Baba Sawan Singh
Letters to His Western Disciples
Sant Mat was spread in the Punjab by Guru Nanak Sahib and subsequently by Maharaj Baba Jaimal Singh Ji. Every single line of the Granth Sahib insists upon going in and contacting Nam, but you will find very few mahatmas even, who really go in. Although I was born in a Sikh family and at the age of ten read Guru Granth Sahib and afterwards was intimately associated with Sikh religious preachers, yet whenever I read Gur Bani (Granth Sahib) it struck a strange note in my heart. When I put searching questions to preachers, none could give me a satisfactory explanation. Gur Mat (Sant Mat) is above all religions. For a long time I associated with Baba Kahan.
He usually remained in an ecstatic condition, which he developed after fourteen years of persistent and vigorous practice. I associated with him for several months and during that time he showed supernatural powers on several occasions. When I asked him if he would shower grace upon me by initiating me, he answered: "No, he is somebody else; I do not have your share.'* I then asked him to tell me who that person was so that I could contact him. He replied: "When the time comes, he will himself find you." When I was S. D. O. at Murrie Hills and in charge of water supply works, my house was near a Dharamsala, a free rest house where sadhus, mahatmas, and others going on their way to the pilgrimage of Amarnath in Kashmir, would often stay, and I had the opportunity of talking to them and discussing religious and spiritual problems with them. In those days Baba Ji came to Murrie and put up in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple).
He held Satsang from Granth Sahib and created quite a stir by his novel (or what seemed to be novel) interpretation of Granth Sahib. This was brought to my notice too. One man said that he offers as prashad what is left in the plate after eating; another told me that he puts musical instruments in the heads of people. I promptly pulled him up and said: "I am an engineer and I know it is not possible to put any musical instrument in the head of a person." On the fourth day I went to attend Satsang. Baba Ji was at that time explaining the meaning of 'Jap Ji' Sahib. Well, I started my volley of questions - so much so that the audience got tired and began to feel restless.
The sacred book, 'Sar Bachan', was lying there and I objected ,to the name of 'Radha Swami', and Baba Ji explained from the book itself what 'Radha Swami' meant: "Radha ad Surat ka Nam. Swami ad Shabd Nij Dham." Translated: "Radha is the name for the first or primal soul. Swami means the original Shabd of the Real Home."
Now he wanted to point out the way, but I had read Vedanta. When I read Gur Bani, my opinion was different; when I read Gita, my opinion was again different, etc. 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: Babu Hari Ram, Gulab Singh and others,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, 1894.
The ritualistic part of all religions is blind and misleading; no matter what the religion might be - whether our own or of other people. As to the good and bad things or the sin and the virtue both becoming meaningless, that may be. When you leave the British Territory (during the days of British occupation in India) and pass into the land of the Pathans, who can ask you to account for your deeds? While you are here in the region of Kal, you have to account for all that you do. Once you cross over to the region of Dayal (Merciful), who can touch you ? This applies only when you have actually crossed the boundary of Kal. Until then it is only a saying. But the scroll is torn when you devote yourself to Nam; that is, by practice of Surat Shabd Yoga. To tell the truth, we ignorant people cannot even form an idea of the immense power which the Masters possess. But they do not let supernatural or miraculous powers even approach them, much less accept and use them. If filth has to be removed, we do not do it ourselves but utilize the services of sweepers. If the Saints were to exercise these powers, the whole world would run after them.
Kal has obtained three boons from Akal Purush:
1. Saints should not persuade people of this world by the use of miraculous or supernatural powers.
2. Nobody here should know anything about his previous life. If we knew what sins we committed in the previous life, for which we are being punished in this life, then we would naturally never repeat them again.
3. Wherever a soul might be placed, it should feel contented in that condition. For instance, look at the pigs. Do they want to die? They also cling to this life.
If the Saints were to convert people by performing miracles, the entire population would be after them because it would not be difficult at all for them to raise a dead man to life in one place, restore the sight of another in another place, etc. But no, that is not the way of the Saints; although it is true that wherever a perfumer stores or displays his goods, the atmosphere is full of scent. (Wherever Saints live, even if they do not show miracles, people know there is something extraordinary about them.) You know how I broke my leg. It is a long story and I have narrated it several times in Satsang.
I used to go every Sunday to my Master for Satsang. One day He asked me not to come, and said: "You go straight"; that is, from visiting my mother at home I should return straight to the hill station where I was in service, without stopping at Beas as I usually did. When the train reached the station at Beas, I found Maharaj Ji (Baba Jaimai Singh Ji) standing there on the platform. It seemed as if He wanted to say something, but kept quiet. I proceeded to the hill station and resumed my duty. It was my habit to catch hold of the mane of my horse and jump on it while it was going by. But my servant, in my absence and without my knowledge, had clipped 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 that it would be difficult for me to survive. On hearing of this accident, a Mohammedan overseer, who belonged to my district, 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 would 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 Nam." But my sister in faith, Bibi Rukko, pleaded For me with Baba Ji.
It was Baba Ji's practice to go into meditation when anything important was expected to happen, and then to give out whatever information He received from 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 was able to defecate and urinate. 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 of my pay too. The Chief Engineer was very kind to me. He said : "If only you could come to the office every day in a dandi (a sedan chair), I would consider you on duty." But I was very doubtful and feared that as my leg was 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 (Swamiji). 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.
It is only by great good luck that you meet Saints. I will tell you my own story. If now and then we have the good fortune to come across such people, then we do not believe what they say. Before Baba Ji came here (to Beas), I am told that there used to be an apparently half-witted fellow, but really a very spiritual person (a mastana), who would often pick up bricks from far and near and make them into small heaps at the place where the Dera is now situated. He was called Kanhom, the half-witted.
If people asked him what he was busying himself with, he would stop and say: "This will be a very flourishing place. Splendid houses will be built here. It will be populated just like a city." In those days there was absolutely nothing here - no buildings of any kind. It was all waste land and desert. When Maharaj Ji (Baba Jaimal Singh) took His abode here, there was only one very small mud hut - 8'x8'.