Sant Teja Singh
Sant Teja Singh earlier named Narahjan Singh, was born on 14 May 1877 in a Mahita Khatri family ( father: Ralia Singh : mother: Sada Kaur) at the village of Ballovali, in Gujranwala district of the Punjab (now in Pakistan). Teja Singh completed his schooling at Fazilka and then went to Lahore where he received his Master's degree in English literature in 1900 from Panjab University. Studying at Government College, Lahore he also took the Law degree. His first appointment was as headmaster of the Anglo-Sanskrit High School, Bhera. He was vice-principal of the Khalsa College at Amritsar when he received the rites of initiation at the hands of Sant Atar Singh of Mastuana (1906), receiving the Name of Teja Singh.
Sant Atar Singh sent him abroad, along with four other young Sikhs, for higher studies. In August 1906 Teja Singh joined the University College, London, but left it without completing the course to join the Teachers College at Columbia University, in New York City, U.S.A., to train as a teacher. From Columbia, he transferred to Harvard when he got his A.M. in 1911. Along with his academic work, Teja Singh had continued preaching the gospel of Guru Nanak. To this end he had, when in London, established a Sikh Jatha, and when in the U.S.A., lectured extensively in that country as well as in Canada.
Returning to India, he settled down at Mastuana, the headquarters of Sant Atar Singh. Briefly he was at Bhasaur, not far from there, teaching at the Sikh women's college. He served as principal of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College from 1917-19. For a brief spell he also worked as principal of Teachers' College at Banaras Hindu University (1920-21). He was the founder principal of Akal Degree College, Mastuana, an institution, aiming, as Sant Atar Singh had willed, at combining humanistic study with crafts and mechanics.
Sant Teja Singh attended, in 1910, the Congress of Free Christianity and Religious Progress at Berlin, set up by the Unitarian Church of Chicago. In 1956, he participated in the 8th Conference of Religion for World Peace held in Japan contributing a paper entitled, "The Way to Establish World Peace." His major publication was a biography in Punjabi of Sant Atar Singh ( Languages Departmtent, Patiala, 1970).
- In recogntion of his services to register Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver Canada in early 1900's he was posthomusly awarded the title of ‘First Ambassador of Sikhism to the Western World’ See link below:
- Sant Teja Singh died at the village of Chima on 3 July l965. Before that he laid seeds for the spirtual centre at Baru sahib in Hamachal Pradesh and a great institution, the Kalgidhar Society which is presently being led by Sant Baba Iqbal Singh Ji. The Society has already established a large number of higher secondary schools in the villages of the Punjab and neighbouring states to build world class citizens of the world with Singh characteristics as preached by our Gurus. The Society has aimed at 150 such schools to be established in the coming years. Its Services also include education, healthcare, social welfare, relief and rehabilitation for people of rural, backward and remote areas of Northern India.
More details about the society can be seen at:
From a biography posted at sikhnet discussion forum by Pret Mohan Singh Ahluwalia
SANT TEJA SINGH JI (1877 - 1965)
Sant Teja Singh's old name was Niranjan Singh Mehta, until his family took Amrit in 1905. He was born in 1877 in village Balowali, district Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan. His father, S. Rala Singh was a physician. After getting the degree of M.A., L.L.B. in 1901, he appeared for a state level competition and was chosen for the coveted post of a civil officer of the British Raj. His love for education, however, brought him to the Khalsa College Amritsar in 1903 as its first Sikh Vice-Principal.
The young man was non-religious, a free thinker, argumentative and a critic. Because of his western style education, he never cared to listen to the Sikh Sants or other religious preachers. He lived in the material world, totally forgetting the spiritual aspect of life. He did not bow to the Guru Granth Sahib, considering it to be an idol worship. But he was very honest, sympathetic and very considerate for the needs of others.
As a senior teacher in a premier Sikh institute, he was required to attend Gurdwara Sahib regularly. To avoid bowing to the Guru Granth Sahib, he decided to be there before anybody else would come. One day he had unique spiritual experience which gave U-turn to his life. He intuitively felt the presence of the Gurus, where the Guru Granth Sahib was installed. He was magnetically attracted towards Gurbani and fell before the scripture like a log. Some super-power made him utter the names of the Gurus and pray to God before he could raise his head from the floor.
Meeting a Holyman
After the incidence in the Gurdwara Sahib, he lived in an unusual state of mind and felt the need of going to a spiritual doctor, a Sant. He paid a visit to Baba Sham Singh, the famous musician at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, who guided him to Sant Attar Singh Ji. After some days in the company of Bhai Jodh Singh, then Assistant Professor, later Principal, he went to pay his respects to Sant Attar Singh Ji, who was visiting Lahore. He found internal peace by meeting and talking to Sant Ji. He decided to follow Sant Ji's advise and guidance. The first lesson he received was to give up ill-will or bad feelings in his mind for those who had misbehaved with him or treated him wrongly. He returned to his job only after cleaning his mind of all bad feelings with whomsoever he had, one of them being his step-mother. In 1905, he and his family took Amrit. His old name Niranjan Singh Mehta was changed to Teja Singh.
Sant Attar Singh Ji wanted to establish a school for providing complete education, worldly knowledge amalgamated with spiritual experience. Teja Singh offered his services to teach in that institute. He also thought of getting training in western universities for this great mission. Sant Ji approved the proposal and suggested him :-
1. To retain his Khalsa form, not to remove the turban or cut the hair and enter into an argument with anyone about it.
2. To establish Gurdwara Sahibs.
3. To tell western society that ridhi-sidhi (miracle powers) are of no significance, the stage of self-realization is far beyond it.
FOREIGN VISIT, FIRST PHASE :
UK : In 1906, Teja Singh reached UK and joined London University College for the degree of Doctor of Science. As advised by his mentor, he attended the University while wearing his turban. He wished other Sikhs there to also retain their long hair and turban. Pointing to his turban, one day, a friend remarked, "you can wear your turban only here. At Cambridge, all are required to wear a cap and a gown. How can one wear a turban there?" During the next term, Teja Singh got admission at Cambridge, becoming the first student with a turban there. When told to take off his turban and put on a cap, he convinced the authorities of the requirement of wearing a turban by a Sikh and got their permission to keep it while attending classes.
Later, more Sikhs came there and they started holding regular Sikh Sangats on Sundays. To organize them formally, Khalsa Jatha, British Isles was founded.
USA : Before completing the sixth and final term at Cambridge, the pre-destined program made him to move to the Columbia University, New York, USA, where he was awarded a scholarship. One day, when Kippling's poetry was being discussed in the class and the teacher made observation about his character. Teja Singh differed with him and gave his own evaluation of the author. These daring and very correct observations of him gave a great surprise to the teacher. After the class, he called Teja Singh to his office and asked him to give a public discourse on Indian life. He agreed to give two lectures, one on Guru Nanak and Sant tradition and the second on Indian society. The professor advised the dates of the lectures for information of the general public as well. Among the 10,000 audience, there were students, professors, citizens, social leaders and press reporters.
These lectures not only recognized Teja Singh who had hardly completed his twenties as a scholar but also raised the image of the Sikh faith in the west. About a dozen of European-Americans met him to express their great satisfaction and wanted him to give a weekly discourse to their group of 100 persons. The attendance during the lectures doubled very soon. During the discourses, they realized the truth of the Nanak's message that ridhi-sidhi is not the path for realization of the goal of human life. They mentioned to Teja Singh that they were earlier mislead by an Indian Sadhu.
CANADA : The two lectures were covered well by the newspapers in North America. A well-wisher of the Sikhs read the news in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and talked about it with Bhai Balwant Singh, the Granthi Ji of the Gurdwara Sahib. The Indians, mostly Sikhs, were in trouble and were thinking of inviting a scholar from India to help them. They immediately approached Teja Singh Ji. On getting an urgent invitation from Canadian Sikhs, he left for Vancouver.
After the morning Kirtan in the Vancouver Gurdwara Sahib on Sunday, Teja Singh Ji gave a discourse and explained the message of Guru Nanak to humanity. After the function, he was introduced to all the Sikhs assembled there who invited him to their houses. These home visits made him feel closer to the Sikh Sangats, understand their strengths and know their difficulties. Before the summer vacation ended, he returned to Columbia, New York, for completing his studies.
His return was more than welcome by his European audience. Their representatives requested him to continue his weekly discourses on the mission of Guru Nanak. Mr. T.C. Crawford got very deeply interested in the Sikh faith and started regular meditation. He almost daily visited Teja Singh Ji to discuss some spiritual topics with him. To the surprise of Teja Singh Ji, one day he came early in the morning and stated his problem like this, " Over a time, I built my right to be a share holder of a gold mine in Jacksonville California. My friends who have turned unfaithful to me, want to deprive me of that. I need $50,000 to retain my ownership of the mine. In exchange, I can transfer one-fourth share of the gold mine to the Sikhs. I have been intuitively told during my meditation that only you can help me."
Teja Singh Ji could not say "no" to such a devotee of the Guru. He thought of Sikh brothers in Vancouver, British Columbia, for this project. He suspended his studies and the very next day he left for Vancouver. As the matters unfolded later, his visit was not just to help Mr. Crawford in need but also to save 10,000 Indians from being pushed out of Canada (to Honduras), where they had made their homes with hard work.
SERVING SIKHS IN CANADA
Teja Singh Ji met a Canadian passenger on the train, on his way to Vancouver, who told him, " Mr., Singh, a big misfortune is looming large on the Sikhs in Canada. By making one or the other excuse, Canadian government is planning to pack them all in a ship and dispatch them to Honduras in South America. It is a very bad land, infested with yellow fever and without any employment opportunities. You, a scholar and a lawyer, can save them from that misery. I wish you to help your fellow brothers."
This time an unexpected arrival of Professor Teja Singh Ji in Vancouver was a pleasant surprise to everyone in the Gurdwara Sahib. After praying and reading a hymn from Guru Granth Sahib to get the blessing of the Almighty, the Sikh leaders discussed the situation from all aspects. They explained their problems in the following words, "The government is throwing baseless blames on our community. They say that we have no jobs and no other sources to support us. Our living is not clean. Actually they are jealous of us. We have contributed about $20,000 to build our Gurdwara Sahib and have joint langars to feed any needy person. All of us earn a good living. We live well and take our bath everyday while they don't take shower for days together."
" A week ago, a Commissioner from Ottawa took Bhai Satnagar Singh and Bhai Sham Singh Dogra with him to Honduras. With his influence and wrong pressure, he will get a fake report signed by them that Honduras is a good country. They will use that report to rope us all and ship us like sheep to that country. Our Gurdwara Sahib building will be taken over by them and the Sikhs flag uprooted."
Professor Teja Singh Ji assured them, "The Almighty is on their side as revealed just now by the hymn read from Guru Granth Sahib. Maybe the Almighty wanted me to serve the Sikhs that this unexpected visit to Canada was arranged according to His Will." Guided by Teja Singh, Sikhs approved to register a Mining and Trust Co. and purchase land for building Guru Nanak town. They agreed to buy one-fourth share of the gold mine in Jacksonville and sent money to Mr. Crawford. They also decided that lectures should be arranged to tell people about the truth regarding Sikhs in Canada and expose the fake propaganda made by the Canadian government against their community.
A couple of lectures were delivered in a week which were published in the newspapers. This built a correct image of the Sikh community. Many European also got interested in learning more about the message of Guru Nanak for humanity. Among them two important persons, Doctor Knapp and Mrs. Campbell Johnson became devotees of Guru Nanak.
BY-LAWS DRAFTING :
Professor Teja Singh Ji drafted and finalized the rules, regulations and by-laws of the Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouver and the organization was got registered in BC He also drafted by-laws for the Guru Nanak Mining and Trust Co. and it was got registered within a week. With the assistance of Dr. Knapp, a real estate man, a block of 250 acres near Eagle Harbour was purchased for $25,000. A down payment of $10,000 was made for that bargain. The stipulated money $15,000 was also sent to Mr. Crawford.
After doing all this, a big gathering of the people was held in Vancouver and they were informed about the firm position of the Sikhs in Canada. Their strong financial strength was made public. This sent a wave of good image of the Sikhs not only in the province of British Columbia but also through out Canada and the world. The fake propaganda made by the Canadian government against the Sikhs was thus exposed.
(Later on, before leaving California, Teja Singh Ji also prepared by-laws for the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society and got it registered. This was done to avoid any problems later in building more Gurdwara Sahibs or conducting Gurmat teachings in the state.)
HONDURAS EPISODE :
It was during this favorable wave for the Sikhs that Satnagar Singh and Sham Singh returned from Honduras. The environment had become so much favorable for the community that they dared to disregard the Canadian government pressure on them. Further, the Almighty so arranged that the Commissioner went direct to Ottawa leaving the two Sikhs free to tell truth to their fellow brothers. They explained to the community about the adverse conditions in Honduras and told them that some Indians already there want to go back to their motherland but do not have sufficient money to pay for their return fare. After listening to them, Sikhs passed a resolution that they would stay in Canada and fight all the legal battles for their rights.
This obviously upset the Canadian government. They wanted the Sikhs to listen to the report of the Commissioner before making any decision. The Sikhs agreed to that. When the Commissioner came, he was told to take off his shoes and join the congregation in the Darbar Hall of the Gurdwara Sahib. His associates advised him not to go in lest the Indians get displeased because of the desecration of their temple (Gurdwara Sahib) by the entry of a white man. On hearing this, Dr. Knapp was sent to tell him that about 50 white people like him were already sitting inside the temple and he too was welcome. However, the Commissioner wanted the Sikhs to come down in the Langar Hall to listen to his report. During this dialogue outside the Gurdwara Sahib, the Sikhs inside shouted their routine slogan, "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal". On hearing that slogan, the Commissioner taken aback and left the place. Dr. Knapp followed him and told him that the function was over, the Sikhs were in the Langar Hall and he could read his
report to them. The Commissioner returned and the Sikhs told him, "You may read your report and we will listen to it. The response to your report will be discussed by us in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib upstairs and the decision will be taken there". The Commissioner did not agree with it and left the place without reading his report.
The Canadian government played another card to send the Sikhs to South America. They called the Governor of Honduras to Vancouver to motivate the Sikhs by going to their houses and seeing their living conditions with his own eyes. He submitted a faithful report, "Whatever Professor Teja Singh stated is true but his words were harsh. Sikhs are doing very well in B.C. and no one is willing to leave the place. If they are forcefully shifted to Honduras, 50,000 Sikh soldiers in British Army may protest and create a serious problem which may require 200,000 white men to control them." This report was the fatal blow to the Canadian government plan to expel the Indians from Canada.
AMRIT PARCHAR IN NORTH AMERICA :
Spreading the message of Guru Nanak and making it to reach the heart of the Sikhs living in North America was the next project undertaken by Professor Teja Singh Ji. Along with Bhai Balwant Singh Ji (the Granthi Ji) and his associates, Teja Singh Ji first undertook a tour to Victoria and the Pacific coast. He was to give discourses on Sikh faith and to motivate the Sikhs to take Amrit.
In Victoria when the party reached a Sikh place, they found the group busy drinking alcohol. To avoid them and to leave them alone, Bhai Balwant Singh Ji decided to go to another Sikh house. However, Professor Teja Singh Ji decided to stay at the very place. The host Sikhs gladly provided all the services for the stay of the visiting party. Next day, during the morning congregation, Teja Singh Ji gave his usual sermon. He wished that Sikhs having come that far from their homes should prove to be jewels of the Guru and not be a cause to bring the Guru a bad name by their improper and un-Sikh like behaviour. After listening to him, about 15-20 Sikhs decided to change the course of their lives and wanted to take Amrit, which was administered to them on that very day. They were also suggested that being residents of the capital city they should collaborate to raise the Sikh flag in the city. Their response was quick, "if you join us, we will contribute money right now." Professor Teja Singh Ji agreed and every Si
kh gave one month's pay for building a Gurdwara Sahib.
On high land, a good plot was purchased through Mr. Robert W. Clark, a real estate agent. His wife arranged public lectures by Teja Singh Ji in a big hall in the city. Many Europeans started loving the Sikh doctrines. Mrs. Clark got two pamphlets written by Professor Teja Singh Ji about Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji. She printed 10,000 copies of each pamphlet and sent them to different cities in Canada, America and Europe.
After this successful visit to the Vancouver-Island, the group went to the Sikhs in Washington, Oregon (Portland) and California states in U.S.A. Lectures were given at all these places to the Sikhs and Amrit was administered to many of them. Visit to California state was arranged by Bhai Partap Singh Ji (later Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib, Amritsar) working there.
On returning to Vancouver BC, Bhai Balwant Singh Ji told the success stories of Amrit Parchar tour to the Sikh Sangat, during formal and informal talks. These reports motivated more Canadian Sikhs to take Amrit. Accordingly, the Jatha was invited to Port Moody, Millside, Abbotsford and many other places for Amrit Parchar sessions. A large number of Sikhs having got into the Khalsa Fold, the need of having their registered organization was strongly felt by everyone. Rules, regulations and by-laws of the Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouver were finalized by Professor Teja Singh Ji and the organization was got registered in B.C.
When these reports of the Amrit Parchar in Canada reached U.S.A., more Sikhs in California and around got prepared to take Amrit. They invited Professor Teja Singh Ji again to visit U.S.A. The second visit also turned out to be very successful. It helped many Sikhs to join the Khalsa Panth and enjoy the self-esteem by being an Amritdhari Sikh.
A BOLT FROM THE BLUE :
After all these developments, it looked that no outside force could do any harm to Sikh community. They were enjoying a great political image and having good financial status. However, the plans of the Almighty are strange and the beyond the comprehension of we humans. During this good image of the Sikhs, a bolt from the blue struck them. Comfortable life without fear of being ousted from Canada became the cause of mutual bickering among the Sikhs. The unity of the community was broken, they started splitting into groups opposing one another.
Internal conflicts in the community very much disappointed Teja Singh Ji and directed his thoughts inward. He was reminded of his pending duty in U.K. Sant Attar Singh Ji had advised him to build a Gurdwara Sahib in London. Accordingly he left Vancouver to go there. He called a meeting of old friends, students and other Sikhs for discussing the Gurdwara Sahib project with them. The Sikhs in London agreed to buy a building for the Gurdwara Sahib. Before any action could be started, an urgent letter along with money for return ticket was received from Vancouver requiring Teja Singh Ji to reach there immediately. He left London without a second thinking.
SERVICES TO THE WORLD PEACE :
After landing at New York, he reached Chicago on his way to Vancouver. There he met Rev. Jenken Lloyed Jones, Lord Bishop of the largest Unitarian Church of Chicago, who organized the first Parliament of Worlds Religions in 1893. They exchanged views on various aspects of spiritual life. Teja Singh Ji explained the mission of Guru Nanak and the Sikh philosophy for obtaining divine peace. Rev. Jones was so much inspired by the talk that he got up from his chair, warmly shook hands with him and exclaimed, "Brother Teja Singh, Light shall come again from the East. We in the West are quite unfit for it." Before they parted, he invited Teja Singh Ji to the Congress of Free Christianity and Religious Progress in Berlin, Germany. The Professor agreed to go there to participate in that assembly. During his discourse regarding the message of Guru Nanak to observe the same holy spirit in every human being for bringing peace on earth, a German philosopher got up and interrupted his lecture saying loudly, "This is the th
ing that we want."
HONOR VINDICATED :
On reaching Vancouver, he found that the European auditors, jealous of the success of Guru Nanak Mining and Trust Co., took advantage of mutual bickering among the Sikhs. Secretary Raja Singh joined hands with the auditor. However, Bhai Bhag Singh Ji, even when pressurized repeatedly to join them, stuck to his own independent judgment. He refused to sign a charge sheet alleging bungling of accounts by Teja Singh Ji.
In the formal meeting, Teja Singh Ji was told that the auditor suspects misuse of funds by him and that was a reason that he was called to Vancouver. Teja Singh Ji wanted public audit of all the accounts immediately to satisfy the Sikh community of his honest handling of the funds. In the presence of the Sangat, office bearers of the company and the appointed auditor, all account books were checked and the results recorded, both in English and Punjabi, so that everybody could later examine the details by himself. The result approved by the auditor embarrassed Raja Singh and his associates. He signed the final statement saying, "He is a juggler", and making everybody laugh at his remarks. This ill-motivated allegation, when found to be false, raised the image and respect of Professor Teja Singh Ji to new boundaries.
Because of lack of mutual faith and understanding, gold mine shares were withdrawn. Mr. Crawford returned $19,000 to the Sikhs for $15,000 taken from them. He was sorry to do that because he wanted Sikhs to build a university with the income from the mine and preach the mission of Guru Nanak. The 250 acre land near the harbour, now worth billions of dollars was also sold by the new members of the committee. Had the Sikhs remained united and kept these properties, the Canadians would have treated them with great respect, later during the Komagata Maru incident. (This lesson needs to be learnt even today. For personal whims or for individual gains, some Sikhs sacrifice the image of the whole community).
GURDWARA SAHIB IN LONDON :
Returning to London, Akhand Path was recited for obtaining the blessing of the Almighty before raising the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag) on the Gurdwara Sahib building. Teja Singh Ji had desired to purchase a freehold plot, but there were some individuals who did not agree with it. They did not have sufficient faith in the Guru to be sure of the contributions needed for purchasing that building inspite of the fact that a good amount of money had already been contributed for the Gurdwara Sahib. Further, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala promised Rs. 1,25,000 out of which he paid 1,000 pounds on the spot. The Sikhs instead decided to have a building on lease for 60 years for the Gurdwara Sahib which needed smaller investment.
After this assignment was completed, Teja Singh Ji was reminded by his friends that he was to obtain a degree from some western institute before returning to India. The Sikhs wanted him to devote his time to earn a degree before undertaking any other responsibility. All of them together got "yes" for this, from him.
ACADEMIC STUDIES :
Teja Singh Ji approached the Cambridge University authorities for permission to complete the last term for his degree. He was told that the report of his activities in Vancouver B.C., Canada had been received by them and he could not be permitted to rejoin for the degree. Having been given a firm "No" by the University, he came to Columbia, New York, U.S.A. to continue his studies for completing his degree. The same response was obtained from there. Rather, he was told that because of his political activities in North America, the degree would not be granted to him even if he completed the study requirements.
While still in India, Professor Teja Singh Ji had applied to the Harvard University in Massachusetts and his application had been accepted. He reached there and joined for A.M. degree in English Literature. He was admitted there probably because no information about the services rendered by him to the Sikh community was sent there. He had many financial problems but the grace of God and his faith in Him pulled him through. For the second trimester, he had no money to pay his fees and he was barred from attending classes. Professor Bliso Perry, his teacher, came to his house and gave him the required money saying, "When one studies in foreign land, such problems do come. Here are $60, whenever you have them, you pay them to any needy student". Finally, in 1911 Teja Singh Ji obtained his degree as desired by Sant Attar Singh Ji and reached California for returning to India via Japan.
POST - STUDY SERVICES
GURDWARA SAHIB IN STOCKTON :
Some more sewa was to be taken from Professor Teja Singh Ji by the Almighty. In California, he met Baba Baisakha Singh Ji and Baba Jawala Singh Ji, the famous Gadri Babas. During his Sunday discourse there, about two dozen Sikhs decided to take Amrit. Actually, his lectures started a wave of devotion to the Guru among the Sikhs living there. Observing high spirits of the Sikhs, Teja Singh Ji suggested raising of the Sikh flag in Sacramento. It was agreed by all and immediately contributions were made for purchasing the land. A plot having a good house and a wind mill for pumping water was purchased for $3,400. Later by spending another $20,000 a very respectable building was constructed for the Gurdwara Sahib. Langar sewa was started there, the advantage of which was also taken by many Europeans. At many other places, his Jatha was invited for administering Amrit to the Sikhs there.
Baba Jawala Singh Ji got a big farm. With the income of this land, he founded some scholarships for higher studies in the University of California. It was agreed to found a Gurdwara Sahib at Burckley too. For getting the blessings of the Almighty, Guru Granth Sahib recitation was started before raising the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh flag) there. However, an urgent letter, again from Vancouver, made him to go there. Before leaving California, Teja Singh Ji prepared by-laws for the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society and got it registered. This was done to avoid any problem later in building more Gurdwaras or conducting Gurmat teachings in the state.
DEPUTATION TO OTTAWA :
The Sikhs in Vancouver told him that all things were fine with them but they were not allowed to bring their spouses and children from India. After consulting the Sikhs, a deputation including Rev. L.W. Hall, a Roman Catholic Priest, very much sympathetic to the Sikhs, was chosen for going to Ottawa and convincing the Canadian government to be fair to the Sikhs. The government made many excuses to deny the demand of the Sikhs but all their arguments were proved to be baseless and hollow. Though the minister was convinced of the genuineness of the demand but he did not concede it because of the undeclared policy of keeping Indians (majority Sikhs) out of Canada.
Therefore it was decided to educate Canadian people about the injustice done to the Sikhs by their government. An open lecture was arranged in a public hall and all people were welcome to it. To an audience of more than 10,000 white people, Teja Singh Ji explained the history of great empires and their fall. He told them that the justice to the people is the keystone of any empire, once shaken, it destroyed the whole structure. The same thing would happen to the British Empire, if it continued to ignore the just demand of their subjects. The lecture was covered in the press which supported the right of the Sikh residents to call their family members to Canada. This was later approved when Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala raised this point during an Empire Conference in London.
GURDWARA SAHIB VICTORIA, B.C. :
The Sikhs in Victoria had already purchased land for the Gurdwara Sahib. They took advantage of the visit of Professor Teja Singh Ji and approached him to help them construct the Gurdwara Sahib. He agreed to undertake that holy responsibility. He got the design approved and the estimates of the expenditure made. The construction work was undertaken and the Gurdwara Sahib was ready in a couple of months.
NAGAR KIRTAN IN VICTORIA (Sikh Parade) :
Professor Teja Singh Ji thought of installing the Guru Granth Sahib there with a grand befitting function. Accordingly a huge and well organized procession was planned. There were about 5,000 Sikhs in uniform moving four abreast and singing hymns. Guru Granth Sahib was gracefully positioned on a well decorated six-wheel horse-drawn carriage. Teja Singh Ji with a sword rode on a horseback. At three intersections, the procession halted and lectures were given by the Professor to a large gatherings there. It took five hours for the procession to reach Gurdwara Sahib, passing through important streets of Victoria. Mrs. Clark, a devotee of the Gurus, was very much fascinated by it. She said, "On watching the carriage and the Sikhs moving, I felt the spirit of the Guru managing all that and being there among the Sikhs". Prominent articles and reports were published about this function in Victoria and Vancouver newspapers. It was mentioned to be a procession of its own kind, never seen earlier in the history of Cana
BACK TO INDIA :
After thus completing the mission assigned to him by Sant Attar Singh Ji, Teja Singh Ji returned to India.
On his way back, he visited different places in Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaya, etc. Thousands of people welcomed him on all the sea ports. He gave discourses at every place he visited. His lectures were well attended and they rekindled the deep love of the Sikhs for their faith. Many Sikhs took Amrit.
He landed at Calcutta from where he proceeded direct to pay homage to Sant Attar Singh Ji at Mastuana near Sangrur.
SPIRITUAL TRAINING :
Having obtained the worldly education from the West, Professor Teja Singh Ji underwent a spiritual course during 1913 through 1916 under the direct guidance of Sant Attar Singh Ji. He passed all the hard physical, mental and spiritual examinations to qualify for his blessings and the grace of the Almighty. Details related to this period may be read from Jiwan Katha Sant Attar Singh Ji. Briefly it may be mentioned that he sold his house and offered his all, Tan, Man and Dhan to the Sant Ji. Teja Singh Ji, (earlier Niranjan Singh Mehta), was then loved and respected as Sant Teja Singh Ji double M.A.
In India too, he served people under the direction of Sant Attar Singh Ji. In 1917, he founded Guru Nanak Khalsa College Gujranwala, now in Pakistan. He continued to be its Principal till 1919, when he was told by Sant Attar Singh Ji to start a Teachers Training College at Benaras Hindu University, as requested by Pandit Madn Mohan Malvya. In 1920, he was called from there to manage Akal College Mastuana.
In Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, he founded Khalsa High School Kallar. He did sewa for the construction of a Gurdwara Sahib at Kanoha, also now in Pakistan. At Cheema, the birth place of Sant Attar Singh Ji, a Gurdwara Sahib, a Gurmat school and a Kirtan Training Centre were also established. A large number of rooms, he got built at Gurdwara Paonta Sahib, which became handy to accommodate the refugees coming from Pakistan in 1947. A school was also built there along with the Gurdwara Sahib building.
Sant Teja Singh Ji spent his whole life giving discourses in schools, colleges and Gurdwaras, particularly in the rural areas, motivating Sikhs to take Amrit and get on the Ship of Guru Nanak.
FOREIGN VISITS, SECOND PHASE :
Sant Teja Singh Ji again took three tours to western lands. In 1952-53, he along with a Jatha of three Sikhs, paid a visit to the Eastern countries on the invitation of the Sikhs there. The group went to Bangkok, Malaya, Singapore and many other places where the Sikhs had successfully established themselves.
In 1954, he visited African countries where Sikhs had moved in large numbers. He gave famous discourses in all important cities and many Sikhs motivated by his speeches took Amrit.
His visit during 1955-56 to U.K., Canada and U.S.A. is still in the memory of many Sikhs. He gave discourses on the mission of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and motivated many Sikhs to join the Khalsa Panth. Gurdwara Sahib Victoria Sangat gave him a formal welcome because he was the major force behind the organization of the Sikhs and getting a Gurdwara Sahib built there. In 1956, while returning from the West, he visited Japan. There he gave a lecture, "The Way to Establish Permanent Peace" at the Eighth Congress of World Religion for Peace, organized by the Ananai-Kyo at Shimizu.
SANT ATTAR HARI SADHU ASHRAM :
He expired in July, 1965. Before his death, he founded in 1957, Sant Attar Hari Sadhu Ashram, Baru, about 20 kilometers from Rajgarh, Himachal Pradesh. A trust was registered to manage the institute. Akal Academy is being run there under the guidance of Baba Iqbal Singh Ji.
1. Visakha Singh, Sant, Malva Itihas. Kishanpura, 1954
2. Teja Singh.Jivan Katha Gurmukh Piare SantAtar Singh Ji Maharaj. Patiala, 1970
3. Balwant Singh, Giani, Agam Agadh Purakh Shnman Pujya Sant Atar Singh Ji Maharaj Ma.stua.ne Valian da Sampuran Jivan Charittar. Mastuana, 1983