kings. After sometime, a son named Sant Isher Singh Ji was born and was taken to the Gurudwara. After seeing Sant Ji’s hand, a pandit had made a horoscope and was aghast by seeing the ‘an eye’ like symbol in the sole of his foot. The symbol was read as a sign of being a great spiritual head or a king. Also, after the birth of Sant Isher Singh Ji, his father Baba Ram Singh Ji, started getting more and more respect and importance in society.   Baba Ram Singh Ji was very keen in giving a good education to his son. After finishing primary education, Sant Isher Singh Ji was sent to Model School Patiala, a rare thing back in those days. Sant Isher Singh Ji did exceedingly well in school, and was an outstanding student in every field: games, studies, social work etc. All this made Sant Isher Singh Ji’s personality very outstanding.   Sant Isher Singh Ji was always in search of the ‘Truth’. Eventually he started going to the Gurudwara in the mornings and evenings and also started doing ‘Kirtan’. Sant Ji then got the privilege of being in the company of Sant Atter Singh Ji, Mastuana Sahib and Sant Attar Singh Ji, Reru Sahib Wale. Later Sant Isher Singh Ji went to Sant Attar Singh Ji Reru Sahib Wale with S. Hira Singh Ji where he was bestowed with ‘Amrit’ and was blessed that he would go a long way in the search of ‘Truth’. Sant Isher Singh Ji returned back to Patiala with a totally changed personality. In July, 1922, Sant Isher Singh Ji left home and got totally involved in looking after Sant Attar Singh Ji, at Reru Sahib. After a short time, Sant Kishen Singh Ji joined Sant Isher Singh Ji to look after and to serve their ‘Guru’ Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji. Since then, both Sant Isher Singh Ji and Sant Kishen Singh Ji remained together.

 

The two principles that Sant Attar Singh Ji gave to Sant Isher Singh Ji and to Sant Kishen Singh Ji were:

 

1.) To be a firm believer of “Atam Marg” (the spiritual path), and to constantly practice and preach ‘Nam’.

2.) To be always upright and never to beg for anything.

 

Soon Sant Attar Singh Ji, Reru Sahib Wale, demised from this world. His two young students Sant Isher Singh Ji & Sant Kishen Singh Ji moved out of Reru Sahib and came near Rara Sahib in a small jungle. They both started meditating and their ‘samadhi’ would last for hours starting from midnight. Since this was a very tough practice of the long sittings of meditation that Sant Isher Singh Ji’s health started deteriorating and he became very weak. He was then taken to Delhi where Dr. Mukherjee treated him and S. Mohan Singh looked after him. Gradually Sant Isher Singh Ji started recovering and came back to Rara Sahib and started accompanying Sant Kishen Singh Ji.

 

In Rara Sahib, Sant Isher Singh Ji got immersed in deeper and deeper ‘sadhana’. More and more people joined the building of a Gurudwara for Sant Ji. Then Sant Kishan Singh Ji was responsible for looking after the entire Gurudwara set up: Langar, buffaloes, cows, schools etc. and Sant Isher Singh Ji was responsible for going from place to place in India and abroad doing Kirtan, answering the questions of the ‘Sadhaks’ and preaching Guru Nanak’s teachings. He changed thousands of people’s lives and there are plenty of incidents that seem to prove this. After doing all this, Sant Isher Singh Ji, laid off his body in England on 25th August 1975.

 

At the age of 16 a student went to Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji, gradually becoming his closest associate. This student has also touched the same pinnacles of spiritual heights like his mentor, Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji. That student is today known to the whole world as Sant Baba Mann Singh Ji Pehowa Wale, whom has dedicated himself in currently preaching Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message to the world.

 

Sant Isher Singh Ji’s special qualities started coming to light at a young age. When three years old he used to tell the local kids to sit down cross-legged and recite ” Waheguru, Waheguru “, whilst he gave “parshad”. On another occasion Baba Ram Singh Ji and Mata Rattan Kaur were on their way to visit a local holy man “Vidoshe Wale Sant”, and Maharaj Ji, then four years old, insisted on going along. After bowing both Baba Ram Singh Ji and Mata Rattan Kaur, sat a respectful distance away, however Maharaj Ji went and sat next to the holy man in the same manner. On doing so he asked several times whose son this was, eventually and a little fearfully Baba Ram Singh and Mata Rattan Kaur owned up. The holy man laughed and told them they did not realize their son’s qualities, he told them that he would be a very holy person and people, many very influential, would come to him for advise and to be in his presence. By the inspiration of the latter, he got baptized and was renamed Isher Singh. Thus motivated by the life and teachings of Sant Attar Singh Ji, he adopted the path of devotion and from him received the boon of propagating Sikhism through “Kirtan” (singing of hymns).

 

Once a year on Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji’s barsi, Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji would go to Sehdu Sahib, there after having bathed in the extremely cold river Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji and Maharaj Ji would sit on the river bank and do path and meditate for many hours. On the first occasion, Maharaj Ji being unfamiliar with the cold fell ill but it was only with the permission of Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji that Maharaj Ji was taken and revived. As time went on Maharaj Ji attained a higher and higher spiritual level and eventually Maharaj Ji was bestowed a “kafni”, these being the outer garments to distinguish Maharaj Ji as a Sant. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji explained that although Maharaj Ji had already attained this state it was important for the Sangat and outside world to know his standing. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji further stated that Maharaj Ji would attain a very high spiritual level and many very important people from far and wide would come to be in his presence and for his advice. Maharaj Ji replied that he had no interest and relationship with these things since they would take him away from God and Maharaj Ji requested for Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji to bless him that he will never forget God. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji explained to Maharaj Ji the pitfalls that lay ahead on Maharaj Ji’s path and how to be very careful of these things. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji also told Maharaj Ji to keep increasing his knowledge and to learn how to do kirtan, so that Maharaj Ji will be able to impart some of that knowledge to the Sangat that would come to be in his presence. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji placed Maharaj Ji’s hand on a harmonium to signify this new phase in Maharaj Ji’s life. In 1926 Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji and Maharaj Ji went to Dumdama Sahib for Vasiakhi, there Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji met Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastuana Wale. When leaving Dumdama Sahib when Maharaj Ji paid his final respects to Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastuana Wale, he looked at Maharaj Ji and held him in his arms. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastauna Wale put his hand on Maharaj Ji’s head and stated he would attain a very high spiritual level and people would come to him for advice and to ask for Maharaj Ji’s time.

 

When on 21st January 1927 Sant Attar Singh Ji gave up his corporeal being. Sant Isher Singh Ji became sad and disconsolate. In order to overcome this despondency, he set out on pilgrimage. After visiting Machiwara, Kiratpur Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib, Sri Nankana Sahib and Punja Sahib he came to Rara Sahib and settled here. By virtue of his devotion he turned this deserted place into a sacred place that has become famous the world over. “A saint remembers the God and helps others remembering Him” following this principle he devoted himself to worship and motivated the people to be ‘Gursikhs’ and to follow the path, shown by the Sikh Gurus. It is after they had settled at Rara Sahib did Sant Ji begin their life mission of preaching Sikhi. Maharaj Ji is universally acclaimed as one of the most charming and dynamic personalities of their day. Tall and majestic, sweet and warm hearted his heart over flowed with the milk of human kindness, Pious in thought word and deed he was the very image of Godliness. Blessed with the Divine light, he preached God’s truth and delivered Guru Nanak’s message of love and peace to every home in India and abroad.  Continuously for 55 years he recited Gurbani and with his sweet and melodious kirtan put thousands of burning minds to rest. After the final Diwan of each location Amrit Sanchar would take place. By this fashion over 700,000 Sikhs received Amrit and entered the Khalsa Panth. In their duty of preaching Sikhi Maharaj went on a 13 months long mission to Africa in 1949. There he gratified the spiritual needs of the Sikh congregation with lucid explanation of the Gurbani, interspersed with his melodious, captivating and soul lifting recitals Dharnas, taken from Gurbani. The thousands of devotees that attended congregations in His holy presence world wide felt as if they had taken a dip in an Ocean of purity. Minds would be cleansed of all accumulated impurities of past sins and Karmas in His holy presence. From this Ocean of purity which Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji Maharaj was and is, beams out to the whole world all the blessings and bliss of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There was no trace of ego, worldliness or materialism in His dwelling places. Purity was the keynote, main-stay, life-force in His congregations.After returning to Punjab, he continued his mission by holding annual congregations in towns and cities as far as wide as Meerut, Delhi as well as in Punjab. Maharaj Ji had three main Ashrams  in India, firstly at Rara Sahib, secondly at Dabhlan, Patiala and thirdly at Hapur, in Uttar Pradesh. To these day all three location are preserved in Maharaj Ji’s loving memory. On this very mission, to propagate Sikhism he also visited England in 1974 and 1975. As Gurbani tells us, whoever comes onto this earth must eventually leave it. Maharaj Ji had started to give hints about the inevitable. At both his last diwans in Ludhiana and Delhi Maharaj Ji stated that they were going to England and they would again grace this county if their body allowed it. They arrived in England and after holding diwans in London they went to Wolverhampton.

 

Sadly on 26th August 1975, while sitting in meditation in Wolverhampton, England he left the world for heavenly abode. The necessary arrangements were made and Maharaj Ji’s holy body was brought back to India on the 31st of August where more than 20,000 devotees had gathered to have darshan of their most beloved master. The holy body was then brought back to Rara sahib, Maharaj Ji’s home of the last 55 years. The next day the holy body was taken to Gurdwara Bibhaur Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh Ji composed ‘Chaupai’. Here over 50,000 devotees had gathered to bid farewell to their beloved master.  After Ardas was performed by Sant Baba Mihan Singh Ji, Maharaj Ji’s holy body was taken out on a boat accompanied by Sant Baba Kishen Singh Ji Maharaj, Sant Baba Mihan Singh Ji, S.Daljit Singh Ji and S.Charanjeet Singh Ji Coca cola wale as well as other members of sangat. Here in the middle of the River Sutlej Maharaji Ji’s Holy Body was laid to eternal rest.

 

“Always, remember Waheguru to achieve salvation. Let your life be guided by the saying, Whatever God wills, is good. Be contented with the will of God. Remember Him both in pleasure & pain” - Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji.

 

 

Mai Bhago (Mata Bhag Kaur)

Mai Bhago

 

Mai Bhago, also know as Mata Bhag Kaur, was a sikh woman who led sikh soldiers against the Mughals in 1705. Mai Bhago was born in village of Jhabal Kalan, now known as Amritsar district of Punjab. Mai Bhago was descendant of Bhai Pero Shah, teh younger brother of Bhai Langah a Dhillon Jatt, a chief of 84 villages who had converted to Sikhism during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563-1606). She had 4 brothers, who were also Staunch Sikhs. She was married to Bhai Nidhan Singh Varaich of Patti. Mai Bhago was a staunch Sikh by birth and upbrining. Her parents took her to Anandpur Sahib, when she was young to have glimpse of Guru Gobin Singh Ji.

Mughals and hilly chiefs had surrounded Anandpur and were demanding it be evacuated. They announced that any Sikh who would say that “he/she is not anymore a Sikh of Guru Gobind” will be left untouched while others will be done to death. A group of 40 Sikhs, led by Mahan Singh Brar told Guru Gobind Singh that they were not his Sikhs anymore. The Guru told them that they will have to write it in a document that says, “We are not your Sikhs anymore” and sign it. All forty Sikhs wrote their names on this document but one of then declined to sign; ‘Bedava’ and left Guru Gobind Singh. Mai Bhago was distressed to hear that some of the Sikhs of her neighbourhood who had gone to Anandpur to fight for Guru Gobind Singh had deserted him under adverse conditions. Hearing her taunts, these Sikhs were ashamed at their deed. She rallied the deserters persuading them to meet the Guru and apologize to him. she set off along with them and some other Sikhs to seek out the Guru, then travelling across the Malva region.

Meanwhile, Guru Gobind Singh had to evacuate the fort of Anandpur, his children were lost in the confusion. Two youngest one’s Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, went along with their grandmother (mother of Guru Gobind Singh). While elder one’s Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh were with their father. Then at battle of Chamkaur Guru’s elder sons attained martyrdom, Guru was saved by five Sikhs and he evacuated Chamkaur and was travelling in Malva region, being pursued by Mughal forces of Aurungzeb. Travelling day and night in the Jungles of Malva region, imperial Mughal forces were in constant pursuit of Guru. Guru Gobind Singh reached village of Khidrana, when Mai Bhago and the men, she was leading stopped near the dhab or pool of Khidrana where an imperial army in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh had almost overtaken him. They challenged the pursuing host and fought furiously forcing it to retreat. All forty Sikhs attained martyrdom in this pitched battle, in which Guru himself was supporting them with a shower of arrows from a nearby high ground, found all the men except one Mahan Singh, killed when he visited the battlefield. Mai Bhago and Guru Gobind Singh ji were the sole survivors of this fiercely fought battle.

Mahan Singh, who had been seriously wounded, also died as the Guru took him into his lap. Guru Gobind Singh blessed those forty dead as the Forty Liberated Ones. He took into his care Mai Bhago who had also suffered injury in the battle. She thereafter stayed on with Guru Gobind Singh as one of his bodyguard, in male attire. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded in 1708, she retired further south. She settled down at Jinvara, 11 km from Bidar in Karnataka where, immersed in meditation, she lived to attain a ripe old age. Her hut in Jinvara has now been converted into Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago. At Nanded, too, a hall within the compound of Takht Sachkhand. Sri Hazur Sahib marking the site of her residence is known as Bunga Mai Bhago.

Warrior Princess Mai Bhago and the 40 Liberated Ones:

Guru Gobind Singh was joined by warriors of the Brar clan continued the fight against the Mughals who had mercilessly slaughtered his innocent children and countless other Sikhs. The Guru pressed westward pursued by the Mughals.

Bhag Kaur and her husband Nidhan Singh lived in the Majha region where the deserters of Anandpur had returned home. After hearing of the Guru’s plight, Bhag Kaur urged her husband to accompany her to the Guru’s side. Donning warrior’s attire, mounting her horse and raising her sword high, Bhag Kaur roused the sentiments of the deserters and rallied an eager army. Gathering forces along the way, Bhag Kaur was joined by many Sikhs including Mahan Singh, a Sikh deserter from the village of Sur Singh Wala, and a few influential leaders from Lahore who hoped to negotiate with the Mughals on behalf of the Guru. Bhag Kaur’s army met up with Guru Gobind Singh not far from Khidrana, a natural reservoir.

Forty of the former deserters joined the Guru in the ensuing battle. Greatly outnumbered, every one of Bhag Kaur’s regiment succumbed to the heavy combat and fell around her. The last one standing, Bhag Kaur fought courageously. She managed to procure a lance and speared several of her opponents until, overwhelmed by the enemy, she too fell. After the battle, Guru Gobind Singh found only Bhag Kaur and Mahan Singh alive. The Guru tended Bhag Kaur’s wounds and held Mahan Singh as he died, promising to pardon the deserters and tear up their papers of resignation.

The widowed Bhag Kaur stayed with Guru Gobind Singh’s army in his camp at Nanded attired as one his warriors. She was given a place in his personal body guard of ten soldiers, traveled as part of his entourage and was with him when he recruited Banda Singh Bahadar. Mai Bhago remained in Guru Gobind Singh’s service until the Guru’s death in 1708. She then made her home in Jinvara not far from Bidar of Karnataka where she lived in a humble dwelling.

Mai Bhago passed the remainder of her days in austere meditation living to an advanced age. Her place of residence in Jinvara has been converted into the shrine Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago. In Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib of Nanded, the shrine, Bunga Mai Bhago, has been dedicated to her memory. Mai Bhago’s legacy of warrior princess continues to be an inspirations figure to Sikh women around the world. The deserters that she led in to battle are known as the Chali Mukte, or 40 liberated ones, who achieved spiritual emancipation from the ego based cycle of birth and death with their martyrdom.

Have you visited the historic gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago, Bunga Mai Bhago, or Muktsar shrines honoring the 40 liberated ones? We’d love to hear about your visit. Please share your experience and any photos you may have with our readers, and find out what others have to say about the historic shrines commemorating Mai Bhago and the Chali Mukti.

Mata Gujri

223419

 

Mata Gujri was the wife of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Sikh’s Guru and the mother of Sikh’s Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Mata Ji was born in Sikh Gurjar family as the daughter of Bhai Lal Chand Subulikka of Kartarput, in Punjab.

Mata Gujri was married to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji on 4 February 1633. The betrothal had taken place four years earlier when Tegh Bahadur had come to Kartarpur in the marriage party of his elder brother, Suraj Mall. Bishan Kaur, the mother, had been charmed by the handsome face of Tegh Bahadur and she and her husband pledged the hand of their daughter to him. After the marriage ceremony, the couple came to reside in Amritsar. Bride Gujari won the appreciation of everyone “Like bridegroom like bride” records Gurbilas Chhevi patshsahi. “Gujri is by destiny made worthy of Tegh Bahadur in every way ” In 1635, Mata Gujri left Amritsar with the holy family and went to reside at Kartarpur, in the Sivalik foothills. After of Guru Hargobind left this world in 1644, she came with her husband and mother-in-law, Mata Nanaki, to Bakala, now in Amritsar district of the Punjab. There they lived in peaceful seclusion, Tegh Bahadur spending his days and nights in meditation and Gujari performing the humble duties of a pious and devoted housewife. After he was installed Guru in 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur, accompanied by Mata Gujri, went on a visit to Amritsar, travelling on to Makhoval, near Kiratpur, where a new habitation, named Chakk Nanaki (later Anandpur) was founded in the middle of 1665.

Soon after this,Guru Tegh Bahadur along with his mother, Nanaki, and wife, Gujri, set out on a long journey to the east Leaving the family at Patna, he travelled on to Bengal and Assam. At Patna, Mata Gujri gave birth to a son on 22 December 1666. The child was named Gobind Rai, the illustrious Guru Gobind Singh of later day. Guru Tegh Bahadur returned to Patna in 1670 for a brief stay before he left for Delhi, instructing the family to proceed to lakhnaur, now in Haryana.

Mata Gujri, accompanied by the aged Mata Nanaki and young Gobind Rai, reached, on 13 September 1670, Lakhnaur where she stayed with her brother Mehar chand, until she was joined by her husband. An old well just outside Lakhnaur village and reverently called Matta da Khuh or Mata Gujri da Khuh still commemorates her visit. From Lakhnaur the family proceeded to Chakk Nanaki where Guru Tegh Bahadur rejoined them in March 1671 after spending some more time travelling through the Malva region and meeting sangats. At Chakk Nanaki, 11 July 1675 was a momentous day when Guru Tegh Bahadur left for Delhi prepared to make the supreme sacrifice. She showed courage at the time of parting and bore the ultimate trial with fortitude. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in Delhi on 11 November 1675, and, Guru Cobind Singh then being very young, the responsibility of managing the affairs at Chakk Nanaki, initially, fell to her. She was assisted in the task by her younger brother, Kirpal Chand

Mata Ji was with her family during 1705, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji refused to evacuate, starving Sikhs turned to his mother hoping too presuade her to leave knowing the Guru Ji would follow. Influenced by false promises made by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Mata Gujri was instrumental in making a decision to flee desperate circumstances. On the stromy eve of the flight from Anandpur, the 81 year old Mata Gujri took charge of her two younger gransons. They became separated from Guru Ji while crossing river Sarsa.

Mata Gujri and her younger grandsons Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh sought shelter with a priest by profession, called Gangu, as he offered their protection but betrayed them by telling the Mughals where Mata Gujri and Sahibzadey were staying. Mata Ji and Sahibzadey were arrested on 08 Dec 1705. They were detained in an open tower known as, Thanda Burj meaning ‘Cold Tower’, where they passed several days and nights without warm clothing and only little food. Mata Ji encouraged her grandsons to remain steadfast in their faith. Aurangzeb wanted them to convert to Islam but when they refused to convert to Islam but when failed then ordered to kill the Sahibzadey and Mata Ji. He ordered to lay Mata Gujri on an ice block and Sahibzadey were bricked alive, while younger Sahibzadey were being bricked alive by Mugals they were reciting The Japji Sahib.

At Fatehgarh Sahib, near Sirhind, there is a shrine called Gurdwara Mata Gujri (Thanda Burj). This is where Mata Gujri spent the last four days of her life. Ahout one kilometre to the southeast of it is Gurdwara Joti Sarup, marking the cremation site. Here, on the ground floor, a small domed pavilion in white marble is dedicated to Mata Gujri. The Sikhs from far and near come to pay homage to her memory, especially during a three-day fair held from 1113 Poh, Bikrami dates falling in the last week of December.

Thanda Burj

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar became the first guardsman in 180 years to parade outside Buckingham Palace wearing a turban

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar became the first guardsman to parade outside Buckingham Palace wearing a turban instead of the bearskin.

A Sikh soldier yesterday became the first Guardsman for 180 years to parade at Buckingham Palace wearing a turban instead of the bearskin.

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar, from West Bromwich, who is in F Company Scots Guards, said it was, “The best thing in my life”.

The 25-year-old said: “Conducting public duties while being a practising Sikh and wearing my turban is a great honour for me.

“I am very proud to be a member of the Household Division and to be the first Sikh Guardsman to mount guard in a turban will be the best thing in my life, especially as a member of the Scots Guards.

“The regiment is full of history, as is my religion.”

Guardsman Bhullar has just joined F Company Scots Guards – what is known as an “incremental company” of soldiers responsible for delivering ceremonial duties in London.

As a 5 K Sikh – someone who adheres to all five symbols that mark Sikh identify – he will also be distinguishable from his fellow soldiers on parade by his beard.

Sikhs in the Household Division have guarded the Queen many times before, but have always worn the bearskin.

Sikh Chaplain to the Armed Forces Mandeep Kaur welcomed the move.

“Sikhs have served Britain in World War One and Two with their turbans intact, confirming their commitment towards righteousness and serving others and living their identity till their last breath.

“I applaud the British Army for being appreciative and respectful towards diversity.”

 

BBC Remembrance – The Sikh Story (Full HQ Program)

BBC Program, Remembrance – The Sikh Story Full program, first aired on the 9NOV2010.

Documentary examining why followers of the Sikh religion were marked out as a ‘martial race’ under the British Empire, and how thousands of Sikh soldiers valiantly laid down their lives for Britain’s freedom across two world wars.

With contributions from eminent historians, military experts and war veterans, the film features the last-ever interview with legendary WW2 Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji, and the first television broadcast of a rare audio recording of a WW1 Sikh prisoner of war, handed to Britain in 2010 after 94 years in German hands.

Baba Deep Singh Ji

Baba Deep Singh JI

Baba Deep Singh JI

 

Mata Jioni and Bhagata Ji was blessed, when Baba Deep Singh Ji was born, in 1682. They lived in village Pohuwind in the district of Amritsar. Baba Deep Singh went to Anandpur on Vaisakhi in 1699, where he was baptized as Khalsa by Guru Gobin Singh Ji. After this he spend his time with Guru Gobin Singh Ji, learing weaponry, riding and other martial skills. He learnt reading and writing Gurmukhi from Bhai Mani Singh. After 2 years, in 1702, he went back to his village, got married and settled down. In 1705 Baba Deep Singh was summoned by Guru Gobin Singh Ji at Talwandi Sabo, where he helped Bhai Mani Singh Ji with writting Guru Granth Sahib(Holy Book of Sikh) and was announced as the caretaker of Sri Damdama Sahib, by Guru Gobin Singh Ji.

In April 1757, Ahmad Shah Durrani raided Northern India for the fourth time. While he was on his way back to Kabul from Delhi with precious booty and young men and women as captives, the Sikhs made a plan to relieve him of the valuables and free the captives. The squad of baba Deep Singh was deployed near Kurukshetra. His squad freed a large number of prisoners and raided Durrani’s considerable treasury. On his arrival in Lahore, Durrani, embittered by his loss, ordered the demolition of the Harmindir Sahib. The shrine was blown up and the sacred pool filled with the entrails of slaughtered cows. Durrani assigned the Punjab region to his son, Prince Timur Shah, and left him a force of ten thousand men under General Jahan Khan.

Baba Deep Singh, aged 75-years old, felt that it was up to him to atone for the sin of having let the Afghans desecrate the shrine. He emerged from scholastic retirement (he had been making copies of the Guru Granth Sahib), and declared to a congregation at Damdama Sahib that he intended to rebuild the temple. Five hundred men came forward to go with him. Deep Singh offered prayers before starting for Amritsar: “May my head fall at the Darbar Sahib.” As he went from hamlet to hamlet, many villagers joined him. By the time baba Deep Singh reached Tarn Taran Sahib, ten miles from Amritsar, over five thousand peasants armed with hatchets, swords, and spears accompanied him.

In 1757, he led an army to defend the Golden Temple. The Sikhs and the Afghans clashed, in the battle of Amritsar, at the village of Gohalwar on November 11, 1757, and in the ensuing conflict Baba Deep Singh was decapitated.

 

Deep Singh continued to fight after having been decapitated, slaying his enemies with his head in one hand and his sword in the other. Only upon reaching the sacred city of Amritsar, he breathed his last.

Baba Deep Singh

Baba Deep Singh Ji

 

This tale recalls the words of the first Guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji:

Shouldst thou wish to play the game of love,
come unto my Path with thy head on thy palm.
And, once you step unto this path,
You may well give up thy head, rather than the cause.

 

Sant Baba Nidhan Singh Ji (Takht Sri Sachkhand Sahib)

Sant Baba Nidhan Singh Ji

Sant Baba Nidhan Singh Ji

 

Sant Baba Nidhan Singh Ji was born in 1882 in Nadalon village of Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, in the house of Sardar Uttam Singh, a Sikh Rajput of Parmar clan. Even as a young child his thoughts were on God as his mentor and teacher Sant Baba Diwan Singh Ji taught him the way of seva and simran in his early years. At the age of 18 he left his family and joined the military in Jhansi, but he never forgot waheguru, and used all his spare time in contemplation of God.

So after leaving the army he started his journey towards Nanded. He did seva at Takht Shri Sachkhand Sahib for twelve years with full devotion. When his ardent dedication he soon became a prominent figure at Sachkhand. But some jealous people started teasing him lot. So one day Baba Ji decided to return to Punjab and do seva there. He went to the Nanded railway Station and was waiting for the train and offering prayer, he suddenly noticed a special light coming from the sky and that he had actually had ‘Darshan’ of Guru Gobind Singh Ji along with his Eagle and Horse.

He said that Dashmesh pita asked him, “Where are you going? “ Baba Nidhan Singh Ji answered, “Here I am not able to seva whole heartedly so thinking of going back to Punjab and will do seva there”. Guru Gobind Singh then directed Baba Ji not to leave Nanded, telling him, “start the age old tradition of ‘Langar’ at Takht Shri Sachkhand Sahib by uttering these words – “HATH TERA KHISA MERA”, meaning that Baba Nidhan Singh should prepare Langar and see to its distribution among the devotees and leave the Guru to take care care of expenses. After that Baba Nidhan Singh Ji returned to the Gurdwara Sahib to establish langar.
In the initial days resources were scarce, Baba ji went through lots of hardship but as part of Guru Gobin Singh Ji’s promise (taking care of the expenses) and Baba ji’s faith on Guru Gobin Singh Ji and hardwork and commitment lead to the Langer’s continued existence on permanent footings. Slowly all the Khalsa started realizing importance of this langar and joined in the seva of Baba Nidhan Singh Ji. This is the main reason why thousands and thousands of devotees visit every day and have the Langar as Prasad of Gurudwara, even today with ever growing numbers of visitors to serve there is no shortage in Grudwara Langar Sahib. This is the magic of the words said by Kalgidhar Sachche Patshah (a title used for Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji during his lifetime, literally The Kalgi wearing Great King of Truth or True King) to a dejected and disheartened Baba Nidhan Singh. This Gurudwara is situated on the bank of holy river Godavari and is just a kilometer away from Nanded Station.

In his last address, Guru Gobind Singh Ji emphasized the importance of Langar and enjoined upon the Khalsa to continue this practise especially on this holy shrine, at all costs. At this, Bhai Santokh Singh, the first priest appointed at this holy shrine by Master himself with his folded hands, sought form Guru Ji, some clarifications for the time to come as to how to run the Langar and how to cover the costs, when no Khalsa was living in this corner of the country. Guru assured him not to be concerned for anything like this and to do his duty. Making some prophecies Guru Ji told him that there will be no dearth of the Khalsa in this part of the country and if the need be, he would send some Saint especially to raise a sangat if ever the need arose. With the passage of the time the institution of Langar was sometimes neglected by the then management and the Sikhs began to prefer the other works like construction of buildings, etc.

Guru ka Langar was restarted at this holy place by Sant Baba Nidhan Singh Ji in the year 1912, under the holy ‘enjoinder’ of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Before coming to this place, Sant Baba Ji had served for long twelve years, completely absorbed in deep meditation day and night, in Gurudwara Sachkhand Sahib when he was blessed with his Eternal light. The pious simple life full of Seva and Simran of Baba Ji was itself an inspiring example to the Sikhs. Baba Ji departed from his worldly life on 4th August 1947 and we see that Guru ka Langar is running in the same splendid manners since then for its worthy cause. Here priority of Seva goes to Langar which is available 24 hours, day and night, round the clock, without any discrimination. Hot tea is also served in the Langar whole day and one feels quite at home when reaching here after a long journey.

 

Dukh Bhanjani Beri (Bibi Rajni)

In the era of Guru Ram Das Ji – there was a revenue collector named Rai Duni Chand. He had 7 daughters and Bibi Rajni was Rai Duni Chand’s youngest daughter. One day all the 7 sisters were sitting together admiring their new dresses, Duni Chand looked at his daughters and asked all ‘Who gave you all these dress and all their gifts.’ All the 6 daughters expect Bibi Rajni said that its their father who give them the gifts but Bibi Rajni observed that all the gifts are ultimately from God. Their father was only an instrument of his greatness.
This was not the first time Biji Rajni said this, she always beleived and worshiped Waheguru. Her father became very angry and married her to a leper, saying that – now he will see how her God will help her lead a normal life. Bibi Rajni accepted her fate and worked very hard to maintain herself and her crippled husband.

She still had full faith on her God and kept repeating God’s name (Simran).
She had to beg for living but she always lovingly bathed, fed and cared her husband.

Bibi Rajni

Bibi Rajni

She use to go to different village to beg, pulling her ill husband in a small cart. One day Bibi Rajni reached the site of a pool on her way to a neighboring village. She left the cart containing her husband by the side of the pool, under the tree and gone off to look for food. In the meantime, her ill husband saw a black crow dip into the pool water and came out white. Amazed at this miracle, Bibi Rajni’s husband crawled up the pool and managed a dip, when he came up he found himself completely cured, he didn’t dip one finger into the pool and kept with leprosy marks, as prrof of his identity.
When Bibi Rajni came back to the pool, she couldn’t find her husband anywhere and became very worried thinking that she lost her husband forever. But then her cured husband came to her and explained her the whole story and also showed his diseased finger. Bibi Rajni and her husband were extemely thankful to God and spend their life happily, always remembering God.

The pool was none else than Dukh Bhanjani Brei – Sri Harminder Sahib(Golden Sahib’s) Sarovar, where Bibi Rajni’s leper husband and many more were cured.

Dukh bhanjni beri

Dukh bhanjni beri

Sakhi shows us that if we have and keep faith in God then one day all rewards are showers on us, we are always blessed by God. Bibi Rajni in every situation, always kept her faith in Guru Ji and God, being happy with whatever she had, thus was rewarded at the end.

Later – Bibi Rajni became mother of seven sons, the eldest was named Bhai Gurmukh, by Guru Ram Das Ji . Guru Ji asked her husband, Bhai Mohan to start trading of clothes, he earned a lot of money and became rich whereas, Bibi Rajni’s father Rai Duni Chand had very big loss in his trade and lived his last days with Bibi Rajni.

Lords to have first turbaned Sikh peer

Dr-Indarjit-Singh

Dr-Indarjit-Singh

Dr Indarjit Singh OBE CBE has become the first Turban-wearing Sikh to be appointed a life peer in the House of Lords.

Dr Singh, who is the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, will sit as an independent Lord.

He played a central role in the landmark case of Mandla v Dowell Lee in 1982, which established an important degree of protection for Sikhs to wear the symbols of their faith.

House of Lords

House of Lords

He also has played his part in promoting inter-faith understanding, having been a founding member and current vice chair of the Inter Faith Network UK. Dr Singh is also head of the Sikh Chaplaincy Service, which works for the pastoral care of Sikhs in prisons. He is also the co-coordinator of pastoral care for Sikhs in hospitals and in the Armed Forces, and a trustee of the World Congress of Faiths.

Dr Singh has represented the UK Sikh community on national occasions, including the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph and the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. In 2008 he became the first Sikh to address a major conference of at the Vatican, when he gave a keynote address on the need for respect and tolerance between world faiths.

Dr Singh said he was honoured to become a life peer and wanted to use his position to further promote harmony and tolerance between different communities

http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/dr-indarjit-singh-becomes-first-turban-wearing-sikh-peer

A Story of Turban in United Kingdom