II / v – Part I

The Torch Bearer

Baba Jaimal Singh, on retiring as a Government pensioner from the army, decided to visit the home of His incomparable Master. Swami Ji had passed away in 1878 as He had Himself foretold, but Baba Ji was greatly attached to His family and His disciples. So, in 1890, He took train for the old Mughal capital, and on reaching there, proceeded straight to Punni Gali.

Radha Ji was overjoyed to see Swami Ji’s beloved disciple once more while Chacha Partap Singh, Soami Ji’s youngest brother, was delighted and gave Him a cordial welcome. Word was sent to Baba Gharib Das, then apparently at Agra, and he hastened to meet the Great Soul from the Punjab. Who can describe the deep joy that was theirs as they greeted and embraced each other and remembered the Great Master, Who, no longer in this physical plane, was yet spiritually ever with them? Who can fathom the feelings of such Master spirits? The old Spiritual Comrades radiated Love as they greeted each other and to see them meet was itself a lesson in the Truth that God is Love.

Radha Ji brought forth a red turban and an aasan or prayer carpet, which Swami Ji had left with her before His passing away as a last gift to His Gurumukh disciple. Chacha Partap Singh then brought a gaddi and begged Baba Ji to be seated.

But He would not hear of it and commenting,

I am only a dog of this house blessed to be admitted within its walls,

kept standing.

Chacha Partap Singh protested and persisted, but to no avail. At last Radha Ji intervened and ended the controversy by saying,

Jaimal Singh is indeed a khatau (worthy) son of Swami Ji, Who has made the most of the capital entrusted to Him. He has bestowed Him with the Lordship of Sat Lok. So why should He care for earthly gaddis?

When meals were over, Baba Ji insisted on washing the utensils.

This home for me is a temple, for it was here that I got enlightenment. My only ambition is to serve this house.

But Radha Ji would not hear of it.

You may do as You please some other day,

she declared,

but today You must abide by what I say.

Next day, accompanied by Chacha Partap Singh and Baba Gharib Das, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji proceeded to Rai Saligram – a beloved disciple of Swami Ji – who had been entrusted after Him with the work at Agra and carried on His discourses at Pipal Mandi, where he was popularly known as Hazur Maharaj. He rejoiced at the visit and received the honoured guest from Ghuman with respect and affection. The two embraced after which Hazur Maharaj drew Baba Ji towards the gaddi on which he had been sitting in order to seat Him next to himself. But with characteristic humility, He declined the honour and seated Himself on the floor.

The third day Hazur Maharaj presented Baba Ji with a rich silken robe embroidered with gold. He, however, would not hear of it.

What has a simple farmer like me to do with such precious fabrics? Khadi (hand-woven fabric) suits me better.

– How can You say such things,

protested the host,

when Swami Ji has made You a King of Spirituality and entrusted You with His mission in the Punjab?

Seeing that Baba Ji would not give way, he finally suggested:

Very well, if you will not accept this robe, at least do me the honour of putting it on once, after which I would keep it as a prized souvenir.

On hearing this, Chacha Partap Singh declared that he had a prior right and should be allowed to have the dress after Baba Jaimal Singh had donned it. At last Radha Ji stepped in and interceded.

How could Jaimal Singh resist any longer? Such Love! Such honour! What mortal could deserve it? It was all the Grace of His Master.

With tears in His eyes, He took the robe from Radha Ji’s hands and placed it reverently on His head, reciting the verses from the Granth Sahib, beginning:

Maen av-gun, gun nahin koi […]

I am unworthy; and no virtue is in me […]

A week passed by in this fashion and, having paid His homage to the place where He had received Spiritual Illumination, Baba Jaimal Singh prepared to depart. He invited Baba Gharib Das to join Him, and the latter graciously accepted the invitation. The party set forth for the Punjab and when they arrived at Ghuman, scriptural recitations and discourses were arranged in their honour. Jiwan Singh’s marriage was at hand, and there was feasting and rejoicing. The villagers keenly enjoyed the talks given by the two Spiritual Friends and the days rolled by till Baba Gharib Das had to leave. Jaimal Singh accompanied him to the Beas Railway Station and bade him a touching farewell as he left by train.

*Baba Ji continued to be on very friendly terms with Swami Ji’s disciples and with the members of His family. There was great mutual respect and esteem and Baba Ji’s visit to Murree in 1894 was made at the invitation of some Agra satsangis. But after the passing away of Hazur Maharaj Rai Saligram Ji, things began to undergo a change. A move was made to bring all activities under the control of Pandit Brahm Shankar Misra alias Maharaj Sahib through the creation of a Central Administrative Council at Soamibagh. Baba Ji was nominated along with nine others for the first panel of the Council. The letter sent to Baba Jaimal Singh by Chacha Partap Singh from Allahabad on the occasion, dated 4th August 1902, nominating Him as such is on record1.

Baba Ji, however, was reluctant to join the same as He felt the changes that were about this time taking place among the Agra satsangis were not in consonance with Swami Ji’s teachings. He also objected to and opposed Maharaj Sahib’s plan for building a magnificent samadh in memory of Swami Ji, because He felt that so humble a spirit as His Master, would never have countenanced such a project. When He went to Agra about this time, He openly explained His point of view but Maharaj Sahib was not to be dissuaded. Finding Himself no longer well received and His words of no avail, He returned to Beas and decided to remain aloof from the activities of the Council at Soamibagh.

* (This section is adjusted to the First Edition of 1960;
Editor’s Note 2011.)

During His military career Baba Jaimal Singh, whenever He had any leave, spent part of it at Ghuman. Though detached from worldly ties, He was yet very fond of His mother. On one occasion He was to tell a devoted disciple that in their past three lives, He and His mother had enjoyed the same relationship. On such occasions when He came to His ancestral home, it was His wont not to waste time in needless gossip and idling, but to proceed to the banks of the Beas and sit hidden in the gullies that the wayward river had created by its freakish changes of course, and continue lost in Spiritual Devotion for days, subsisting only on a few dry chapatis that He brought from home and hung on a kikar tree.

At other times when He was at home He would walk down to Dera Baba Namdev and carry on His meditations there or in a dugout in the courtyard of the family house.

This house and dugout were preserved long after Baba Ji’s death, and His successor, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj, would sometimes take His closest disciples to Ghuman and show them the spot where His Great Guru used to sit for meditation. In particular He would point out the peg on the wall behind the dugout where Baba Ji would tie up His hair in order to ward off sleep during abhyasa.

Just as His fellow soldiers learned in time to respect and revere Baba Jaimal Singh, in like manner the inhabitants of Ghuman came gradually to recognise His Great Spiritual Stature. His early childhood devotion had already become a local legend; and whenever the Sant Sepahi came, the local folk flocked to see Him and His company was sought by young and old, whosoever was spiritually inclined. Mistri Elahi Baksh and Bhai Lehna, who had been His boyhood friends, were the first to seek His Spiritual Guidance. He commended their zeal, but said that the time was not yet ripe for their instruction. Many years later when He felt that the hour had come, He put them on the Inner Path and they were among His earliest Ghuman disciples.

After His retirement Baba Ji, on coming to His native village, continued His old habit of going to Beas riverside for His sadhans. The years immediately following the close of His army life were largely spent in this manner.

Once while at Amritsar with Hakim Nand Lal, He mentioned that He was in search of a quiet place in the wilderness where He could settle down and carry on His meditation. Lala Khazana Mal, a money-lender who was also present, suggested that such a place could be found between the villages of Vairach and Balsarai on the banks of Beas where he carried on his business. Baba Ji, Who had already been attached to the area, accepted the suggestion. This was the place where Kahan, a God-intoxicated man, met Baba Ji in His early life saying he was preparing a place for Him in the days to come.

Meanwhile, Baba Chanda Singh, who too had received instructions at the feet of Swami Ji, passed away. In his last moments Bibi Rukko, a very devoted disciple, asked him what was to become of her.

Fear not, my child,

replied the sage,

another greater than myself shall take care of you.

– Where shall I find Him, Sir?

asked Rukko.

Find Him? No, you shall have no need, for He Himself will seek you out.

Shortly before Baba Ji came to settle down on the banks of the Beas, Bibi Rukko, who was then living at Vairach and was fairly well advanced spiritually, told the villagers that her protector was coming to live there.

When Baba Jaimal Singh arrived, He found a small hut built out of straw and branches for Him, a bare eight-feet by eight-feet, and He began living there. Soon after Khazana Mal arrived, and hearing that Baba Ji had come, came to see Him. He had the hut plastered with mud and a cave dug out. It was the year 1891 and Baba Ji gave Himself up with redoubled zeal to His Spiritual Sadhans. He would enter the cave and stay in it for days on end, sometimes as long as a fortnight without any thought for food, rapt in Inner Samadhi.

Though Baba Ji shunned the public gaze, yet musk cannot be hidden in the dark. He might have no care for earthly name and fame but name and fame fell to His share in spite of this. Fame of His Spiritual Greatness had already spread from Ghuman to the neighbouring villages; and going for darshan to a Holy Man is an ancient institution in this land of the sages. Where there had been wilderness, people began appearing in ever growing numbers and regular Satsangs began to take place. How could Baba Ji turn away those who had come to His door? In all simplicity and humility He taught them the Spiritual Message that He had received at the feet of Swami Ji. Many a moneyed man begged Him to be permitted to build pucca quarters for Him, but He, rich in His own humility, continued in His simple austere ways.

To undertake to write the biography of a Saint is to attempt the impossible. If it is to do real justice to its subject, it must follow the Inner Movements that defy observation, analysis and formulation. You may take up the life of a great artist, writer, soldier or statesman, and if you are a man of deep understanding and imagination, you may reincarnate it in words giving a vivid picture of the psychological conflicts and resolutions involved. But the Saints at one leap have passed from this world to another and have cast Their tents in inaccessible realms. Few men have reached there; and those that have entered have been wrapped in silence.

When the pen set to picturing this station, it broke in pieces and the page was torn.

The study of the progress of the mystic soul is beyond the reach of ordinary mortals, and those that have been on the Inner Journey can only speak in metaphor and parable, for how else can the language of common humanity be compelled to express experiences for which it was never fashioned?

The history then of a Master-Soul, as fired by a restless zeal, Which moves from plane to plane, must remain an unwritten one; at best it can only give the husk of outer events and happenings to suggest the unusual nature of the Spiritual Experiences they enfold. And once such a Soul has attained full enlightenment and become One with the Infinite, Its history is no longer Its own, but is the history of those that came under Its spell and were liberated from worldly bondage.

The story of Baba Ji’s life after His great search had been crowned with success is the story not so much of His own development as of the many souls that benefited from Him. Thus Mian Chirag Din relates the story of his maternal grandfather, Mistri Elahi Baksh, of whom we have already spoken.

Elahi, a childhood friend of Baba Ji, showed great interest in Spiritual Matters and would discuss them with Him when He would come home on leave from His regiment. Once when Baba Ji, known in His village as Bhai, was in Ghuman, Elahi saw Him approaching in the company of a sadhu. A lively discussion was in progress and when Elahi wished to know its theme, he was told that the sadhu insisted that Brahmand was the highest of all heavens in spite of the fact that Baba Ji assured him that there were higher realms. On hearing this, Elahi turned to the sadhu and with solemn conviction said:

Revered sir, Bhai Ji is absolutely right. There are indeed regions higher than those of which you know.

This silenced the sadhu and he went away. When the friends were left alone, Baba Ji thanked Elahi for his friendly intervention and added,

But it is strange that you never told me of your access to the Inner Spiritual Realms.

– Whoever said I had access to them?

But then how could you speak with such conviction?

– Oh, Bhai, I only know that a man of realisation can never utter a falsehood. So how could I doubt what You said?

Baba Ji was so moved by His friend’s spontaneous and deep-rooted faith that He told him,

I shall unlock to you treasures of which few ever dream and which fewer attain.

He took him straight to a nearby pond and initiated him into the Surat Shabd Yoga on its bank. However, Elahi had yet to learn the value of the gift he had received. Greatly interested in Spiritual Questions, he continued the practices taught to him by Muslim fakirs and failed to attend to his friend’s instructions.

When Baba Ji came to Ghuman again, He sent for Elahi and asked him what he had done with the Inner Key that had been given to him. When Elahi told Him that he had done nothing and even forgotten what he had been told, Baba Ji was displeased.

I give you the greatest riches that man can ever hope to have and you treat them with such scant regard,

He scolded, and slapped him thrice in the face. As soon as His hands fell upon the repentant Elahi’s face, his Inner Eye was opened and his spirit rose to higher worlds. From that day onward Elahi Baksh began devoting himself exclusively to the Surat Shabd Yoga and would daily visit his Pir or Guru and bow in reverence before Him.

When a Great One takes a wandering soul under His wing, His Grace is not confined only to His immediate disciple but radiates to those near and dear to him. Such powerful Spiritual Influence fell upon Elahi Baksh’s family that in spite of their Muslim relations’ and brothers’ taunts and scorn, many of its members sought instruction at Baba Ji’s feet.

Elahi’s son-in-law, Hussain Baksh, was among the first to take to the Path. He was very devoted to Baba Ji and displayed great Love and reverence. His Guru was pleased with him and treated him and his sons, Ghulam Qadir and Chirag Din, with affection. Mian Chirag Din, in his manuscript account, relates how the Great One would joke with them and receive them at all hours when they were youngsters. Once when He had gone to Ghuman and was resting, the boys sought Him out there. Bibi Daya received them at the door and when she learned that they had come for her son, she got a little irritated.

Ah, when you grow up,

she exclaimed,

and have children of your own, never make the mistake of educating them. I am a mother and I know too well from my experience how difficult it is to cope with when a son becomes a God.

Baba Ji at this juncture called out from within and the boys went in. He patted them fondly and remarked,

You are always welcome. Do not mind what mother says.

A True Master is ever with His disciple and protects him not only in life but equally in death:

Oh Nanak: free yourself from worldly companions, and seek the friendship of a True Saint. They shall forsake you even in life, but He shall not leave you even after death.


Take hold, oh soul! of One Who knows all Inner planes, for He shall befriend thee in life as well as in death.

Maulana Rumi

To witness the last moments of a disciple of Baba Ji was to be convinced of His Genuine Greatness. Countless stories are told of the strange happenings marking the end of those initiated by the Beas Saint. We may quote the eye-witness account left by Chirag Din of his father’s death as an outstanding example. We translate from his Urdu manuscript recording his family’s contact with Baba Ji and some anecdotes he heard from the Great Master about His own early life:

Once Baba Ji had gone to Ghuman after collecting His pension. Our father, meanwhile, had passed away. We went to the Great One and related to Him the sad news. He consoled us and straightaway proceeded to the spot where the dead body lay. On reaching there, He said, Oh Hussain Baksh, why have you been in such haste? I would have come and you could have had my darshan. As these words were uttered, our dead father opened his eyes and sat up. Our mother, frightened, inquired if anything was the matter. Nothing, he said. The Master has come and I am going. He then lay down and was gone.

Another very interesting anecdote relates how, while Baba Ji was visiting the village of Dhaliwal, Attar Singh, a local inhabitant, carried Him across a nearby seasonal stream swollen with recent rains and back again. The sage was so pleased with the Jat’s selfless service that He declared,

Oh Attar, you have taken me across this little streamlet. I, in return, shall take you across the sea of life.

He then initiated him into the Divine Science and from that day the latter was a changed man. He would take his cattle for grazing as of yore, but on reaching the meadows he would let them go and himself got busy with his Spiritual Sadhans. He no longer used a stick to control his herd, but would manage it with a piece of cloth and soon became known for his extraordinarily kind treatment of his animals.

One day he returned rather early. On reaching home, he told his daughter-in-law, who was there:

Child, get everything done quickly; storm will soon be here.

He then went to take his bath and on returning spread a bed on the floor and called all those in the house to his side. He bade them goodbye, explaining:

My time is drawing to a close and I must soon be gone.

Everyone was taken aback at these strange words. How could the speaker talk of dying when he was apparently in good health? At last his daughter-in-law, collecting herself, asked leave to send for his son.

There is no need,

he answered.

My Master has come and I cannot keep Him waiting.

Saying these words, he lay down, closed his eyes and his spirit left for its heavenly Home.

Baba Ji was not only chary Himself of revealing His Spiritual Riches, but strictly enjoined His disciples to exercise the same restraint. When they transgressed His instructions they never escaped chastisement. Thus, Chirag Din relates the story of a blind Hafiz (learned man) of Dhariwal.

He once attended a discourse of Baba Ji at the town of Kapurthala, and when it was over and they were talking to each other, the Hafiz remarked:

The wise have said that he who has read the Holy Book thrice attains heaven.

– Heaven is very far, my dear fellow,

replied Baba Ji.

Those that have entered it alone can tell.

The assurance of the sage’s voice moved the Hafiz to request instruction. His wish was granted and he sedulously cultivated the lesson that had been given to him till it bore fruit. He then proceeded to Mian Sahib at Batala, his former teacher, and told him that all he had taught him was a hoax and a lie. He would often visit the mosque and, intolerant of the pious sham practised there, he would secretly break the earthen pots and burn the prayer mats. His fellows soon discovered the miscreant and complained to his Guru.

The blind man was called and Baba Ji rebuked him.


replied His disciple,

I cannot stand hypocrisy and besides I am in the right.

His Master, however, told him that in the future he must learn to contain himself and exercise restraint. But the advice went unheeded and the Hafiz soon began indulging his whim once again. A group of Muslims came to wait upon the sage and bitterly protested, complaining that He had taught His disciple to turn heathen.

At this Baba Ji answered,

Does the man still persist in his foolishness? Well, if he will not stop troubling you, do not be angry for you will soon be rid of him.

Sure enough, a few days later the Hafiz passed away.

Similar stories are told about other advanced disciples. A sadhu who came to live at Beas made rapid headway and his soul would soar at will to Daswan Dwar. He, however, could not restrain himself and would begin talking of the Inner Glories to whoever would pass his way.

Baba Ji was upset and told him that he must learn to discipline his tongue.

But the sadhu, confident of himself, continued unheeding. The Inner Curtain was rung down and for full sixteen years he was denied Inner Access until his very last days when Baba Ji’s illustrious successor, Baba Sawan Singh, gave him His blessings.

Baba Nizam-ud-din in a like situation was to experience a similar check. His son, in a beautifully written Urdu account, narrates how his father, who was the sixteenth initiate of Baba Ji according to the records at Beas, made very speedy Inner Progress.

In a few months he had gained great powers and had developed a remarkable clairvoyance. But instead of locking his gifts within himself as taught by his teacher, he began displaying his Spiritual Wares and would freely tell those around of future happenings or of what was taking place at distant towns.

When Baba Ji was told of this, He turned to Bibi Rukko and said,

This man has ascended very rapidly indeed, but has not been able to digest what he has got.

From that day on, Nizam-ud-din, who had failed to shutter his lips, found that his Inner Eye had been curtained. His sorrow was great, but trusting the Grace of his Master, he took to his Spiritual Practices with redoubled energy. His wife too got initiated and with the passage of time great blessings were bestowed upon them, and it was evident to those who came into contact with them that they were no ordinary mortals. But never again did Nizam-ud-din flaunt his Spiritual Powers.

The entire life of Baba Nizam-ud-din and his family as written by his son is one long saga of the blessings of having a True Master. But society is not kind to a Living Saint nor to those that are lost in His Love. Nizam-ud-din’s devotion to his Sikh Pir soon won him the animosity of his relatives and Muslim brethren.

He has turned kafir,

they said, and lost no opportunity of abusing and persecuting him. He himself was not to be deterred and whenever there was any talk of Muslim, and Non-Muslim, he would recite the Persian couplets:

Ishk ra ba kafir-o-moman, na bashad imtyaj ein Sukhan bar mamber-o-mehrab mae bayad nivisht.

Love makes no distinction between the infidel and the faithful; let these words be written on every pulpit and arch.

Mard-e-hujji Mard-e-hajji ra talab Khah Hindu, Khah Turk-o-Khah Arab.

If you wish to go on the Inner Pilgrimage, then seek an Inner Guide, be He a Hindu, a Turk or an Arab.

But for all his patience, matters grew only worse and when things were not to be borne any longer, Baba Ji advised His beloved disciple to shift his hearth and home to Multan. It was there that he spent the rest of his long life and would often go to Beas to meet his Master. When after 1903, He was no more, he would visit Baba Sawan Singh, His Spiritual Successor, Who held him in great esteem. It is not for us to dwell at length on the many blessings bestowed upon him, his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons; suffice it to say that the whole family held Baba Ji in great reverence and, as enjoined by Him, kept up all the traditions of their faith while practising the discipline He had taught. When his wife passed away, she foretold her approaching end a month before the date, at which time she was in good health.

When her hour drew near, she took touching leave of her husband:

I have served you to the best of my ability for sixty years. Now grant me leave for going away. My Master and Maharaj Sawan Singh are waiting for me.

Nizam-ud-din asked her to hold his arm and focused his attention inwards.

The whole family was looking on as the old couple sat wrapped in meditation. Twenty minutes later the husband opened his eyes.

Now you may go,

he said, and his wife peacefully passed away. Next morning when her hearse had to be carried to the burial grounds, some of the relations refused to lift the bier on the grounds that the lady was a kafir (heretic). But the neighbours knew her to be kind and generous and a true daughter of God, and helped to carry the coffin to the graveyard.

Baba Nizam-ud-din did not tarry long after. His end was similarly known before it came and when his bier was to be carried, his brethren’s hearts had been softened and they joined the procession. Many a fakir and sadhu witnessed his burial and as his remains were being lowered, the verse was chanted:

Hum Nashini saat-e ba aulia Behter az sad-sala taat be-ria.

A moment’s contact with a Saint is worth more than a million austerities.

Even to this day, in spite of the division of the country (India) that came with independence and in spite of the communal hatreds unleashed in its wake, the descendants of Baba Nizam-ud-din have kept up the faith and often visit Sawan Ashram at Delhi to keep alive their association with the Path of the Masters or the Sultan-ul-Azkar, as their enlightened forefather called it in the terminology of the Sufi fakirs.

Baba Ji’s Grace flowed to all! It was not only His disciples who benefited from Him, but many others who merely happened to catch His eye by their simplicity, purity and selfless service. He had read many a scripture in His childhood and youth, but He spoke not from learning but from direct Inner Experience. There was inexplicable sweetness and charm in what He said and an irresistible sense of conviction and assurance.

Once four great pundits who dabbled in various yogic practices began wrangling and debating about the nature of the Inner Planes. They based themselves on their Spiritual Study and the controversy they waged was lively indeed. Hearing of a Jat Saint of great attainment, they came to Baba Ji’s door. He heard what they had to say and then lucidly explained to them the nature of the Spiritual Regions, reconciling what had appeared to be contradictory viewpoints and resolving all their doubts to their satisfaction. The pundits went away, but one of them, a True Seeker who had caught the Saint’s bait, returned and begged for initiation. The boon was granted; he practised his sadhans with regularity but to little avail.

Ah Sir! Bless me with some Inner Vision,

he begged.

Do you think I do not wish you well?

came the reply.

I wish to the Lord that you reach Sat Lok this day, but you are not yet ripe and would not be able to bear the strain.

The prayer was repeated many a time but Baba Ji always gave the same answer. One day while He was going alone to collect His pension, the pundit met Him at a lonely spot.

Sir, this is wilderness and no one is by. Bless me now, at least give me a glimpse of the realms within – no more – that I may rest in certainty.

– You will not be able to stand it and the strain will be too much for you.

What does it matter even if I lose my life if only I may see what is within!

Baba Ji could refuse no longer. He asked the pundit to sit down in meditation and focused His gaze upon him. The pundit’s soul was forcibly drawn up into the higher realms. When Baba Ji, by His own will, brought it down to physical
consciousness, the pundit fell sobbing at His feet.

I thought my life was being wrenched out of me and a million lightnings fell upon my head. Oh, Sir, forgive me my foolishness. We mortals are indeed unworthy.

– What is there to forgive?

replied the Sage.

It is you who must forgive yourself for it is not I who suffered. Now go and make the most of your time, for you have only three more years to live.

From that day onward the pundit concentrated on his meditations and three years later, as predicted, he passed away.

Such tales are, however, legion, and whole volumes would not suffice to sing the glory and Grace of a True Saint. So passing them by, we will concern ourselves with the most important single event in the annals of Baba Ji’s Divine Ministry: the initiation of Sawan Singh Ji Who was later to carry on Baba Ji’s mission. The story is told by the Great Disciple Himself and we quote from His letters which have been published in 'Spiritual Gems' (Beas, 1959):

I was fond of Satsang and Parmarth (Spirituality) from my very childhood. I often associated with sadhus and religious people, and this in part was because my father was fond of Sadhu seva (service). Then while in (military) service I studied Vedanta and discussed Vedanta with people, especially with the sadhus who, on their way to Kashmir, stayed at a dharamsala (rest-house) near my house.

Later I was transferred to Murree Hills. One day as I was supervising my work, I saw an old Sikh going up a hill along with a middle-aged lady. When I noticed Him, I thought He had probably come in connection with some case in the Commissioner’s Court. Little did I think that He was to be my Master. He was no other than Baba Ji Himself and the lady was Bibi Rukko. This I did not know at the time, but found out later that Babaj Ji said to Bibi Rukko, referring to me, It is for his sake that we have come here, to which Bibi Rukko replied, But he has not even greeted You. Baba Ji said to her, What does the poor fellow know yet? On the fourth day from this he will come to us.

On the fourth day I went to attend Satsang. Baba Ji was at that time explaining the meaning of the Jap Ji Sahib. Well, I started my volley of questions – so much so that the audience got tired and began to feel restless at the large number of questions I had put. The sacred book, Sar Bachan, was lying there and I objected to the name of 'Radhasoami,' and Baba Ji explained from the book itself what 'Radhasoami' meant.

Radha ad surat ka nam Soami ad Shabd nij dham.

Radha is the name of the first or primal ray of surat (consciousness); Soami is the original source of the stream of Shabd – Naam or Word.

Now He wanted to point out the way, but I had read Vedanta. When I read Gurbani, my opinion was different; when I read the Gita my opinion was again different, and I was unable to come to a decision. At last I applied for eight days leave to enable me to study the teachings of Baba Ji. 

He advised me to read Kabir Sahib’s 'Anurag Sagar.' I immediately ordered eight copies of this book from Bombay so that I could also give some to my friends – Baba Hari Ram, Gulab Singh, etc. – to read and comment on it.

After several conferences with Baba Ji, I was thoroughly convinced and received initiation from him on the 15th day of October in 1894.

What follows is a moving tale of devotion and obedience on the one hand and ineffable Love and Grace on the other. The letters exchanged between the Master and the disciple catch something of the esoteric beauty of this tale; and Baba Ji’s epistles are reproduced in the already mentioned volume of 'Spiritual Gems.'

In these we learn of the step-by-step guidance afforded by the Guru to the disciple who has surrendered himself completely to His will, and the bizarre and miraculous way in which His protective hand helps him at every turn. There were two particular incidents that Baba Sawan Singh was particularly fond of relating to His audiences to exemplify the greatness of Baba Ji and the blessing of having a Pooran Guru or True Master. We quote again from His letters:

It was my habit to catch hold of the mane of my horse and jump upon it while it was going by. But my servant, in my absence and without my knowledge, had cut the horse’s mane. I did not notice that and as I grabbed for the mane, my hand slipped and I fell down and broke my leg. The fracture was painful, no doubt, but much more painful was the fact that I could neither defecate nor urinate. The doctors even thought it might be difficult for me to survive.

A Mohammedan overseer, belonging to my district, coming to know of this accident, came to me and said: I am your own man, a sort of family member. I belong to your place. Tell me please, how can I help you?

I said, My children are studying as boarders in a school about eight miles from this place. I do not want them to know of this accident. But I should like you to send a telegram to Maharaj Ji (Baba Ji).

He sent the telegram. And when Baba Ji received the telegram, He said: Well, if the Master wants to take him away, He may, for at least he has got Naam. But my sister in faith, Bibi Rukko, pleaded for me with Baba Ji.

It was Baba Ji’s practice to sit in meditation or to go into meditation when there was expectation of anything important happening, and then to give out whatever information He received within. He sat in meditation at 8 p.m. or earlier – whenever the information was received by telegram.

At about 3 a.m. He called Bibi Rukko and she asked, Shall I bring Your food now? (He had not taken His evening meal). Baba Ji replied: No, but you asked something about Bhai Sawan Singh. Now you can inform Sawan Singh that he is not going, but the karmas were very heavy. It was ordained that he had to suffer for five years but now we will settle the karmas in five months. Is it not something? We shall not go to him just now, but after he has been discharged from the hospital. In the meantime you may acknowledge receipt of his telegram. And the moment Baba Ji’s telegram was received, I could pass stools and urine. […]

Saints show Their mercy but They never talk about it. Now, while I was reduced to this condition, I had to suffer from the monetary point of view also. I lost my sub-divisional allowance, my horse allowance and half my pay also. The Chief Engineer was very kind to me. He said: If only you could come to office every day in a dandi (sedan chair), I would consider you on duty. But I was very doubtful and feared that my leg being still weak, I might slip and have another accident. The Chief Engineer thereupon allowed me one month’s leave. I wondered if I would be fit to work after one month. The next morning I saw the Commanding Engineer and he said: Now you are going for only one month. Prior to this Baba Ji came to see me and told me that I would be absent from duty for only one more month, but it was hard for me to believe it.

At last the month passed and a letter was received from Baba Ji stating: We people have not come into this world to do our own work; we have come here by the orders of Maharaj Ji (Swami Ji). If He likes, He will get the work out of us. It is impossible to describe the reach or the power of the Saints. I am sure, if the Guru wants, He can make even the stones carry out His work.

Baba Ji used to be very kind to me and whenever I came to visit Him, He would give me a place in His own room. Once I got down from the Beas (railway) station at twelve o’clock at noon. It was very hot and I sat down under a tree for a while. Then I felt that I had come for Baba Ji’s darshan, yet here I was seeking comfort and delaying that meeting with the Beloved. Even worldly lovers have done much better.

The thought troubled me. So I started on foot from the station to the Dera (colony).

At the Dera, Baba Ji Maharaj, Who was very sensitive to heat, came out and began to pace the open courtyard before His room. Bibi Rukko remonstrated and requested Him to go inside His room, out of the hot sun, but He would not. A few minutes before I reached the Dera, He went in and then Bibi Rukko, seeing me coming, exclaimed: Oh, now I see why Baba Ji was walking in the hot sun. – He had Himself absorbed some of that extreme heat so that I would not be overcome by it on the way. There are so many wonderful things about Baba Ji that if I go on relating them for one hundred years, it would not be possible to finish them all.

Indeed, a hundred years would not suffice and we will cover as swiftly as possible the rest of the story of Baba Ji’s earthly sojourn.


Explanation: 1) Chacha Partap Singh’s letter dated 4 August, 1902: 

*Beloved of the Satguru, purified by Shabd, pure of face and intellect, Baba Jaimal Singh Ji.

I have received your letter and was very glad to read its contents. And the stone which you suggested will be put in the building, you may be assured about that. My son Suchet Singh has come back on pension.

I am, however, sorry to note that there is a tendency of forming different sects and cliques in our Satsang, and that all Satsangis are not in harmony with each other. For this purpose I have come here – to Allahabad.

We have decided that a 'Radha Soami Satsang Central Association' should be started. Pandit Ji (Brahm Shankar Misra) has insisted that I should be its president and he will be the Vice-president; that Lala Ajodhia Parshad, son of Hazur Sahib Maharaj (Rai Bahadur Saligram) and eight others, as well as yourself, should be members. Or, in whatever manner any ten members can be selected by the Satsangis by a vote of majority. I am, therefore sending you a pamphlet containing a complete description about this Central Association, and can send you any number of copies as may be required. Please send instructions to all your Satsangis that they should sanction the following ten names and endorse these pamphlets in token of their nomination. If you have Satsangis in far off places, they should also be asked to act accordingly.

I am giving below the names of the ten members above:

1. Lala Ajodhia Parshad (son of Rai Bahadur Saligram)
2. Pandit Brahm Shankar Misra Sahib
3. Lala Baleshwar Parshad
4. Lala Madho Parshad
5. Rai Ishwar Sahai, alias Raja Sahib
6. Lala Suchet Singh (son of Seth Partap Singh Ji Maharaj)
7. Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Sahib
8. Lala Sudershan Singh (another son of Seth Partap Singh Ji)
9. Munshi Hargobind Daya Sahib
10. Mr Bool Chand Sahib

It is expected that by the constitution of this society, different groups and cliques will disappear and Satsangis will love each other as brothers.

Kindly send this letter to Babu Sawan Singh also for his information.

* (This section is adjusted to the First Edition of 1960;
Editor’s Note 2011.)