Today is the Barsi (death anniversary) of Bhai Rama Singh jee, who passed away on 1st August 2002. I have'nt had the good fortune of meeting Bhai Sahib, however I read his autobiography called "In Search of the True Guru" which felt like having Bhai Sahib's darshan and doing Sangat with him. The book is very inspirational and once you start reading you don't want to put the back down. Bhai Rama Singh jee lived a life of Seva, Simran and Sikhi Parchaar and a role model to both young and old. Below is a short summary of Bhai Sahib's life and how he came into Sikhi.
A SHORT GLIMPSE AT THE LIFE OF BHAI RAMA SINGH JEE
Childhood & Spiritual Turning Point
Bhai Sahib was born in 1930 in a village of Chhariavli in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India in the household of Vaid Chandar Pal and Bibi Lashmi Devi, a staunch Hindu family. He was named "Rama" and had one brother and two sisters. The turning point in his life, when as at the age 8 years old, when he heard a sermon from Baba Rattan Daas. The Baba (wise man) said that there were 8.4 million species. If a person did not remember Waheguru, then that person went through the suffering of all those forms of existence. Once caught in the pain of the cycle of births and deaths, it took a soul millions of years to get out of it. Bhai Sahib asked himself "Why shouldn't I meditate on God's name in this life and achieve salvation?" As Bhai Sahib meditated, an inner voice echoed "Without the Perfect (True) Guru there is no salvation in life."
Bhai Sahib left home and proceeded to Rishikesh, which regarded as the land of the saints. Here he decided to stay in the jungle and meditate on "Haray Raama". On the third day of doing continous Simran, an inner voice repeatedly kept saying, "Without the Perfect (True) Guru there is no salvation. Without the perfect Guru there is no salvation." In search of the perfect Guru Bhai Sahib left for Delhi to stay and work for his uncle (father's brother). He didn't want to return home knowing his father would be angry. The hotel was opposite Gurdwara Sees Ganj Sahib.
Discovering Sukhmani Sahib
Bhai Sahib was experienced in the hotel trade and could cook. He saw an advertisement from a senior government official advertising for a job of handling party arrangements and travelling abroad. He met the man and got the job. The officer told Bhai Sahib that they were to leave for Indonesia on 20th July 1957. They stayed in a hotel. The officer had yet not arrived. In the hotel room there were 2 Sukhmani Sahib Gutke (prayer books). One was in Hindi and one in Gurmukhi. Bhai Sahib started reading Sukhmani Sahib in Hindi and on completion the officer returned back to the room. The officer recited the Baani (prayer) daily. For 21 days Bhai Sahib recited Sukhmani Sahib with devotion. The officer witnessed Bhai Sahib's devotion of reading Gurbani and said, "I respect anyone who recites Sukhmani Sahib. From now on you are not my servant but my son." One and half years later Bhai Sahib experienced bliss and happiness in his life.
Indonesia back to Home
Bhai Sahib got a job with the Indian embassy which involved meeting officers and industrialists in hotels and night-clubs. His success grew bigger and bigger. However, the five vices (lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego) were affecting his meditation. His mind wavered and he engaged in relationships with other women. Slowly the bliss of Sukhmani Sahib decreased and he lost the desire to read Baani. He realised his mistake of going to clubs and discos. Six years of working in Indonesia he returned to India back to his family. His brother was angry with him and scorned him after he heard Bhai Sahib recite Sukhmani Sahib instead of the Geeta (Hindu holy book) in the early morning hours.
In Search of the True Guru
Bhai Sahib left home to quench his spiritual thirst. His father was understanding as his birth chart predicted that Bhai Sahib from an early age will begin to meditate. He got on a train to Delhi but ended up going to Bombay. On the train he fell asleep and in his dream, someone said to him, "Your attachments are due to your past deeds and one day you have to part. The Lord's name is written in your destiny. The place where you are going will be good for you." He used read Sukhmani Sahib and for hours do simran. Looking for a perfect guru he went to a church and then a Mandir (Hindu temple) but found no spiritual satisfaction. 2 or 3 month later he came across a Gurdwara. When he went to do Matha Tekh (bow) before Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee he felt a divine force on his head. He listened to Rehraas Sahib and Keertan. In the Kathaa (lecture) the Giani jee said, "the Perfect Guru is Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee." Bhai Sahib at last had found what he had been looking for.
Journey to England
Bhai Sahib decided to come to England on 18th January 1964 by ship at Tilbury. On arrival he got his first Nitnem gutka (daily prayer book) and started repeating Mool Mantar. After 10 months he was blessed with ridhian sidhian (supernatural Powers) and his mind filled with calmness. Bhai Sahib started to attend English classes. The friends he had met there decided to travel to Europe. The group was a brother & sister who were Christians, an Israeli girl, a Panjabi and Bhai Sahib.
Darshan of Guru Gobind Singh jee
Throughout the car journey Bhai Sahib recited Japji Sahib and Chaupayee Sahib. When they reached Germany the hotel where they had arrived was almost fully booked. They managed to get 2 rooms with double beds but realised Dalia (the Israeli girl) had to sleep in the same room of either the Panjabi man or Bhai Sahib. Dalia said, "I'll sleep in Ram's room as I have full trust in him." Bhai Sahib prayed to Guru Gobind Singh Ji that he doesn't have Kesh and has not yet became a true Sikh, and to save the honour of the Guru's Sikhi. At Amrit-Vela (around 2am) the room suddenly flooded with a very bright light. Bhai Sahib experienced Guru Gobind Singh jee who gave him Hukam (order) to take Amrit and gave him a mission to promote Amrit and Gurmat Rehit in many countries. Since that day Bhai Sahib threw away the razor, kept his Kesh and decided to take Amrit.
Becoming part of the Guru's Family - The Gift of Amrit
Returning from Germany. Bhai Sahib met some Gursikhs at Shepherd's Bush Gurdwara who introduced Bhai Sahib to Giani Amolak Singh jee. At the time Baba Puran Singh jee from Africa had come to England. 25 people were ready to take Amrit. However 5 tyaar-bar-tyaar Singhs couldn't be found to do Amrit Sanchaar seva. By this time Baba Puran Singh jee returned back to Africa. The first Rainsbayee (all-night) Keertan was held in 1968 at "The Green" Gurdwara in Southall on the Parkaash Diwas (birth date) of Guru Gobind Singh jee. Bhai Sahib was moved by this. Shortly after many Singhs had migrated from Africa to Southall, so Giani Amolak Singh jee organised an Amrit Sanchaar. That day 25 Singhs and Singhnees, both adorned with dastaars (turbans) alike, recieved Amrit and immersed themselves in Naam.
Mission & Humble Seva (Sefless Service)
Bhai Sahib started his mission. Rainsbayee Keertans were organised and an Amrit-Vela Simran programme was started at Southall Gurdwara that spread to other Gurdwaras. He travelled on trips to Nankana Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Hemkunt Sahib. He encouraged young and old to receive Amrit. For 30 years he did Sikhi Parchaar seva during his visits to the Far East (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia), Makindu and Kericho, East Africa, Vancouver, Canada, USA and Europe. Irrespective of Bhai Sahib's popularity he always remained humble and simple. He practiced what he preached and always did seva of cleaning the Sangat's shoes and washing the dishes in the Langar whilst absorbed in Simran to cleanse the mind from ego.
Bhai Sahib advocated the power of Naam. He said without Naam life is totally wasted and futile. Bhai Sahib's autobiography ("In Search of True Guru") covers his childhood, search for the True Guru, Selfless Service with Humility and Khalsa Raaj. It is worth reading as it talks about the main reason for our existence, being liberated whilst alive, the fruits of Naam Japnaa (meditating on Waheguru) and humble seva (selfless service) to the community without looking for recognition. If anyone wishes to have a copy of Bhai Sahib's autobiography, please e-mail either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for UK and Europe and for the Far East is firstname.lastname@example.org , specifying whether you prefer the book in English or Gurmukhi.
"If Naam Simran is done in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and in Saadh Sangat, then it is as if one is standing in heavy rain, the flood of which sweeps away everything; in that same way, the sins of previous lives of an individual are washed away."
- Bhai Rama Singh jee
May Waheguru do kirpaa on us all and bless us with a Chardi Kalaa jeevan, Naam Japnaaa, humility, Seva, and Amrit-Velaa.
Dhan Hai Guru, Dhan Hai Guru Ke Pyaare.