Gobind Sadan’s farm and devotional community on the southern fringe of Delhi has a few rooms for short-term guests. Groups and individuals who have stayed there have often been deeply touched by their experience. The following are excerpts from guestbook entries and letters from our guests.
I read Ralph Singh’s A Path to Follow: A Life to Lead and wanted to visit with him and see Gobind Sadan, USA. We tentatively planned it for a late September weekend when I would drive to Syracuse from New York City. However, it didn’t happen and I became busy with Hofstra’s fall semester.
The itch to meet Ralph and know more about His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh remained. At the time, one of my classes was “Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest,” an aspect of religion I hadn’t visited much for over thirty-five years. Coincidentally, one of the students enrolled in the course was a young woman who had grown up knowing Ralph and as a family friend Ralph was a frequent visitor to her home. Her presence in class twice a week regularly nudged my desire to know more about Babaji and Gobind Sadan.
At the end of the semester some early January work took Bernadette and me to Delhi where some fifty minutes drive away we had an afternoon at Gobind Sadan in Gadaipur. On our arrival, over an hour later than planned, we were greeted by Joginder Kaur, Ralph’s charming wife who graciously showed us around and personally introduced us to many folk glowing from Babaji’s light in that peaceful retreat.
When we returned to New York, Ralph asked if I would write something about our visit for the Gobind Sadan website. Words, especially mine, felt inadequate in discussing the atmosphere Bernadette and I enjoyed that January afternoon. To write about the visit, just after I had with thirty-five idealistic American undergraduate students explored the mystic’s journey, gave me pause. Then the opening verse of the Jaap Sahib came to the rescue.
Thou hast no form or feature, No caste or lineage; None can describe Thy appearance, Color, mark or garb
Gobind Sadan and its folk have created an island of green transforming the scrubby plains landscape I have known since childhood-a miracle inspired by Babaji himself and, well documented. What blew me away were the folk we met. Folk from all walks of life, volunteers all and both Indian and not. During our visit a Russian woman gave Russian language lessons to young men from the local village area; a member of India’s Legislative Assembly and ranking members of India’s huge educational establishment were discussing the community’s planned educational. We met an engineer and architect who freely gives of his time and talent to manage and grow the extensive physical plant. Besides Joginder Kaur was Mary Pat Fisher who also showed us around. Mary Pat, author of Living Religions a very popular textbook that I too have used, makes her home at Gobind Sadan.
You may ask what about spirituality and ritual practice. There was plenty of this: we met a devotee who spends much of his time meditating, praying and in between sleeping little; the ashram Imam who showed us the warm jacket he had just bought himself so that he could, during those very cold Delhi nights, lead the 2:00 am namaz; ritual havans stayed continuously lit and tended for sitting and meditation; the Granth Sahib and the Jaap Sahib are regularly read:all the things I expected from my reading of Ralph’s book. Surprising was a simple brick alcove inscribed with just the written word as space for Judaism’s prayers, and most amazing of all, was a larger than life statue of Jesus that allowed those so inclined, to worship in ways they felt best resonated for them. Unlike the hard-edged plate tectonics of typically organized religions, faiths at Gobind Sadan intersect, norms merge and, in mystic tradition are comfortably fluid.
I must mention the Gobind Sadan Institute of Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion and regret that we couldn’t stay in Delhi till February when the Institute, in collaboration with Jamiia Milia University, sponsored a two-day symposium called “Mysticism in the World’s Traditions.” The symposium is held annually in conjunction with the celebration of His Holiness Babaji’s birthday. Many e-mails came my way naming the many scholars, including Ralph who gave a major address, attend and pack the agenda with talks and seminars -Mary Pat Fisher, I guess is one of the power houses behind both the symposium and the Institute.
Before we left Mary Pat presented us with Ralph’s book, some pamphlets and her Everyday Miracles in the House of God – a testament to Babaji and the community around him. This humble Cornell educated academic’s tour for us was punctuated with hugs for village children who ran to greet her, conversations with farmers about Blue Bulls destroying crops and unhurried listening to any and all who came up to talk to her. Mary Pat told us some of the background to Gobind Sadan’s many sacred worship spaces and, last though not least, she broke out and shared with us and anyone else around her stash of difficult to get Russian chocolates. Her personal langar.
Dr. Vivodh Anand
December 2, 2006
Namaste loved ones,
Filled with peace and tranquility, I feel deeply honored to be fire tender for the sacred haven fire. The fire has been burning since 1967 and prayers have been continuously chanted around the fire since its inception. I ladle oil onto the logs and the flames leap up to warm my body on this cold night. Sprinkling dried flower petals onto the flames, they crackle loudly. I am on the 10pm to midnight shift and the sound of the crackling offerings wake up a man who has fallen asleep praying. In between fire tending, I recite a Durga chant, the fiercest of the female Hindu deities.
I am at Gobind Sadan “God’s House Without Walls”, a community of Sikh tradition. Gobind Sadan is an interfaith community created with Baba Virsa Singh’s inspiring vision for world peace and to end poverty & hunger. My first experience with the community was gathering in front of a life-size statue of Jesus with outstretched arms. We chanted the Lord’s Prayer in many languages. I especially loved the Punjabi chant version of it. This community is south of Delhi and is an oasis from the craziness of the big city. It was a perfect place for me to start my journey in India.
I learned that the Sikhs believe that everyone is equal without caste or class. God is formless and everywhere. This community grows their own food. Yogurt (curd) is made fresh daily from their buffalo & cow milk. Merit is placed on working hard with your hands and I’m loving the seva (selfless service) that I am doing here. Excavating dirt & rocks, washing Buddha, cleaning floors, chopping veggies and reciting prayers at the sacred fire.
As I am filled with more and more love, gifts shower upon me. I feel so privileged to share time with Mary, [whose office is in the guesthouse]. She is very saint-like with her gentleness and generosity. I sit in a roomful of Russians that are visiting. My seva buddy Luba is playing a special concert for us. She is an incredible musician playing a number of unique instruments. My favorite is the gussli, which is a many stringed harp she plays upon her lap. We then are whisked away to have a private audience with Babaji. He shares with us that God is within us all and to respect God in everything. I offer him a Euphoria dark chocolate bar and he holds it, telling me that it is so full of love. He thanks me as he holds up his hands to give me a special blessing. What a powerful gift, I am moved to tears.
Pujita, Oregon, USA
March 30, 2005
“You know, every night in my dreams Maharaj-ji is coming to me, you my Dear, Gurdev-ji, the whole Gobind Sadan. I don’t know what happened to me! Now Gobind Sadan is in the depth of my heart! I’m really want to come back. Back to India. I can’t live without India! Please, forgive me for my confession!!! I’m very grateful to you for your kindness and generosity. Thank for all that you have done for us!!!”
Zarrin, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
March 7, 2005
“We wish to tell you how we’re missing Gobind Sadan, you, and our beloved Baba Ji. Here in Moscow thousands kilometers from you the grey sky is crying with our sadness and Gobind Sadan seems like a beautiful fairytale or rather like a Paradise with His Holiness Baba Ji’s smile all around us. We cherish every moment spent in your beautiful gardens of Eden and we want to thank you for everything you’ve done to make us feel happy in one big family in this cruel but so much fascinating world.”
Iman Valeria and Khalid, Moscow
Feb. 28, 2005
“We are honored and feel privileged to be here. I am still in a trance and this experience is opening up another dimension. Thank you thank you thank you.”
Lydia, Isaac, Marlene, Salo, Morris, Odette, Maritya, and Simon, Bogota, Colombia
February 21, 2005
“A wonderful time of prayer and worship. A great place to appreciate all religions. The glory of God is made manifest here. May all glory and honour continue to be magnified here. Thanks be to God for Gobind Sadan.”
Harvey from New York State
February 21, 2005
“It was an honour to be able to witness God’s Glory through prayer and meditation with God’s people from all over the world. May Peace be with all nations in the world. May each and everyone who comes here experience inner peace always.”
Gertrude from New York State
February 20, 2005
“I have been here for only a few days and I am leaving today. When I first got here I didn’t want to stay long. I wanted to keep moving and see other parts of India, but here has changed my mind. There is a vibration here that I really like and I have really enjoyed my stay. I would like to thank everybody here because they have all been so kind and helpful.”
Simon from Nevada City, California
February 7, 2005
“Thank you for sharing your place of peace with me. Thank you for a glimpse of the work that is being done here and for the peace you desire others to have. Thank you too for the birds—part of the wonders of God’s creation.”
Nancy from Namibia
February 1, 2005
“There is ability to fly—the ability of the human mind to overcome the vanity of being and comprehend the High. Beautiful to love, to be loved, to be led in one’s earthly way. Bless us, God, for Love, for the Love in which You are powerful, one and eternal!”
Antonia from Krasnoyarsk, Russia
January 28, 2005
“At first it may seem strange, but we miss so much Gobind Sadan, you, a family of people living there—we spent only 5-6 days with you! We often ‘see’ you, and a warm smile comes to the face and heart. We look at Babaji’s photo and enjoy Life and Light. Thank Babaji! Once again accept our thanks! Wishing Peace to your Home and all Existence!”
Neena and Ilya from France
January 28, 2005
“We thank God and His devotees for this peaceful corner of Paradise, Sabbath of the soul. May peace, welfare, and love live in the hearts of all living and staying here!”
Just God’s children from Krasnoyarsk
January 15, 2005
“Today we are leaving a fairy land, where are only Love, Light and Good!!! We became different—Great Babaji has totally changed us! We feel like opening hands, heart, and keeping giving kindness, peace, love! Warm thanks to you, Great Teacher, and all who created this crystally clean, shining with Divine Light place! ‘Thou art beyond measure, the everlasting Treasure, Manifest as more than one, yet Thou art only One. Salutations to Thee, Worshipped by everyone, the universal and everlasting Treasure. Angel of Angels, garbless and mysterious beyond measure’ [Jaap Sahib].”
Natalya from Kurgan, Russia
January 15, 2005
“My soul found peace! I kneel to all people who live and work here. They show us an example to follow in selfless and limitless love for God! I bow low to all, my beloveds!!!”
Stanislava, Omsk, Russia
“Thank God for His generous present—Gobind Sadan. Everything around is mantled with love.”
Svetlana, Donetsk, Ukraine
“Endless gratitude to you for your warmth, love and patience. Wishing happiness.!”
Yelena, Tula, Russia
“I want to heartily thank you for your kindness, endless love for God, for people. Your labour is so beautiful, one can feel God’s grace in everything. I’ll keep it in my heart to convey it to my near ones and all people I meet in my life.”
Valeriya, Volgograd region, Russia
“I am endlessly grateful to Gobind Sadan, the cleanest and lightest place on the earth, where the soul opens and soars and where a talk with God is possible! Thanks a million to people honestly serving here to the Creator of the Paradise on the earth. Bowing to you, from the bottom of my heart.”
“I am going to my country with a heartfull of happiness, love, light and peace! Here I met God. India is really a sacred land. Thank Lord Babaji for giving me health, joy and all the best.”
“Maharaj’s metal picture is situated on the holy place in my room, on the place which I watch at first every morning after waking up and at last every evening before I go to sleep. In this way, every day starts (and comes to the end) with smile!!! (of Maharaj – and me.) Can we get some better gift? To smile, independent from all possible sorrows, troubles, and tragedies of daily life? It has happened in this way: During every past meetings with Maharaj, the most impressing experience for me always was His joyful releasing, truthful laugh! On the last, unforgettable evening this year in Gobind Sadan, Maharaj Virsa Singh Ji laughed at me again—and in this moment He engraved His smiling face directly in my heart. He is smiling now and for ever. And his message for me is the mystery of joy. Quiet to smile. In silence.”
Udita, Prague and Hamburg
January 9, 2005
“I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been reading the Jaap Sahib tonight, which you gave to my friend Father Jan two years ago. It is profound and wonderful. Not rivaled by anything else. Cannot be compared to any other book
It is unique!”
November 11, 2004
“I thank everyone at Gobind Sadan for all the love and courtesy they have expressed to Omar and me. I thank and bow to Maharaj for all the blessings He has provided to our familyl. Maharaj has reached the heart of my sons, and for this I am the most blessed mom.”
Elsie, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
October 20, 2004
“Thank you deeply for your hospitality and for removing boundaries and for introductions to other faiths. Wonderful to be here again.”
Charles, Anglican priest from UK
October 13, 2004
“I was very much impressed by the people at Gobind Sadan and Shiv Sadan, because they are so much devoted to God and to Maharaj ji. Inspired by Maharaj ji they work much and share with others. They were always greeting us with friendly smile, which I will take with me to Russia. I bow to all of you!”
Raisa, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
October 7, 2004
“Thank you for such loving care and the gift of spirit in Gobind Sadan. My thoughts will be with you back in Canada and may we all continue to move to ‘we.’”
Margaret, British Columbia, Canada
August 4, 2004
“I am so honored to share with all of ‘Yisrael,’ those who struggle with God to manifest God’s Oneness and to fulfill the unity of humanity. May I share in the simple piety and devotion and the deep sense of responsibility of this holy community.”
Hillel, Massachusetts, USA
October 28, 2004
“I have been dreaming for a long time to get to Gobind Sadan, and now at last my dream has come true. I am taking lots of photos and impressions from here to tell everyone I meet on my way about this place. May God give you all health and happiness. I bow low to our kind Babaji. Now I am feeling 100% belief in myself.”
July 23, 2004
“We can’t thank you enough for the openness and love you have shown to us. We are truly blessed to have been here. You have all opened our hearts to greater love!”
Jack, Alberta, Canada
“Thanks for the wonderful arrangements at Gobind Sadan. It felt like home. Amazing level of energy in this place.”
Varghese, Alberta, Canada
“Amazing hospitality, amazing acceptance of all faiths alike. This was a truly unique and wonderful experience.”
Roddy, Alberta, Canada
“I have no words. ‘Wow!’ and ‘awestruck’ and ‘amazing’ don’t even come close. Thank you for the hope you have given me through your heart and work done here. Knowing of this place and feeling its presence will hopefully lighten my footsteps and heart for a very long time.”
Jennifer, Alberta, Canada
“The religious community and love here is truly welcoming, giving, and accepting. A splendid way to be introduced to India. Many blessings, and thank you for this home away from home.”
Susanna, Alberta, Canada
“I will never forget this place that welcomed us to India. The ideology that you have here is one that I have been looking for my whole life.”
Brad, Manitoba, Canada
“Wonderful welcoming place. The people are so kind, I am thankful for having the chance to meet them. Thank you for providing us with such care and kindness. It is very peaceful and I enjoyed my stay.”
Moriah, Alberta, Canada
“Amazing. This is like an oasis. Beautiful place. Amazing work done here.”
Land, Yukon, Canada
July 22, 2004
“Your beautiful oasis is exactly that—a place of nourishment and plenty in a time of great suffering and fear. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to find a home so early in our trip. It was my goal to find a place/people that despite their difference, feel like home. This is home.”
Jennifer, Alberta, Canada
June 21, 2004
Dear Gobind Sadan,
I’m the Elizabeth from Texas that came to visit in March—Tim Cook’s Student! I’ve thought of you—all of you—often, and can only say how incredibly kind and generous you are, how much all of it meant to me, and what a profound difference you made for me in India. My trip was magnificent.
When I was at Gobind Sadan I was given an opportunity to ask any question I wanted, you remember? Well, my question was, “I want to transcend, will you make this happen for me?” Baba laughed, talked for an hour about all kinds of things, never answered the question, and my life has been a picture of transformation at light speed that has to be experienced to even be imagined. Every day, I’m broken down and torn apart (the ego) and I cry from gratitude as I struggle for the only thing that has any meaning in my life. God. I don”t know how to say thank you.
I just also want to add that I asked for my hip to be healed when I was down at the havan” It was amazing; most people (except Tim) don’t really believe me.
I’ve come to the definitive conclusion that the only thing that really happened in India was Maharaj Ji, all the rest was filler.
Elizabeth, Austin, Texas
March 17, 2004
“I have found such incredible graciousness, kindness, and patience in India and particularly at Gobind Sadan. It feels like home, an island in a storm for a newcomer to India. The gift of Baba Virsa Singh to my own evolution and growth toward God was entirely unexpected, and I’ve come to think perhaps one of the primary reasons I’ve come to India. My gratitude cannot be spoken; there are no words. I have felt welcome and cared for. Others could model themselves after Gobind Sadan.”
Elizabeth, Austin, Texas
March 15, 2004
“There is truly so much to learn about God here and about being a good person. It is truly a blessing to be here. My thanks to God and all the wonderful people here.”
Anne, Pune, India
“I feel very grateful to God for giving me this time to have Darshan with Maharaj and his Gurus. Everyone here was gentle and kind and helpful. Gobind Sadan is a place I see God in ACTION and in TRUE UNITY.”
Yolande, Pune, India
“Gobind Sadan—discovery of one’s self, a place where its unlimited energy beckons you to find your way. It just holds you spellbound. Words cannot describe Gobind Sadan. Just listen, feel, and absorb.”
Dale, Kent, England
March 9, 2004
“Gobind Sadan is a blessed place, a living proof of the power of love. No words can describe how happy we are that we’ve stayed here and been able to take a humble part in your life. To be guests here is a great blessing.”