Today for some reason, I am remembering Subedar Baghel Singh jee and hence here is a short writeup on his life, written by this Daas, many years ago.
Subedar Baghel Singh jee (Baayee jee) the satsangi of Bhai Vir Singh, Baba Harnam Singh Rampur kheRe wale, Bhai Raghbir Singh Bir and Bhai Randhir Singh, left this world about 12 years ago. Baayee jee was a wonderful Gurmukh belonging to high spiritual stages. I feel extremely lucky to have done his sangat for over 8 years. The reason I called him Baayee jee was because he once asked me to do so. I used to call him Baba jee but one day he told me that he loved me like his son and grandson so he would like me to call him what his own son or grandson called him.
In 1990-91 I read some books written by Baayee jee and felt compelled to meet him when I found out that he had arrived at Toronto and was staying at his son's house in Markham (a suburb of Toronto). I called his contact number and requested for his Darshan. His voice was very sweet and he gently replied that it was kind of late that day and that I could come some other day but I was very eager to meet him. I persisted and insisted that I wanted to meet him right away. He could not say no and agreed to meet that very day.
A friend and I got ready and started driving towards Markham, which was about 30 kms from our house. Unfortunately, because of my eagerness I failed to take correct directions and we lost our way. First I got angry, then frustrated and finally very sad thinking that perhaps I was not worthy of having darshan of Gurmukhs like Bayee jee. In those days, there were no cell phones or the GPS system to help us find our way. After we had wandered around on the streets of Markham for some time, Vaheguru jee had mercy on us and we found Bayee jee’s house. By that time it was really late but we knocked door of his house anyway. Baayee jee came out and we said fateh loudly and I bowed down to touch his knees but he stopped me in the middle and gave me a good hug instead.
I noticed that his eyes were very sharp and the colour of his eyes was not black or brown. Perhaps his eyes were what we call in Punjab “Billiyaan”. There is no doubt that he had a shine on his face. He very much appreciated us coming and he was happier to notice that we were only 20, 21 years. He very much appreciated that we had hunger for spirituality at that age.
From beginning of my Sikhi life, I was greatly Mutaassir (impressed) by Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee and whenever I used to meet a Gurmukh, I always used to ask him what his thoughts were on Bhai Sahib. Bayee jee told us that he had met Bhai Sahib on few occasions and had found him to be very Chardi Kala. He must have had some reservations that he chose not to share with us. Many years later, he told me that his doubts about Bhai Sahib had dispelled and that what Bhai Sahib had written about Naam is all true.
He narrated many of his experiences with Naam. Later on when I got close to him, he told me how he had felt when he left his body for the first time. He said that first he zoomed through the roof of the room and then he went through the electricity pole on the road. He went to a Mandal (realm) that was extremely beautiful. There in arrived at a beautiful garden where a Sant Mandli (group of Sants) was present. They looked very noble, pious and beautiful. Their divine bodies were shining. He noticed a flower from which he could not turn his eyes. He plucked the flower and was surprised to see that while the flower came to his hand, it also remained on the plant. He was surprised beyond belief. Such were his mystical experiences.
Baayee jee had regular contact with Shaheed Singhs. Baayee jee told me that Bhai Bachitter Singh the Singh of Guru Gobind Singh jee is a great General in Shaheed Fauj and so is Baba Deep Singh jee.
His personality was just great. He had no enmity for anyone and treated all equally. He did not have bias for any Sikh organization and looked for the positive in all. He did not discuss negative qualities of anyone i.e. he avoided doing Ninda of anyone. He himself lived as an ordinary Sikh and considered anyone who chanted Naam as his brother or sister. He always avoided listening to the ninda of anyone. I never saw him tense or angry. He always remained peaceful and contented. When I met him he was about 79-80 years old.
Once he went to a local Gurdwara and a Singh doing sewa at that Gurdwara Sahib became close to him. One day Bayee jee asked him his daily schedule. The Singh told him that he got up at 1 am and after taking shower and doing Punj Baanis he did Kirtan of Asa Di Vaar at about 2.30 am. Later on he along with other Singhs did kirtan and other samagams for the Sangat. Bayee jee lovingly explained to him that it was great that he got up so early. He then asked him the time he did Naam Simran. The Singh honestly replied that he did not do simran at a particular time and while sitting but did it whenever he got any time.
At this, Baayee jee asked him to speak out the shabad of Guru Ramdas jee i.e. Gur Satgur kaa jo Sikh Akhaaye… Then he asked him what the duty of a Sikh is in the morning, as per the Shabad. It is very clearly written in the shabad that at Amrit Vela one must chant Naam. The Singh luckily listened to Bayee jee and after few months told Baayee jee that he had been doing Simran since Bayee jee told him to do so and that now sometimes he physically touches the roof of the room while merged in the simran. The ultimate concentration in Naam de-gravitizes our body sometimes. Such is the sangat of a Gurmukh.
Baayee jee wrote about 15 books in his life time and he was very impressed from Bhai Vir Singh jee, Bhai Raghbir Singh jee Bir and Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee. In his later years he had inclined towards Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee and once told me that Bhai Sahib's books are a treasure of divine knowledge. That is why many of his books had same name as Bhai Sahib's books e.g. AndiThi Duniya and Adist Vaheguru de Partakh Darshan etc.
At one time I went over to Baayee jee and we started talking about Ridhi Sidhi stuff. He told me many things about Ridhi Sidhi and also told me that a Gurmukh should stay away from them. At that time I was very interested in this kind of stuff. After our conversation we did Rehraas Sahib together and took Hukamnama Sahib of Guru Sahib. The hukamnama Sahib had mention of Ridhi-Siidhi and meant that a Gursikh should not go after Ridhi Sidhi and should concentrate on Naam only.
Baayee jee's Amritvela started around 1am and he stayed merged in Naam till dawn and at dawn he used to recite Sukhmani Sahib and other Nitnem Baanis.
Subedar Baghel Singh once told me that in olden days whenever Gursikhs used to meet each other, the first question they asked was "are you tyaar bar tyaar" i.e. are you keeping Guru Sahib's rehit. Second question they used to ask was "Charkha chalda hai ke nahi". Charkha in olden days was used to weave cotton clothes and in this sentence Charkha means Naam da charkha. Some Singhs used to ask "Khanda chalda hai na". This way they reminded each other about Naam and rehit. Today who asks this question? If you ask someone about their rehit, he or she would call you nosy and get upset. No one today asks if your charkha is going on. We have become too formal with each other.
One more thing that Baayee jee used to insist was to try doing Gurbani Paath in Surti. He advised me to first start doing Siri Anand Sahib in Surti and gradually do all Paath in Surti. He used to say that doing Paath in surti helps to make our surti strong and this helps a lot in Simran.
During the last year of his life, I could not meet him that often. Then one month prior to his Akal Chalana while I was doing Abhyas with Singhs at Amritvela, I started getting the feeling that I had to see Baayee jee right away. It was about 3 or 4 am in the morning and I got up from the Simran Mandal and drove to the house of Baayee jee. I knocked the door but everyone there was sleeping except for Baayee jee, whom I could see from the window sitting on the bed with closed eyes. He did not used to get up from the bed too often. After a long time his daughter-in-law opened the door and she was surprised to see two big Singhs in Baana and Dumalla. We went up to Baayee jee and lovingly said fateh to him. We apologized for busting in at such odd hour but told him that we just wanted to have Darshan. We sat for about 10 minutes and then we left. That was my last mulaqaat (meeting) with him. I wanted to see him a week prior to his Akal Chalaana but could not do so because we were busy with the Samagam. I wish I had done his Darshan one more time before his Akal Chalaana. Guru Sahib da bhaana hai buss.
He wanted to get pesh at Punj Pyaare because of his operation but alas he could not do that. May Guru Sahib give him place close to his Charan Kamal.