In the Doaba Region of Punjab, if we go from Hoshiar Pur to Dasuya, then almost at a distance of 30 Kms, before the town of Garhdiwala, on the Western side of the main road, a highly elevated Nishaan Sahib will be visible which indicates and shows a snow white elegant building, called Gurdwara Ram Pur Khera. The locals call it “Khera Sahib”. Asking from an elderly person of this area it can be known that the blissful, oozing atmosphere of modern Ram Pur Khera was a deserted, lonely and fearful place in the 1950’s. The general masses of the area were so frightened from the place that they avoided even passing nearby it. A huge cluster of “Banyan” trees, wild plants and bushes, long and tangled vegetation around it was the natural shelter for the wild animals and serpents. Even the rays of the sun could not touch the ground due to the roothless growth of underneath plants, so this piece of land was deserted, left out and discarded for human growth. Only the evil spirits, ghosts and witches were ruling over here, resulting in the increase of area of this cursed mound. Such was the gripping fear and terrible thought in the minds of the general public that what to say of entering this dreaded place, nobody dared pointing to it.
By the order of the great Guru, Sant Baba Harnam Singh Ji converted this cursed land into a holy shrine of Sikh religion by his constant, hard and austere meditation of “Naam-Simran”. He made it a centre of Sikh preachings and practical way of spiritual advancement. History has recorded his name in its Golden Pages.
Sant Baba Harnam Singh Ji was born in the village Dhugga Kalan, Tehsil Dasuya, District Hoshiar Pur (Punjab) in 1897, in the month of July. Baba Ji’s father’s name was S. Achhar Singh Ji and mother’s name was Bibi Narain Kaur Ji. Baba Ji had four brothers and two sisters. The religious teachings of the gursikh family and the congenial atmosphere of the home helped the talents of the holy soul to nourish and develop easily in Sikh way of life. Since the childhood, due to his pre-natal deeds, Baba Ji had been pondering over the thought of leading his entire life based upon the teachings and practices of great Shri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji.
As in those days of Punjab, there was no awakening on the side of education so Baba Ji could not get his formal school education but even then in order to link himself with gurbaani, he learned Gurmkhi (Punjabi) script from his village Sikh Priest (Granthi Sahib). Baba Ji was still in his teenage when he lost his parents, with the passage of time he began to help his brothers in the field of cultivation but internally he remained deeply spiritual as he knew that the real goal of human life was to unite with the Almighty. So keeping this goal in mind and to have true spiritual direction he began to search for any good saint who-so-ever he may be from the neighboring area.
In those days in Baba Ji’s own village Dhugga Kalan, an Udhasi Saadhu whose name was Santokh Dass came and lodged him self on the bank of the village pond but Baba Ji did not go to see him. It began to rain by the grace of God and this Sadhu justifying his own name remained sitting in the rain and he did not go to the village for food. It rained continuously for three days. Baba Ji looked at him from a distance in the morning and evening daily, thinking that he would have gone but he did not. His firmness and contentment affected Baba Ji’s soul. Baba Ji picked up dry wooden sticks, food and other eatables and went to Sadhu Santokh Dass. The pile of chaff (Dhoonhi, a sort of fire lit by udhasi sadhus for meditation) was ignited, he became overjoyed after giving langar to the saadhu.
Now it became the daily routine of Baba Ji to give wooden fuel for the chaff and langar both times. Not only this there was no arrangement of drinking water on the place, so Baba Ji used to bring buckets full of water for Santokh Dass daily. In the rest of the day he used to help his brothers in farming. Baba Ji served this saadhu for complete eleven years without a single break. One day when he was working in the farm an intense thought over powered his mind, “What am I?” He left his work, sat and thought. “I am not a mere body; there is some conscious driving force within me”
Thinking this he went to saadhu, leaving his work incomplete. After respectfully greeting him, Baba Ji put forward the same question. Sadhu Santokh Dass remained silent for some time and then replied, “Harnam Singh! If you want to ask this question then put some ash on your body and become my disciple”. Baba Ji was extremely hurt on this answer. He thought if this saadhu thinks that I am a Sikh, then I am a Sikh. I have been serving him, taking him as a saadhu who should be away from jealousy and rivalary but this saadhu creates discrimination between a Sikh and Udhasi. Immediately Baba Ji replied “I have been serving you considering a saadhu of par-excellence. If you do not want to tell me any thing without making me your disciple, having ash on my head and body then listen, I am a Sikh and at any cost I will not put ash on my body to become any body’s disciple so better it is, I will not ask you anything onward”
Baba Ji’s confidence in saadhu Santokh Dass was totally smashed. Now only the creator had to be hoped for. He continued his search for divinity from Sikh Saints. He wanted to meet any saint who was in unison with the almighty God and who should tell him how did he meet Him? Which methods should be applied for His grace? But on this side too, he could not succeed. Every saadhu said “no doubt we will give you teaching from Shri Guru Granth Sahib but you will have to keep a relationship of a Guru and Chela. For so many days this topic was discussed with so many saints according to Gurbaani but they all insisted upon the necessity of a physical Guru. Baba Ji thought that if with the passage of time the body of the Guru vanishes or passes away then you need to search for another one. When the true Guru has handed us over to Shiri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and ordered us that our Guru is SHABAD, so why should we take shelter of any body except this.
Having disappointment from all sides Baba Ji stepped in to the state of penance (Vairaag). Three days passed in this state of mind. At last he went to his village Gurdwara Sahib. In the state of utmost humility and penance he prayed before Shiri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, “O True Lord! I have left all other hopes and now present fully for your shelter. Please bless me with your grace. I request you to mingle me with thy form. Now I will not leave your door steps and would not beg from any body else”
During this time of prayer a voice was heard saying this, “Harnam Singh! Be Baptized (Take AMRIT ), do not be dejected.” Baba Ji got true direction and within few days he got baptized by taking Amrit. Now he was very anxious and excited to have glimpses of almighty. He got up early in the morning, after taking a bath and doing sacred Nitnem, he performed all the duties assigned to him by his brothers. During working hours, he continued reciting Mool-Mantra and Gurmantra (Waheguru). Every breath of life was captured and none went without recitation. It was tinged with gurbani and Naam Simran. The Meeting with almighty was being awaited like a lady suffering from the wounds and pangs of separation. This deep rooted inner pain got channelised in the form of a prayer.
Up to now Baba Ji was 21 years old. During this time his elder brother Bhai Tara Singh Ji bought a piece of land in Sargodha (Pakistan). Whole family shifted to this place to look after this land. Baba Ji also accompanied them to help in farming. After finishing his day’s hard work he used to go to drain of a canal nearby his residence, a solitary place where he always had his Nitnem and recited Mool-Mantra and Gurmantra regularly. To remain alert to do Simran, he even used to stand in the flowing canal water. He would come back to residence after midnight. After having a little rest he again got up, eased himself, took bath, did Nitnem and prepare himself for worldly duties. Baba Ji used to say that there was not a single day when he lagged behind from his brothers in getting up. This practice continued for a long time.
One night holy tenth Guru, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji came in the dream of Baba Ji’s elder brother Bhai Tara Singh and instructed him, “ Spare Bhai Harnam Singh from his household jobs now, he has to struggle very hard, he has been assigned some other duty.” Next morning Bhai Tara Singh called his all brothers and told what he got instruction at night as “you may take it as a dream or reality, I have been ordered by the great Guru. I have got full faith in it and we should abide by Guru Ji’s order.” All the brothers unanimously agreed and freed Baba Ji from his duties. Now Baba Ji devoted his full time for Naam Simran and Chanting Gurbani Shabads. By this time Baba Ji got very clear glimpses of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and he was enjoying the bliss of spiritual heights. Gursikhs from far and near began to visit Baba Ji for their betterment.
Now in 1947 when partition took place between India and Pakistan, Baba Ji’s family shifted from Sargodha to Dhoul Pur (Rajasthan). He went there to look after the new land but the austere routine of Nitnem and Naam Simran continued. One day when Baba Ji was deeply engrossed in meditation enjoying the bliss of consciousness, the Great Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji appeared and ordered, “Bhai Harnam Singh! You leave this solitary place and go to your own area which is caught in the mud of atheism. Guide those people on the path of Gurmat and preach the principles of Sikhism.”
This ordered version went deep in to the mind and sounded in a question, “O Great Guru! Where should I go? Village? Or any other place?” Satguru Ji replied “Now you are not to go to stay in your village. There is a deserted and barren place at a distance of 4 to 5 miles in the eastern direction of your village, make the place a centre. You do not have to worry about any thing, Almighty will arrange your affairs.” The place was also seen in the vision of Baba Ji as a huge cluster of “Banyan” trees having so many under plants which gave it a shape of dense forest. There was no room over here, nothing but thorny bushes and tall trees.
Although from within Baba Ji wanted to enjoy the blessed pleasure of Naam in solitude yet it was the order of the great Guru to leave this lovely loneliness and preach Gurmat while wandering. Baba Ji arrived on the place Ram Pur (Theh), it was then called. Baba Ji did immense meditation on this place. Baba Ji himself tested the truth of one line of Sukhmani Sahib, experimentally proved its authenticity by living without food and water for forty days. The line was “imrqk kau jIvwlnhwr ] BUKy kau dyvq ADwr” that “He gives food to the hungry.” So many miracles happened. All the incidents can neither be written nor recorded in this short introduction. For details, it is requested to read the biography of Baba Ji, written by his successor Sant Sewa Singh Ji in his book “Se Kinehiya?” This book is a light house which will tell you the mysterious ways and hidden secrets of Gurbani and Gurmat.
Now living in Guru’s order and with the inspiration of Saadh Sangat (congregation), the mound of Ram Pur was turned in to “Gurdwara Ram Pur Khera.” The number of Naam seekers and spiritual inquisitives began to increase day by day. Baba Ji used to give personal guidance and advise in every affairs of the gursikhs. Weekly Naam Abhiaas Kamaaee Smagam was started. Thousands of men and women came in contact with Baba Ji to get happy, healthy, cultured and spiritually enlightened life but Baba Ji never joined them to his own physical existence. On the contrary, he put them into the Shabad Guru (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)’s lap. No doubt he did favors to so many people in every sphere of life but he got it done through Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji only. Every sort of guidance, doubt clearance and vague ideas were clarified through Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji only. He used to do Ardaass and take Hukamnaama and
then to act or react accordingly.
Still persons are living who can tell the greatness of this spiritual tower. The places and the things are there which can tell and testify the truth of this great Saint. His firm belief was that the Gurbaani is the supreme entity in this world. No one should be bowed to except this Living Guru. So he gave utmost regard and respect to Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thus the great religious dignitaries like Sant Baba Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa, Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Ji “Bhindran Wale” came very close and were deeply impressed by Baba Ji.
The desire to see the entire “Khalsa Panth” in its high morale was deep rooted in the mind of Baba Ji, so he meditated purely for this cause from Vaisakhi 1976 to Vaisakhi 1979 and did Ardaass in the feet of Almighty. This was the time when emergency had been declared in India. Even in this crucial time Baba Ji joined hands with Sant Baba Kartar Singh Ji and other Sikh leaders and awakened the general masses by arranging religious processions, meetings and discussions. One such procession was also started from Gurdwara Ram Pur Khera to commemorate 300 years of martyrdom of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Ji. Baba Ji did his maximum in this aspect.
In social fields roads, bridges and religious buildings were constructed. Khalsa Schools and colleges were given immense financial help, the poor students were given higher education to get good jobs. Free eye camps, free medical facilities were given to the needy. Even now with the co-operation of saadh sangat this practice is continued by Baba Ji’s successor Sant Baba Sewa Singh Ji in which permanent allopathic and homeopathic clinics, centre for eye treatment having modern facilities, old age care home, keertan vidayala, training institute for Sikh preachers have been setup and providing free service.
As Baba Ji has dedicated his life to Guru and Khalsa Panth, even in the last days of his life he did not hesitate joining religious crusade (Dharam Yudh Mocha) in 1982. Though Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Ji Bhindran Wale and Sant Longowal persuaded Baba Ji not to go to the jail due to his old age and unsound health yet along with thousands of his followers he went to the jail and helped the morcha financially also. Even in the jail so many persons got baptized by Baba Ji’s inspiration. Ultimately, due to the unbearable and hard conditions of the jail, Baba Ji’s physical condition went from bad to worse. No doubt he was given expert medical treatment but he could not recover and breathed his last on 4 January 1983 in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Sikh Nation honored him with a status of “Shaheed” on his Dusehra (Antim Ardaass).
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