The Master’s early Days in Lahore
I was initiated by Hazur Baba Sawan Singh in 1928. My husband Sardar Hukam Singh was one of His very early initiates. We were living in Lahore and shortly after I came on the Path I had a chance meeting with Maharaj Kirpal Singh Ji. My husband knew Him already and one day as we were walking home, Maharaj Ji was returning on His bicycle from the office. He stopped to greet my husband and we were introduced to each other.
Our home was not far from the place where Satsang was held in those days. Maharaj Ji would drop in every now and then to look us up. He would inquire how we were and sit and chat with us. As our home was on the way to Satsang, He would stop over. We would all go together, and when Satsang was over, He would walk us back home. If a satsangi did not turn up for the discourse, Maharaj Ji was so concerned that He would visit him to find out if anything was wrong. Those who were sick, He would help with medicine; those who were indigent He would help with food and clothing. He was always willing to serve the satsangis, especially the ones who were ill. He did not want people to know of the sacrifices He made and much of this help was rendered privately and only a very few of us knew the extent of His generosity and selflessness. Once in Lahore there was a outbreak of plague. When it was at its peak, corpses would reach the cremation ground by the hundreds. Kirpal Singh Ji was no only fearless in attending on those who were ill; He would also visit the cremation ground and help out there.
I should mention here that disciples in Lahore had set up two or three separate Satsangs in different parts of the city. Hazur Baba Sawan Singh was not happy with this and around 1929 He had asked Kirpal Singh Ji to hold a central Satsang and bring everyone together. We had no Satsang Ghar (Satsang Hall) in Lahore at the time and a large bungalow with a lawn was acquired for holding Satsang.
Subsequently, in 1935, land was acquired for the Lahore Satsang Ghar on Ravi Road and the following year Hazur came from Beas to lay the foundation stone. Maharaj Kirpal Singh Ji was entrusted with the responsibility of supervision the construction and He would visit the site every morning before going to His office and every evening on returning from it. He attended to every detail and would encourage the local satsangis to give their free time for seva. Ravi Road was deserted place then and there were scarcely any buildings in the neighbourhood. Hazur would personally visit the site every week and see how things were going. He would quietly arrive after spending a couple of hours watching the work and giving instructions, He would leave back for Beas.
It is difficult to describe His Love for Maharaj Kirpal Singh. He was exceptionally fond of Him and would entrust Him with responsibilities which He would not give to others. Kirpal Singh Ji in turn was exemplary in His devotion. Whatever was entrusted to Him He would take up. Any work He had to do Hazur was sure to be finished in time: no excuses and no delay. In 1932 when work began on the Satsang Ghar at Beas Maharaj Ji demonstrated to us all the True Spirit of seva.
Once during this period, while Maharaj Ji sat pounding bricks into rori, someone asked Him,
Why do You to have bother about seva like this? You do so much intellectual seva for Hazur – do You really need to do all this physical seva as well?
Maharaj Ji continued with His work and said,
This body must give seva too. It is only right that having it I should make it do seva as well for my Satguru.
If anyone expressed respect and admiration for what He was, He was sure to say with great humility,
I am nothing, a mere nobody; it is all Hazur’s Grace. Whatever I have and whatever you see in me is from Him. He is everything.
Once in 1940 when Hazur finished His Satsang discourse at Lahore, some satsangis lovingly complained that He gave them Satsang only very seldom. He visited Amritsar much more often and Lahore was neglected. On hearing this Hazur replied,
Have I not given you Kirpal Singh Ji for the Satsang here? There is no difference between Him and myself.
The Sangat was extremely happy to hear this and turning to Kirpal Singh Ji greeted Him with Great Love.
Hazur delivered His monthly Satsang at Beas on the last Sunday of each month and the Monday that followed was initiation day. Maharaj Kirpal Singh would invariably come to Beas for the monthly Satsang and if Monday happened to be a holiday, He would stay on at the Dera. On such occasions Hazur would have Him by His side during initiation. Having given the initiation instructions, He would tell Maharaj Ji to clear up any difficulties any new initiate might have. If someone had no experience, or had not grasped some point fully, Kirpal Singh Ji would explain things to him and make him sit again.
On one occasion He was at the Dera for a whole week. It was June and it was extremely hot, and He was on leave and spending His holiday as usual at Beas. A group of seekers from Bulandshehr happened to be at the Dera at the time, and one of them prayed to Hazur for their initiation. Hazur had had a very sore throat and for a time had even lost His voice. He asked them to wait for a day and next morning at 10:00 He summoned Kirpal Singh Ji saying,
This man has come here with ten seekers. Please give them Naam.
The ten persons in question were initiated by Maharaj Ji as commanded by Hazur the same day. The instructions were imparted at the bungalow of Maharaj Ji’s brother and commenced at 11:00 a.m. I was at the Dera myself and speak as an eye witness. I cannot give the exact year, but it was around 1936 or so.
I come now to the time when the country was about to get independence. When Maharaj Ji was on the point of retiring, Hazur asked Him during His visit at Beas,
Where do You now propose to live?
He answered quietly,
Wherever You wish me to be, it is only there that I want to live.
There was a good deal of unrest at the time and alluding to that, Hazur went on:
If You leave Lahore, it may distress the Sangat. It is best, therefore, that You go back.
And so Maharaj Ji returned to Lahore. This was around the beginning of the summer of 1947 and the country was partitioned a couple of months or so thereafter. Even though He had retired He stayed on there, continued to look after the Satsang, and from time to time would travel to Beas to see Hazur. When social disturbances had reached their peak and the family was preparing to leave for Beas, Maharaj Ji’s wife began locking the doors. Maharaj Ji ordered her,
Don’t lock the doors and add to the problems of those who have to break in. Let all the doors stay open.
And so He proceeded to Beas leaving His home unlocked never to return again. It was the end of July and He was at the Dera for Hazur’s birthday Bhandara. In August it was virtually a massacre and all non-Muslims had to flee from Lahore and from the whole of West Pakistan.
Hazur was ill at the time but He was still at Beas when Maharaj Ji arrived from Lahore. A few days later He proceeded to Amritsar for treatment leaving Kirpal Singh Ji behind to look after the Dera. Beas was on the main route from West Pakistan to India and refugees began reaching from both directions – those fleeing into lndia and those leaving for Pakistan. Maharaj Ji worked ceaselessly to look after them. One never knew how many or at what time they would arrive. Many would not have had a proper meal for days. He would see them fed and clothed and those who wished to stay at the Dera would be accommodated there. Hazur was very concerned about this and it was for account of the refugees that He left Kirpal Singh Ji behind. Once every week, however, Maharaj Ji would proceed in the morning to Amritsar to see Hazur and return to the Dera in the evening.
As the weeks slipped by the Sangat at Beas got more and more restive. Hazur’s illness, especially during those disturbed times, began to worry everyone. When He got somewhat better and Baba Jaimal Singh’s Bhandara on 29th December, drew near, Maharaj Ji shared the Sangat’s concern and asked Hazur if He would return to the Dera. He answered that He would return a little before the Bhandara and on 24th December He arrived at Beas along with Kirpal Singh Ji. The Sangat was extremely happy and relieved to see the Great Master. They thanked the Lord for His safe return and blessed Maharaj Ji for having been the instrument for bringing Him back.
You have done us a great service,
There are many incidents that come to my mind. I will only pick up one here to illustrate the extent of His powers even before Hazur left the body and assumed the form of Maharaj Kirpal Singh Ji. We were still living in Lahore and it was the year 1946. One of my brothers was suddenly struck by pneumonia, took a turn for the worse and died. He was married and only twenty-eight. It was a great shock for all of us. Around 4:00 in the afternoon we took the body to the cremation ground which was quite a distance away. After leaving His office, Maharaj Ji stopped by on His way home, and on learning what had happened, followed us and caught up with us half way. He was on His bicycle and, getting off, joined the funeral procession. After the cremation was over, He accompanied us back and seeing our desperate condition, made us all sit down and gave a sort of Satsang. He told us that whatever had happend was under the Will of Providence. However hard it might seem to us, it was our duty to accept it. Especially if we loved the departed, it was imperative that we stay calm so that his soul might be in peace. His words brought comfort and solace at the time when we were all in great anguish.
I had a second brother who was almost ten years younger. He was deeply attached to the one who was gone and so great was the shock of the death that he was beside himself with grief. One day he disappeared and did not return home. We tried to find him but there was no trace of him at all. We all wondered what had happened and thinking of his grief we were doubly distressed.
God had taken back one brother, and now the other had gone off, only the Lord knew where! That night Kirpal Singh Ji came by. It was rather late for a visit – around 11:00 or even after – but then He would call on satsangis in distress without regard to the hour. When He saw us He queried why we looked so distressed, and I explained what had happened. He reassured me and said, "Don’t worry about Omi. Have faith in Hazur. He will be back home safe at 5:00 in the morning."
Sure enough next morning my younger brother returned at the stipulated time. He had a strange tale to tell. Lost in his sorrow and full of the sense of the meaninglessness of life, he had wandered a long distance. Seeing a railway station, he had boarded a train and in it met a group of sadhus. They asked him where he was going and when he explained that he did not know, they invited him to join them. They got off three or four stations before Hardwar and he accompanied them. They lived in a jungle and when they got there, he realised that they were thugs in disguise. When it was time to sleep, to make sure that he could not get away, they placed him in the middle and spread themselves around him.
Realising his danger and feeling completely helpless, Omi could not sleep. It was pitch dark and there was no means of getting away. As he lay restless, he prayed to God for deliverance. In answer to his prayer he saw Light and within it the figure of Maharaj Kirpal Singh. Maharaj Ji commanded him to get up and follow. Full of fear, he said,
But how can I? They are all around me and will catch me.
Maharaj Ji assured him that no one could stop him and he got up and followed Him barefoot. They were in a jungle and it was very dark. But Maharaj Ji was radiating Light, and, following that Light, my brother sped along through the jungle. After about two miles, Maharaj Ji informed him that the railway station was a few yards ahead and asked him to catch the first train from there, and left him. He proceeded as commanded and got off three stations ahead to change for Lahore. At this railway station he once again met Maharaj Ji and Maharaj Ji asked him how he had managed to join those sadhus. The boy explained his state of grief and how he had fallen into their company.
They were dangerous thugs – and what if they had done you to death?
said Maharaj Ji.
Your brother is gone and you are the only son left,
He told the boy.
You must think of your family first and not lose yourself in your grief in this fashion. Now catch the train for Lahore and get back to your home as soon as you can.
And so the boy caught the train and returned back to us.
I repeat, this happened almost two years before Hazur gave up the body. Even at that time Maharaj Ji could appear in His Shabd Form and help out those whom He loved regardless of where they were. He was already One with Hazur, and Hazur Himself had told the Lahore Sangat that between Him and Kirpal Singh there was no difference.