BABA SIRI CHAND’S BIRTHDAY 2023
As always, Baba Siri Chand’s birthday was celebrated with great love and joy at Gobind Sadan, since Baba Siri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak, is our teacher’s Teacher. He began appearing to Baba Virsa Singh when he was a boy, instructing and blessing him in spirituality. Baba Virsa Singh in turn made great efforts to eradicate the false negative impression of Baba Siri Chand, and this effort has born such great fruits that Baba Siri Chand’s birthday is now celebrated in many gurdwaras and the Punjab government has declared the day a state holiday. New facets of his important history are constantly being discovered and shared with the sangat.
The history of Baba Siri Chand and some of his miracles were the subject of a sweet programme given by students of Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj Primary School at Gobind Sadan on 22 September. The school has been offering free education to underprivileged children for many years. It is administered by Guru Gobind Singh Educational Association, whose Chairman, Sardar U.S. Jolly, recalled its humble beginnings with only four students and one teacher. It now serves over 180 children from the area. They radiated happiness and confidence as they told the stories of the life of Baba Siri Chand and explained the non-sectarian mission of Gobind Sadan, where people of all religions live, work, and worship together in many holy places. The children had prepared large paintings to illustrate their talks. They also put on a play demonstrating that Gobind Sadan is a rare place where all religions are equally respected.
Gurdaspur sangat under the leadership of Sardar Joginder Singh sang soulful kirtan throughout the mela. Heavy rain fell on the night of 22 September, for Baba Siri Chand’s birthday is always blessed by rain at Gobind Sadan. That blessed rain did not interfere with the festivities, and many people gathered at Angeetha Sahib on the evening of 23 September for a special havan in Babaji’s honour.
After the end of seven Akhand Paaths at 2 a.m. on 24 September, the Bhog programme began with kirtan by S. Sukhwant Singh, former Manager of Gurdwara Rori Saib in Karnal. He sang Guru Nanak’s bani from Sri Rag Asa, exhorting us not to forget God’s Name among all the worldly and spiritual gifts that are bestowed on us by His grace.
A kirtan jatha of young people from Guru Harkrishan Public School came and joined Gobind Sadan’s Jaswinder Kaur and Prabhnoor Singh in singing a joyful hymn by Guru Arjun Dev Ji about the good fortune of the soul’s meeting with the Guru, and another shabad praising the Guru’s virtues, which are infinite and beyond our knowing.
Sardar Darshan Singh from Bangla Sahib Gurdwara sang Guru Arjun Dev’s hymn about the ever-merciful Guru “Who saved me, the meek one, and washed away all my sins,” Guru Nanak’s hymn in Sri Raag, “My Lord is imbued with Love. He is permeating everywhere and pervades in all,” and a wonderful shabd by Bhagat Kabir: “The difference between the saints and those who are drowned in Maya is that the saints eat the butter, while the mind-oriented person drinks the water that remains when the butter is extracted.”
Neelam Kaur shared a beautiful hymn by Guru Arjun Dev ji in Rag Dhanasari, “Sing the praises of the Lord and Master with love from your soul.”
Mary Fisher spoke about “fake news” that had been circulated to defame Baba Siri Chand Ji and said that Baba Virsa Singh had worked for decades to correct those misconceptions. She urged the sangat not to spread fake news, but rather to spread love, truth, and seva. She congratulated the many people present who had believed the truth about Baba Siri Chand, as Baba Virsa Singh had taught them.
Renowned katha vachik Bhai Sukhjeet Singh Kanhaiya, spokesperson of Baba Balbir Singh 96 Crori Jatha of Haryana, elaborated on Bhagat Kabir’s shabad, saying, “We have to extract ourselves from Maya like the butter which is churned from milk. The saints drink the butter by meditation, whereas the others only drink the chas (lassi). Sri Mahant Baba Virsa Singh Ji not only ate the butter but also shared it with the sangat through Nam, ‘Ik Onkar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru.’” He narrated many important events from the life of Baba Siri Chand ji, including the incident in which Emperor Jehangir and his begum ran out to see Baba Siri Chand, whereupon their son who was playing on the roof fell off and passed away. Baba Siri Chand brought him back to life, and also asked that the spiritual tax on Hindus be lifted.
Giani Iqbal Singh spoke of the everlasting legacy of Baba Virsa Singh, especially his making the Sikh sangat aware of Baba Siri Chand. He pointed out that Guru Hargobind Ji was blessed with miri, piri, and fakiri, and that it was Baba Siri Chand who blessed him with fakiri. Under Baba Siri Chand’s leadership, the Udasi Sampardai carried the message of the Sikh Gurus’ teachings to all corners of the country and beyond.
The bhog programme ended with more touching kirtan by Gurdaspur sangat, followed by a sumptuous langar for all.