LIFE TEACHINGS (JEEVAN SHIKSHAT)
(Nirankari Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji Maharaj)
*The author of this book is most Rev. J.R.D. Satyarthi Ji
The story of Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji Maharaj has been heard by myself over and over again by Baba Ji's very own words. This humble servant had the opportunity to stay with Baba Ji for a full 15 years up until a few days before Baba Ji breathed his last and gathered some information about His life. In this manner, whichever stories this humble servant has heard and realized in my master's own words, it is my humble attempt to share a briefed version in this book, so that in life those who are tired, discouraged and disheartened can gain some inspiration to live a life full of bliss and happiness.
One day I had the opportunity to share some moments with my Lord Master to know about His life and He started explaining, "Shastri Ji, I was born in a family that was completely devotional and spiritual and my father (Shehanshah Baba Avtar Singh Ji) always inspired me to work hard in life. My father used to labor very hard in a bakery and also helped to carry other people's luggage. As such, I inherited my father's hardworking traits in my own life. My mother Mata Budhwanti Ji also used to work very hard to take care of the family. My mother, whom the saints used to lovingly call Jagat Mata Ji, used to be a living example of love, simplicity, kindness and innocence. She never believed herself to be a special person due to her association (wife) with Shehanshah Ji. Just as in Pakistan where she used to keep her master Baba Boota Singh Ji in her own home, along with His family and other saints in order to perform selfless service for them, similarly she continued her motherly devotion and selfless service in Delhi as well. My parents naturally passed down this innocence, kindness, effort, dedication and devotion to me. Shehanshah Ji's devotional and benevolent life was not unfamiliar to others. With the divine blessings of Hazur Shehanshah Ji and Baba Boota Singh Ji I am able to serve humanity as a whole. The effect of these blessings brought our entire family closer to face the tasks of day-to-day life while we enjoyed a life filled with bliss and divinity, due to the knowledge of God.
Our parents, because they spent most of their time performing seva (selfless service), simran (God remembrance) and satsang (congregation), never found excuses to serve their master Baba Boota Singh Ji with all their mind, body and wealth. There was an important effect for this reason on our family. I still remember today, that even though I spent my entire childhood at the feet of Baba Boota Singh Ji, still I performed my schooling with full concentration. I remember that while studying from grades eight to ten, I simultaneously acquired knowledge about motor parts. Even though we did not have any shortcomings of food and clothing, however we never had enough time to perform selfless service and attend sangat. It was clear to me that, due to the blessings of Baba Boota Singh Ji, my life here and hereafter had been blessed, however even though I wanted to perform a lot of selfless service, still I was lagging behind in the race. My belief was that a devotee's life here and hereafter should be blissful by all angles. There is only one solution for this - selfless service.
As time went by, slowly I began to work at Babu Mahedev Singh Ji's spare parts shop (Rawalpindi), in order to help Shehanshah Ji financially.
In April 22, 1947 with God's grace, my wedding took place with your intelligent and spiritually inclined Mata Kulwant Kaur. How Kulwant has helped me every foot of the way, this is no longer hidden from anyone. She has never given me any worries. Rather, she kept a spiritual relationship with the rest of my family. She only worshipped Shehanshah Ji (my father and guru) as her holy master, rather than her father-in-law.
After having said this, His Holiness became quiet. I suddenly realized that Baba Ji's wedding took place only a few months prior to India's independence day, and I wanted to know how this affected Baba Ji. To break the silence I asked "Baba Ji due to India's independence you must have had to bear a lot of hardships. How did you feel at this time?" Seeing my curiosity, Baba Ji started saying "I felt that as if all this was just a game being played by corrupted and selfish religious figures.
Due to these radical people, human beings whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh that should be living together peacefully are now thirsty for each other's blood. I still believe today that those Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs that have attacked each other and killed the many innocent children and harmless women are not the real people to be blamed, due to their lack of vision and misguidance. Extremists become like a veil in front of man's mind making men enemies with each other. Seeing all this corruption around, at that time something from inside called out that even if my life depended on it, I will try my hardest to end religious fanaticism, narrow mindedness and radicalism in humanity. Because of Shehanshah Ji's teachings and blessings my life found a new meaning altogether.
Observing all this religious fanaticism we also became targets. By force, the Government created a camp for refugees like us in Rawalpindi. This camp was called "Waha Camp." Our family, like all the other families was forced to stay all day in this camp. Due to what I inherited from both my parents as well as Baba Boota Singh Ji, I felt that I could not just sit around idly and eat the Government's food day in and day out. Because of this, I truly began to believe that every person living here was like my very own. I still remember hearing on that day Baba Boota Singh Ji's very words clearly that there is "One Father and we are all equally His children." I felt as if He (Baba Boota Singh Ji) was constantly and directly telling me that these are all your brothers and sisters, stand up and begin to serve them all!
My brother in law, Gobind Singh Ji and I used to cut and bring back wood from outside, which fueled the brick ovens that would cook our food and those who were living in the camp, whosoever wished, would come and sit together with us to eat and talk, thus showing an example of unity and love. We did not have much to distribute, but whatever the Government used to give to us I used to be busy in giving away the same. People must have already mentioned to you that, without worrying about my own family's well being, I used to serve others. This might not be correct, but in my mind there was no distinction between my own and others. I was trying to fulfill the needs of every needy person whether they were part of my own family or belonged to "someone" else's.
Today, I feel indebted to Baba Boota Singh Ji and Baba Avtar Singh Ji, who taught me about devotion, which inspired me to see in each and every human being my Satguru. By selflessly serving everyone, I realized that I was only serving my own parents or my Satguru.
I was like any ordinary child. Like any other child, I was born into an ordinary family. By working hard, my parents brought me up like any other parent would bring up a child. Similarly, my schooling was done like any common child. I do not hesitate in telling that I was not born into this world by way of any special or supernatural way. Whatever I have achieved is through the grace of my Lord Master, the blessings of my parents and with the cooperation of my family. As expected by any human being to be hardworking, I also did the same. I was fortunate to have the help of my Satguru and my parents. I want to say very clearly that I lived my life like any ordinary human being, and even today I am doing the same. Like any common person, man must work hard, use common sense, attain blessings from their elders and raise a family with his wife; I was successful in doing so.
I always, in order to keep my body healthy, I was never neglectful in my sleeping and eating habits. About my mind, I have already told you that with the grace of my parents and Satguru that my mind had naturally become elevated and to earn money I worked hard and honestly as per the teachings of my parents and Satguru.
After hearing these words of Baba Ji, I could not control my curiosity any longer. For this reason, when Baba Ji paused, I suddenly said, "This humble servant has heard from the very beginning that from your very childhood you held a very distinctive personality. Having heard your words today you have confirmed this.
After having heard me, Baba Ji said, "No Shastri Sahib, it is not like that. I want to say that every person can advance in his life. God has given each and everyone of us the power to work hard and succeed in life. If somebody wants to take advantage of this potential to succeed he can, if not it is his own choice. If a mother and father wants to see their children advance then they will have to set an example for them with their own life, and keep a healthy environment, so that their children do not depend on some kind of magical or lucky break in life but rather should work hard, honestly, virtuously and accept the will of God.
"I do believe that the karmas from a person's past lives can be both helpful or a hindrance to succeed in life. But man can give a new direction to his present life and can live a changed life, thus setting an example for the rest of the world. I firmly believe that man can change his luck and destiny with the grace of Satguru and with the blessings of holy saints. It could happen that he may run into many hurdles during the way." After speaking divine words, Baba Ji took a pause.
After awhile, His Holiness started again "We arrived from "Waha" camp (Rawalpindi) into India. Some people had already arrived in India. The luggage that was left behind in Waha camp by some saints and others, with the grace of God, we were able to bring them along with us in a goods train to India (Jullandhar)." His Holiness then stood up and said "Let us continue the rest of this story in the evening." Baba Ji then left the room and then this humble servant left for my own house, keeping in memory all that had been said.
I was obligated to think, over and over again, that Satguru who has all the power in the universe, however he presents himself like an ordinary human being. From time immemorial, God has incarnated from time to time as an ordinary human being in order to give the world a purposeful direction on how to live a life of humanity. Instantaneously, a thought arose in my mind that I would have to spread these divine words of wisdom to the entire world.
I went to visit Baba Ji at the designated time during the evening. Smiling, Baba Ji started to say -
"Shastri Sahib! Whatever I needed to tell you I already told you this morning. However, it seems that it is your intention that you would like to hear my life story in my own words. Your loving intention is forcing me to continue these thoughts. Arriving in Delhi, my father Baba Avtar Singh Ji became totally dedicated in spreading the message of Truth day and night. Now, it was no longer expected of Him to continue an ordinary day-to-day life. I committed myself in taking over these responsibilities upon my own shoulders.
By that time, respected Gopal Singh Premi (Sewadal Commander Incharge) and respected Babu Mahedev Singh (Experienced Missionary) had started a Motor Parts business in Mohi Gate, Delhi. After receiving permission from Shehanshah Ji, I also joined them. Hard work always pays off. With the grace of God Almighty, our hard work started to reap its awards. We then expanded our business in Kashmiri Gate. We started our work there as well. Shastri Ji! Due to our hard work and honesty, our business slowly began to expand and we were successful; my partners and I opened a few more shops in Delhi and Jullander, and we opened an office in Bombay.
I would like to really emphasize that although I respected my father, but over and beyond that I served and worshipped Him only as my Satguru. When our business was well established in Jullander, I was instructed to come back to Delhi. In Delhi, I was designated as Baba Ji's driver and drove him to sangat form place to place. A motor works shop was also opened in the Nirankari Coti, where all the vehicles used for missionary purposes were being repaired, in which I found a special interest. I always attended sangat regularly, but I backed away from speaking during congregation and from sitting in the front. Sitting in the back, near the saint's shoes, I used to blissfully enjoy sangat and after, I used to engage myself back to my assigned duty.
One day during a large congregation, Shehanshah Ji told me to sit in his place and preside over the sangat. Shastri Ji! You well understand how I must have felt at that point. I did not understand what was happening. If I agreed to it, then I would not be capable of undertaking this responsibility, nor was I a good speaker, nor did I have knowledge of the Holy Scriptures; but nor could I say no, because I never dared to say no to Shehanshah Ji. From December 1962 onwards, I was given this responsibility. I was fortunate that even after I was given this responsibility, I had the opportunity of being in the company of Shehanshah Ji for about six or seven years (1963-1969) and constantly received the blessings from him, hence by serving Him and under His guidance my mind slowly became more involved to carry on this responsibility. Shehanshah Ji's blessings, the collaboration of the saints and the Will of God allowed me to become capable to fulfill this responsibility. I also tried my best to fulfill my responsibility with dedication and honesty. Also, whenever God wants to accomplish something through somebody He does so by his own Will. This is what happened with me.
Baba Ji was speaking these words, when a thought occurred to me that history is a witness to see that those disciples that were blessed with this divine responsibility, never even dreamt of assuming this position. Baba Ji further said -
It was my belief that to fulfill any responsibility, one required dedication, honesty and truthful living, at the same time right planning also plays a vital role. For this reason, in order to spread the message of the Mission, I was constantly reminded that to give a practical form to this goal, not one person can do it all alone, rather you would need hundred and thousands of hands together to accomplish this task. Shastri Ji! You know very well that I met with those responsible saints three times to discuss the matter further - two times in Missouri and once in Ludhiana. With the efforts of these saints, the Mission began to expand in leaps and bounds. The message of Truth began to resound in each and every corner of India and abroad. After a brief pause, He continued -
"I would like to emphasize that my wife and your Raj Mata Ji gave her fullest collaboration and support during each step of the way. Today we observe the large growth of children, sisters and mothers in the Nirankari Mission due to her dedication and effort. Her commitment towards the family allowed me to focus more on spreading this message of Truth to each and every house. It is not a hidden fact how she taught our children how to follow the path of the Guru's teachings."
After saying these words, His Holiness got up and left the room. I also picked up my book and pencil and left for the office. The next day, I took the opportunity and arrived in front of Satguru Baba Ji. Seeing me, Baba Ji started smiling and this gave me the strength I needed to start speaking in front of Him. I said, "Baba Ji, one question keeps arising in my mind over and over again. Our Mission is one based on truth, kindness, love, humility and humanity; we always try to do everything for the benefit of the whole world, so why is it that our mission is faced with so much hatred and animosity? We do not say anything wrong to anyone." Listening to my words, Baba Ji said "Shastri Ji, you know that preventing the message of Truth from spreading is nothing new in this world. The light of Truth only comes forward and displays itself after having gone through the hands of (tap) and sacrifice (tyaag). History is a witness to the fact that those who walked upon the path of Truth had to face much anger and hatred. In some cases, they even had to give up their lives for Truth. For this reason, our Mission, which is spreading quickly in spreading the message of Truth, is also facing sacrifices.
Without sacrifice, nothing can be accomplished. You are all seeing how in (Patankaur), (Kadiaa), (Kumaan), Amritsar and in (Kantpur) life threatening attacks are happening. Only a few days ago, in (Durgh), another attack occurred. I feel as if to spread this Truth, without sacrifices, people will not see the real picture of our mission.
After having spoken, Baba Ji became quiet all of a sudden. After awhile, to break the silence, His Holiness began to say, "From 1963 until 1980, all of my doings are in front of you. You know the story of our mission better than I do. Everything is happening right in front of your eyes. I would only like to say that if people would like to live a life filled with happiness, then they should not wait for any miracles or luck in their life, but rather, following a natural way of life should work hard with effort, honesty and dedication throughout their lives.
Standing up, His Holiness said, "Yes - something I do agree with is that for this to happen, a proper environment is needed, and that man should constantly be looking for such an environment. The company of the saints, and their blessings help in taking man to higher standings in life. However, these great saints are only found with the grace of Nirankar. For this reason, to acquire the grace of God, we should always engage our minds in satsang (company of saints), seva (selfless service) and simran (God remembrance). To keep one's mind focused on these three, one should have an unwavering faith in the Satguru. In this manner, after attaining the blessing of Satguru and then walking the path of hard work, (taap) and sacrifice, every person can progress further and further in life.
"Remember that advancement is not only for some rare persons, but rather anyone can achieve it; those people that work hard with dedication, honesty and complete faith continue to progress more and more." Saying these words, His Holiness quietly left the room. I understood that Baba Ji had said whatever He had needed to say. It was now our duty to spread this message of Truth with that same effort, dedication, (taap), and sacrifice. With Satguru's and the Saint's blessings we have to bring this Truth to each and every home, working day and night. Thus, sharing the same happiness that we have enjoyed in our lives with others in this world.
His Holiness Baba Ji had ended the conversation and left the room with calmness, but in me it felt as if a spark (trang) had ignited in each one of my pores - which strengthened my faith even more to see that it is the very greatness of such exalted spiritual masters that, being the custodian of all the powers in the world and being formless God in the flesh, yet they only consider themselves as ordinary people. Ironically, ordinary people try to portray themselves as great beings.
A thought suddenly came to my mind that, just like in order for adults to teach their children how to walk they must bend down and hold their fingers, or in order for even the wisest person to teach a child how to read he/she must first begin by repeating the alphabet over and over again to the child, and when they have learnt the alphabet then according to the child's mental capacity the professor keeps on teaching them more and more. Not knowing the full mental capacity of the teacher, a child mistakenly assumes that whatever the teacher explains to the child, that this is the only knowledge that the teacher has, and nothing beyond it. Similarly, these God realized saints have a very vast spiritual knowledge, and even with one glance of mercy they can change the entire fate of a person, with their blessings even a person's misfortune can turn into a fortunate incident and their (dyan) can even enlighten someone, having just a glimpse of them can sooth and bring a coolness to one's eyes, and their (tadbiran) can change a human's fate, however these Master's of all the powers, to teach humans to live as humans they do those kinds of works that set an example to everyone of how to live as a human in society. Just to accomplish this task would be a human's primary objective in life. For this reason, all the efforts of God realized people are focused on teaching people on earth to live as human beings should. For this reason, people believe these saints to be ordinary people and it is not easy for them to see who a saint really is. The truth is that these God realized saints give importance to hard work, dedication, honesty and hard work so that people do not become lazy or inactive, although it also true that both actions and the fruits of the actions are blessings of them.
Even if these saints would like to use a miracle to attract people of the world, then in one instance they could attract the entire world, but instead of using any kind of miracle or supernatural means, they rather change a person's way of thinking, speaking and intentions by setting people on the right path towards humanity through a silent protest, and this is exactly what Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji did. Throughout each one of life's steps, and in all the areas of life, he first set an example by living out all of His teachings in His own life - like he wanted others to do. This was His greatness and excellence.