Warriors of Faith

Tribute to My Ustad


ਮਃ 3 ॥
ਕਿਆ ਜਾਣਾ ਕਿਵ ਮਰਹਗੇ ਕੈਸਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਮਨਹੁ ਨ ਵੀਸਰੈ ਤਾ ਸਹਿਲਾ ਮਰਣਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਮਰਣੈ ਤੇ ਜਗਤੁ ਡਰੈ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਲੋੜੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜੀਵਤੁ ਮਰੈ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੋਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਐਸੀ ਮਰਨੀ ਜੋ ਮਰੈ ਤਾ ਸਦ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥2॥
Third Mehl:
What do I know? How will I die? What sort of death will it be?
If I do not forget the Lord Master from my mind, then my death will be easy.
The world is terrified of death; everyone longs to live.
By Guru's Grace, one who dies while yet alive, understands the Lord's Will.
O Nanak, one who dies such a death, lives forever. ||2||



On 5th November 2011, I lost my Grandfather, My friend, my Nanaji- Sardar Harnam Singh Ji. He was 80-years old and had been unwell from last few months.
As I did benti few days back, I am going through a phase of self-contemplation and transformation,leading to physical and mental unsettlements and imbalances. Any change, for good or bad comes with its discomfort  and on top of that, losing my First Ustad is too heavy a grief for me, but sinking in that grief would have been against wish and teachings of my ‘’Papa Ji’’, as I called him. He would have wanted me to carry on my duties, my work, and my sewa despite any pain, any suffering and despite any adverse condition. I am writing this to pay tribute to my Ustad, My friend.


  He joined British-Indian Army at age of 14 as a cadet. He spoke very fluent English due to which he was able to converse very well with English Officers commanding his regiment. They used to talk on theology, customs and others aspects of Sikh religion and from those discussions about religion/faith/ideology; his interest in spreading message of Sikhi grew. He had sangat of many Mahapurakhs of his time, Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji Nanaksar wale, Sant Baba Prem Singh Ji Muralewale, Sant Baba Maajha Singh ji and many others. After coming back from Army, He started Sangat of Sant Baba Gurdev Singh Ji Nanaksar Wale.

He had a long Nitnem, starting at 3 in the morning, which continued till 7-8 am (this went on till he got hospitalized in October this year). As a kid, I sometimes used to think and ask him, how he could sit for so long doing Paath and Jaap on his Maala (which Babaji gave him)? He just smiled and said, ‘’when your time comes, you’ll know yourself and sit, maybe longer than me’’.

Whenever I went to my Naanke, I stayed with him most of the times. In morning, After His Nitnem, he would ask me to do ‘Kanga’ in his Kesh, and while doing Kanga, he asked me to do Mool-Mantar. After Mool mantar, he would do Japji Sahib loudly and ask me to repeat every Tuk after him. If I did some mistake, he would ask me to repeat tuk again and again. In evenings, He used to hear Rehraas sahib (Nanaksar-Hazoor Sahib one) from me and correct my mistakes in between. At bed-time,i would sit pressing his legs and he would tell me Saakhiya of Shaheed Singhs, especially Baba Sukha Singh Ji, how he left his home, joined the Dal, fought battles and attained Shaheedi. He had whole library of Sikh History Books with him, like Panth Parkash, Shamsher Khalsa,Tawa-reekh Khalsa, Mahaan-Kosh and loads of other books which I read sitting in his ‘’Bhagti room’.  Whenever I got a chance, I heard from him about our great Shaheeds and how they sacrificed their lives for Sikhi. That inspired me a lot, and I have all those great stories in my mind till today. Whenever we had time, we would sit and listen to Dhadi Gurcharan Singh Gohalwar’s Parsang of Bhai Taru Singh Ji, or Dhadi Virsa Singh’s parsang of Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur. He believed in quality of Kirtan, Dhadi and Kavishari and also parcharaks. He disliked Dhadis who used to sing Vaaran on ‘’filmi tunes’.

I remember and miss that Puratan Sikhi. ‘Papa Ji’ called Guru Granth Sahib Ji as ‘’Darbar Sahib’’ most of the times as that was Puratan Sikh tradition of calling Maharaj with that name. In villages, till today you’ll find elders who call Maharaj as ‘Darbar Sahib’. Learning Baani, History, Maryada and Traditions from him, my faith, my love and my commitment for Sikhi grew.

Papa Ji was one who would not take things lying low. Long back in 70’s, Dhadi Sohan Singh Seetal said in his Diwan that Guru Gobind Singh ji ‘cut heads of goats’ on Vaiskahi 1699. He went straight to him, his carbine hanging from his shoulder, and said in his own style ‘’ Giani ji, either don’t mention this thing again here on stage, or get lost from here or I have a third option also’’. Sohan Singh Seetal was a renowed Dhadi of Khalsa Panth; he apologized and said he’ll not say this thing on stage again.  
He also told me how Bhai Randhir Singh ji had gone with an ‘’unsheathed Sword’ to Giani Gian Singh’s house to teach him a lesson for writing in Panth parkash that Guru Gobind Singh Ji used to take Afeem and Bhang, and there Bhai Sahib caught him red-handed having ‘’Afeem’’ (Opium). When questioned by Bhai Sahib, Giani ji admitted that He takes Afeem at time to time himself, and to sanctify his actions, he wrote what he wrote about Guru Gobind Singh Ji Sahib. It was these types of inspirational examples which have till today inspired me and my brothers to act and defend our Sikhi, History and Maryada.

Many times Papa ji would indulge with me in debates and when I lost the debate, he would take me in his arms and say ‘’ Don’t worry, you’ll have to face many people someday in life, who’ll come to debate you, question you, doubt you, so I am preparing you for those times’’.  Sometimes he used to ask me very difficult questions , if I answered, he used to get pleased and If I couldn’t, he would ask me to increase my ‘’time of self-contemplation’’ as there was NO question in world which Gurbaani could not answer. He advised me to listen to Brahm-vichaar by mahapurakhs as that was something like a ‘’first-hand’’ Pure thing, not some hear-say as Mahapurakhs used to speak with their experience.

I have loads and loads of memories of Papaji, memories which are going to inspire me whole my life, till I live on this planet. He gave me his entire Library few years back and said ‘’ I’m getting old, no one is going to look after my books after I leave, take care of them, study them and be like a Hans. Leave which takes you away from Guru, from Gur-mat, from truth, from Brahm. There are mix-ups, no doubt, but with Guru Nanak Maharaj’s Kirpa and Gurbaani as the light, our Buddhi (intellect) gets cleared itself on what is Gurmat and what is not’’.

Till his last days, he was in Charhdi kala. He had to undergo many adverse conditions in life, but that didn’t break him or his spirit. I talked to him few days back, he was admitted in hospital and going through radiotherapy. I called him and asked about his well-being and he told me He was in Charhdi Kala and said he’ll be fine by time of Babaji’s Shaheedi Samagam (our family holds Baba Deep Singh Ji’s Shaheedi Samagam every year in Month of Maagh, in Feb) and then we’ll do our long vichaars.
I wished so much for his words to come true but knew he was just giving me courage, because he knew his time to leave had come.

He had faced a hard time from last few months but he always said to me, ‘’I have done lot of paap in my life, and I believe Maharaj wants to cut those paap before i leave this body, therefore this body is going through this suffering’’. I used to be surprised, sitting at his bed-side while there with him, how can someone so old undergo so much pain and suffering without showing it on his face? It was amazing, his teeth were intact and stronger than many youngsters, the glow on his face, his zeal to take a morning walk, to teach young kids about Sikhi ( and English language) was same during his last few months.
The day he left, 5th November 2011, my mother and Father went to hospital to see Papaji. He was very close to me and my mother and always stood by us at every step of our life. As soon as my mother reached by his side on his bed, he opened his eyes for a minute, saw my mother and then closed his eyes, forever. It was like he was waiting for her to come and then leave. He told my mother three days before leaving, that how he has stopped feeling the pain and that there was no suffering left.

I believe it was Partaap and Kirpa of Baani he read whole his life and Sangat of mahapurakhs which helped him in those moments. Once before he had faced such situation, when he suffered second heart-attack,  but he had revived, and told me afterwards that Baba Nand Singh Ji and Baba Isher Singh Ji had come to give him Darshan and said you still have time.
While in hospital then, doctors had tried to feed him non-vegetarian diet, but he had refused doctors saying ‘’ Baba Nand Singh ji is standing in front of me holding a staff and if I eat this, he would beat me up’’.  To amazement of doctors, his condition mysteriously improved within hours after that.


I have learnt so much, and I thank Waheguru Akaal purakh to have given me such a Grandfather, My Papaji, who guided me, taught me( and criticized me when there was a need to ) and helped me in everything in my life. Any stand I took in my life, he supported me. He was like a friend with whom I could talk on any topic, any issue, any matter of my life.
The day he left, I was unable to comprehend my loss, because still there was so much I had to learn from him, but he took all that with him. I was just thinking and thinking and sunk in my thoughts, I decided not to attend Nagar Kirtan we had in Southall the next day, on 6th November. But My mother asked me not to weep or shed tears at Papaji’s going as he was a Singh and Maharaj and Shaheed Singhs would take good care of him and bless him. She asked me to attend Nagar Kirtan instead and do ardas for Him, and I went.

While I walked on streets of Southall, with Guru Granth Sahib ji Maharaj and thousands of Sangat, far away in India, My Papaji was being cremated and his Funeral was taking place. I felt cursed that I couldn’t attend funeral of my Ustaad ,my Friend, and in between  that Nagar Kirtan ,I kept looking at Skies, thinking maybe he’s watching me from heavens, sitting with his Shaheed Babey, Sant Babey and Maharaj.

This unlucky Son and unworthy student will always try to walk on that path which he taught me, from the time I was a 2-year old kid. There is so much I still have to write about him, and I will definitely write someday. Don’t know how long this period of transformation will go on, but someday My Dasmesh pita will do Kirpa on this Paapi and I will start walking again.

Bhul chuk di khima because I don’t know myself what I have written.  
Guru-Parmeshar knows the painful state of my Mind and He, the biggest healer will heal it someday.

Akaaaall !



Posted by Kamaljeet Singh Shaheedsar on Wednesday, November 9. 2011



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