One of the Greatest Sants: Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji

Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji {Hoti Mardan (Fauj wardi wich)}

Mahapurush Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji

 Babaji was born in village Kazia, zila Rawalpindi now in Pakistan in the year 1826 to parents Kripa Singh and Suba Devi. During that time, the 11th generation descendant of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s family, Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi was revered and had a considerable following.  Kazia had an abundance of cool springs and natural greenery. The natural beauty and solitude offered by the environment of village Kazia would invariably draw some Mahapurush who would find this the perfect place to meditate on God’s Name.  As a result of this the village was always brimming with activity. Once, while passing through this place, Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi lured by the solitude of the environment decided to stay here along with his followers. Village Kazia had been established by a just and righteous Qazi. The village had a few Hindu and Sikh families who were mostly traders by profession. On hearing of the advent of Baba Sahib Ji Bedi at village Kazia, people started arriving in large numbers.

On hearing of the arrival of Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi, Baba Karma Singh Ji’s aunt (maasi) Kartar Kaur also came to have a darshan of the Mahapurush. On seeing innumerable people getting their desires fulfilled along with instructions of meditation on God’s Name, a desire arose in Kartar Kaur’s mind. She thought that since her sister was upset due to the absence of the gift of a son, it would be a good idea to bring her along with her family to seek blessings from Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi. Gurbani says: 

ਚਾਰਿ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਮਾਗੈ ॥ ਸਾਧ ਜਨਾ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ 

Filled with such thoughts, Kartar Kaur inspired her sister’s family to come and seek the blessings of Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi. The family placed whatever offerings they had bought at the feet of Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi, bowed and sat down close to him. At and appropriate moment, Bibi Kartar Kaur humbly requested “Baba Ji, you are the knower of hearts. My sister has three daughters. Her family has arrived at your feet requesting for the gift of a son. Please bless the family and grant them the gift of a son”. On hearing these words of Bibi Kartar Kaur, Baba Ji quietly closed his eyes and went into Samadhi. He opened his eyes some time later, smiled and said “A boy will be born. If he is born in the early morning hours (amrit vela), he will be a great Mahapurush who will have no equal. He will spread the light of Naam to lakhs of people”. The family was delighted to hear the words of Baba Ji. 

As a result of Baba Ji’s blessings, Mata Suba Devi fell pregnant. Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s Baani says:

ਉਦਰੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਆਇ ਕੀਆ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਮਾਤਾ ਕੈ ਮਨਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਗਾਸੁ ॥

The family was delighted. As a result of Waheguru’s will, ten months later, a baby boy was born. The entire family, friends and relatives joy knew no bounds.  S. Kripa Singh went to the Gurudwara and through ardas in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, requested for a name for the child.  The first letter of the resulting Hukamnama was ‘K’. The congregation at the Gurudwara joyously declared the name of the child to be Karam Singh.

Time passed by and the child grew up to be five years old. In consultation with his wife, S. Kripa Singh started sending the child to the Gurudwara so that he could be imparted religious education and knowledge of the Gurmukhi alphabet by Granthi Sahib. Sant Ji started reciting Gurbani much before the other students in the class. Granthi Ji also showered tremendous affection on Sant Ji. One day while Sant Ji was going to school, he saw two of his schoolmates fighting with each other. Sant Ji separated them with much effort. While separating the two children, one of the boys got hit more by the other boy. The boy went and complained to Granthi Ji that Sant Ji had held him and got him beaten. 

On hearing this. Granthi Ji severely scolded Sant Ji. Considering Granthi Ji to be his educational Guru, Sant Ji did not try to justify his case but rather continued sitting quietly. As was the case everyday, Granthi Ji had langar in the evening and retired for the night. At midnight, he had a dream and felt a weight upon his body. A divine voice spoke “Bhai Sahib Ji! In future do not scold the boy Karam Singh who was severely reprimanded by you today. This child has come in the form of a divine Saint and he will spend his life as a Saint”.

This voice was heard twice by Granthi Ji but he ignored it and continued sleeping. The divine voice then spoke for the third time “Granthi Sahib Ji!! Do not think of this message as a false dream. He is a divine Saint. He is a divine Saint”. On hearing the divine voice for the third time, Granthi Ji got convinced. Granthi Ji woke up in the early morning hours, took bath and did his Nitnem. He then went and cleaned the Gurudwara. He then did the prakash of Guru Granth Sahib and prepared Karah Prashad. He then recited Sukhmani Sahib, did Kirtan and followed it by Ardas. By this time a lot of people had congregated at the Gurudwara. After reciting the Hukamnama but before the distribution of Karah Prashad, he greeted the entire congregation and narrated the previous night’s incidents and the message from the divine voice that Kaka Karam Singh was in fact a divine Saint. He narrated that he had heard the divine voice thrice and was convinced that indeed Kaka Karam Singh was a divine Saint. He then requested the congregation to not to address Kaka Karam Singh as Karam Singh henceforth. “He should now be address by everyone as Sant Karam Singh. Everyone in the Guru’s Darbar should accede to my request”. Thence after, everyone started addressing Sant Ji as Sant Karam Singh. Even his own family started addressing him as Sant Karam Singh. 

(If you wish to read about this in more detail, you can refer to “Chamakde Sitare”, in which the lives of the six Mahapurush have been described).

Sant Karam Singh Ji’s getting baptized and obtaining Naam
Two rooms existed near a fountain outside village Kazia. Parks also bordered these two rooms. Sadhus and Saints used to come and stay at this captivating place. They used to stay here for some days, give discourses on Gurbani, do Kirtan and used to then go back. Sant Ram Singh who was a Brahmin and was free from worldly attachments also stayed at this place for some time. He never used to stay for long at any one place fearing that he would get attached to the place. But if the place had followers of the Guru, who would meditate on Naam, read and listen to Gurbani, then he would stay at that place for some time. Sant Karam Singh was now a young man but his desires revolved around serving Saints, meeting and worshiping them, listening to Katha and Kirtan and meditating on the Naam. Sant Karam Singh Ji stayed with and served Sant Ram Singh Ji for a few days. One day, Sant Karam Singh Ji, seeing an opportune moment, requested Sant Ram Singh Ji for the gift of the Naam.  Sant Ram Singh Ji said, “first go and get baptized by taking Amrit, then we’ll talk further”. On hearing Sant Ram Singh Ji’s words, Sant Karam Singh Ji went to Akal Takht Sahib Amritsar and got baptized by taking of Amrit. In those days, Sikhs used to get baptized by partaking Amrit only at the Takhts. It was considered that after getting baptized by partaking Amrit at the Takhts, people would get immersed in the Naam.

After Sant Karam Singh Ji was baptized, Sant Ram Singh Ji blessed him the gift of the Naam.  

One day, Baba Ram Singh Ji while giving discourses on Gurbani took the following line:

ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਮਾਤਾ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਪਿਤਾ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਪਰਮੇਸੁਰਾ ॥

The meaning of the above line is that mother and father are the form of the Guru. Serving them is necessary as serving them with mind, body and money results in the obtainment of God’s pleasure. Sant Karam Singh Ji imprinted this thought in his mind and started helping out with household chores. His parents remembered Bedi Sahib Ji’s words that he would have no equal in this world. That’s why before Sant Karam Singh Ji could do anything; they would finish all household chores so that he would not be burdened with any task. Sant Karam Singh Ji thought that since the family did not let him serve them with his body, he thought of serving them by helping out with money. At that time, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had left for the heavenly abode, but the Sikh kingdom was still alive. Sant Ji got enlisted in the army. But the Sikh kingdom could not continue for long since the Dogra’s rebelled and joined hands with the British. So, despite winning, the Sikhs lost and the British took over the reins of the kingdom. The British established the Gatt battalion whose cantonment was at Hoti Mardan. Sant Karam Singh Ji then joined this battalion and soon became a havildar in the army. But still your inclination was always toward reading Gurbani and serving the Guru’s house. You celebrated all Gurupurab’s with great fervor and served with your body, mind and money. You inspired people to be attached to the Guru’s house and as a result people would also get attached to the Guru, Seva, Simran, Katha and Kirtan.

Sant Ji’s consciousness merging with the Almighty while reading Gurbani
Sant Ji was very regular with his Nitnem. He mind never wandered while reciting Gurbani, doing Seva or Simran. One evening as he was about to start reciting Rehraas Sahib, he thought of sitting at a quiet place so that he could fully enjoy the recitation of Gurbani. Wearing simple clothes, he sat down in solitude and started the recitation of Rehraas Sahib. During the recitation, he started repeating a particular line of Gurbani with great love.  This line was from Guru Ram Das Ji’s Gurbani. 

ਤੇਰੇ ਭਗਤ ਤੇਰੇ ਭਗਤ ਸਲਾਹਨਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਜੀ ਹਰਿ ਅਨਿਕ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਨੰਤਾ॥

While repeating this line of Gurbani, he went into a state of Samadhi. His duty hours steadily started passing by. Subedar Ahmed Rehman used to be extremely jealous of the exalted status granted to Sant Ji.  He used to continuously approach officers and lodge complaints against Sant Ji. The officers though paid scant regard to his complaints. One day while he was on a round, he saw that Havaldar Sant Karam Singh Ji was not on his duty.  <Line missing>. The Subedar thought, that this was a good opportunity and since the officer in charge that day was a British officer, he could show to him that Sant Karam Singh Ji was absent from duty and as a result all his previous complaints would also be upheld. Additionally, he thought this was a great opportunity to reduce the esteem that Sant Karam Singh Ji was held in. As he was about to go to the officer, he thought it would be pertinent to just doubly confirm that Sant Ji was indeed not around. As he was looking around, he saw a Sikh sitting in solitude. On going near, he recognized the Sikh to be Sant Karam Singh Ji who was now in a state of total Samadhi. The Subedar, then quickly went to the officer and brought him to the place where Sant Ji was supposed to be on duty and to the great surprise of the Subedar, Sant Ji was there  and He quickly and smartly saluted them. The Havaldar was standing at his duty spot, fully alert!! The officer was very happy to see Sant Ji there and asked him a few questions to which he got the right answers. Just for his own satisfaction, the Subedar then again went to the place where Sant Ji was sitting in Samadhi and to his greatest astonishment, Sant Ji was right there, still in a state of Samadhi. The Subedar again rushed to the British officer and after saluting him said “Sir, Sant Ji is sitting in a state of Samadhi”. The officer said “Subedar, has the fear of punishment taken over you as a result of which you are seeing two of everything?”. The Subedar said, “I swear by Allah that I am saying the truth. Come and see for yourself”. On the persistence of the Subedar, the British officer went to the place where the Subedar had seen Sant Ji in a state of Samadhi and to his great surprise, he saw Sant Ji there deeply engrossed in a state of Samadhi. The officer went back to the place where Sant Ji was on duty and Sant Ji was present there as well. On doing this three times,  he was taken aback to see there was not the slightest difference in both of them. The officer then took off his cap, bowed before Sant Ji and said “Subedar Ji, the honor of God’s devotee is always upheld”.  The officer went back to his office, amazed by the compassion and kindness shown by the Almighty. When Sant Ji came out of his state of Samadhi, he realized that he had been absent from duty for many hours. Even then, he wore his uniform and reported for duty. On completing his duty for the day, he thought that he would go to office the next morning , admit his fault and accept any punishment that would be meted out to him. Engrossed in such thoughts, Sant Ji retired for the night. He woke up next day at Amrit Vela, took bath and completed his Nitnem.

Sant Karam Singh Ji goes to office and prepares to dedicate his life to the service of the Almighty
Sant Karam Singh Ji got ready and reached office. The officer on duty the previous night was narrating the nights events to the people present in the office. All officers and officials were engrossed in thinking about what they had just heard. As soon as Sant Ji entered the office, all of them reverentially stood up and with bowed heads requested Sant Ji to take a seat. Sant Ji said “Sahib Ji, please listen to me first. I was absent from duty for quite some time last night. So either grant me pardon or punishment as per the rules”. The office on duty said “Punishment for what? You were present at both places. At one place you were on government duty, at the other you were engrossed in God’s service”.  The officer showed Sant Ji the register on which he had obtained Sant Ji’s signatures and humbly said that he was present on duty at the said time. When Sant Ji saw the signatures, he realized that they were exactly the same as his own. At that time, Sant Ji resolutely declared that if “My Guru Gobind Singh Ji can be at the service of his servant, then I will spend the rest of my life meditating on Him”. All the officers said in unison that they would not remove Sant Ji’s names from the rolls of the Army. Sant Ji replied saying that his name had now been written at the feet of the Almighty. No register now contains my name. On hearing this, the officers opened up the registers that contained Sant Ji’s name and to their great surprise, the locations that had Sant Ji’s name had now gone blank. Event the location on the register on which Sant Ji’s name had been written the previous night had now gone blank. Sant Ji then repeated that now his name had been written at the feet of Guru Maharaj.  He said that now he would spend his life in the remembrance and singing the praises of the True King. The officers again pleaded that “spend your days in meditation at any place you like but spend the nights with the battalion”. Sant Ji replied that he would spend as much time as he could with the battalion but he would promise anything. Due to the blessings arising as a result of Sant Ji’s meditation, a small seasonal rivulet that flowed a little away from village Bagdade (which was a little distance from Hoti Mardan) now became a little river and became known as the Kalpani river. The water that flowed in the river was very clean and Sant Ji used to sit on the banks of the river and meditate on the Almighty.

ਤਿਨਾ ਦਰੀਆਵਾ ਸਿਉ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਮਨਿ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਚਾ ਨਾਉ ॥

Anything uttered by BabaJi would always hold true
Sant Singh who was the Chaudhary of village Rustam had married three times but was still bereft of the gift of a son.  He heard about  <Meaning of gaatha> Sant Baba Karam Singh from one of his devotees. A strong desire to seek the darshan of Sant Ji arose in him. He went to Babaji and very humbly requested Babaji to visit his house. He pleaded that the devotees of the entire village also joined him in inviting Babaji.  On seeing the strong devotion expressed by the Chaudhary, Babaji acceded to his request. Sant Ji said that a Akhand Path would be organized. The Chaudhary asked for permission to leave and happily went back home. Sant Ji reached village Rustam one day prior to the commencement of the Akhand Path. The Akhand Path of Sri Guru Granth Sahib commenced the following day. Babaji would spend the day in meditation in a well close by. He would come back in the evening, listen to Gurbani and then perform his duties.  One day, the village’s Nambardar’s only son who was a loafer and who was also extremely arrogant came to the well where Babaji was deep in meditation (on the day when the Akhand Path had reached the ‘madh’ (which is the middle)). Some devotees were sitting outside. The Pathan’s son asked them as to why were they sitting there. The devotees replied saying that Baba Karam Singh Ji from Hoti Mardan was visiting and all of them were waiting there seeking his darshan. 

The Pathan youth said that he had heard that the faqir was supposedly  <fill meaning here>. He added that he would today want to test the fakir to see <fill meaning here>. He said that “I want to have halwa today and I will not let anyone from here bring halwa. Let the faqir obtain the halwa for me <fill meaning here>.”

The Sehajdhari devotees tried to make the Pathan youth see sense but he was too stubborn to listen to anyone. He started speaking even more loudly. On hearing the noise being made, Sant Ji called the devotees and asked them as to what was the matter. The devotees replied saying “Babaji, this is the Nambardar’s son <fill meaning here> . He is asking for halva and he says he will not let anyone from here bring halwa in as well”. Sant Ji said to the devotees “Ask him to sit down and tell him that halwa will reach here automatically”. The Sehajdhari’s quietly sat down and kept looking down the road to see if anyone was bringing halwa. Soon enough, they saw two devotees coming in from village Mache. They were carrying something on their heads. On coming closer, it became evident that they were carrying huge trays on their heads. Both of them greeted Babaji and kept down the trays near Babaji. Babaji asked the devotees to give one tray to the Pathan youth. The devotees picked up one tray which was full of halwa and placed it in front of the Path. On seeing the tray full of halwa, the Pathan became nervous <check meaning here>. His complexion paled and he could not get up and walk. Stumbling and falling, he somehow managed to reach home. He dropped onto the bed with a bug thud <check meaning>. On seeing his condition, the entire family grew very worried. Qazis, tantriks, etc were called but to no avail. The entire family was sitting around him and he managed to utter “Faqir <check meaning here>”. It immediately dawned on the entire family that the youth would have in some way insulted <check meaning here> Babaji. The entire family taking Chaudhary Sant Singh along approached Babaji and payed obeisance to him. They pleaded in front of Babaji saying that the youth “is your son. He has made a mistake, please forgive him”. Sant Ji replied saying that “I have neither said nor done anything to him. He had asked for halva and he was given the same to eat”. One by one all the members of the family pleaded with Babaji. Babaji then said “If you can serve Saints and Fakirs you should do so. But never be rude or say things to insult anyone”. Sant Ji then uttered the Naam and sprinkled drops of Amrit on the face of the youth and he immediately got up hale and hearty. 

The Akhand Path completed at Chaudhary Sant Singh’s house. All the devotees were served langar with a lot of love and affection. Sant Ji was also given a lot of respect. Sant Ji then prepared for the return back to the dera. All the members of the family paying obeisance to Sant Ji requested Sant Ji for the gift of a son. Sant Ji replied “Don’t worry. A son will be born. Meditate on God’s name regularly and Waheguru will shower His blessings”. Babaji then returned back to the dera.

Guru Maharaj showered his blessings and a son was born but his legs were deformed. The family brought the child to Sant Ji to obtain His blessings and said “Sant Ji, his legs are deformed”. Baba Ji said “as the boy will continue to grow, his legs will be cured as well”. As per Sant Ji’s Hukam, the legs of the boy were cured in due course. Guru Maharaj showered his blessings again and another son who was named Bhagat Singh was born to the family. Two more boys were born to the family. Blessed are those people who fall under the kind eye of Saints.

A new British officer from England was placed with the battalion. On hearing the praises of Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji, a desire to meet Baba Ji arose within him. The officer taking along Rasaaldar Jivan Singh, and a few other Sikh youths payed obeisance and heard discourses from Babaji. On meeting Babaji, a new desire arose with the British officer. He thought it would be great if Babaji moved closer to the battalion so that he could pay obeisance to and benefit from listening to Babaji every day. On the way back, the British officer disclosed his desire to Rasaaldar Jivan Singh. The Rasaaldar promised the officer that he would bring Babaji closer to the cantonment. The British officer was overjoyed that he would be able to meet Babaji every day. The next day, Rasaaldar Jivan Singh taking a few other Sikh’s with him, came to Babaji. They paid obeisance to Babaji and then requested “the British officer desires that you come closer to the cantonment so that he can have your darshan everyday”.  On listening to the Rasaaldar’s request, Babaji replied “on doing this, visits from devotees living near the cantonment will increase and there will be little time left for meditation. That’s why it is difficult for me to live nearer the cantonment”. The Rasaaldar again tried compelling Sant Ji to live closer to the cantonment but keeping the objective  of meditation in mind, Sant Ji declined his request. On seeing SantJi decline his request, the Rasaaldar grew angry and spoke in an unbecoming manner . After uttering such words, the Rasaaldar went away.  

Mahapurush Ji’s humble mind grew sad after this incident and without telling anyone SantJi left for Amritsar. On reaching Amritsar, He met a Saint and it turned out that both of them had common interests.  SantJi used to spend His time in meditation or He would go to Darbar Sahib and listen to Kirtan. Both the saints were staying in a house at Chowk Manaa Singh, Gadiawaali gali, and would spend their time in meditation.  SantJi would get up at Amrit vela and would go to Sri Darbar Sahib, would take a round of the Parikrama and then would sit at one corner, close His eyes and enjoy the Kirtan.  This way 14 months passed. The devotees back at Hoti Mardan were now intensely longing for a darshan of SantJi. Eventually, in order to dispel the sorrow of the devotees, the Lord Almighty intervened. A devotee from Hoti Mardan came to Darbar Sahib. He not only had the darshan of SantJi but also on returning to Hoti Mardan told the devotees that he had found SantJi.  All of them were overjoyed and they got together and reached Darbar Sahib. After paying obeisance at Darbar Sahib, all of them together humbly requested SantJi to return. SantJi acceded to their request and returned back to Hoti Mardan. All the devotees were now happy and satisfied after paying obeisance to SantJi.

On the other hand, the Rasaaldar was now ill and bedridden. In his mind, he would continuously ask for forgiveness for his offensive behavior. He came to know that Sant Ji had returned to Hoti Mardan. He consulted with his fellow soldiers and decided to conduct an Akhand Path. He sent his fellow soldiers to request SantJi to come to the Akhand Path and attend the program. On hearing the request of the soldiers, SantJi agreed to their request and said He would attend the Akhand Path.  SantJi reached to attend the Bhog of the Akhand Path. After the Bhog, Kirtan was recited post which the Ardas was conducted. Then everyone partook of the langar. The Rasaaldar then told his fellow soldiers to place his bed on the path that SantJi would take while going back so that he could ask for forgiveness. When SantJi on the way back to the dera passed the Rasaaldar, the Rasaaldar prayed for forgiveness, saying SantJi “Please forgive me for my mistakes, you are always forgiving. Saints are always forgiving. I am not requesting you to prolong my life, I request you to improve my life in the next world (Parlok)”. SantJi said “O! Innocent man, life in the next world can only be improved by uttering Waheguru”. The Rasaaldar then requested SantJi to utter Waheguru so that his mind would get attuned to the Name. The ever compassionate SantJi then said “Bhai! In the Sikh faith, the Naam is “Waheguru Waheguru”. Get your mind to repeat Waheguru constantly and GuruJi will shower His blessings”. After blessing the Rasaaldar, SantJi returned back to the dera. After a few days, the Rasaaldar while constantly repeating the Naam Waheguru, passed away and found his abode at the Guru’s feet.  Gurbani says:

ਨਾਮ ਜਪਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਚਰਨ ਨਿਵਾਸ  ॥ 

One day, Dr. Diwan Singh brought along an English lady and after paying obeisance to SantJi humbly said “Maharaj Ji! This lady’s husband had gone to England for a few days but now many months have passed and he has not returned. As a result, she is very upset. Please bless her so that her husband returns quickly”.  SantJi reassured them and told them not to worry and said that her husband would soon return. Only twenty days had passed and the lady’s husband returned as though nothing had happened.

The English lady was astonished and delighted to see her husband return. She called Dr. Diwan Singh the very next day and then they together went to the dera to pay their respects to SantJi. After respectfully paying homage, the English man could not take his eyes of SantJi and continuously stared at Him. The lady shook her husband and asked him as to what was the matter. Her husband replied saying that it was this very MahaPurush who had inspired me to come back. He visited me twice when I was ill and admitted in hospital. He cured me by rubbing my back gently and made me agree to come back home.

Devotees started visiting the Dera in huge numbers. The other saints in the dera would with a lot of love and affection take good care of the devotees. Langar would be prepared for everyone and they would ensure that while leaving everyone was happy and satisfied. SantJi continued to meditate and in 1902, He left for His heavenly abode and merged into the Almighty. This day is till today remembered with great devotion.

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