ਸਤਿਗੁਰਬਚਨਕਮਾਵਣੇਸਚਾਏਹੁਵੀਚਾਰੁ॥
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The Pious Gurmukhi Life of Sant Maghar Singh jee
								

I first heard about Sant Maghar Singh jee 20 years ago. It was mentioned that Sant jee did a lot of Sewa during the Singh Sabha movement. Actually Sant jee did sewa during the years of Gurdwara Reform movement as opposed to Singh Sabha movement. Sant jee came on the Panthik scene around 1919 and by 1924 he left for Sachkhand but in these 6-7 years he did such massive Parchaar of Sikhi that it is hard to find such example anywhere else.

From the time I heard about Sant jee, he got carved in stone, on my heart. A warm feeling always engulfs me when I hear about him. In these years, some information about Sant jee was collected and presented below is his brief life. Most of this has been taken from Bhai Babu Singh Ramgarh's book on Sant jee's life.

Childhood and Marriage

Sant Maghar Singh was born in 1890 in village Ramgarh, district Faridkot. From his early childhood he had spiritual inclinations which were greatly augmented because of his closeness to his Gurmukh grandfather (grandfather’s brother) Baba Bahaal Singh jee. He got deeply attached to Baba jee at early age and even used to sleep with him. Baba Bahaal Singh and his brother Baba Jeeta Singh had fought against the British in Anglo-Sikh wars. Baba Jeeta Singh was martyred in these battles and Baba Bahaal Singh seriously injured. Since Baba Bahaal Singh jee used to get up at Amritvela and do Naam Abhyaas and Gurbani Paath; and Sant Maghar Singh jee too got this habit of getting up at Amritvela, early on in his life. When he was around 14-15, he was married to Bibi Dhan Kaur jee.

About Sant jee it’s written that he was a born Gurmukh because he had massive Bhagti from previous lives. He had formed love with Gurbani at a very early age and this love became an obsession as he grew up. He started doing Kirtan and Akhand Paath during his childhood.

He grew up to be a very tall, strong and handsome young man. He was about 6’4” tall and his body was very strong. When he was about 17-18, he joined the army and was selected at first instance because of his tall and strong body.


Sant Maghar Singh jee Ramgarh

Life in Army

In army, he formed a Kirtani Jatha and used to do Siri Asa kee Vaar kirtan daily at Amritvela. Sant jee’s voice was very sweet, heavy and loud. In those days, there were no loudspeakers but his voice could still be heard up 2 miles. The Singhs who became members of this Kirtani Jatha stayed within the Jatha even after they had retired from the army. Sant jee’s Bhagti had started giving fruit and whatever he said unwittingly used to come true. This increased Sant jee’s respect and honour within the Sikh soldiers of his unit of army.


British Officer who kicked Karaahee of Degh

In 1914, the First World War broke out and Sant jee’s unit was sent to France to fight the Germans. While they were on the ship to France, they continued to do Kirtan and Bhagti all day long. Once Singhs prepared Degh for a Gurpurab and Sant jee’s Jatha did Kirtan in that Samagam. A British Sergeant named Carlton came and kicked the Utensil carrying Degh. Singhs were obviously very upset and thrashed him. He went running to the commanding officer Mr. Hill and complained that Singhs had thrashed him and were going to throw him in the ocean. Mr. Hill was very upset and scolded the Singhs. When Singhs told him that the Sergeant had kicked at the utensil carrying Degh, he pacified a bit.

In the meantime Singhs were going to throw the Degh in the ocean since it was not suitable to get Bhog of Guru Sahib but Mr Hill objected to this and ordered the Singhs to use the Degh since nothing had touched the Degh itself and it had not been contaminated by touch. Singhs went quiet and were thinking what to say. In the meantime, Sant jee spoke up in Chardi Kala, “Listen Sahib jee, we have sold you our body but not our Sikhi. Don’t interfere in our religious affairs.” Saying this he ordered the Singhs to throw the Degh in ocean. Singhs fulfilled the order and then new Degh was prepared for Gurpurab. Mr Hill just kept quiet and did not stir the issue any more.

Now all Singhs who were on the ship considered Sant jee to be their leader.

Singhs Arrive at France

When the ship reached France, Sant jee told Mr Hill that Sikhs would come out of the ship led by Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee. Very respectfully, Siri Guru jee’s Saroop was carried out, followed by all Sikh soldiers. French people who had come to welcome the Sikh soldiers, asked about Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and when Mr Hill told them that the Sikhs considered Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee to be their living Guru, they were quite astonished.

The Singhs were allowed to rest for about a month or so, before the actual battle started. Before going in the war, Sikh Faujis (soldiers) performed an Ardaas before Guru Sahib. Sant jee in his lecture to Sikh soldiers reminded them to keep honour of Sikhs and never give back to the enemy. Sant jee asked the soldiers to either attain martyrdom or victory. The Singhs in army were filled with Bir Rass and this resulted in their eventual victory.

Singhs Refuse to eat from hands of British

After beating the Germans in a battle front, Singhs arrived back at their camps. They were informed by Mr Hill that their Desi Raashan (food material) had expired and as such they would have to eat food like bread, biscuits etc. prepared British and French cooks.

When Sikh soldiers including Sant jee heard this, they refused to eat from the hands of people who ate Kutha and consumed Tobacco. When the officers heard this, they assembled all soldiers of the Sikh regiment and threatened that they would have to eat what they were given and if they refused, they would be given death penalty.

Before anyone else could speak, Sant Maghar Singh jee at once came in front of Mr Hill and said, “O Sahib, Singhs are not scared of death. We have come here to save you all from death and we have been saving you from death all these months. Now you are trying to scare us with death? The day a Sikh takes Amrit, he gives up the fear of death and never compromises on his Dharma (religion)”.

When the soldiers heard Sant jee’s courageous Bachans, they immediately said in one voice that they were willing to face the consequences of not eating non-Dharmi food, even if it meant death for them.

Sensing the response of the Sikh soldiers, Mr Hill got a bit pacified and requested, “We would provide you with very good food and also double in quantity. What’s wrong in eating this food?”

Sant jee responded, “It does not matter how good the food is because it is not suitable for a Sikh to eat this food as it violates his religion.”

Mr Hill got very upset when Singhs refused to obey his Hukam and he said that he would see how long they would hold on to their faith. He ordered that food supplies be stopped for these Singhs.


Singhs fight the Germans without Food for 8 days

After Mr Hill left, Singhs assembled at the Gurdwara Sahib and there Sant jee addressed them very forcefully and reminded them of the sacrifices of Siri Guru Arjun Dev jee, Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee and Sahibzade. Sant jee gave a very powerful lecture on not losing faith and honour and to not compromise on Dharma. After this Sant jee did very Chardi Kala Kirtan. Singhs were filled with religious fervour. They vowed to die but not compromise with Sikhi.

Singhs continued to fight the Germans for 8 days. Germans heavily bombarded the area where the Singhs were stationed. There were no camps and no barracks. Sikh soldiers were staying at the houses of the French people. So heavy was the bombardment that the French left their houses and fled. Sikhs soldiers were the only ones left there as the residents had pretty much left the place for safer places.

Soldier Mansha Singh gets slapped by Sant jee

A Sikh Soldier by the name of Mansha Singh was coming back to his place when he noticed an abandoned house. He entered the house and found a whole garage full of apples. He filled his bag with apples thinking that Singhs were hungry for so many days and why not feed them apples. He came to Sant jee and said, “Bhai Sahib jee, Sebh Chhako (please eat apple)”. Sant jee asked him where he had got the apples from and at this Mansha Singh narrated how he got the apples.

At this, Sant jee forcefully slapped Mansha Singh and ordered him, “O Bhale Maansa (good man), we are facing heavy fire from the front and heavy bombardment from the sky. Death is roaming around and you still stole apples? Go and put the apples back from where you got them.”

When Mansha Singh came back, Sant jee lovingly said, “O Bhale Maansa Bandiya (O good man), if you had been caught stealing, all Sikhs would have gotten bad name. Never steal again and never take that what is not yours.”

A Miracle related to Food Supplies

After this incident, Sant jee thought that Singhs were increasingly becoming desperate because of hunger. He took 5 Singhs and performed an Ardaas before Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee requesting Him to keep honour of His Singhs. As soon as they had finished doing Ardaas, a Singh came to Sant jee and said that 2 bags full of Desi food supplies were available for Singhs about 2 km from there. He asked Sant jee to send a Singh and get those supplies. Sant jee sent 2 Singhs in a jeep to get the supplies. The 2 Singhs arrived and saw a very Darshani Singh waiting with supplies. He helped them load the supplies on jeep and left so soon that it seemed as if he had just vanished in thin air.

The whole Sikh unit cooked food and ate for the first time in 8 days. Someone complained to Mr Hill that Sikhs had stolen food from somewhere. Mr Hill came to the Sikh officers and inquired where the Raashan (food supplies) had come from. The Sikh officers said that Sant Maghar Singh would know and advised him to inquire from him.

Mr Hill and the Sikh officers came to Sant jee and asked about the Raashan. Sant jee replied, “Our Guru, Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee had spent 20 rupees on feeding the hungry holy men and that 20-rupees-Raashan still has not been expired by Sikhs and it never will be. Where ever there is Sikh Sangat, there is Guru ka Langar. We had done an Ardaas before Guru Sahib and accepting our Ardaas, Guru Sahib sent us Raashan for Langar. And now listen up O Sahib, by evening ships full of our Raashan will arrive and there will be no more shortage of Raashan (food supplies).”

And this is exactly what happened. Food supplies arrived in abundance and Sikhs kept their faith without compromising. Mr Hill was very impressed and now he too developed a feeling of Shardha (faith) for Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Hukam to Maintain High Moral Character

In the absence of barracks and camps, the Sikh soldiers were staying at the houses of French civilians. For this reason, Sant Maghar Singh jee had given strict instructions to all Sikh soldiers to maintain a high moral character and not give bad name to Sikhi by indulging in Kaamic activities. Sant jee said it very clearly, “If we see any Sikh soldier committing an anti-Gurmat Kaamic action, we will right away shoot such person and if any of you see us doing anything wrong, you must shoot us and if you don’t shoot us for our anti-Gurmat Kaamic action, then we will certainly shoot you.”

This was a very strict Hukam but it was very much required because such mistakes were common for soldiers in those days. It was considered to be important to fulfill the carnal needs of the soldiers engaged in fighting the enemy. There are many stories of Japanese soldiers sexually exploiting Korean and Chinese women during the 2nd world war. Same way, such atrocities used to get committed by most soldiers of those times.

Another factor was that most young men of Europe had been recruited to join army and fight the enemy. The cities were empty of young men in those times and for this reason, young women were driven to transgression by their carnal desires. But such sinful activity is unthinkable for a Sikh and in order to save them from transgressing, Sant jee issued such strict Hukam of shooting any Sikh soldier indulged in Kaamic activity.

Soldier Mansha Singh Faces Temptation

This story was narrated by one of the companion of Sant jee whose name was Bhai Mansha Singh. One day, Sant jee before going to the war front, asked Mansha Singh to stay behind and do cooking. After Sant jee had left, the girl who lived in the neighbouring house came over and asked Mansha Singh if he needed any help. Her intentions were not pure but Mansha Singh was able to resist her advances. He dryly replied in negative and the girl left.

A little while later she came back again and asked Mansha Singh if he needed anything. Mansha Singh could sense what need she was referring to but he had been doing Sangat of a Gurmukh and for this reason, he was not led astray. This time he addressed her as sister and said that he did not need anything. The girl left but someone complained to Sant jee when he came back that a girl had been visiting Mansha Singh during the day.

Sant jee came home and took hold of his gun and ordered Mansha Singh to stand by the wall. He further ordered him to start doing Vaheguru Simran and informed him that he was going to shoot him.

Mansha Singh humbly replied that it would be a pleasure to die at the hands of Sant jee but he wished to explain about the girl’s visits to their house. When Mansha Singh narrated the whole story of how she tried to seduce him and how he refused her advances, Sant jee was extremely pleased. He got up and embraced Mansha Singh and gave him many blessings.

It was because of presence of such Gurmukhs like Sant Maghar Singh jee and Bau Mal Singh jee that ordinary Sikh soldiers maintained high moral character during such trying times.


Sant jee’s Samadhi and faith in Guru Sahib’s Divine Protection

In France it gets quite cold during the winter and in the area where the Sikh soldiers were stationed, it snowed too. Sant jee used to get up at Amritvela and do Ishnaan even in such harsh weather. One day Sant jee did Ishnaan and after Ishnaan just sat outside doing Abhyaas. While doing Abhyaas, his Surthee went into deep spiritual realms and this way he went deep into Samadhi. While he was in spiritual trance, it started snowing and he totally got covered by snow. In the morning when no one could find Sant jee, they went out to look for him. After much searching they discovered him buried in snow. Mr Hill, the commander of that unit, too was involved in the search. They all quickly brought Sant jee over to their residence and massaged his body to give it heat. Sant jee was perfectly fine and his body showed no evidence of any kind of damage due to exposure to freezing snow.

While fighting on the war front, Sant jee used to fight without any fear of getting hit. He used to sing Gurbani loudly and sometimes in the midst of heavy bombardment, he used to sit in sitting posture and go in Samadhi chanting Naam. Bombs used to fall right and left to him but never used to harm him and Sant jee too never used to get even an iota of worry of getting hit by a bomb. In such instances he used to make no effort to safeguard himself. Everyone used to try to sit near Sant jee because they all had faith that no bomb could harm them there.

Such was the faith and devotion of Gurmukh Pyare Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Samagam to Celebrate Victory and moving towards Middle East

On March 26, 1915, the Sikh soldiers celebrated their victory over the enemy by doing a Kirtan Samagam. Sant jee always used to start doing Kirtan by singing the Shabad ਸੇਵਕ ਕਉ ਨਿਕਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ॥ Since he was was very fond of doing Baani of Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee, he sang many Shabads of Dasam Baani that day in Samagam.

After this Samagam, they had few more battles in Europe but soon this unit of Sikh army was sent to Middle East (modern day Iraq). All the way from Europe to Middle East, Sant jee stayed absorbed in Naam Simran and this way gained heavy spiritual earnings.

Saved from Drowning

They were travelling from Basra to another city in that area and they had to cross a very fast flowing canal. All soldiers were to cross this canal in boats. In the boat that Sant jee took had Arjun Singh, Inder Singh, Jawala Singh and a European officer. When the boat reached the middle, water started filling it since the current of water was very tumultuous. With water filling the boat, it started getting heavy and was about to drown. The European officer jumped out of the boat following by Inder Singh and Arjun Singh.

When Jawala Singh was about to jump, Sant jee smilingly said, “where are you going to go after jumping in the canal? Kartar (Vaheguru) is everywhere every moment. Have faith in Vaheguru and stay on the boat.” Jawala Singh obeyed and stayed back. Arjun Singh drowned in the canal and other two swam across. The water filled boat that was carrying Sant jee and Jawala Singh too somehow got across. Both Sant jee and Jawala Singh were saved.

Going for Darshan of Sangat at all Cost

Soon the Sikh unit arrived at Sheik Saad. The date they arrived was around January 20, 1916. This place is quite beautiful but it has lots of flies and mosquitoes but most houses have basements for protection from extreme weather and flies and mosquitoes. These Bhoray (basement) were very suitable for Sant jee and other Gurmukhs who stayed engaged in Naam Abhyaas for about a month.

One day, Sant jee noticed Nishan Sahib on the other side of the river. He also heard faint sound of Kirtan coming from there. He decided to attend the Amrit-vela Siri Asa kee Vaar Samagam the next day. Early morning at 2Am, he did Ishnaan along with Bhai Naranjan Singh and reached the bank of river Dajla. They found that the waters in the river were quite tumultuous because of rainstorm.

It would have been quite dangerous to cross the river in such situation but Sant jee had made up his mind to have Darshan at all cost. He asked Bhai Naranjan Singh to go back. Naranjan Singh said that at morning the order is to leave this place and it would not be possible to reach back on time. Secondly he reminded Sant jee about the tumultuous waters of the river. He asked Sant jee to forgo his idea of going to Sangat.

Sant jee replied unwittingly that the Hukam to march out would get cancelled and as far as crossing the river was concerned, Guru Sahib’s Hukam was very clear on it:

ਝਖੜੁ ਝਾਗੀ ਮੀਹੁ ਵਰਸੈ ਭੀ ਗੁਰੁ ਦੇਖਣ ਜਾਈ ॥13॥
ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਬਹੁ ਖਾਰਾ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਲੰਘਿ ਗੁਰ ਪਹਿ ਜਾਈ ॥14॥


He asked Naranjan Singh to leave. Saying this he was about to jump in the river that he heard a voice who asked him to stop. An Arab boatman had arrived from nowhere and asked Sant jee to board on his boat. It was a Vaheguru-sent help.

Sant jee reached the Sangat and was extremely pleased to have Darshan of Guru Sahib and Sangat there. He earned countless spiritual earnings in Sangat and on his way back found the same boatman waiting for him. When Sant jee and Naranjan Singh arrived back at their camp they found out that the order to march had been cancelled as Sant jee had said.

Such was the devotion of Gurmukh Pyare Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Forming a Kirtani Jatha and getting a Goat for Milk

Sant jee did not used to consume regular milk that soldiers used to get which proves that Sant jee kept strict Bibek. The English commanding officer arranged a goat for Sant jee and when this goat stopped giving milk, another goat was arranged. This second goat stayed with Sant jee for many years, even after he came back to his village, after resigning from military job.

Sant jee thought that without forming a Kirtani Jatha, Gurmat Parchaar was not possible. He formed a Kirtani Jatha of 15 Singhs and had all of them memorize Siri Asa kee Vaar. These Singhs memorized many Baanis in a short period of time. This Jatha grew to 85 Singhs in the coming months. The Singhs vowed that even after leaving the military occupation, they would continue to stay in the Jatha and dedicate their life to Sikhi Parchaar. After serving the army, these Singhs came to Sant jee and a very good Jatha to do Parchaar of Gurmat was formed, in later years.


Pouring Hot Water on Baba jee

A tree is judged by its fruit and a man by his actions. If a person follows Gurmat, chants Naam and recites Gurbani but does not develop or attain simple virtues like patience, control over anger, sweet talk etc., then such person has not attained the fruit of Bhagti yet.

A Singh was jealous of Sant jee and had major doubts about his Avastha. One day, he decided to test Sant jee. As Sant jee was doing Ishnaan during the day, he came with a bucket full of very hot water and poured it on Sant jee. He had expected Sant jee to get mad and get angry but contrary to his belief, Sant jee calmly asked him to pour the remaining water on his body as well. The stubborn and Dheeth person instead of getting ashamed, poured the remaining water on Sant jee. Sant jee’s body suffered but Sant jee did not utter a single word in anger. The Singh was embarrassed and left in haste. This is how magnanimous Sant jee’s heart was.


The Commanding Officer tests Sant jee’s Avastha

The commanding officer – Mr Hill – was greatly impressed with Sant jee’s pious life. Once his senior officer visited Baba jee’s unit and Mr Hill informed him about Baba jee’s Avastha. The senior officer said that he did not believe in this spiritual stuff and that most Indians were known for doing magic which was more of trickery. At this Mr Hill told him about Sant jee’s pious and holy life but the senior officer insisted that if Sant jee could tell the thought of his mind, he would be impressed and would start believing that real spirituality too existed in Sikhs in particular and Indians in general.

Mr Hill asked Naranjan Singh who worked in his office as a clerk to inform Sant jee about the senior officer’s request. When Sant jee heard about this, he was very upset. He said that he was a humble Sikh of Guru Kalgidhar and he did not like being referred to as a Pir or a holy man. He said that showing miracles for the sake of display or exhibition was not in accordance to Gurmat. Bhai Naranjan Singh kept requesting for 6 days to Sant jee to agree to meet the senior British officer because it would result in favourable conditions for Sikhs but Sant jee stayed adamant and expressed his inability to read anyone’s mind.

On the 7th day, Naranjan Singh came with 5 Singhs and these 5 Singhs in form of Punj Pyare ordered Sant jee to agree to meet the senior officer and fulfill his request of as it would result in favourable condidtions for all Sikhs in the unit. Sant jee bowed his head in front of Punj Singh but requested the Singhs to do Ardaas for him, to which they readily agreed. Sant jee then asked Naranjan Singh to bring the senior officer the next day.

The next morning, the senior officer received an order from higher management to move the Sikh unit to another city. The order came in form of a letter in an envelope. Only the Senior officer had read the order. He took the envelope and along with Mr Hill came to the place of Sant jee. The senior officer was very impressed seeing Sant jee. Sant jee had a great spiritual aura and anyone who beheld him got impressed.

The senior officer placed the letter in front of Sant jee and asked him what was written in it. Sant jee smiled and said that Gurmat did not allow him to act like a magician for petty reasons and that he was just following the hukam of 5 Singhs by agreeing to meet him. After keeping quite for a moment, Sant jee said that he was only going to say this much – “whatever is written in this letter is not going to come true. We are going to stay here for one more month.”

The senior officer said that he will see how this prediction of Sant jee would come true but much to the astonishment of the senior officer, the same evening, he received another order from the senior management cancelling the previous order to march away from that location. The officer was surprised beyond belief. As a result of this incident, Sant jee’s status in the unit was greatly exulted and Sikh solders gained respect of the British officers.


Full Time Parchaar of Gurmat

This way, doing Parchaar of Sikhi, Sant jee completed his life in military. Around 1919, Sant jee permanently resigned from military and dedicated his whole life to Sikhi Parchaar. The Fauji Singhs who had become part of his Jatha remained with him for rest of his life. A huge Jatha was formed to do Parchaar of Sikhi.

Sant jee was very strict in Khalsa rehit and came on the Panthic scene like a storm. It was as if a second coming of Sant Attar Singh jee Mastuanewale had occurred. Both Mahapurakhs had a very impressive physical body. Both were taller than 6 feet and did beautiful Kirtan. The only significant difference was the colour of their beard – Sant Mastuanewale had grey beard and Sant Maghar Singh had Black beard.

Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale was dedicated to doing Parchaar via Katha and at many Gurmat Samagams, Sant Attar Singh, Sant Sunder Singh and Sant Maghar Singh used to meet and contribute in Parchaar of Gurmat.


Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale asked to wear Black Dastaar

From May 11 to 13, 1921, a big Diwan was arranged in village Ramgarh. This Diwan was attended by prominent Gurmukhs of that time including Sant Maghar Singh, Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale, Giani Kartar Singh Rasoolpur, Giani Bakhtavar Singh etc. In those days, the Akali movement was at its peak. The Panth had ordered all Akalis to wear Black Dastaars to protest against the British. The British used to get very upset if someone wore a Black Dastar. The situation was similar to post 1984 period when everyone started wearing Orange Dastars to protest against the government of the time.

The organizers of the Samagam were very staunch Akalis including Bhai Ranbir Singh Kaunke, Bhai Kunda Singh Ghalib etc. Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale was sitting in the Tabiya of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and was wearing a White Dastaar which he always used to wear. Some Singhs of Bhai Maghar Singh jee’s jatha and Akalis protested the colour of Sant Sunder Singh’s Dastaar and asked him to either change the colour of his Dastaar or not sit in the Tabiya of Maharaj jee.

Sant Sunder Singh gave many Gurmat arguments proving that White Dastaar too is acceptable in Gurmat but in those days, Singhs were very much against White colour as it denoted passiveness and neutrality and Singhs were fighting against the injustices of the British. When Singhs insisted that they won’t let Sant Sunder Singh sit in Tabiya with a White Dastaar, Sant Maghar Singh jee intervened and declared that Sant Sunder Singh jee was a great scholar of Gurbani and Gurmat and as such he can’t be defeated with arguments but considering the emotions of Singhs, he (Sant Sunder Singh) will wear Black Dastaar in the next Diwaan. It's not known whether Sant Sunder Singh started wearing a Black Dastaar from the next Diwan onwards.

Later on, after the Parchaar of Sant jee, 50 Praanees took Amrit and all of them had their Dastaars dyed in Black colour, right in the Samagam itself.


Meeting with Sant Attar Singh jee in village Rode

A big Gurmat Samagam was arranged at village Rode from September 1 to 3, 1921. Great Gurmukhs including Sant Attar Singh Mastuanewale and Sant Maghar Singh jee reached there. When Sant Maghar Singh jee reached there, Sant Attar Singh had already arrived and was sitting there on a Palangh (Indian bed- Chaarpaaee). A lot of Sangat too was sitting there some on the floor and some on chaarpaaees. Sant Maghar Singh jee arrived and silently sat behind the Sangat. When Sant Attar Singh noticed that Sant Maghar Singh had arrived, he got up and brought him over to sit along with him on the Charpaaee.

Sant Attar Singh jee then made a revelation, “Sadh Sangat jeeo, before doing Parchaar, we (Sant Attar Singh jee) did massive Tap (Naam Abhyaas) for long time. Don’t consider Sant Maghar Singh to be a youngster. He has massive Kamaayee (spiritual earnings) from previous lives and for this reason Parchaar done by him has quick effect on Sangats”.

As they were talking, villagers came to get Sant jee since it was now time for Samagam. One of the elderly villagers said to Sant jee that non-believers in the villagers were complaining that in previous years, in the months of Bhadon, if rain did not come, they used to call Brahmins who used to do Yagya and this used to bring rain but now that these Sikh Sants have arrived, they have caused even the existing clouds to fly away.

Sant Attar Singh jee while laughing said that today Sant Maghar Singh jee would do Kirtan and bring heavy rainfall in the village. Sant Maghar Singh took the Vaaja and Sant Attar Singh sat in Tabiya of Maharaj jee. Both Mahapurakhs would sing the first Tuk and Sangat would sing the rest. They sang from Raag Malhaar and sooner than later, rain started pouring. Then Sant Maghar Singh jee asked the Sangat to not go running to their fields to prepare for rainfall. He declared that rain would go on for enough time to do irrigation related works in their fields and that they need not worry about a thing. Sangat sat there listening to Diwaan and heavy rainfall happened that day.

Such was the Avastha of Mahapurakhs who had Naam Kamaayee.


Arrest of Bhai Gajjan Singh and Sant jee’s protest

In the month of November, 1921, Sant jee’s Jatha went to village Sahaur and Khyaali, in Ludhiana district. There lived Akali Gajjan Singh Bharamtod an outstanding leader of Akali movement. Sant jee did Parchaar from the stage and impressed many in the Sangat. After Sant jee’s lecture, Akali Gajjan Singh Bharamtod came on the stage and gave a hot speech against the government. Police too was present there and it arrested Akali Gajjan Singh. Sant jee came back to his room where he was staying and asked the Singhs to take away the bed from there. Sant jee then declared that till Akali Gajjan Singh came back from jail, he would neither sleep on bed, nor eat anything good e.g. milk, kheer etc.

On the other side, the police was taking Akali Gajjan Singh to Ludhiana and passed through village Halwara. There, relatives and friends of the police officer who had arrested Akali Gajjan Singh told him that unless he release Gajjan Singh, they would not entertain him or talk to him. Vaheguru jee had put these thoughts in the minds of the villagers of Halwara. The police officer, right away released Akali Gajjan Singh and he came back to Sant jee.

This way many incidents occurred while Sant jee did his Parchaar. Sant jee continued doing Gurmat Parchaar till December 3, 1924. On this day, Sant jee left the world for Sachkhand at the tender age of 34. He came on the Panthic scene like a storm and in 4-5 years did massive Parchaar of Gurmat. May Guru Sahib enable us to lead a Gurmat life as Sant jee did.

These series on Sant Maghar Singh jee are based on a book written by Bhai Baabu Singh Ramgarh.

Daas,
Kulbir Singh

 
 
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I first heard about Sant Maghar Singh jee 20 years ago. It was mentioned that Sant jee did a lot of Sewa during the Singh Sabha movement. Actually Sant jee did sewa during the years of Gurdwara Reform movement as opposed to Singh Sabha movement. Sant jee came on the Panthik scene around 1919 and by 1924 he left for Sachkhand but in these 6-7 years he did such massive Parchaar of Sikhi that it is hard to find such example anywhere else.

From the time I heard about Sant jee, he got carved in stone, on my heart. A warm feeling always engulfs me when I hear about him. In these years, some information about Sant jee was collected and presented below is his brief life. Most of this has been taken from Bhai Babu Singh Ramgarh's book on Sant jee's life.

Childhood and Marriage

Sant Maghar Singh was born in 1890 in village Ramgarh, district Faridkot. From his early childhood he had spiritual inclinations which were greatly augmented because of his closeness to his Gurmukh grandfather (grandfather’s brother) Baba Bahaal Singh jee. He got deeply attached to Baba jee at early age and even used to sleep with him. Baba Bahaal Singh and his brother Baba Jeeta Singh had fought against the British in Anglo-Sikh wars. Baba Jeeta Singh was martyred in these battles and Baba Bahaal Singh seriously injured. Since Baba Bahaal Singh jee used to get up at Amritvela and do Naam Abhyaas and Gurbani Paath; and Sant Maghar Singh jee too got this habit of getting up at Amritvela, early on in his life. When he was around 14-15, he was married to Bibi Dhan Kaur jee.

About Sant jee it’s written that he was a born Gurmukh because he had massive Bhagti from previous lives. He had formed love with Gurbani at a very early age and this love became an obsession as he grew up. He started doing Kirtan and Akhand Paath during his childhood.

He grew up to be a very tall, strong and handsome young man. He was about 6’4” tall and his body was very strong. When he was about 17-18, he joined the army and was selected at first instance because of his tall and strong body.


Sant Maghar Singh jee Ramgarh

Life in Army

In army, he formed a Kirtani Jatha and used to do Siri Asa kee Vaar kirtan daily at Amritvela. Sant jee’s voice was very sweet, heavy and loud. In those days, there were no loudspeakers but his voice could still be heard up 2 miles. The Singhs who became members of this Kirtani Jatha stayed within the Jatha even after they had retired from the army. Sant jee’s Bhagti had started giving fruit and whatever he said unwittingly used to come true. This increased Sant jee’s respect and honour within the Sikh soldiers of his unit of army.


British Officer who kicked Karaahee of Degh

In 1914, the First World War broke out and Sant jee’s unit was sent to France to fight the Germans. While they were on the ship to France, they continued to do Kirtan and Bhagti all day long. Once Singhs prepared Degh for a Gurpurab and Sant jee’s Jatha did Kirtan in that Samagam. A British Sergeant named Carlton came and kicked the Utensil carrying Degh. Singhs were obviously very upset and thrashed him. He went running to the commanding officer Mr. Hill and complained that Singhs had thrashed him and were going to throw him in the ocean. Mr. Hill was very upset and scolded the Singhs. When Singhs told him that the Sergeant had kicked at the utensil carrying Degh, he pacified a bit.

In the meantime Singhs were going to throw the Degh in the ocean since it was not suitable to get Bhog of Guru Sahib but Mr Hill objected to this and ordered the Singhs to use the Degh since nothing had touched the Degh itself and it had not been contaminated by touch. Singhs went quiet and were thinking what to say. In the meantime, Sant jee spoke up in Chardi Kala, “Listen Sahib jee, we have sold you our body but not our Sikhi. Don’t interfere in our religious affairs.” Saying this he ordered the Singhs to throw the Degh in ocean. Singhs fulfilled the order and then new Degh was prepared for Gurpurab. Mr Hill just kept quiet and did not stir the issue any more.

Now all Singhs who were on the ship considered Sant jee to be their leader.

Singhs Arrive at France

When the ship reached France, Sant jee told Mr Hill that Sikhs would come out of the ship led by Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee. Very respectfully, Siri Guru jee’s Saroop was carried out, followed by all Sikh soldiers. French people who had come to welcome the Sikh soldiers, asked about Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and when Mr Hill told them that the Sikhs considered Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee to be their living Guru, they were quite astonished.

The Singhs were allowed to rest for about a month or so, before the actual battle started. Before going in the war, Sikh Faujis (soldiers) performed an Ardaas before Guru Sahib. Sant jee in his lecture to Sikh soldiers reminded them to keep honour of Sikhs and never give back to the enemy. Sant jee asked the soldiers to either attain martyrdom or victory. The Singhs in army were filled with Bir Rass and this resulted in their eventual victory.

Singhs Refuse to eat from hands of British

After beating the Germans in a battle front, Singhs arrived back at their camps. They were informed by Mr Hill that their Desi Raashan (food material) had expired and as such they would have to eat food like bread, biscuits etc. prepared British and French cooks.

When Sikh soldiers including Sant jee heard this, they refused to eat from the hands of people who ate Kutha and consumed Tobacco. When the officers heard this, they assembled all soldiers of the Sikh regiment and threatened that they would have to eat what they were given and if they refused, they would be given death penalty.

Before anyone else could speak, Sant Maghar Singh jee at once came in front of Mr Hill and said, “O Sahib, Singhs are not scared of death. We have come here to save you all from death and we have been saving you from death all these months. Now you are trying to scare us with death? The day a Sikh takes Amrit, he gives up the fear of death and never compromises on his Dharma (religion)”.

When the soldiers heard Sant jee’s courageous Bachans, they immediately said in one voice that they were willing to face the consequences of not eating non-Dharmi food, even if it meant death for them.

Sensing the response of the Sikh soldiers, Mr Hill got a bit pacified and requested, “We would provide you with very good food and also double in quantity. What’s wrong in eating this food?”

Sant jee responded, “It does not matter how good the food is because it is not suitable for a Sikh to eat this food as it violates his religion.”

Mr Hill got very upset when Singhs refused to obey his Hukam and he said that he would see how long they would hold on to their faith. He ordered that food supplies be stopped for these Singhs.


Singhs fight the Germans without Food for 8 days

After Mr Hill left, Singhs assembled at the Gurdwara Sahib and there Sant jee addressed them very forcefully and reminded them of the sacrifices of Siri Guru Arjun Dev jee, Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib jee and Sahibzade. Sant jee gave a very powerful lecture on not losing faith and honour and to not compromise on Dharma. After this Sant jee did very Chardi Kala Kirtan. Singhs were filled with religious fervour. They vowed to die but not compromise with Sikhi.

Singhs continued to fight the Germans for 8 days. Germans heavily bombarded the area where the Singhs were stationed. There were no camps and no barracks. Sikh soldiers were staying at the houses of the French people. So heavy was the bombardment that the French left their houses and fled. Sikhs soldiers were the only ones left there as the residents had pretty much left the place for safer places.

Soldier Mansha Singh gets slapped by Sant jee

A Sikh Soldier by the name of Mansha Singh was coming back to his place when he noticed an abandoned house. He entered the house and found a whole garage full of apples. He filled his bag with apples thinking that Singhs were hungry for so many days and why not feed them apples. He came to Sant jee and said, “Bhai Sahib jee, Sebh Chhako (please eat apple)”. Sant jee asked him where he had got the apples from and at this Mansha Singh narrated how he got the apples.

At this, Sant jee forcefully slapped Mansha Singh and ordered him, “O Bhale Maansa (good man), we are facing heavy fire from the front and heavy bombardment from the sky. Death is roaming around and you still stole apples? Go and put the apples back from where you got them.”

When Mansha Singh came back, Sant jee lovingly said, “O Bhale Maansa Bandiya (O good man), if you had been caught stealing, all Sikhs would have gotten bad name. Never steal again and never take that what is not yours.”

A Miracle related to Food Supplies

After this incident, Sant jee thought that Singhs were increasingly becoming desperate because of hunger. He took 5 Singhs and performed an Ardaas before Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee requesting Him to keep honour of His Singhs. As soon as they had finished doing Ardaas, a Singh came to Sant jee and said that 2 bags full of Desi food supplies were available for Singhs about 2 km from there. He asked Sant jee to send a Singh and get those supplies. Sant jee sent 2 Singhs in a jeep to get the supplies. The 2 Singhs arrived and saw a very Darshani Singh waiting with supplies. He helped them load the supplies on jeep and left so soon that it seemed as if he had just vanished in thin air.

The whole Sikh unit cooked food and ate for the first time in 8 days. Someone complained to Mr Hill that Sikhs had stolen food from somewhere. Mr Hill came to the Sikh officers and inquired where the Raashan (food supplies) had come from. The Sikh officers said that Sant Maghar Singh would know and advised him to inquire from him.

Mr Hill and the Sikh officers came to Sant jee and asked about the Raashan. Sant jee replied, “Our Guru, Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee had spent 20 rupees on feeding the hungry holy men and that 20-rupees-Raashan still has not been expired by Sikhs and it never will be. Where ever there is Sikh Sangat, there is Guru ka Langar. We had done an Ardaas before Guru Sahib and accepting our Ardaas, Guru Sahib sent us Raashan for Langar. And now listen up O Sahib, by evening ships full of our Raashan will arrive and there will be no more shortage of Raashan (food supplies).”

And this is exactly what happened. Food supplies arrived in abundance and Sikhs kept their faith without compromising. Mr Hill was very impressed and now he too developed a feeling of Shardha (faith) for Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Hukam to Maintain High Moral Character

In the absence of barracks and camps, the Sikh soldiers were staying at the houses of French civilians. For this reason, Sant Maghar Singh jee had given strict instructions to all Sikh soldiers to maintain a high moral character and not give bad name to Sikhi by indulging in Kaamic activities. Sant jee said it very clearly, “If we see any Sikh soldier committing an anti-Gurmat Kaamic action, we will right away shoot such person and if any of you see us doing anything wrong, you must shoot us and if you don’t shoot us for our anti-Gurmat Kaamic action, then we will certainly shoot you.”

This was a very strict Hukam but it was very much required because such mistakes were common for soldiers in those days. It was considered to be important to fulfill the carnal needs of the soldiers engaged in fighting the enemy. There are many stories of Japanese soldiers sexually exploiting Korean and Chinese women during the 2nd world war. Same way, such atrocities used to get committed by most soldiers of those times.

Another factor was that most young men of Europe had been recruited to join army and fight the enemy. The cities were empty of young men in those times and for this reason, young women were driven to transgression by their carnal desires. But such sinful activity is unthinkable for a Sikh and in order to save them from transgressing, Sant jee issued such strict Hukam of shooting any Sikh soldier indulged in Kaamic activity.

Soldier Mansha Singh Faces Temptation

This story was narrated by one of the companion of Sant jee whose name was Bhai Mansha Singh. One day, Sant jee before going to the war front, asked Mansha Singh to stay behind and do cooking. After Sant jee had left, the girl who lived in the neighbouring house came over and asked Mansha Singh if he needed any help. Her intentions were not pure but Mansha Singh was able to resist her advances. He dryly replied in negative and the girl left.

A little while later she came back again and asked Mansha Singh if he needed anything. Mansha Singh could sense what need she was referring to but he had been doing Sangat of a Gurmukh and for this reason, he was not led astray. This time he addressed her as sister and said that he did not need anything. The girl left but someone complained to Sant jee when he came back that a girl had been visiting Mansha Singh during the day.

Sant jee came home and took hold of his gun and ordered Mansha Singh to stand by the wall. He further ordered him to start doing Vaheguru Simran and informed him that he was going to shoot him.

Mansha Singh humbly replied that it would be a pleasure to die at the hands of Sant jee but he wished to explain about the girl’s visits to their house. When Mansha Singh narrated the whole story of how she tried to seduce him and how he refused her advances, Sant jee was extremely pleased. He got up and embraced Mansha Singh and gave him many blessings.

It was because of presence of such Gurmukhs like Sant Maghar Singh jee and Bau Mal Singh jee that ordinary Sikh soldiers maintained high moral character during such trying times.


Sant jee’s Samadhi and faith in Guru Sahib’s Divine Protection

In France it gets quite cold during the winter and in the area where the Sikh soldiers were stationed, it snowed too. Sant jee used to get up at Amritvela and do Ishnaan even in such harsh weather. One day Sant jee did Ishnaan and after Ishnaan just sat outside doing Abhyaas. While doing Abhyaas, his Surthee went into deep spiritual realms and this way he went deep into Samadhi. While he was in spiritual trance, it started snowing and he totally got covered by snow. In the morning when no one could find Sant jee, they went out to look for him. After much searching they discovered him buried in snow. Mr Hill, the commander of that unit, too was involved in the search. They all quickly brought Sant jee over to their residence and massaged his body to give it heat. Sant jee was perfectly fine and his body showed no evidence of any kind of damage due to exposure to freezing snow.

While fighting on the war front, Sant jee used to fight without any fear of getting hit. He used to sing Gurbani loudly and sometimes in the midst of heavy bombardment, he used to sit in sitting posture and go in Samadhi chanting Naam. Bombs used to fall right and left to him but never used to harm him and Sant jee too never used to get even an iota of worry of getting hit by a bomb. In such instances he used to make no effort to safeguard himself. Everyone used to try to sit near Sant jee because they all had faith that no bomb could harm them there.

Such was the faith and devotion of Gurmukh Pyare Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Samagam to Celebrate Victory and moving towards Middle East

On March 26, 1915, the Sikh soldiers celebrated their victory over the enemy by doing a Kirtan Samagam. Sant jee always used to start doing Kirtan by singing the Shabad ਸੇਵਕ ਕਉ ਨਿਕਟੀ ਹੋਇ ਦਿਖਾਵੈ ॥ Since he was was very fond of doing Baani of Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee, he sang many Shabads of Dasam Baani that day in Samagam.

After this Samagam, they had few more battles in Europe but soon this unit of Sikh army was sent to Middle East (modern day Iraq). All the way from Europe to Middle East, Sant jee stayed absorbed in Naam Simran and this way gained heavy spiritual earnings.

Saved from Drowning

They were travelling from Basra to another city in that area and they had to cross a very fast flowing canal. All soldiers were to cross this canal in boats. In the boat that Sant jee took had Arjun Singh, Inder Singh, Jawala Singh and a European officer. When the boat reached the middle, water started filling it since the current of water was very tumultuous. With water filling the boat, it started getting heavy and was about to drown. The European officer jumped out of the boat following by Inder Singh and Arjun Singh.

When Jawala Singh was about to jump, Sant jee smilingly said, “where are you going to go after jumping in the canal? Kartar (Vaheguru) is everywhere every moment. Have faith in Vaheguru and stay on the boat.” Jawala Singh obeyed and stayed back. Arjun Singh drowned in the canal and other two swam across. The water filled boat that was carrying Sant jee and Jawala Singh too somehow got across. Both Sant jee and Jawala Singh were saved.

Going for Darshan of Sangat at all Cost

Soon the Sikh unit arrived at Sheik Saad. The date they arrived was around January 20, 1916. This place is quite beautiful but it has lots of flies and mosquitoes but most houses have basements for protection from extreme weather and flies and mosquitoes. These Bhoray (basement) were very suitable for Sant jee and other Gurmukhs who stayed engaged in Naam Abhyaas for about a month.

One day, Sant jee noticed Nishan Sahib on the other side of the river. He also heard faint sound of Kirtan coming from there. He decided to attend the Amrit-vela Siri Asa kee Vaar Samagam the next day. Early morning at 2Am, he did Ishnaan along with Bhai Naranjan Singh and reached the bank of river Dajla. They found that the waters in the river were quite tumultuous because of rainstorm.

It would have been quite dangerous to cross the river in such situation but Sant jee had made up his mind to have Darshan at all cost. He asked Bhai Naranjan Singh to go back. Naranjan Singh said that at morning the order is to leave this place and it would not be possible to reach back on time. Secondly he reminded Sant jee about the tumultuous waters of the river. He asked Sant jee to forgo his idea of going to Sangat.

Sant jee replied unwittingly that the Hukam to march out would get cancelled and as far as crossing the river was concerned, Guru Sahib’s Hukam was very clear on it:

ਝਖੜੁ ਝਾਗੀ ਮੀਹੁ ਵਰਸੈ ਭੀ ਗੁਰੁ ਦੇਖਣ ਜਾਈ ॥13॥
ਸਮੁੰਦੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਬਹੁ ਖਾਰਾ ਗੁਰਸਿਖੁ ਲੰਘਿ ਗੁਰ ਪਹਿ ਜਾਈ ॥14॥


He asked Naranjan Singh to leave. Saying this he was about to jump in the river that he heard a voice who asked him to stop. An Arab boatman had arrived from nowhere and asked Sant jee to board on his boat. It was a Vaheguru-sent help.

Sant jee reached the Sangat and was extremely pleased to have Darshan of Guru Sahib and Sangat there. He earned countless spiritual earnings in Sangat and on his way back found the same boatman waiting for him. When Sant jee and Naranjan Singh arrived back at their camp they found out that the order to march had been cancelled as Sant jee had said.

Such was the devotion of Gurmukh Pyare Sant Maghar Singh jee.

Forming a Kirtani Jatha and getting a Goat for Milk

Sant jee did not used to consume regular milk that soldiers used to get which proves that Sant jee kept strict Bibek. The English commanding officer arranged a goat for Sant jee and when this goat stopped giving milk, another goat was arranged. This second goat stayed with Sant jee for many years, even after he came back to his village, after resigning from military job.

Sant jee thought that without forming a Kirtani Jatha, Gurmat Parchaar was not possible. He formed a Kirtani Jatha of 15 Singhs and had all of them memorize Siri Asa kee Vaar. These Singhs memorized many Baanis in a short period of time. This Jatha grew to 85 Singhs in the coming months. The Singhs vowed that even after leaving the military occupation, they would continue to stay in the Jatha and dedicate their life to Sikhi Parchaar. After serving the army, these Singhs came to Sant jee and a very good Jatha to do Parchaar of Gurmat was formed, in later years.


Pouring Hot Water on Baba jee

A tree is judged by its fruit and a man by his actions. If a person follows Gurmat, chants Naam and recites Gurbani but does not develop or attain simple virtues like patience, control over anger, sweet talk etc., then such person has not attained the fruit of Bhagti yet.

A Singh was jealous of Sant jee and had major doubts about his Avastha. One day, he decided to test Sant jee. As Sant jee was doing Ishnaan during the day, he came with a bucket full of very hot water and poured it on Sant jee. He had expected Sant jee to get mad and get angry but contrary to his belief, Sant jee calmly asked him to pour the remaining water on his body as well. The stubborn and Dheeth person instead of getting ashamed, poured the remaining water on Sant jee. Sant jee’s body suffered but Sant jee did not utter a single word in anger. The Singh was embarrassed and left in haste. This is how magnanimous Sant jee’s heart was.


The Commanding Officer tests Sant jee’s Avastha

The commanding officer – Mr Hill – was greatly impressed with Sant jee’s pious life. Once his senior officer visited Baba jee’s unit and Mr Hill informed him about Baba jee’s Avastha. The senior officer said that he did not believe in this spiritual stuff and that most Indians were known for doing magic which was more of trickery. At this Mr Hill told him about Sant jee’s pious and holy life but the senior officer insisted that if Sant jee could tell the thought of his mind, he would be impressed and would start believing that real spirituality too existed in Sikhs in particular and Indians in general.

Mr Hill asked Naranjan Singh who worked in his office as a clerk to inform Sant jee about the senior officer’s request. When Sant jee heard about this, he was very upset. He said that he was a humble Sikh of Guru Kalgidhar and he did not like being referred to as a Pir or a holy man. He said that showing miracles for the sake of display or exhibition was not in accordance to Gurmat. Bhai Naranjan Singh kept requesting for 6 days to Sant jee to agree to meet the senior British officer because it would result in favourable conditions for Sikhs but Sant jee stayed adamant and expressed his inability to read anyone’s mind.

On the 7th day, Naranjan Singh came with 5 Singhs and these 5 Singhs in form of Punj Pyare ordered Sant jee to agree to meet the senior officer and fulfill his request of as it would result in favourable condidtions for all Sikhs in the unit. Sant jee bowed his head in front of Punj Singh but requested the Singhs to do Ardaas for him, to which they readily agreed. Sant jee then asked Naranjan Singh to bring the senior officer the next day.

The next morning, the senior officer received an order from higher management to move the Sikh unit to another city. The order came in form of a letter in an envelope. Only the Senior officer had read the order. He took the envelope and along with Mr Hill came to the place of Sant jee. The senior officer was very impressed seeing Sant jee. Sant jee had a great spiritual aura and anyone who beheld him got impressed.

The senior officer placed the letter in front of Sant jee and asked him what was written in it. Sant jee smiled and said that Gurmat did not allow him to act like a magician for petty reasons and that he was just following the hukam of 5 Singhs by agreeing to meet him. After keeping quite for a moment, Sant jee said that he was only going to say this much – “whatever is written in this letter is not going to come true. We are going to stay here for one more month.”

The senior officer said that he will see how this prediction of Sant jee would come true but much to the astonishment of the senior officer, the same evening, he received another order from the senior management cancelling the previous order to march away from that location. The officer was surprised beyond belief. As a result of this incident, Sant jee’s status in the unit was greatly exulted and Sikh solders gained respect of the British officers.


Full Time Parchaar of Gurmat

This way, doing Parchaar of Sikhi, Sant jee completed his life in military. Around 1919, Sant jee permanently resigned from military and dedicated his whole life to Sikhi Parchaar. The Fauji Singhs who had become part of his Jatha remained with him for rest of his life. A huge Jatha was formed to do Parchaar of Sikhi.

Sant jee was very strict in Khalsa rehit and came on the Panthic scene like a storm. It was as if a second coming of Sant Attar Singh jee Mastuanewale had occurred. Both Mahapurakhs had a very impressive physical body. Both were taller than 6 feet and did beautiful Kirtan. The only significant difference was the colour of their beard – Sant Mastuanewale had grey beard and Sant Maghar Singh had Black beard.

Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale was dedicated to doing Parchaar via Katha and at many Gurmat Samagams, Sant Attar Singh, Sant Sunder Singh and Sant Maghar Singh used to meet and contribute in Parchaar of Gurmat.


Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale asked to wear Black Dastaar

From May 11 to 13, 1921, a big Diwan was arranged in village Ramgarh. This Diwan was attended by prominent Gurmukhs of that time including Sant Maghar Singh, Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale, Giani Kartar Singh Rasoolpur, Giani Bakhtavar Singh etc. In those days, the Akali movement was at its peak. The Panth had ordered all Akalis to wear Black Dastaars to protest against the British. The British used to get very upset if someone wore a Black Dastar. The situation was similar to post 1984 period when everyone started wearing Orange Dastars to protest against the government of the time.

The organizers of the Samagam were very staunch Akalis including Bhai Ranbir Singh Kaunke, Bhai Kunda Singh Ghalib etc. Sant Sunder Singh Bhindranwale was sitting in the Tabiya of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee and was wearing a White Dastaar which he always used to wear. Some Singhs of Bhai Maghar Singh jee’s jatha and Akalis protested the colour of Sant Sunder Singh’s Dastaar and asked him to either change the colour of his Dastaar or not sit in the Tabiya of Maharaj jee.

Sant Sunder Singh gave many Gurmat arguments proving that White Dastaar too is acceptable in Gurmat but in those days, Singhs were very much against White colour as it denoted passiveness and neutrality and Singhs were fighting against the injustices of the British. When Singhs insisted that they won’t let Sant Sunder Singh sit in Tabiya with a White Dastaar, Sant Maghar Singh jee intervened and declared that Sant Sunder Singh jee was a great scholar of Gurbani and Gurmat and as such he can’t be defeated with arguments but considering the emotions of Singhs, he (Sant Sunder Singh) will wear Black Dastaar in the next Diwaan. It's not known whether Sant Sunder Singh started wearing a Black Dastaar from the next Diwan onwards.

Later on, after the Parchaar of Sant jee, 50 Praanees took Amrit and all of them had their Dastaars dyed in Black colour, right in the Samagam itself.


Meeting with Sant Attar Singh jee in village Rode

A big Gurmat Samagam was arranged at village Rode from September 1 to 3, 1921. Great Gurmukhs including Sant Attar Singh Mastuanewale and Sant Maghar Singh jee reached there. When Sant Maghar Singh jee reached there, Sant Attar Singh had already arrived and was sitting there on a Palangh (Indian bed- Chaarpaaee). A lot of Sangat too was sitting there some on the floor and some on chaarpaaees. Sant Maghar Singh jee arrived and silently sat behind the Sangat. When Sant Attar Singh noticed that Sant Maghar Singh had arrived, he got up and brought him over to sit along with him on the Charpaaee.

Sant Attar Singh jee then made a revelation, “Sadh Sangat jeeo, before doing Parchaar, we (Sant Attar Singh jee) did massive Tap (Naam Abhyaas) for long time. Don’t consider Sant Maghar Singh to be a youngster. He has massive Kamaayee (spiritual earnings) from previous lives and for this reason Parchaar done by him has quick effect on Sangats”.

As they were talking, villagers came to get Sant jee since it was now time for Samagam. One of the elderly villagers said to Sant jee that non-believers in the villagers were complaining that in previous years, in the months of Bhadon, if rain did not come, they used to call Brahmins who used to do Yagya and this used to bring rain but now that these Sikh Sants have arrived, they have caused even the existing clouds to fly away.

Sant Attar Singh jee while laughing said that today Sant Maghar Singh jee would do Kirtan and bring heavy rainfall in the village. Sant Maghar Singh took the Vaaja and Sant Attar Singh sat in Tabiya of Maharaj jee. Both Mahapurakhs would sing the first Tuk and Sangat would sing the rest. They sang from Raag Malhaar and sooner than later, rain started pouring. Then Sant Maghar Singh jee asked the Sangat to not go running to their fields to prepare for rainfall. He declared that rain would go on for enough time to do irrigation related works in their fields and that they need not worry about a thing. Sangat sat there listening to Diwaan and heavy rainfall happened that day.

Such was the Avastha of Mahapurakhs who had Naam Kamaayee.


Arrest of Bhai Gajjan Singh and Sant jee’s protest

In the month of November, 1921, Sant jee’s Jatha went to village Sahaur and Khyaali, in Ludhiana district. There lived Akali Gajjan Singh Bharamtod an outstanding leader of Akali movement. Sant jee did Parchaar from the stage and impressed many in the Sangat. After Sant jee’s lecture, Akali Gajjan Singh Bharamtod came on the stage and gave a hot speech against the government. Police too was present there and it arrested Akali Gajjan Singh. Sant jee came back to his room where he was staying and asked the Singhs to take away the bed from there. Sant jee then declared that till Akali Gajjan Singh came back from jail, he would neither sleep on bed, nor eat anything good e.g. milk, kheer etc.

On the other side, the police was taking Akali Gajjan Singh to Ludhiana and passed through village Halwara. There, relatives and friends of the police officer who had arrested Akali Gajjan Singh told him that unless he release Gajjan Singh, they would not entertain him or talk to him. Vaheguru jee had put these thoughts in the minds of the villagers of Halwara. The police officer, right away released Akali Gajjan Singh and he came back to Sant jee.

This way many incidents occurred while Sant jee did his Parchaar. Sant jee continued doing Gurmat Parchaar till December 3, 1924. On this day, Sant jee left the world for Sachkhand at the tender age of 34. He came on the Panthic scene like a storm and in 4-5 years did massive Parchaar of Gurmat. May Guru Sahib enable us to lead a Gurmat life as Sant jee did.

These series on Sant Maghar Singh jee are based on a book written by Bhai Baabu Singh Ramgarh.

Daas,
Kulbir Singh

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