Shaheed Fauja Singh
Bhai Fauja Singh was born on 17th May 1936 in District Gurdaspur. His father Sardar Surain Singh was a middle class farmer. After the formation of Pakistan they moved to the village of Gazneepur, which is 6 miles on the Gurdaspur Dera Baba Nanak road.
During his childhood days Fauja Singh was always the leader of boys of a similar age in his village. He was baptised while he was studying in the tenth class, but because he did not receive the gift of Naam, the spiritual hunger inside him did not disappear and his mind was always elsewhere. At this small age he disappeared from home for one month and stayed with some Sants and Sadhs. After passing the tenth class he enrolled in Khalsa College, Amritsar, but still his mind was elsewhere. He then again disappeared. His family looked for him everywhere and even advertised in the papers. He stayed away from home for 2 years at the Deras of the Sants and Sadhs to try to satisfy his spiritual hunger. A 'false' Sadh gave him a Mantar on which he meditated for 2 years. Then he was found and brought home and his family again put him into College.
In 1964, he got baptised at a smagam organised by the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. On Vaisakhi 1965 his marriage took place with Bibi Amarjit Kaur and on this occasion Bhai Jeevan Singh performed the Kirtan. At the age of 28 Bhai Fauja Singh again took up the appearance that was most loved by the Tenth Guru. Whoever the Guru blesses, he showed that person how to wear the uniform of Akal Purakh`s Khalsa army.
Bhai Fauja Singh learnt Gatka and persuaded other young Sikhs to learn it as well. He was the best Gatka player in the area and there was nobody around who could beat him.
"I have been in the Jatha for quite a while now and have been lucky enough to meet many highly spiritual Sikhs of the Guru. Bhai Fauja Singh was different; he had Bir Ras and Nam Ras. Bhai Fauja Singh was always ready to fight against un-righteouness and stand up for the truth. Some highly spiritual Singhs from the Jatha told him to just meditate. They did not think that in these peaceful times there would be a need for our people to give "Shaheedi". The Sikhs gave "Shaheedi" at the time of the Gurus because the Hindu Rajas, Mughal and Pathan rulers where trying to destroy the Sikh religion. But now the situation was different. Some brothers even joked about his Bir Ras." (Prof. Gurmukh Singh).
After 1970 Bhai Fauja Singh started doing a lot of Seva for Gursikhs. He worked around Amritsar. He used to spend all the wages he and his wife earned on the Seva of the Singhs. Bibi Ji told us that sometimes he used to say "All the money we spend on ourselves is wasted but the money we spend on doing Seva for the Gursikhs is not wasted and is saved in our bank". Then he would say "The tenth Guru formed the Khalsa by shedding his blood. When this plant gets dried up, it needs more blood. Then the Guru`s beloved ones spill their blood to keep the Khalsa`s flag flying. This cycle comes approximately every 50 years".
According to Bhai Fauja Singh the Khalsa Panth's plant was drying up due to the cycle. He used to say to his companions, "…there is a lot of disrespect taking place of our religion and future generations will ask what were our forefathers like, who accepted everything quietly. The words of Shaheeds are special. The spiritual bliss they get from reading verses such as, Purja Purja Kat Marai Kab Hoo Nah Shadai Keth only they know." Bibi Amarjit Kaur said that during his last six months, Bhai Fauja Singh kept saying to her, "Bring a picture of my dead body in front of you. Will you be able to bear it? Be strong and don't despair." Bibi Ji realised that one day he would give his life for the Panth.
Bhai Fauja Singh used to say some very special things and everybody would wonder where he discovered these truths. He used to say that a greedy person could never be religious. To be a religious person you have to be honest and content and live by the Will of God. He had honesty, meditation and contentment. He ate what he received happily, and was never greedy, living by the will of God.
- "I first met Bhai Fauja Singh in 1972 at the Darbar Sahib. He did not know me but he said his Fateh to me and met me like we had been old friends. He took me to where he was staying and kept me there for two or three days. During this first meeting he told me something very secretive that I am now sharing with the readers after his Shaheedi. He told me that in his previous life he was in Baba Deep Singh's Jatha and became Shaheed at Lohgarh. Now again he has done Shaheedi for the Khalsa Panth in the holy city of Amritsar near Lohgarh. Those that have seen and met Bhai Fauja Singh all agree that he was filled with the spirit of "Mohai Marnai Ka Chow Hai".
- Shakespeare said, "What's in a name?", but the name Bhai Fauja Singh given to him by his parents, from the Hukamnama of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, was definitely a true picture of him. Bhai Fauja Singh really was a soldier of the Guru`s army in this and his previous life."
- (Prof. Gurmukh Singh)
In August-September 1977 in Gurdaspur Jail, he wrote a poem under the title of Kurbani. This was probably his first and last poem because as far as it is known, he was not a poet. This poem was written 7-8 months before his Shaheedi. There are two main points that come to light. First is the declining state of the Khalsa Panth. The soul that has met the Khalsa in his last life and gave his blood for that Khalsa, how can he accept the present situation? Even though he was only 42 years old, because he had been doing the Seva of the Khalsa Panth, the one or two events that happened in Amritsar were intolerable for him. The incident that took place in the Misri Bajar in 1972 in which the Guru Granth Sahib Ji was treated with disrespect showed Bhai Fauja Singh's true personality. He was a farm inspector at the time. Even the police were scared to arrest the criminals. Bhai Fauja Singh intervened and caught the criminals and punished them accordingly. He was very saddened by the fact that our Panthic leaders tried to keep the whole incident quiet in case it may lead to some Hindu-Sikh conflict. He could not understand how a Sikh could quietly sit by as somebody was insulting or treating the Guru Granth Sahib Ji with disrespect. He always had one question in his mind, "What has happened to the Khalsa Panth?"
The question arose again on 17th October 1975. The Sikh Sangats were celebrating Sangrand at Gurdwara Bhai Salo Ji. The Langar was being served at the time. Some thugs came and treated the Guru Granth Sahib Ji with disrespect and beat up the Sevadar and Granthi of the Gurdwara. They also made plans to burn down the Gurdwara Guru Keh Mehal that night. When Bhai Fauja Singh heard about this incident in the evening he got together some Singhs and went there straight away.
First they went to see the disrespectful treatment of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Gurdwara Bhai Salo and the damage done to the Gurdwara. After seeing this incident the Singhs started shouting "Sat Sri Akal" and went off to protect Gurdwara Guru Keh Mehal. The thugs surrounded the Singhs from tall buildings on all four sides and started throwing stones, bricks and acid bottles at them. Even though the Singh's clothes and bodies were covered in blood, they did not care for their own lives and protected the Gurdwara from being burnt down. After 1972, this was the second painful event to happen at the Sikh headquarters, Amritsar. The Panthic leaders at that time pretended as if nothing had happened and accepted no responsibility even though so much damage had happened at the Gurdwara.
The result of these actions by the Singhs was that the troublemakers now knew that one lion among sheep was more than enough. After this second incident in 1975 Bhai Fauja Singh did not sit quietly at home. Guru Maharaj stopped his daily presence at the office at the end of October 1975. He received money sitting at home, and he assumed this to be God's blessing. He said laughingly in Jan 1978 to Prof. Gurmukh Singh, "Satguru is having his Seva done and is giving my wages from the Punjab Government."
After the 1975 incident Bhai Fauja Singh organised a new programme. He mentioned in his poem that, "the Joth (Light) in the Khalsa was disappearing and we will again awaken it". In June/July 1976 a group of Singhs commenced religious preaching in 10 villages in Gurdaspur over 10 days. Prof Gurmukh Singh was lucky enough to be among this Jatha. Bhai Fauja Singh had a very bad impression from the previous incidents regarding Sikhs living in the cities, and thought that they were not prepared to sacrifice their lives.
So he turned his attention to the villages so that perhaps the sleeping Panth, which was asleep in village life, may be awakened by telling them; about Satguru`s history, performing Gurbani Kirtan and taking Amrit. This Jatha also held Gatka demonstrations. After the Kirtan, Bhai Fauja Singh would talk to the Sangat and this had a good effect on the Sangat. A similar Smagam was held in March 1977 for 15 days at Khalsa Farm, where Bhai Fauja Singh persuaded young Sikhs to learn Gatka and told them of the problems of the Sikh Panth today, they also performed Kirtan and meditated.
During this period, another incident happened which again showed the courage and spirit of Bhai Fauja Singh. The Police arrested a Hindu woman. During her interrogation, the Police officers began to rape her. Her husband, unable to stop her from being gang-raped, went to the magistrates to secure her release and file a complaint about the Police. However they refused to intervene. He then went to various pundits and mullahs for help, but none wanted to go against the Police. Eventually he went to the Singhs. People had informed him of a Singh called Bhai Fauja Singh of Amritsar. Bhai Sahib had become very prominent due to his fearless attitude. He immediately went to see Bhai Sahib, who at once with some Singhs went to the Police station. On seeing the pitiable state of the woman, he immediately released the woman, and severely punished the guilty police officers. Later he was sent to prison for this action. However he showed that the Khalsa which rescued innocent women in Sikh History, is still alive today to save humanity from injustice.
In the poem "Kurbani" Bhai Sahib warns the Khalsa Panth about the disrespect of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib taking place everywhere, which he could not tolerate. He could not accept the insults at Guru Maharaj from the Nakali (fake) Nirankaris. At the end of the poem Bhai Sahib writes that my head is yours, Vaheguru, and I shall offer it to you. Bhai Fauja Singh was a great soldier, who selflessly and joyfully spent his life in fighting against injustice and standing up for the truth.
A Brahmin used to harass a Singhni. She was being harrassed over and over, he didn’t stop. They told Bhai Fauja Singh about it. Bhai Fauja Singh went to the Brahmin. He told him to stop. The Brahmin laughed. it happened a few more times, each time bhai sahib gave him a warning. He then said if u do this again there will be serious consequences. The Brahmin again harassed the Singhni and physically hit her or something i believe. bhai sahib went to the Brahmin and the Brahmin began to pull out a weapon after bhai sahib said that was you last warning, now you will have to pay. at this point bhai sahib had a huge AXE since he carried shahstar’s and decapitated the Brahmin’s head with a single blow.
(Bhai Sahib was at bail during their Shaheedi)
In Deena Nagar, a youth had raped a Sikh woman. Bhai Fauja Singh tried to talk with him, "All daughters and sisters are the same. You didn't do the right thing" "Who are you to explain anything to me?" Said the youth. "I've just come to make this request. There are bad results for acts like this" "I'll do this again. Who can stop me?" Said the increasingly argumentative youth. "No, this isn't right. You should keep the community in mind too" "You can use your force and do what you want. I'll keep doing this" "Fine, remember your maker then." Said the Singh as he dug his spear into the youth's chest. "keep doing what you want now". The young goon died on the spot. Bhai Fauja Singh's wife sighed. "One case hasn't finished, and you're ready for a second"
For over 30 years the Nakali Nirankaris have tried to oppose the Sikhs. They would speak wrongly in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji; they would call the Kar Seva in Harmander Sahib, Bikar Seva; make fun of the Rehat-Rehni; say that Gurbani was meaningless, and insult the Panj Pyarai. Even though all this was happening the Sikh leadership closed its eyes and ears and did not care about the deeply hurt minds of the Sikhs. Because of this stance taken by the Sikh Panth, the Nirankaris grew in confidence. They grew so much in confidence that on the day of the birth of Khalsa, the Vaisakhi of 1978, in Amritsar, their leader sat under a canopy with a fan being waved over him, and held a procession through the streets boasting that Guru Gobind Singh Ji made 5 beloved ones and I have made 7 stars, (Sat Sitaraes).
At this time the Akhand Kirtani Jatha Smagam was taking place and Bhai Fauja Singh was doing the Seva of kneading the flour for the Langar. Immediately after hearing the news he went outside to where everybody was gathered. Together with some other Singhs, he made a decision on what to do and then started the Ardas. This was his Shaheedi Ardas and the last Ardas that he ever did.
On the day of Vaisakhi 13th April 1978 about 125 Singhs went to peacefully protest against the Nirankari procession and against Nakali Nirankari Gurbachan Singh's insults against the Gurus. Bhai Fauja Singh was barefooted and all the Singhs were reciting Gurbani. The Nakali Nirankari army fired at the unarmed Singhs, and Bhai Fauja Singh and 12 other Singhs became Shaheeds and 70-75 Singhs were wounded. After his Shaheedi, the Leaders and Jathedars of the Panth stated that Bhai Fauja Singh and the other Singhs had given "Shaheedi" for the great task from which we had been hiding. They had not only woken the Panth, but also made us stronger, so that we can pay more attention to this in the future.
Son of Guru Gobind Singh & Protector of the Khalsa
by S.S. Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa
This is the story of the beginning of the association of the Khalsa of the west with the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Jatha of India, and is intended as a tribute to those Thirteen Martyrs of Amritsar. Let me begin by sharing the essence of the Hukam which I received when I went to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib for support upon hearing of Bhai Fauja Singh's death.
Nat Fourth Channel of Light ( pg. 983) 0 my mind, meditate thou on the inaccessible and Infinite Lord. I am a great sinner and virtueless; the Guru has mercifully emancipated me. Pause... The current of avarice is all like the dog's madness; this rabidness has spoiled everything. When the news reached the court of my Lord, Then taking up the sword of Divine e Knowledge, the Great God did slay it. Save, save, save Thou me, 0 my Master and rescue me by showering thine benediction. Nanak, I have not any other support; the Great True Guru has ferried me across.
In the spring of 1973, I made my first trip to India and the holy Harimandir Sahib. Early one morning as I meditated within its gold and marble walls, I felt myself being pushed a little this way and that way as more people entered the temple. I tried to make myself take up as little space as possible and also not to break my mental concentration upon the Gurbani Kirtan. But finally when I felt some pressure upon my knees, which I had pulled up to my chest, I opened my eyes. There I encountered the eyes of a girl of about twelve years old looking up at me. More surprising though was that she was wearing a turban! I had never seen an Indian Sikh female in a turban and I myself had just started tying one. For the next few mornings, she (Sat Nam Kaur) was always in the Golden Temple very early and would immediately seek me out. After many requests from her, I went to meet her Khalsa uncle and aunt, Bhai Fauja Singh and Bibi Amarjit Kaur. It was quite an adventure for me to follow her down the narrow streets of the city and up a darkened stairway, because we were kept very cloistered in those early days due to certain elements of the political climate. That was the start of my association with the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Jatha.
In later conversations, Bhai Fauja Singh said that even though most of us had not taken Amrit and we were not in full Khalsa bana, he recognized in us the prophecy of Guru Gobind Singh that the Khalsa would flourish in the west. He asked many questions about how we became Sikhs, our relationship to Yogi Bhajan, what we were taught, and what we believed. That quality in him remained throughout our friendship, as he continually asked me to explain all the foundations and facets of our understanding of Sikh Dharma, its relation to yoga and 3H0, exactly how we meditated, and what our plans were for the future of service to humanity. We corresponded after I left India. His letters were always a source of inspiration and a reminder of the humility of a true Gursikh.
In 1975, I returned to Amritsar. At that time Bhai Fauja Singh was in jail due to his participation in the Guruka Mail incident. It was he who led the way against those who had insulted the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and a Gurdwara. I spent a lot of time with Bibi Amarjit Kaur learning more about the details of the beliefs of their Jatha.
They have patiently watched us grow as the teachings of Sikh Dharma have been unfolded to us. They always maintained that the Siri Singh Sahib was teaching us correctly but we simply didn't follow closely enough. Sometimes we laughed over the changes we went through. For instance, Amarjit Kaur and Bhai Fauja Singh had told me earlier that the women should not leave any hair on the forehead when tying a turban. I insisted that it was scientifically sound, that that was the way the Siri Singh Sahib liked it, etc. Within a few months of that conversation, our hairs had disappeared beneath the turban per instruction of the Siri Singh Sahib. From the other side, a time came when the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Sikhs learned to respect our practice of yoga and even to participate. These things seem insignificant, but it is out of this kind of mutual understanding and acceptance that unity is built.
It was a joyous day on the same trip when I learned Bhai Fauja Singh had been released from jail. By this time, I felt that he and Bibi Amarjit Kaur were my Khalsa brother and sister of old times past, and it gave me great joy and a feeling of contentment and upliftment to be with them. We talked of God, Guru and Gurbani and of the Khalsa Panth. It was so wonderful to be in the company of the Sadh Sangat in the true sense, and, I am sorry to say, this was not the usual experience I had had among Sikh Sangats in general. These people were totally, honestly, and devotedly committed to living and dying as Khalsa and to teaching others about the Dharma and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Up to this time, I had never been to any of their kirtans. Bhai Fauja Singh and Bibi Amarjit Kaur asked if a few of us could attend an all night kirtan and Amrit ceremony in Ludhiana. They had told us of the way in which their Panj Piare gives Amrit and we very much wanted to experience that. Much to my disappointment, the over-all opinion of those supervising us was that we should not attend. However, we arranged that we would try to meet in Patiala, because I was to visit the University there and they had friends in that city; but it was only tentative. I can tell you that 1 prayed that we might meet again. God and Guru brought us together at the Gurdwara there. I was so happy, the smile would not leave my face. I recently saw others of our western Khalsa with those same smiles when we joined that Jatha in the village of Butala. I'm going into this detail because perhaps the reader can also experience the joy born out of the meeting of old souls and to give an impression of the Dharmic projection of these people and Bhai Fauja Singh in particular.
We stayed with the family of Bibi Kirpal Kaur in Patiala. For the first time, I heard their inspiring kirtan. Then I had a long lesson from Bhai Fauja Singh in how to recite the Jaap Sahib. In the morning, we arose early and recited the banis. Then we went to Babaji's room and he did Parkash. They showed me to what extent a person can assuredly, respectfully, devotedly and lovingly relate to and care for the Siri Guru Granth Sahib through Prakash. I was deeply moved, humbled and grateful to be an observer and participant in that vibration. There were hours more of kirtan, playing gatka, discussion of Gurbani and meeting other members of their jatha before I traveled on to New Delhi.
A month or so later, I returned to Patiala for a few days to do kirtan at a wedding. I went to the place of the wedding, bowed before the Guru and sat among the Sadh Sangat. After a while, I opened my eyes. I couldn't believe what I saw. There was Bhai Fauja Singh. My heart lept in appreciation to the Guru for letting me meet my Khalsa brother again.
After another month in New Delhi, I returned to Amritsar where the three of us and S.S. Soorya Kaur Khalsa spent many, many educational, inspiring warm hours together. One day, I remember Bhai Fauja Singh took me to meet several friends of his. After leaving the home of a woman he called his mother, I remarked about the beauty of the simple rough brick floor because it was so clean. A few days later, I had dinner at Bhai Fauja Singh and Bibi Amarjit Kaur's home. Because of his active nature in opposing any wrong-doing among Sikhs, it was difficult for them to find a home. People were afraid to rent to them; they were afraid they would draw trouble. From the time in 1973 that he had decided to devote his life for the preservation of the Khalsa in India, they had gone from a modest upper story flat in view of Akal Takht to a pantry room atop the roof of a building that was in great disrepair and located some distance from the Harimandir Sahib. As I entered that room, I felt totally humble; the brick floor of that small and simple room was spotless and still damp in places. Bhai Fauja Singh had scrubbed it three times. We fondly and lightly called that room their "broken house". We also looked forward to the day when I would be able to share that "broken house" with them. As of then, however, we were not able to move so freely among the Sikh community.
It was at that time that Bhai Fauja Singh explained the political nature of many Sikhs and the vast amount of missionary work that was needed in India. I didn't want to hear about Sikh politics or Indian politics, but now I understand that it is political entanglements which created the massacre on April 13, 1978. `Fauja' means soldier, and certainly he lived to his name. He was totally committed to defending the purity of the Guru and the Khalsa, and his wife was there to serve and support him in that mission.
When I returned to Amritsar in 1977, he was again in jail, this time awaiting trial on charges of murder of a man who had beaten a young woman who was a member of their jatha. On the outside of the jail Amarjit Kaur had been working very hard to prove his innocence. Inside the jail, he was also working hard. He was doing his missionary work and many of the inmates had become Sikhs, as well as the young son of a Hindu man who was in charge of the jail. By this time, Bhai Fauja Singh was no longer wearing western style suit and black turban, but was in the white bana of Guru Gobind Singh. At first he had been content to remain in jail, meditate and continue his work, but he had recently come to the realization that his leadership was needed beyond those jail walls.
The fall of 1977 was the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Amritsar. About 100 of us had come for this function and to travel to other cities and villages to do kirtan and participate with the Sadh Sangat. Had it not been for the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Jatha, particularly Bibi Amarjit Kaur, we would never have traveled to any villages or cities because the S.G.P.C. was much too busy to make these arrangements.
There were several memorable visits to villages, times of kirtan and gatka, Sangat and Pangat. I'm sure those buses in which we rode have never heard so much kirtan. We would return late at night, contented, inspired and still singing with our Khalsa brothers and sisters. During that time period in India, there was a campaign underway to slander the Siri Singh Sahib and Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere. Bhai Fauja Singh sent me pages of questions. He wanted each and every detail and reading material so he could formulate his position and communicate it to the presses and the Indian leadership. He came out in complete support and recognition of the Siri Singh Sahib and his work and challenged those who had not transformed even one Indian Sikh and who would yet criticize the Siri Singh Sahib.
Toward the end of our stay, about forty of us went to Gurdaspur jail for Gurdwara and kirtan. We were totally humbled by what we beheld there. A man all in white and with a radiant face and humble nature greeted each one of us with `Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.' We could tell he, too was excited by our joining there. Bhai Fauja Singh won the hearts of everyone. The walls of the courtyard bore beautiful and simple placards of Gurbani and in the center was the Gurdwara and the Sadh Sangat. The only way to distinguish those Indian Singhs who had come with us from those who live within the jail was that the latter could not wear their kirpans.
We were graciously served langar within the cell confines and then moved back into the courtyard. Sitting there doing kirtan, I was bounced back and forth between two realms. At one moment I would look at the Sangat and feel physical and mental pain at seeing these men in turbans sitting in a jail and then I would think, "No, our bodies are also jails, but for our souls." Most of those men were in turbans because of the efforts of Bhai Fauja Singh. The peace and joy he was experiencing from kirtan and Nam Simran spoke to my inner being. Later he pointed out to me that this time he could clearly understand our kirtan, where in the past, he had to listen carefully before he could be sure what shabd we were reciting. After kirtan, he spoke out strongly in support of the Siri Singh Sahib and Sikh Dharma of the west.
About two weeks later, Amarjit Kaur, Swami Singh Khalsa and myself went to visit him again. The jail authorities openly expressed their great respect, trust and love of him. As some other Sikh prisoners have done before, he had refused the facilities open to him because of his education and profession, and had instead requested lesser quarters in order to be with more men, those men who needed the teachings he carried. At this final meeting of ours, he urged me to push for the Khalsa of the west to work more directly with the Khalsa of India. The ice had been broken now. He urged me to ask the Siri Singh Sahib to send over small groups which could live among their jatha, learn the language and our Khalsa history and heritage in depth, and travel with them to systematically do missionary work in cities and especially in villages. He felt that the building blocks of the future of the Khalsa in India lay in the village masses.
He was more universal in vibration than I had ever seen him before, and was absolutely one-pointed on the unity of Khalsa of east and west and upon his responsibility to help the Khalsa ofIndia. He stated it was up to God and Guru to free him from his current abode and firmly believed Guru Gobind Singh had given him that time to meditate, regain his health (they cooked their own meals as Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh had done when he was in prison), and to create Khalsa among those men. As we parted, I knew that the hours we had spent together in the past, light-hearted, warm and personal, would never come again. He, in particular, was detached from that now and looked instead to each of us having a much broader relationship with the Khalsa. He, as a brother had planted a seed, and wanted to see the fruit born as unity of Khalsa and the salvation of the eastern Sikhs.
At this time, he also assured us that we need not worry about the safety of the Siri Singh Sahib when he came to Amritsar for the 400th anniversary celebration. He gave Bibi Amarjit Kaur a list of Singhs who could be counted upon to come at a moment's notice and who would die to protect the Siri Singh Sahib. Ultimately, it was their jatha which was called early one morning to offer the Siri Singh Sahib safe passage from India to Pakistan. They were the only group that openly and unreservedly came to our aid. At that time, Bibi Amarjit Kaur greeted the Siri Singh Sahib and presented him with an arrow, and he in turn took the dust of the feet of her and Bhai Joginder Singh, another member of their jatha.
When our group left Amritsar for New Delhi and our return to the United States, the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Jatha met us at the railway station loaded with baskets of fruit. They were the only Indian Sikhs to see us off. This was a change from the S.G.P.C. participation of the past. `Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa and Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh' rang back and forth among us. There were tender hugs between Singhs. It was about to end, and then Bibi Amarjit Kaur suggested they ride with us to the next train station about an hour and a half away. We enthusiastically voiced our approval Many of them boarded with us. As our train pulled away, some of those remaining ran beside the train, giving us kirpans and iron karas. We spent the next 11/z hours in Gurbani Kirtan. That ride none of us will ever forget. There was one really amusing thing. Bhai Joginder Singh was playing tabla and someone put the stereo headphones of their tape recorder over his ears. He was totally delighted as his surroundings were nothing but the sounds of Gurbani Kirtan. People had one of two appearances at that time: either eyes closed and meditating and singing or eyes open, singing and smiling. Then at the city of Jullundar, we shared our last `Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa and Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fatehs'; and now history has shown that for some, it was a final parting on this plane and our last voiced farewells.
Within a month, Bhai Fauja Singh had won the right to appeal his sentence of life imprisonment and was released until the courts would consider his case. He immediately resumed his missionary endeavors, especially working to lay a foundation to unite some of the Sikh factions into a common Khalsa Panth and teaching about the meaning of Gurbani.
In the end, Bhai Fauja Singh led a group of Singhs on Baisakhi Day to peacefully protest against those Sant Nirankaris who were slandering the Sikh Gurus and insulting the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Though they went with no attitude of aggression toward any people, each also went with the attitude that it is the Guru's blessing to give one's head in defense of the honor, dignity and purity of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and its teaching as manifest in the Sikh Gurus and the Khalsa.
In April of 1978, when I returned to Amritsar, it was to pay respect to the Thirteen Martyrs of Amritsar on behalf of the Khalsa of the Western Hemisphere. I shall never forget the experience of seeing those dear brothers of the Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh Jatha in the Sadh Sangat of Manji Sahib and Bibi Amarjit Kaur sitting near the Guru. Visiting those wounded Singhs in the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, seeing their physical state and their soaring spirits, taught me once again what Khalsa spirit is, what a saint-soldier is, and what it means when we say "When things are down and darkest, that is when we stand tallest." God and Guru know Their ways. At our last kirtan before leaving Amritsar, I sang the shabd that Bhai Fauja Singh sang when we visited the home of the parents of the young girl who first brought us together. He had his arm around her father and both were shedding tears of joy. Sri Rag, First Channel of Light (17-18) Come my sisters and dear comrades, clasp me in thine embrace. Meeting together, let us tell tales of our Omnipotent Spouse. In the True Lord are all merits; in us all demerits. O my Creator, all are in Thy power. I contemplate over the One Name, when thou are mine, 0 Lord, What more do I require then? Pause.
Just as we are attracted to and pick the most beautiful and perfect flowers in a garden and bring them into our homes, so God took Bhai Fauja Singh and those other great Singhs and let them lay their heads at His lotus feet in service to their dharma.
Yet God does not want the garden to go untended. For each Gursikh that was plucked that day, hundreds should blossom forth in full beauty to carry on the mission of the Khalsa that others may experience the divine fragrance of the Nam. Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!