My First Meeting with Bhai Jagtar Singh jee
My first meeting with Bhai Sahib occurred in 1990 or early 1991. In those days, books of Bhai Sahib were not readily available. I had read a few books of Bhai Sahib and was looking for others. I found out from someone that Bhai Jagtar Singh jee had all books of Bhai Sahib. Now there were two persons with this name at that time. I first met the other Bhai Jagtar Singh who did not have the book that I needed. He guided me to Bhai Jagtar Singh jee who was likely to have the books. I don’t think I called Bhai Sahib before going to his home. I was only given directions to his home. His home was near Weston Gurdwara Sahib and he lived at the upper level of the house which he shared with his brother-in-law.
I knocked and Bhai Sahib came out of the door. I said Fateh and asked for the book I wanted. Unfortunately, his copy of that book - Gurmat Karam Philosophy - had been taken away by someone else. He did not have that book. In those days, I had extreme thirst to read books of Bhai Sahib and any book I got my hands on, I used to leave only after finishing it; even if it involved staying awake all night. I had been looking for Gurmat Gauravta and Gurmat Karam Philosophy but all in vain. These books were out of print and old copies were very rare. Later on, I got a copy of Gurmat Karam Philosophy from Bhai Madan Singh of UK, in the early 1990s.
Bhai Sahib sensed that I was feeling dejected and said some words to lift my spirits but I don’t recall what he said. It was a short meeting of about 5-7 minutes and I left without going inside his house. I still can see Bhai Sahib opening the door that I knocked. It was a first feeling but real love and bond with him developed couple of years later, when Guru Sahib blessed this Daas with Amritvela Sangat with Bhai Sahib jee.
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਵਾਰਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਚਲਿਆ॥ ਸਚੀ ਦਰਗਹ ਜਾਇ ਸਚਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲਿਆ॥
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਭਾਉ ਚਾਉ ਅਲਲਿਆ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਚਿਤੁ ਨ ਹਲੈ ਹਲਿਆ॥
ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਚੁ ਅਲਾਉ ਭਲੀ ਹੂੰ ਭਲਿਆ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸਦੇ ਜਾਨਿ ਆਵਨਿ ਘਲਿਆ ॥੧੪॥
From : [www.panthic.org]
Who can love more than a Mother?
Once around 1999, I was talking to Bhai Sahib and while talking, the subject of mother’s love came up. I made a firm statement that in this world, no one can love anyone more than a mother can love her child. Bhai Sahib smiled and said, “tu Galat hai” (you are wrong). He used to talk with a lot of confidence and conviction and he said these three words (Tu Galat hai) very strongly. I had all the world’s philosophies to back me up and as thus I held my ground and gave some arguments in favour of my stand. Then Bhai Sahib’s eyes became watery and doing the master-stroke said, “Tainu phir pata hee nahi ke Gursikha daa Pyaar kaho jeha hunda hai.” (Then you don’t know how is the love of Gursikhs). When he said this, the solid foundation of my argument started shaking. Bhai Sahib’s eyes at that time were like an ocean of love. His countenance (face) was an embodiment of love. I could not look into his eyes and face. I tried looking at his sweet countenance couple of times but could not. Then, I lowered my gaze towards his Charan. He said some more nectar-like words that I don't recall now but the gist of his argument was that the Gursikhs who are Humsafar (walking on the same path) of meeting Vaheguru, have such love for each other that no other love can match this love.
Bhai Sahib becomes our Mother
Around these days, I was looking for a job and was thinking of moving to the States. I had completed the accounting designation of CPA (Certified Public Accountant) from States and I was getting job offers from California and Detroit. I thought of moving to the States. The salary was excellent and the jobs were great. When I discussed it with Bhai Sahib, I did not expect any opposition but contrary to my belief, Bhai Sahib totally rejected my proposal and refused to give his permission. I could not understand why he was stopping me from getting such a good job. I kept asking and he kept refusing. Then he said that I should discuss with all Singhs. When I placed my request with Singhs, Bhai Sahib was there too and again I did not get approval of Singhs because of Bhai Sahib.
When one does not have realization of Gurmat, then one thinks that one knows more than anyone else. I thought that Bhai Sahib does not know about my financial and family situation and as thus is not letting me go. Then one day, I asked Bhai Sahib to tell me the reason why I should not go. Bhai Sahib in return asked me, “If a mother knows that her son is walking towards that path that is burning, would she let him go?” I responded in negative.
I can never forget that scene. I was standing just inside the main entrance of Weston Gurdwara Sahib. Bhai Sahib lifted one of his arm and his face became full of extreme emotions of love and care. His eyes was filled with most pious love, when he said the above comment. At that point he seemed like a mother to me. It is possible to think of some elderly Gurmukh as your elder brother or as your father but Bhai Sahib at that time seemed like a mother to me. After that I and another Gursikh started referring to Bhai Sahib as Maa, behind his back. In my mind then flashed a scene that the path where I was going was burning with fire. Bhai Sahib continued and said that if I go there, I would become weak in Rehit, Amritvela and Naam Abhyaas.
Another very interesting statement he made using a Punjabi folk song was that where ever I would go, my Karma would go with me. He said that in olden days, there used to be a famous song that wife is singing to persuade her husband against going to Burma (a country). The folk song was "Na jaayee Burma noon, lekh jaan ge naalay" (Don't go to Burma, your Karma will go with you). This song meant that if you are going to Burma to earn money, there is no need to do so, since if you are meant to earn money, you would earn it right here. I have never forgotten the unique style with which he said the words of the folk song.
Now let me tell you all how Dheeth (stubborn) I was. At that time, I agreed fully with Bhai Sahib and dropped the idea of going to the States but few days later, I again started thinking of going to the States. I made an appointment with the company and without telling Bhai Sahib and other Singhs left for the States. I started driving towards Detroit. When I reached close to Detroit, I realized that I had left my wallet, passport and other documents home. There was no time to go back and get these documents and reach on time. I was very frustrated. Shrimati jee (my wife) all along was advising me to do as Bhai Sahib was saying and now she commented that I should take today’s incident as a divine sign, that I am not meant to go to the States. At that point I permanently dropped the idea of moving to America (and thank God I did).
Finding the Job of Choice through the Asees of Bhai Sahib
I came back and was quite embarrassed and shy to face Bhai Sahib. I did not tell anyone that I had tried to go to States. Next day, after Abhyaas, I spoke to Bhai Sahib and said to him that he was not letting me go to the States and I was unable to find a suitable job here in Canada, what should I do. At that point Bhai Sahib asked me what kind of job I would like here in Canada. Later on I showed him an advertisement of a job that would satisfy me here. Bhai Sahib looked at the advertisement and asked me, if I would be satisfied with that job. This job had been advertised in all major newspapers and I did not even have the required job experience. I had no chance of getting this job. I hurriedly said that yes this job is the kind of job I wanted. Bhai Sahib asked me again if this is the job I wanted and I said yes again. I think the next day or so he asked me again if I was sure that I wanted this job and I again said yes. Everytime he asked and I responded with yes, he used to go quite for some time. Then he asked me to apply for that job. I did as he had said and within days I got an interview for that job. When Bhai Sahib found out he was very happy and blessed that I would get this job if Guru Sahib wanted. By the Kirpa of Guru Sahib and Ardaas / Asees of Bhai Sahib I did get that particular job. Later on, another incident involving getting a job occurred, that this Daas will narrate at another occasion.
Bhai Sahib’s love for us (me and other Singhs) was so deep and so solid that me and this another Singh used to refer to Bhai Sahib as Maa (mother) while talking on his back. We never revealed it to him but on his back we often used to refer to him as our Maa.
I don’t know how well to express the fact that no one in this world had a sweeter smile than Bhai Sahib. No other eyes in this world could shower as much love as Bhai Sahib’s eyes could. His eyes used to become like ocean. The colour of his eyes used to turn into the colour of water of ocean and they used to become deeper than ocean as well. What more to write. I wish, Vaheguru jee had blessed me with more vocabulary to express my thoughts in words.
More to come as more memories of Bhai Sahib flash in the mind.
Bhul Chuk dee Maafi jee.