The great saint of the modern times Hazur Baba Sawan Singhji Maharaj was born on 27th July, 1858, in a respective Jat Grewal family, in Mehmasinghwala village of Ludhiana District in the Punjab. His father, Sardar Kabul Singh, held the high post of Subedar Major in the Army. He was a God fearing man who spent his leisure hours in the company of the saintly persons. His mother, Shrimati Jeewani Ji, exemplified in her saintly person all the noble qualities of Indian ladies of olden times – simplicity, generosity, spirit of selfless service, humanity and a loving disposition. Hazur Baba Sawan Singh was the only son of his parents and as such all their hopes and aspirations were centered in him.


Hazur Maharaj came at a time when near famine conditions prevailed due to prolonged drought. On the day of his birth rains came in torrents and continued for a whole month. It was a proclamation from Nature that the very attractive personality, nobody will be able to resist his charm. He shall rule over the hearts. He will be an ascetic of ascetics and a king of kings. The many splendoured personality of Hazur Maharaj combined both the temporal and the spiritual glory. The divine beauty of his radiant face attracted all. People who happened to see him passing by stopped dead in their tracks and reclaimed, ‘what a beautiful face, what glory!’


Early Years


The signs of future greatness were visible in Hazur from a very early age. He had a quick grasp and an unusual capacity for learning. He always stood first in his class. He was respected by both his classmates and his teachers. He combined simplicity with taste. Meticulous cleanliness and orderliness were his distinguishing features. He kept his effects spick and span and neatly arranged; you could find a speck of dirt on his books or clothes. He used to accompany his father on his visits to the Sadhus and sages and thus, very early in life, he had the benefit of the elevating company of enlightened souls, who could foresee at that time that the tall, handsome boy with a high forehead and an earnest face, going to the school with a satchel in his hands, would one day be a teacher of the whole world.


Hazur had his education in the school at Gujarwal where he passed his matriculation examination. He was appointed a Ziledar in the Canal Department and worked for sometime in that capacity at Gohana near Rohtak district, but had to leave the job due to severe illness. He lived with his parents at home for two years. He worked for sometime as a teacher in Military school at Farrukhabad but did not relish the company of uncouth, hard drinking gluttonous men there. Consequently he joined the Thompson engineering college at Roorkee and qualified as a Civil Engineer getting a high position in the examination.


He joined the military engineering service and was posted at Naushehra in the then North Western Frontier Province of India. He spent the greater part of service in Nathiagali, Murree, Chirat and Abbotabad as a Sub-divisional officer. As an officer he won the admiration and regard of seniors and subordinates alike, for his diligence, integrity and sagacity and courtesy. His leisure hours were spent in studying the scriptures of various religions and in the company of saintly persons or in prayers.


Search for Truth


The different phases of the Masters search after truth make an inspiring narrative. The child of light wrapped up in the aura of cosmic consciousness, oblivious of his surroundings, radiated something of the light and glory that he was. A Sadhu passing by, who happened to see the child contentedly sucking his thumb, stood still and stared  long at him as one transfixed. Then seeing the  consternation at the face of the mother he said, “forgive me for having a Darshan of the king of kings, the elect of God who has come for the salvation of the human race. Look at the shining padam chakra on the sole of his feet. I have only one regret. The great saviour will not stay long with us.” The Sadhu bowed low at the child’s feet and went his way (it is said that Baba Jaimal Singh, the spiritual  preceptor of Hazur Sawan Singhji, transferred his own life to him to enable him to complete the great task entrusted to him).


Love of solitude and meditation was ingrained in him from his very childhood. He preferred to stay at home than to go out with his playmates. From his parents he imbibed the qualities of contentment, forgiveness, humility, devotion and selfless service. He was singularly free from bigotry and dogmatism, which enabled him to make a comparative study of scriptures of different religions with a necessary open mind. He gained a command over different languages – Hindi, English, Urdu, Persian and Punjabi and was able to study in depth religious literature of the Hindus like the Vedanta, the writings of the Sufi Saints of Persia in their original language and the sayings of Saints and sages of various religions. He had collected rare books on religion in his personal library, some of which were in the manuscript form. These books include literature on Pranami Mat and other religious sects and movements whose names even are known to few people. We find notings by Hazur in his own handwriting in all these books.


Parallel study in depth of different religions which was the first step in his search for truth later helped to lay the foundations of his successful worldwide movement to bring together men of different religious persuasions on one common platform of spirituality and invested his discourses with a rare power. In a few simple words he would sum up the whole substance of voluminous religions texts with such clarity that a child would understand the intricate problems of theology. By his discourses and books he proved and brought home the fact of the unity of all religions. He proved that he basic teachings of all great religions was the same and that all saints and sages who came, irrespective of the time and the religious formation they belonged to, gave out the same truth.


Hazur met enlightened men, the Sadhus and Faqirs of different religious formations and orders during his search for truth. During his two years stay at home he had the benefit of the society of Bhai Bhoop Singh, a Tyagi (a renunciant). Under his influence he used to think of renouncing the world and devoting himself whole-heartedly to God-realization. But being the only son of his parents he felt that he owed a duty to them and one who shirks a duty cannot become complete. At Farrukhabad he used to hold discussions with various Sadhus particularly Bhai Nihal Singh Thohewale. When he was posted at Peshawar Hazur used to visit Baba Kahan, a holy faqir. The God-intoxicated Baba did not like people to intrude upon his privacy and abused them and even threw stones to chase them away. But he welcomed Hazur with great affection and Hazur also used to take something, money or gift, for Baba Kahan. One day Hazur asked him for the gift of spirituality to which the Baba replied, “You will certainly have spiritual benediction from a perfect Saint in the fullness of time, but, not from me.” Whereupon Hazur enquired, “Where shall I search a person?” The Baba replied, “All your efforts to search him shall be in vain. The Master will himself find you at the appointed time.


During his tenure of government service he was sanctioned for a long time in the Murree Hills. There he resided near Bharpura Mal Dharamshala where Sadhus going on a pilgrimage to Amarnath caves used to stay. Hazur used to have discussions with these Sadhus and gained something from each one of them.


The Journey’s End


At last years of search and constant prayers found fulfillment. Baba Kahan’s prophesy came true. God’s elect are searched and found. As the saying goes, “God himself is out on a search for a perfect man.” The human pole on which the power of God was manifest, known as Baba Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj started from Beas in search for such a man. And where did he go? To the hills of Murree. Was there no man in the whole of Punjab? Men there were, legions of them, but there was no man who could be entrusted with the task of salvation of humanity. The momentous event happened in 1894. Hazur was supervising some construction work. Baba Jaimal Singh, the foremost disciple of Swami Shivdayal Singhji Maharaj chanced to pass that way. He was accompanied by a middle aged lady (Bibi Rukko). Pointing towards Hazur, Babaji told her, “I have come here for this man.” The Bibi was very much surprised. “The man has not even greeted you,” said she. “He does not know yet. But he is specially cut out for higher life. He will come to me on the fourth day from now.”


As foretold by Babaji Hazur went to his residence on the  fourth day and questioned him on the various aspects of spirituality for hours. After a few days of discussion and association with him all his doubts were dispelled and he was initiated by Babaji into the mysteries of the beyond. The meeting of a perfect Master Baba Jaimal Singh and a perfect disciple like Hazur Sawan Singh was the greatest spiritual consummation. The disciple surrendered his all at the feet of the Guru and the Guru in turn dyed in his own fast and unfading color. In 1903 left the mortal frame after entrusting his work of spirituality – of raising the indweller of the manbody, the soul, above body-consciousness and contracting it with the light of God within. from 1903 to 1911 Hazur carried on the work entrusted to him by Babaji while remaining in service. In 1911 he returned from government service long before time and dedicated the rest of his life to the service of the seekers after the truth. People used to address him respectful as ‘Hazur Maharaj Sahib’ and ‘Maharaj Ji.’


Spiritual Work


Hazur Maharaj live to a ripe old age of 90 years. In his life of ceaseless activity he did a tremendous amount of work of which only a brief reference can be made here. The real work for which the Masters come is to put seekers after truth on the way back to God. They give of their life impulse to lift the earthbound mortals out of the prison house of the physical body and contact them with the Reality within. this work Hazur did on a very large scale. He distributed the gift of spirituality so freely that we find no parallel in history to his generosity. He went to the remote corners of India and initiated thousands and thousands of aspirants into the science of the soul. He established thirty Satsang centers in different parts of India. He initiated nearly two hundred thousand initiates in India and abroad. His initiates include men of different countries and faith – Indians, Americans, Europeans, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and others. At his Satsangh headquarters at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh at Beas more than hundred thousands of his followers used to gather on annual Bhandara Satsangs and partook of the free meals at the Guru’s kitchen. Two to three thousands of his direct disciples are found in America, Switzerland, Britain and Germany.


Literary Work


The greatest and most literary work completed under the supervision and guidance of Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj was the magnum opus of spirituality named, ‘Gurmat Siddhant’ which contains a synthesis of the teachings of all great religions and the Masters who have come from time to time. The book originally written in Punjabi language (it was later translated into Hindi, Urdu and other languages) by Sant Kirpal Singh Ji under the  guidance and supervision of the great Master Hazur Sawan Singh Ji is spread over two thousand pages and is in two parts. The first part deals with the theoretical and the second with the practical aspect of spirituality. This monumental work provided the philosophical base for the world center for spiritual aspirants and the common platform of the world Fellowship of Religions.


Building Work


Hazur Maharaj got thirty Satsang Hall constructed in different parts of India were centers of spiritual teaching and practical demonstration of spirituality. The greatest monument that bears witness to his genius as an architect and builder was the new shaped Satsang hall he built in Dera Beas in 1934-35 the same year that the great literary masterpiece, ‘Gurmat Siddhant’ was published. The spacious 120*40 ft. hall is the largest and most imposing structure in northern India and a Masterpiece of the builders art. The imposing domes and minarets of this wonderful architect and builder of the beautiful colony of Dera Baba Jaimal sigh on the riverside three miles away from the Railway station at Beas.


Ideal Householder


Hazur Maharaj demonstrated through his life as a householder that married life was no bar to spirituality and that man can reach the pinnacle of spiritual development while living the life of a householder and fulfilling his obligations to his family and the society. Hazur set before us a very high ideal of a householder. He was married at a very early age according to the prevailing custom of the time. The consummation of marriage did not however take place till the gona ceremony was performed which usually took many years after the marriage. Hazur’s marriage ended with the performance of the ceremony for the bride died before the performance of the gona ceremony. The second marriage took place when he had passed his twenty fifth birthday, thus fulfilling the vedic canon of Brahmcharya (chastity) of 25 years before entering the life of the householder. He had three sons of whom one did young while the other two survived him. During 28 years of government service he lived with his wife for a total period of seven months only. It was due to a life of chastity that at the age of 90 years he used to roar like a lion in gatherings exceeding hundred thousand people and addressed such huge huge gatherings without the aid of a loudspeaker. He worked for eighteen hours at a stretch without feeling the strain. At the  ripe old age of ninety it was difficult to keep to keep pace with him during a walk.


Appointment of the Successor


On 12th October, 1947 in the early hours of the morning in Amritsar, where Hazur was undergoing treatment, he called his spiritual son to his bedside and said, “Kirpal Singh I have assigned all the other duties to different people but have not so far entrusted my spiritual work to anyone. That work I entrust to you today so that the work should continue to flourish.”


On the first of April, 1948, Hazur was in great pain. This suffering was a test devised by the Master for those around him. The great Master had often said that at the last hours he would suffer great pain and will get relief only when his spiritual son and successor comes to sit by his beside. By the Masters grace Sant Kirpal Singh  was provided the rare opportunity of seeing the  Master alone without anybody being present. With a heavy heart he prayed, “O Master you are not bound to this cage of flesh , are above the joys and sorrows of this earth, but we, thy humble servants cannot bear this sight. Take pity on us and heal thyself.” The almighty Master (the God) answered the prayer. There was no longer any Singh of pain of discomfort on his majestic face. His shining forehead was lit with the divine light as before. The God-intoxicated eyes charged with love opened and met the imploring gaze in his son. Hazur continued looking in the eyes of his Gurmukh son and successor for three or four minutes and then those loving eyes were closed for ever. In the words of Sant Kirpal Singh, “during the time Master looked at me I felt at mighty surge of grace, a radiation that I had never experienced before in life.” Such instances can be described in the oft repeated words of Hazur Maharaj. “If one bulb is fused another is lit, when that too is fused still another bulb is lit. the bulbs go on changing but the light remains the same. We are the worshipers of the light.”


And thus on April 2, 1948, the sun of spirituality that had shed radiance on earth for ninety years went down in Dera Baba Jaimal Singh.


Teachings of the great Master


The great Master’s teachings can be divided into two broad aspects, temporal i.e., on the level of man and spiritual  i.e., on the level of the soul. On the temporal aspect Hazur said that God made man. He did not put a stamp or label that this one is a Hindu and that one is a Muslim, and mankind is all one. All of us have similar physical bodies. We are one at the level of the soul, the indweller of manbody and one as worshippers of the same power-God.


What is a man? He is an ensouled body. And soul is of the same essence as of God. The various religious formations are made by man because man by nature and instinct, is a social being. The purpose of these formations was that man should live in some society and follow a code of ethical and moral conduct so that he should live at peace with his fellows and living an ethical life of love, service and sacrifice he should know his true self and realize God, which was the goal of human life and the common ideal of all religious. Ethical life according to Hazur was the stepping stone of spirituality. The basic teachings of all religions according to Hazur are the same. There was no need to change one’s religion since the teachings of all religions formations as enlightened souls came in all formations and gave out the same truth in the languages of the countries and times. Hazur Maharaj therefore advised seekers of Truth to remain in their own formations, follow their own customs and canons of conduct but should fulfill the aim of life viz., to know one’s true self and to know God, which was the common goal of all religions to realize which we have joined one or the other formations.


The second and the most important aspect of his teachings pertains spiritual i.e., self-knowledge and God-knowledge of which he gave a practical demonstration and inner experience to all who came to him. Hazur Maharaj revived the  teachings of the Sant Mat or the science of the spiritual Masters which is being preached by the line of saints like Kabir, Nanak, Tulsi, Palto, Shamas Tabrez, Hafiz, Rum, etc. of raising the scattered soul currents from the senses and concentrating them on the still-point behind the eyes and giving a contact of the light of God and the Shabd or the Music of the spheres reverberating within each heart (light and sound principle being the two manifestations of God into expression power. ) Only a competent Master, one commissioned from God has the  power to give practical first-hand experience of rising above body-consciousness. This old science does not admit of any change and is the natural way back to God which the Masters come from time to time to revive. The sole qualification of a competent Master was that he should be able to give this experience of death in life i.e., rising above body-consciousness, to the disciple in the very first sitting. Hazur Maharaj gave practical  first-hand experience to all initiates, each according to his background got some capital of spirituality to start with and the same gift of life is given freely to all who ask for it through Hazur’s grace by his spiritual son and successor Sant Kirpal Singhji.


The Ruhani Satsang


Hazur Maharaj wanted to bring together the followers of all religions on one common platform of brotherhood of man under the  fatherhood of God and to put them on the way back to God. Why then there are all these rifts and divisions among men? It was all due to wrong preaching. The only solution of this was for enlightened men of different religions to come out of their restricted circles and pool their resources to propagate the universal teachings of all religions relating to righteous living on the basis of spiritual unity. We were souls, the indwellers of the house of this physical body. The improvement in the condition of the indweller would bring about all round improvement in environment.


Keeping in view this desire of Hazur Maharaj a comprehensive plan for the establishment of Ruhani Satsang was placed before him by Sant Kirpal Singh for his approval. Hazur appreciated the plan and said, “I am with you in the work.” It is due to his blessings that Ruhani Satsang grown apace in India and abroad and today there are 80 to 85 centers in India and more than 215 centers in various countries of the world serving as common platform for the propagation of the science of the soul. The purpose of the Ruhani Satsang is to present spirituality as a science before the common man. For this purpose theoretical and practical teaching of the subjects of Righteous living Self-knowledge and God-knowledge is being given to all without any distinction of caste, creed, color, race of nationality and through Hazur’s grace people all over the world are being benefited by the same.


S.P. Chopra,


World Conference on Unity of Man,

 Sawan Ashram, Delhi –110007.