300th Anniversary of Coronation of the “Eternal Guru” brings representatives of major Bhagats of Guru Granth Sahib together with Panthic leaders, ragis, and scholars in Gobind Sadan
Baba Virsa Singh ji Maharaj Memorial Trust Hosts Befitting Tribute
Gobind Sadan, New Delhi
18th and 19th October
Noteably, representatives of Bhagats Kabir, Nam Dev, Ravi Das, Dhanna, Parmanand, Jai Dev, and Baba Sheikh Farid were present. They came from as far away as Orissa (Bhagat Jai Dev), from Chauru, Barsi, Maharastra, Varanasi, and Faridkot. They were joined by representatives from Ajmer Sharif, home to Mohiuddin Chisti, the Saint who brought Islam to India, from Haridwar, and by the leading Udasi and Nirmala Saints.
Siri Guru Granth Sahib’s 1432 pages of revelations are composed in some 31 ragas (classical Indian melodies). Kirtan, singing God’s Praises, comprises an essential part of every Sikh’s life and daily worship, but few living singers still have command of the original ragas and offer more modern composition. Baba Virsa Singh ji was adamant that this treasure of our culture should not be lost and appointed Bibi Jaswant Kaur as Gobind Sadan’s (hazuri) resident artist. Now in her 80’s has consistently won awards as one who can still perform all the ragas of the Gurbani. She was joined by other renowned ragis, Bhai Charamjit Singh Lal, Bhai Ranjit Singh Chandan, and classical artist Preeta Balbir.
Punjabi University Patiala department of Religious Studies head and frequent Gobind Sadan guest, Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu lead a team of scholars who focused on different aspects of Guru Granth Sahib’s philosophy.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, Swami Roshan Lal Arya, Vice President of Arya Samaj All-India, addressed the gathering and a letter from Sri Ashok Singhal (who serves as one of the Trusts patrons).
In 1708, at Sachkhand Nanded Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh ji placed Guru Granth Sahib on the Guru’s Gaddi and bowed with full reverence. Then he called upon all his followers to regard Guru Granth Sahib as the Eternal Living Guru from that day onwards.
In 2006, the Head Granthi of Sachkhand Siri Hazur Sahib, approached is Holiness Baba Virsa Singh ji to bless the occasion. He asked Babaji the best way to celebrate this auspicious day. Babaji answered: “Guru Granth Sahib is unique as a world holy scripture. In addition to the bani of 6 of the 10 Gurus, Guru Granth Sahib purposely includes the bani of 30 contemporary Saints and Bhagats from the different castes, languages, regions, and religions of India, to show that God is above any parochial boundaries and to pave the way for a pluralistic civil society which exhibits love and peace among all without any discrimination.”
Dr. Rai Singh, President of the Baba Virsa Singh ji Maharaj Memorial Trust, thanked the thousands present at the two day celebration for fulfilling the Baba Virsa Singh ji’s vision of raising the image of Guru Granth Sahib as the Living Guru of humanity.
It is worthy to note that ancestors and representatives of the leading Bhagats took part.
- Kabir Panthi – Dr. Tripurari Das
- 17th descendant of Bhagat Nam Dev, Gyaneshwar Nam Das from Maharastra
- Bhagat Ravi Das’s – Bhagat Bhusan, from Varanasi
- Bhagat Dhanna Jatt – Baba Daljit Singh from Chauru
- Baba Sheikh Farid Institute – Dr. Inderjit Singh Khalsa, Faridkot, Punjab
- Bhagat Jai Dev – Parful Mishra, scholar from Orissa
- Bhagat Paramanand – Sanjay Pandey from Barsi receives award from Churchill Singh Chadha
Other leading spiritual representatives
- Syed Zahiruddin Babar Chisti, Ajmer Sharif
- Swami Hansudas Ji Maharaj, Jagannath Dam, Haridwar
- Maha Mandaleshwar Ganga Das Maharaj, Udasi Gaddi Baba Lal Dayal, Jallandhar
- Swami Chinmayanda Ji, Haridwar (former Central Minister of Home Affairs, State)
- Swami Krishan Das Kanjhli, Udasi
- Swami Rameshwar Shastri, Brahm Buta Akhara, Amritsar, with photo of Baba Virsa Singh Ji
- Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu
- Dr. Bhupinder Singh Khehra, Punjabi University, Patiala, is recognized by Gurdev Singh and Rai Singh of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial Trust
- Dr. Mohammed Habib, Punjabi University, Patiala
- Dr. Baltej Singh Mann, Punjabi University, Patiala
- Bhai Kirpal Singh – Chief Research Scholar, Gobind Sadan Institute
- Dr Surjit Kaur Jolly, Sec’y of the Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religions
- Bibi Jaswant Kaur, of Gobind Sadan
- Bibi Preeta Balbir, renowned classical singer
- Bhai Chamanjit Lal
- Bhai Ranjit Singh ji Chandan
- Bhai Chamanjit Lal greets bhaktas of Bhagat Nam Dev from Maharastra
Throughout the festivities the Nihangs known for their daring riding and martial arts skills entertained the sangat. None so dramatic as the fire breathing young man at dusk.
- Horses of Nihang Singhs, Amritsar, with riderless horse of Guru Gobind Singh
- Fire-breathing by Nihang Singh