Bhai Jeevan Singh Jee
Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee doing keertan alongside Bhai Jeevan Singh jee in 1953 at Model Town, Ludhiana.
BHAI JEEVAN SINGH JEE’S LIFE
(Collected from Gursikhs and from the Internet)
Bhai Jeevan Singh jee used to be invited by Giani Baba Kartar Singh jee Bhindran Wale to do Keertan at Mehtaa. It has been said that Baba jee would wait at the train station for Bhai Sahib and the Akhand Kirtani Jatha Singhs to come. When Bhai Sahib jee used to get off the train Baba jee would rush to the train to greet Bhai Sahib. When they would meet they would embrace one another with so much pyaar. Baba jee held Bhai Sahib jee in great regard. Baba jee himself would serve Bhai Jeevan Singh jee langar with his own hands. Whenever Bhai Jeevan Singh jee would enter the Diwaan where Baba Kartar Singh jee would be doing Kathaa, Baba jee would stop the Kathaa and say request Gurmukh pyaare Bhai Jeevan Singh jee to do keertan for the Sangat.
Bhai Saheb Jee, the Sooraa:
When Operation Blue Star happened in India, a year later a big march was organized (an annual event) in Washington, DC. All the “leaders” made big speeches. Bhai Saheb Jee was invited to the podium. At the US Capitol steps he said calculated words: “Khalistaan Mangan Vaaleyo, Khalsey Bano!” ’nuff said!
Accepting Akaal Purakh’s Will
Bhai Sahib visited a family in England in the late 1980s and stayed at the house for Akhand Paath sevaa. Bhai Sahib listened the Paath for many hours and corrected the Paathis (readers) when they made a grammatical or pronunciation error. Seven or eight years later Bhai Sahib came back to England and was invited to the same family. Several years earlier the Singh whose house it was had passed away. When Bhai Sahib jee asked the lady about her husband she became emotional and as soon as this happened Bhai Sahib jee went upstairs in Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee’s room and stayed there. He never came down and after a good 4-5 hours the bibi asked her daughter to ask Bhai Sahib jee to come down. The girl went upstairs and found Bhai Sahib jee sitting in smaadhee (meditative pose). She asked them to come downstairs, to which Bhai Sahib replied that she should tell her mum that he will only come downstairs after her mum accepts the Bhaana (Will) of Akaal Purakh and not to become emotional about her husband. The Bibi agreed and Bhai Sahib jee came down and later did keertan at the house.
Bumping into a Mona
One evening, the Gursikhs had just finished doing kirtan at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Slough (England). A Singh phoned and said that had booked kirtan in Hounslow, and that the Gursikhs should come straight away. Bhai Jeevan Singh jee said, “Lets go quickly, we should always be on time”. As Bhai Jeevan Singh jee, his singhni (wife), and two other Singhs walked downstairs into the shoes section, a mona (man with hair cut) was walking in to the Gurdwara. Accidentally, he bumped into Bhai sahib. He said “sorry,” and looked into Bhai sahib’s face. Those who know Bhai sahib know how enigmatic his smile is, and how his face always shines. Bhai sahib said to him, “I came here especially to see you, I have something for you.” Bhai sahib then took off his dastaar (turban) and handed it to the youth. The mona youth could not believe his eyes; Bhai sahib said these words to him with so much honesty, pyaar (lovingness) and humility that from that day on the boy kept his kesh and came into Sikhi.
In 1995 Professor Manjit Singh, the then Jathedaar of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib called a World Sikh Samellan (conference). Every Gurdwara, Sikh organization and jatha (group) from around the world was invited and many days were spent discussing Panthic (Sikh national) issues affecting Sikhs. Thousands of Sikhs gathered, including all the big leaders and personalities within the Panth. Many people such as political leaders were centred on themselves and wanted special treatment, but everyone was treated equally. No dignitary received special attention. However for some reason the Panj Jathedars of the five Takhats sat on a sofa in the complex where this was happening. As the A-Z of Sikh leadership sat in the sangat on the floor, a simple Gursikh walked into the complex building. He walked in humbly, did matha tekh, and went to sit in the sangat. However straight away, the Jathedaars got up and ran over to him, and said to him, he must sit on the sofa. Totally embarrassed he refused. But they brought him over and sat him on the sofa. He sat uncomfortably because he was not one for that kind of attention. That Gursikh was Bhai Jeevan Singh jee. It goes to show how highly Bhai sahib, his jeevan, his seva, and his nimarta is respected in the Panth, that only he was singled out for such attention. It is the virtues of Guru, such pure humility, that pulls at peoples hearts.
A Muslim man passed by Bhai Sahib somewhere and he stopped and looked at Bhai Sahib’s face. The man goes up to Bhai Jeevan Singh jee and says “I can see ‘Allah Da Noor’ (the Light of God) in you”. Bhai Sahib folded his hands and humbly said,”O great man! Can you please give me your wonderful eyes with which you see such wonderful things.” Another time, there was Sangat sitting in Canada and someone approached Bhai Sahib with a question in front of others. He said, “Bhai Sahib, you tell us – as you have met God.” Bhai Sahib replied with a humble and astonished “Achaa? (O really?)” and walked away.
Bhai Jeevan Singh jee now lives 5-10 minutes away from Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. Bhai Sahib would occasionally go and do keertan seva there whenever it was his turn/duty. One day his wife locked the door of his room to make sure he didn’t go to do keertan seva that day because Bhai Sahib was very sick and she knew that Bhai Sahib would still want to go to Sri Darbaar Sahib. When his wife turned on the television she saw Bhai Sahib doing keertan (I think it was Asa Di Vaar keertan). She brought someone else to the television and showed them and they said it’s probably a recording. Still in doubt they opened the locked room and went in and found that the window was wide open and Bhai Jeevan Singh jee no where to be found. He had jumped out of the window somehow and went to do keertan seva even though he was really sick. This was the dedication of a beloved Gursikh for his Guru.
Bhai Jeevan Singh Has the Entire Guru Granth Sahib Ji memorized:
Jalandhar: When others are busy in the hustle-bustle of the celebrations of Guruta Gaddi Diwas, there are two octogenarians, with rare glow on their faces, who are quietly engaged in the recitation of Gurbani. The astonishing part is that they remember by heart almost the entire holy book spread over 1,430 pages. Just consider the vastness of the scripture. According to SGPC website, Guru Granth Sahib contains 5,894 hymns and the number of stanzas are 15,575.
The first one is Bhai Jiwan Singh, who lives near the Golden Temple and gets the oppotunity to listen to the continuous kirtan and the second one is Bhai Surat Singh, known as “Pooran ji”, who starts his daily routine of “path” just around midnight.
“It is not yet known about any other surviving member of the community who has been able to memorize the vast holy book. There were some more such persons but they were not alive,” says Balwinder Pal Singh, editor of a journal.
Remaining reticent and epitomizing humility the two prefer not to make any such claim or even discuss it but those who know them reveal their accomplishment. “Just read out one line from any hymn and both will complete it,” says Ranjodh Singh, co-editor of another journal, who knows the two quite well.
A revered spiritualist in the Sikh community, Bhai Jiwan Singh has travelled extensively around the world. However, for the last couple of years, as age took over him, he remains confined to his house.
“In which ever house he went kirtan started emanating,” says Jaswinder Singh Khalsa, an NRI living in UK, who is also chairman of the Sukrit Trust and owes change in his life to the spiritualist.
“He not just transformed lives but also played a role in starting several welfare projects,” reveals Harkirat Singh, former GM of Coal India and now trustee of Satnam Sarb Kalyan Trust, which was got started by Bhai Jiwan Singh.
About Pooran ji, who retired as district manager of the FCI, his son-in-law Kuljit Singh revealed that after retiring to his bed at around 7.30 pm he gets up at 10.45 pm. Then after a bath he goes to Darbar Sahib around 11.45 pm and just after midnight he along with some other devotees starts recitation of Gurbani at the “parikarma”. “Then he goes to the sanctum sanctorum when its doors open after 2 am and after listening to kirtan he returns. He remains engrossed in reciting “path” in the day also,” he disclosed, adding that “he can listen to kirtan for continuous 12 hours.”
FAITH ON MEMORY: Bhai Jiwan Singh; (right) Bhai Surat Singh