Baba Virsa Singh ji’s birthday Celebrations in the time of COVID 2021

To provide opportunities for the sangat to gather in Maharaj’s memory, Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Memorial  Trust, Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, and Baba Virsa Singh Foundation organized multiple celebrations.

While attendance at celebrations in Gobind Sadan itself were limited by both the COVID rules and the farmers’ strike, the prayers, Akhand Paath, kirtan, and special havans went on as in previous melas. Decorations were outstanding as always. Exceptionally touching kirtan was offered by Bhai Jagtar Singh, Hazoori Ragi of Dera Shahidata Darbar.

Celebration of Maharaj’s birthday was also held in Sarawan Bodla, Punjab, where many devotees came for Akhand Paath, kirtan, and langar.

A large-scale event was organized in Rori Sahib Gurdwara, Nissing, on 5 March to celebrate both the 400th  birthday of the Ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur, and the birthday of Baba Virsa Singh. Many well-known speakers spoke very highly of Maharaj ji and His mission. Baba Banta Singh appreciated Maharaj’s spreading the Gurus’ mission to foreign countries. He had visited Gobind Sadan a few days earlier and was very impressed by the living example of the Gurus’ teachings. Other major speakers included Baba Gurvinder Singh Mandi-wale, Giani Mehtab Singh of Kandoor Sahib Gurdwara, and Baba Kashmera Singh. Baba Gurmeet Singh, Kar Seva-wale of Rori Sahib Gurdwara, said, “Baba Virsa Singh of Gobind Sadan always said to respect all religions and live together in brotherhood.”

               To provide an opportunity for the world-wide sangat to connect and share in praising Maharaj ji’s mission, the first Virtual Celebration of Baba Virsa Singh ji’s Birthday was held from 19 to 21 February on Zoom with participants from 18 countries. Live, simultaneous translation was provided into Russian, English, and Punjabi. It was timed so as not to conflict with the prayers and celebrations scheduled in Gobind Sadan. From the west coast of the US at 5:30 a.m. to Australia at midnight, devotees hungry to share their love and thirsty to hear from old and new friends from around the world gathered online for 4 hours each day.

Day 1 was devoted to our history – tracing Maharaj ji’s steps from Sarawan to early Gobind Sadan and beyond.

Day 2 focused on the Next Generation – a wonderful panel of 2nd and even 3rd generation young adults shared how they are carrying Maharaj ji’s love and message with them in their daily lives and passing it on their own children.

Day 3 focused on the Mission – all the great ways the mission is spreading now and what we each can contribute to the future.

In addition to the panels, each day provided 90-minute breakout sessions where everyone was able to share their stories and ideas on the themes. The virtual gathering closed with a celebration of children’s poetry and kirtan followed by singing of Maharaj ji’s old shabads.

A team of over 30 devotees from around the world spent 4 months planning and training to make this successful. Registration was kept open through the website, and communicated by email, phone lists, through facebook and as many what’s app groups as possible. Young people were tasked with carrying the message to pockets and centers of the sangat across India, including the farms. Everyone present felt the tremendous love and positive energy and are looking forward to the next time we are able to do this. Look for updates and clips on the website and various GS social media sites.