Baba Siri Chand ji’s birthday recognized in Golden Temple, Amritsar, and on major Punjabi Television Stations. Major progress made in Baba Virsa Singh ji’s lifelong desire and celebration in Gobind Sadan pulls sangat together.
This year as always Gobind Sadan celebrated Baba Siri Chand’s birthday with great love and enthusiasm at its central Delhi campus, as well as its other communities. Many old followers of Baba Virsa Singh came back to join in the celebrations for the first time since his passing, so there was a happy atmosphere of a loving family reunion. Many devotees joined in seva, and large crowds attended all the events. There were also significant advances in fulfillment of Baba Virsa Singh’s lifelong efforts to restore appreciation of his beloved teacher, Baba Siri Chand, across the Sikh community and beyond. One sign of this change was the announcement during the live telecast of the programme at the holiest Sikh institution—Harmandir Sahib, the “Golden Temple”—congratulating the sangat on the birthday of Baba Siri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. An excellent documentary on Baba Siri Chand was shown 3 times during the weekend on PTC Punjabi TV and Time TV Chardikala networks.
Gobind Sadan’s celebrations began with 7 Akhand Paths on September 13. On September 14, a large team of doctors from Awadh Health Care in Sultanpur treated hundreds of devotees in a free medical camp, including eye checks, dental checks, blood tests, sugar tests, physiotherapy, and consultation with general physicians, gynecologist, and psychologist. They offered the same services again on September 15th, in addition to free ayurvedic care by renowned Dr. S. V. Tripathi, Chief Ayurvedic Physician and Gold Medalist from Moolchand Medcity Hospital, and free physiotherapy by Drs. Jayant and Vinita Manchanda, heads of physiotherapy from Kolmet Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Saturday evening, September 14, there was a special havan at Angeetha Sahib, the place of Baba Virsa Singh’s samadhi. After the havan, children from the Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Public School presented kirtan and a cultural programme with a Punjabi song and dance about roti (bread). The sangat loved it so much that everyone throughout the large field jumped to their feet and danced and clapped along with the students.
The Akhand Path bhog was on Sunday, September 15, followed by excellent kirtan and talks. The ragis included Bhai Jagtar Singh Rajpura, Hazuri Ragi, Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar, Gurbachan Singh Lalli from Delhi, Bhai Sat Nam Singh from Gurdaspur, and Baba Jernail Singh from Bagthala, Haryana. A major speech was given by Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Sri Patna Sahib, in which he clarified the close relationship between Baba Siri Chand and the Sikh Gurus, his significance in carrying the mission of his father Guru Nanak, and the new understanding of his importance on the part of the mainstream Sikh leadership. In part, he said, “At Baba Siri Chand’s birth, Guru Nanak foretold that he was different—that he was a very special person and would have his own panth for spreading Guru Nanak’s mission. However, later a conspiracy began to separate the Udasi panth from Sikhism, even though the Udasis preached about Guru Granth Sahib and went from village to village to spread the mission of Guru Nanak. The Udasis did a lot for the Sikh faith.
“Baba Siri Chand’s birthday was celebrated at Sri Ganga Nagar recently, but certain people did not like this. They refused to celebrate and revolted against it. Thus this matter reached Akal Takhat (the central seat of Sikh authority at Harimandir Sahib). The Jathedar of Akal Takhat reached the conclusion that Udasis are a part of the Sikh religion—a very important part of it that can never be excluded. The hukamnama (order) regarding this decision was released from Akal Takhat under the signatures of the five Jathedars of the five T akhats of Sikhism. Therefore it is our duty to spread this message that we are one. Udasis and also Nirmalas are part of Sikh religion and cannot be separated from it.”
In his speech Jathedar Iqbal Singh continued, “Baba Virsa Singh Ji also took this initiative and successfully spread the mission of Baba Siri Chand Ji. He told us that Udasis are a very important part of Sikh religion, not different from us. With Baba Virsa Singh Ji’s blessing we spread the Nam and Gurbani in all parts of the world.” The Jathedar told the sangat that Baba Virsa Singh Ji tried his best for his whole lifetime to clear the misunderstanding between the Sikh panth and the Udasis, so that they could spread the message of Guru Granth Sahib again. He requested the sangat, “Now you all should do this duty wherever you are, because you have learned a lot from Baba Virsa Singh Ji.”
Stage secretary for the programme was Gurdev Singh. Dr. Surjit Kaur Jolly told the history of Baba Siri Chand. Hardip Singh spoke of the miracles happening daily at Gobind Sadan. Dr. Rai Singh thanked the sangat and begged their pardon for any inconveniences, because this time the sangat came in great numbers. Despite the large crowd, delicious langar was served to thousands. And per Baba Virsa Singh Ji’s teachings, Nam simran and Jaap Sahib were recited day and night.