A song from Alan Nykamp
I was inspired to sing a song for him, which as most of you know is not my strong suit, but now when I look back it was MJI and BJI who got me to do it. Actually it was, I think, a little message for us who still have our earthly journey to fulfill. BJI could not stop laughing as I sang the tune and wanted a translation as well as a copy of the song. Well, here it is. Listen to the words and I think you will see why he was so happy to hear it and share it with all of us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmpU_73CXxU
From Joginder and Ralph
Golden throated warbler of God
Gobind Sadan will forever echo with your endless songs of Praise!
When the news came that Bhagat ji had passed – no one could believe that he had left. We sat stunned. He the one person who had picked up every duty in the dera – worked 24 hrs. a day to see that Maharaj ji’s vision and order of never ending praise should be fulfilled.
At the havan, in Nitnem, on holidays, your voice uplifted us – No task was too small – carrying wood for the havan, mixing smagari, offering bhog, even painting walls. When Major Sahib left – you were there for ardas. In Kirtan you always blended your voice w Bibi Jaswant Kaur– and when she left you carried on the tradition.
You were loved on at least 4 continents –
And through your love will you’ll be ushered into Dargah to be with your Lord and Guru
Only Maharaj ji knows whom He will bless to fill the void left by our beloved Bhagat – but by my count it will take at least 5-10 devotees just to do the worldly duties. God knows how many it requires to match the devotion your sweet voice added to Gobind Sadan and the world.
As he left, he hailed the Sangat – as he always did with his smile and chuckle – almost swallowing the extra love that would have flooded the place. Sat Siri Akal, Bhagat ji – you will always be remembered and loved as Gobind Sadan’s Bhagat.
Joginder and Ralph
A loving Tribute to Bhagat Ji
Gobind Sadan sangat are all missing and remembering Bhagat Ji (Rajwant Singh) with great love and sadness, since he left his worldly body to join his Beloved on Valentine’s Day, 14 February. We all have our own cherished memories of his endearing presence in Gobind Sadan.
His singing and recitations filled the central community night and day. His Jaap Sahib was our model and inspiration for reciting it again and again, according to Maharaj Ji’s hukam. When Maharaj Ji held a huge special 3-day havan for peace of the world at Shiv Sadan in April 1993, Bhagat Ji recited Jaap Sahib at one of the massive havan kunds for 27 hours continuously, with only a few breaks for tea. Whatever he sang or recited, he did so from such deep devotion that his voice always carried fresh inspiration, as if he were singing that passage for the first time. After doing the 2 a.m. prayers, he always sang Baba Siri Chand’s Aarta and then Asa di War with great enthusiasm and delight. When he and Bibi Jaswant Kaur sang Guru Gobind Singh’s shabds together, the great power of the Guru was palpably present. Once I asked them if they minded that few people ever sat to listen to their late afternoon kirtan. They said, “It doesn’t matter to us. We are singing for God.”
In recent years, Bhagat Ji was composing and recording original music as well as singing Sikh hymns. His loving “Jesus is my life” created a special atmosphere for our Christmas celebrations, and every year he added more verses. Whether singing traditional or original music, his unique voice was highly appreciated by documentary filmmakers, from Doordarshan’s Meera Diwan to my own sister, who makes a little video about Gobind Sadan with Bhagat Ji’s music every time she visits.
Bhagat Ji always lived in the same simple room assigned to him long ago, without any amenities such as attached bathroom. He always ate in the langar along with the sangat and labourers, and set a great example for the rest of us by so totally cleaning his plate that not a crumb of Guru’s langar was wasted.
He had great sympathy for everyone and made no distinctions between high and low. Whenever any physical work was going on, he lent a hand, from carrying taslas and applying mortar to carrying phenomenal loads on his head. He did that, he said, to show the power of Nam. Again and again he offered Prasad, cold drinks, chocolates, or other treats to the hardworking labourers and malis. Once when someone insulted the labourers, he sided with them, saying, “I am also a labourer.” It was Bhagat Ji who was assigned to milking Maharaj’s special desi cow every afternoon. In rainy season, he cheerfully rolled up his pajamas and stood in the mud and rain in the dairy to carry out this sacred duty.
In the eyes of the sangat, Bhagat Ji was in fact no ordinary person. It was he who had the special duty of tending Baba Siri Chand’s havan, where the rest of us were not allowed, and of bathing Baba Siri Chand every morning, as well as reciting the four main daily prayers. He was thought to have enlightened wisdom, but he kept his spiritual secrets to himself. One of the last times I saw him was in the hospital near Chandigarh. He seemed to be getting better, after a long series of serious illnesses. But as I left, he told me something different without words. He looked at me for a long time, soul to soul, and said good-bye with his eyes.
Mary Pat Fisher
from Kanwardeep Sohal in Canada
“Feeling really sad by loss of Bhagat Ji, He was really one of the pillars of Gobind Sadan, his sewa and loving nature will always remain with us. His poetry and beautiful songs he recorded in his last years is a masterpiece collection.”
I know you would be praying for him, whenever you do just tell him that we miss him a lot.
I remember Bhagat Ji as I saw him the last time: He appeared at Jesus Place when I was painting the Jesus statue there. That was a really happy moment. Many people would come and look at me with distrust and check my every step. But Bhagat Ji would just look at me happy and smiling. I felt such a huge relief and happiness because he treated me and my work with trust and love. I could feel that. He didn’t talk much at Jesus place. He just asked me, “Are you alright? ” and looked somehow very precisely at me. I wanted to avoid the answer but I realized that somehow he knows how things are. He told me that I should listen to “Jaap” (which he recorded recently) when I go to bed and that will make me ” fly away” (and he showed that with gesture directing to the sky). He asked me to come down below evenings to listen to him singing. I didn’t do that. I didn’t know then that I will be regretting about it for the rest of my life. Listening to Bhagat Ji’s singing was so-o touching. His voice with a bit of veil was moving my heart, my soul, and each time he met my eyes he would give me this wonderful glowing smile. For me he was and he is the purest expression of Love.
Tribute from Meera Dewan, documentary filmmaker
Remembering Bhagat Ji with love and tears.
I met Bhagat ji about 3 years ago, thanks to an introduction from Mary of Gobind Sadan. I had just completed the editing of a film on the wonderful langar traditions of the Gur Sikhs and had a desire to use only shabads relating to this food sharing aspect on the sound track. I had no idea how many of such shabads existed, in which raag they were and not being able to read Gurmukhi, how would these be selected? Who would sing them?
Bhagat ji was the single source to all the aspirations I had for the film. Right from the first glimpse of him, I was struck by his demeanor. Tall, upright, dignified, he carried himself in a pleasing manner. Given his vast knowledge of musicality in the SGGS, his deep voice and years of perfection in singing, he did not treat me less than an equal. We discussed the film. I could feel the resonance to my unformed, ill informed thoughts in his responses.
Within a few weeks, Bhagat ji prepared a vast repertoire of shabads from the Banis of Gurus, Bhagats and Bhakts, relating to the theme of the film, both in direct and abstract ways. We sat together for a few sessions and he was ready for the recording.
At the studio, the owner and manger, professional hands for decades, were equally struck by the versatility of voice of Bhagat ji, its depth and emotional impact. As were the film viewers.
It is not an exaggeration if I were to say that the wide response to the final film owes a huge tribute to the sound track, enriched by the selection and rendering of the most appropriate poetry from the Holy Sikh Scriptures.
Less than a month ago, I spoke with Bhagat ji and his voice sparkled despite his illness, on hearing that I might attempt a film on the philosophy of the SGGS. We decided to meet once he arrived in Delhi. In my diary on Feb 16th, 2016, I wrote “Bhagat ji back.” The same morning, I had to add three words to this, to read “Bhagat ji back …with his Creator.”
Remembering you as the tall, strong man you were, it is hard to imagine you passed on so soon. I can only think of the shabad I loved the best, from the ones you so generously added to the film:
“Balihari, Kudrat Vasaya;
Tera Ank Na Aave Lakhiya.”
Tribute by Commodore Jasbir Singh
An Exceptionally Noble Soul
I first met Bhagat Ji on internet in 2005—in a video post, playing Tabla while reciting Gurbani Keertan with Beeji in Ragas. Met him in person the next day at Gobind Sadan to know as to when I could hear a live repeat of what I had admired on the net. Pl come at 5 pm tomorrow– was his loving response. Was fortunate to meet him several times at the 5pm Keertan during visits to Gobind Sadan. We, as a family and the entire Sangat received tremendous love from him at Gobind Sadan– the Temple without walls.
A truly holy soul! Every conversation with him was delightful. We will really miss him. The Sangat will no doubt, remember his selfless and untiring Seva at Gobind Sadan for a long time.
Commodore Jasbir Singh
From Lena Shagedanova
A human in love with God
When we came to Gobind Sadan on the fifth December, 1995, I for the first time saw Babaji. That was such a happiness to see him sitting in front of us, he was like a living God, but at the same time he resembled my father who passed away many years ago though I feel like it happened yesterday.
Since 1997 we settled at Gobind Sadan and almost every day saw Babaji. Every night I heard wonderful singing but did not know who was singing. Once Babaji told me to recite my poems at Christmas celebration. I recited a poem about my life. After the celebration a person came up to me and said: “What a good poem!” That was Bhagat-ji, but I did not know him at that time.
Time was passing by and life was changing. Once Babaji told me to go to the old Havan. I started going there daily to do seva and every evening saw Bhagat-ji singing kirtan at 5 o’clock. Sometimes he was singing together with Gurcharan Kaur. At 18-30 he sang Jaap Sahib, Chandi di Var and Hanuman Chalisa. At night he sang sacred songs addressing the Father – “Pita”. His songs touched the soul, feeling with him. Sometimes Bhagat-ji played his music, which created a miracle reviving the soul, taking away the burden of years, bringing one’s cheerfulness and youth back.
When I told Bhagat-ji about my problems he always really helped me without thinking about himself. He was a real friend. He helped our mali Satguru to get out of his addiction to a light but dangerous drug. He helped me to make, mount and light Guru Gobind’s glass portrait at the conference hall. Young boys and girls always sincerely helped him as if he was inspiring them with his love. He was always sincere, kind person in love with God. Though I knew a very little of his language, I understood him well. He used to say that the greatest tragedy of India are the castes, but the time will come and everything will change, all castes will unite in one family, all lovers from different castes will unite.
A real poet, composer, artist, he left his body on the day of lovers, St. Valentine’s Day. Many years ago when I was crying over a loved creature who was dying, Babaji told me: “Don’t cry. God wants to give her a new place, much better than the previous one”. I remembered these words when I started crying on hearing the news of Bhagat-ji’s demise. What is the place he was talking about? Only God knows.
From Russian friends
HIS SINGING MADE US ASPIRE TO GOD
With great sorrow the members of the International Centre for Spiritual Culture and International Association “Peace through Culture” of Russia heard that the brightest spirit, a real follower of Baba Virsa Singh, dearly loved by all Bhagat ji left the Earth.
For each of us Bhagat ji with his sublime rendering of the Hymn to the One God [Jaap Sahib] will always remain in the deep memory of the heart.
Our dear Teacher Baba Virsa Singh recommended that we learn reciting Jaap Sahib in Punjabi the way Bhagat ji did. In his singing of sacred texts, faithful service and firm belief, beautiful sound, energy of every word and clarity of rhythm are harmoniously combined.
Realizing the high transforming power of the spiritual Hymn, Bhagat ji taught us to recite Jaap Sahib with a great respect, aspiring to the One God.
Here in Russia according to Maharaj ji’s hukam, we learned reciting Jaap Sahib by listening to Bhagat ji’s recordings. Many of us were lucky to personally listen to Bhagat ji at Gobind Sadan services. That was an indescribable feeling. Reciting Jaap Sahib, Bhagat ji immersed us into a subtle spiritual state and took us upwards to new heights of devotion to the Supreme One.
Our dear friends at Gobind Sadan! On this day of memory we all unite in sincere respect to Bhagat ji.
We will remember both his advice and his singing which thanks to many audio and video recordings will always be a model of Jaap Sahib reciting for us.
Bhagat ji visited Russia more than once, and we are unspeakably glad to know that. Not only with his voice but also with his own example he taught us devoted service to the Teacher.
We believe that the spiritual bridge between India and Russia and the spiritual friendship gifted to us by Maharaj ji will constantly grow and get stronger.
With grateful memory,
Russian friends from the International Centre for Spiritual Culture and International association ‘Peace through Culture’
Jasbir Singh n Neeta
BHAGAT TERE MAN BHAAVNDE, DAR SOHAN KEERAT GAANVDE
I have been meeting with Bhagat ji since 1987. Those days he used to frequently speak the word “Baksho ji” (meaning “please forgive me, bless me”). He had love in his eyes for everyone, and a genuine love.
He was one of those few sewadars who remained humble and doing the sewa irrespective of what it involved – langar, havan, samagri, keertan, cleaning, meeting\greeting people. His life is a lesson for all of us: to remain humble.
At the end the Almighty did listen to Bhagat ji’s voice by “Bakhso him.” Lets follow his footsteps so that may Guru Maharaj Baksho us as well