Books released are on Baba Siri Chand ji’s and the Udasis’ contribution to world peace.
“I am Chief Minister today due to Baba Virsa Singh ji’s blessings,”
Parkash Singh Badal, C.M. Punjab
“Baba Siri Chand ji is one of India’s greatest heroes. He brought peace to the subcontinent at a time of intense religious and communal conflict. It’s a very happy day that Badal Sahib has declared a holiday in Punjab.”
Baba Virsa Singh
September 24, 2007 Gobind Sadan, New Delhi.
The concluding function of Gobind Sadan’s 3 day celebration of the birthday of Baba Siri Chand, the great mystic saint, and one of India’s greatest but least known heroes, saw Punjab Chief Minister, Sardar Parkash Singh Badal, Shri Ashok Singhal, Shri Kuldeep Nayar, and Russian dignitaries, Andrei Bielyaninov, Russian Minister of Excise and Customs, and Svetlana Smirnova, M.P. and Duma Deputy, join Baba Virsa Singh in offering their praise for Baba Siri Chand ji.
The Chief Minister released a new book by the Gobind Sadan Institute: “The Contribution of the Udasi Semperdai to Sikh History,” a collection of major scholars’ papers from Gobind Sadan’s recent and past seminars which show the immense contribution of Baba Siri Chand ji and his followers to maintaining and spreading Guru Nanak’s teachings. The book includes the works of Dr. Sulakhan Singh of G.N.D.U Amritsar which conclusively documents that Udasis were clearly considered part of the Sikh Panth until the Singh Sabha Movement and British policies of the early 1900’s created a schism. The book also contains Baba Virsa Singh ji’s own experiences and evidence that the Gurus from Guru Angad Devji to Guru Hargobind Sahib ji all had great reverence for Baba Siri Chand ji.
In his comments, the Chief Minister shared how Baba Virsa Singh ji had impacted his life: “Throughout my life, Baba Virsa Singh has continually put his head on my head, and continually blessed me. I am Chief Minister today because of Babaji’s blessings.”
Badal Sahib continued, “If there is one place where we can truly see Guru Gobind Singh’s manas ki jat in practice it is here in Gobind Sadan. I wanted people to know and respect the power of Baba Siri Chand ji to bring peace to a troubled world.”
In recognition of Baba Siri Chand ji’s immense contribution towards communal harmony and overcoming religious conflict during his well-documented life span of 149 years from 1494 to 1643, the Govt. of Punjab became the first to officially declare a public holiday on September 21st on his 514th birth anniversary.
While praising Baba Siri Chand ji, Shri Ashok Singhal, Int’l President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad stated: “Behind this holiday is Baba Virsa Singh, who teaches us to respect all traditions. When we speak of Divine Vision, if there is anyone in all of India I want to bow to it’s Baba Virsa Singh. He has the power to overcome all our conflicts and unify India.”
Andrei Belyaninov, Russian Federation Central Minister for Customs and Excise stated how pleased he was to learn that Guru Nanak and Baba Siri Chand had carried their positive message to Tashkent and Samarkhand and brought peace to the region, and during the period of Czars, Babaji’s followers had maintained centers in St Petersburg and on Lake Baku. He added that he looks forward to the day when once more a center for peace can be opened in Russia.
Svetlana Smirnova, M.P. and Deputy of the State Duma, spoke of her personal experiences of the inner strength she gained from meditation and the inspiration she has taken from Baba Virsa Singh and Baba Siri Chand ji. She thanked everyone from the bottom of her heart for their hospitality and called on the people of both countries to understand they are brothers and sisters.
The birthday celebration opened on the 21st with 9 Akhand Paths, kirtan, poetry, continuous prayers at the havans, and a major seminar on his life and impact of the Udasis on Sikh history with papers presented by research scholars from Amritsar, Chandigarh, and Patiala.
Babaji told the gathering, “We have read a lot, written a lot, and talked a lot, but nothing has changed in the world. Now is the time for us to meditate and focus our research within ourselves. Once we’ve found peace within ourselves, we can share it with the world.”
Baba Siri Chand Ji was Guru Nanak Dev ji’s elder son and first disciple. At birth in Sultanpur Lodhi, district Kapurthala, Punjab, a thin layer of ash covered his body at birth and his right ear lobe extended into a natural ring. Many consider him an incarnation of Lord Shiva. While he was Guru Nanak Dev ji’s true follower, learning meditation and spiritual truths at his father’s feet, to supplement his education, Guruji sent him to Shrinagar to study in the school of Pandit Parshotam Das Kaul. When Guru Nanak Devji returned from his fourth Udasi, Baba ji accepted the responsibility from his father Guru Nanak of uniting the various spiritual schools of India. His life was a constant stream of miracles demonstrating God’s power to the people. Babaji was revered by Muslims and Hindus, ascetics and householders alike. He carried Guru Nanak’s message of religious harmony and peaceful co-existence from Sindh to Shrinagar and from Kandhar to Kabul. Babaji was held in great esteem by the ensuing five Sikh Gurus. In fact, both Guru Amar Das ji and Guru Hargobind Sahib ji offered their sons in service to Babaji. Most notably, Guru Hargobind Sahib ji’s son Baba Gurditta is widely regarded as the patriarch of the Udasi Semperdaya. It was also with Babaji’s blessings that Guru Arjan Dev Ji obtained the Guru’s bani to compile the Adi Granth. And it was Baba Siri Chand ji who named the Holy City, Amritsar. At the time of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the census showed that Baba Siri Chand Ji had the greatest following throughout his kingdom.
Baba Virsa Singh established Gobind Sadan on the outskirts of Delhi at Gadaipur in 1968 and following Baba Shri Chand Ji’s example, created a living model of Guru Nanak’s teachings of combining prayer with hard work, communal harmony and love for all religions. At Gobind Sadan, the holy Guru Granth Sahib is recited day & night and the havan burns continuously on the same spot where it was established in 1968, Namaz is offered 5 times a day at the mosque and the Lord’s prayer is recited before a life-size image of Jesus every evening by devotees comprising all faiths, including foreigners. Mandirs dot the hillside, the Sh’ma place marks the covenant between God and Abraham, and Lords Buddha and Mahavir welcome people for meditation. Baba Virsa Singh is outspoken that there should be no poverty and has successfully demonstrated practical means of poverty reduction by turning barren and flood-ravaged banks of Mata Ganga at Garh Mukteshwar, U.P. into high-yielding fertile farm lands (now called Shiv Sadan) through sheer hard work and determination, resulting in socio-economic uplift of the poverty-stricken local population. The model has found wide appreciation among development experts and organizations, including UNDP’s Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor. Baba Virsa Singh has a great following in Russia where in 2004 he was hosted by Moscow Mayor Lushckov and invited to the Duma (Russian Parliament) where he addressed leading committee members.