Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Dr. Surinder Singh


Dr. Surinder Singh jee was the son of Subedar Harbachan Singh and mother Tej Kaur. Subedar Harbachan Singh jee was a Gursikh friend of Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee whom he wrote about in the book Ranglay Sajjan. Heera Harbachan Singh jee, when Dr. Sahib was born, was living in Chakk Number 12 in District Montgommery. Subedar Harbachan Singh and Baoo Mul Singh jee served in the army together and were allotted land together, after their retirement. Their houses backed onto each other.

Before the birth of Dr. Surinder Singh, Subedar Harbachan Singh and Mata Tej Kaur had given birth to ten children but all ten died very young. Dr. Sahib’s mother was a very Gurmukh soul and despite all her children dying, she remained firm in her Sikh faith. If she ever felt sadness, she would go before Sree Guru Granth Sahib in total humility and express her deepest feelings and then after would accept Guru Sahib’s hukam and be satisfied. Sometimes though, she would ask her husband how long this difficult time would last, where all her children would die. Gurmukh Piaaray Bhai Harbachan Singh would say that the children born in their home were bhagats from their last lives. They would take birth only to receive amrit and then when they were blessed by Guru Sahib, they would leave for SachKhand. For this reason, he said, they should not feel sad.

Birth of Dr. Surinder Singh

But how long could a mother bear such separations? When the eleventh child was to be born, Mata jee did an ardaas before Sree Guru Granth Sahib, Lord, bless us that this child that you are sending to our home has a long life. She also promised that this child’s naam sanskaar (naming ceremony) would take place at Sree Hazoor Sahib.

ਬਿਰਥੀਕਦੇਨਹੋਵਈਜਨਕੀਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥ (819).

Vahiguru heard and accepted this ardaas. On October 30, 1926 a blessed soul was born and after one year, his naam-sanskaar took place at Sree Hazoor Sahib. He was named Surinder Singh. This was the first child of the couple that survived.

Bhai Surinder Singh was the oldest child in his family. He later also had one brother and two sisters. After Dr. Sahib there is his sister Bibi Harjeet Kaur. Her husband, Oankaar Singh jee is a retired judge and they live together in Poanta Sahib. They have one son, Bhai Gursharan Singh who had the Sangat of Dr. Sahib and currently lives in Herbertpur zilaa. Dehradun.

His other brother is Amarjeet Singh who lives in England and his sister Bibi Mahinder Kaur.

Passing of His Parents

Dr. Sahib was still a child when his parents left this world. After this, he lived with his maternal grandparents and later with his uncle. His uncle, S. Hardit Singh lived in Meeruth and Bhai Harbachan Singh had breathed his last here.

S. Hardit Singh had no children and was very happy to have the children live with him. He had a very big mansion in Meeruth with many servants. He even had a small zoo. The children had whatever facilities they could want at this house.

Dr. Sahib was of a saintly nature from his birth. He was very merciful as a child. He would love the animals in the house’s zoo. He would daily give the chickens in the house their feed. One day, there was a party and the servants took the chickens and butchered them in front of Dr. Sahib. He was so severely affected by this that he did not eat for two or three days and then also became sick with fever. His sister too fell ill, but she recovered soon. Dr. Sahib did not regain his health for some time. After this, his aunt forbid the servants from even touching the animals the children had raised. Dr. Sahib was so soft-hearted that he could not bear to see anyone’s pain.

Early Education

Dr. Sahib received his early education in Meeruth and Dehradun. He studied up to the fifth grade in Meeruth and then his uncle was transferred to Dehradun where the entire family moved. Dr. Sahib was enrolled in Saint Joseph Academy where he earned very high marks. The children, during their education, lived like royalty. Whatever they ordered, everyone obeyed. The servants would take them to school in cars and would pick them up as well. But Dr. Sahib never spoke harshly to any servant nor did he ever give them any orders. If someone scolded the servants in front of him, he would ask, Are they not human?

Later he went to college and received a BA and then also earned a diploma in automobile engineering.


Dr. Sahib finished his education by 1944. He went to Delhi where his sister Harjeet Kaur lived and there he began to work in the firm Piare Lal & Sons. Where he worked until 1948.

After this, he went to his sister who lived in Bombay. There he began to work in the Firestone Company. When he was working here, he received a message from his maternal grandmother who wanted to see him. She had only seen them as children. Dr. Sahib’s maternal grandmother had lived in a village near Goindval Sahib, but sold all her land and gave it to the Guru Ghar. She then moved to Anandpur Sahib and lived in a room at Takhat Sree Keshgarh Sahib and only occasionally would visit her village.

Dr. Sahib took a leave from his job and then went to Anandpur Sahib. His grandmother showed him a lot of love and it was here that Dr. Sahib learned the Gurmukhi language. He began to do paath of mool mantar at the instructions of his grandmother and would attend the Asa Dee Vaar Keertan at Takhat Sahib.

Soon Dr. Sahib learned Gurmukhi and began to do paath. He memorized nitnem and whenever he was given leave from his job, he would come visit his grandmother. In 1950, Dr. Sahib received amrit at Sree Keshgarh Sahib.

Living at Anandpur Sahib, Dr. Sahib began to study homeopathy and medicine. After deep study, he began to treat the needy for free. It is because of this that he is called Dr. Sahib in the Jatha.

Meeting Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh for the First Time

Young Bhai Surinder Singh had heard of his father’s spiritual nature and he was very touched by those stories. Hearing of his father, he would be lost in vairaag and tears would form in his eyes. Even being schooled in a Christian academy did not effect his spiritual yearnings. He was convinced that without amrit, Gursikhi would not be possible. So with the influence of his grandmother, who strictly observed amrit vela and had a bibekee life, Dr. Sahib too became amritdhari.

After some time in Anandpur Sahib, Dr. Sahib went to meet his uncle in Dehradun. Col. Piara Singh jee was Subedar Harbachan Singh jee’s very close friend. One day Col Sahib’s daughter phoned and asked that Surinder Singh come and take a basket of fruit to Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee on behalf of her father. Dr. Sahib went to Mansooree where Col Sahib was staying with his daughter.

Col Sahib told Bhai Surinder Singh the route to go to Kumar Hatti where Bhai Sahib was staying and the next day, after amrit vela and nitnem, Dr. Sahib left for Kumar Hatti. He put the basket of fruit on his head and went to the train station. Dr. Sahib did not know that giving this gift would change his life.

Dr. Surinder Singh was doing simran on the train and as he arrived nearer to his destination, he began to feel an internal pull. He had never before seen Bhai Sahib but had heard quite a lot about him. After arriving at Kumar Hatti station, he put the basket on his head again and took the route Col Sahib had explained to him. But on the way, it felt as if someone was guiding him.

Dr. Sahib himself used to tell about his meeting with Bhai Sahib. When telling this story, tears would begin to fall from his eyes and he would get up mid-story for a walk so no one would see them.

Upon arriving at Bhai Sahibs place of meditation, he saw Bhai Sahib’s daughter, Bibi Dalaer Kaur. He told her that Col. Piara Singh sent him and asked where Bhai Sahib was. Bibi jee pointed towards the nearby Gurdwara. Dr. Sahib entered the Gurdwara and saw that there was one Singh on tabla and Bhai Sahib was on the vaja singing keertan in a loud voice at the highest notes. He was deep in a trance. There was no one else in the Gurdwara but it felt as though there were countless listeners. After the finish of keertan, Sodar Rehras began. After Ardaas, hukumnama and sukhasan, Bhai Sahib began to walk to his room for rest. Bhai Sahib was walking in his spiritually intoxicated way when bib Dalaer Kaur approached him and said that Col Sahib had sent a basket of fruit for him. Bhai Sahib asked, Who has brought them? Bibi jee replied, Subedar Harbachan Singh’s son, Surinder Singh.Bibi jee had said just this much when Bhai Sahib began to look at Dr. Sahib as though he was a lost diamond. Bhai Sahib grabbed him in his embrace and clasped him very tightly.

It was as if two separated souls had been united. Bhai Sahib would not let Dr. Sahib go from his embrace. Both their eyes were filled with tears. Bhai Sahib was seeing his veer Harbachan Singh’s soul in Surinder Singh. Bhai Sahib’s bairaag was indescribable. Dr. Sahib would say, When Bhai Sahib embraced me, the love my father gave me in my childhood began to run coolly through me again and it seemed as if Bhai Sahib was my everything. The embrace opened and they looked in each other’s eyes and Bhai Sahib said, today you have refreshed my memory of my departed brother Veer Harbachan Singh.

The next day, Dr. Sahib asked Bhai Sahib for permission to return home. Bhai Sahib grabbed Dr. Sahib’s hand and while looking with his piercing eyes said, you will leave me and go? I won’t let you. I live with your support. Saying this, Bhai Sahib again came into bairaag. Dr. Sahib himself came into bairaag and went outside.

The third day, Dr. Sahib again asked for permission to return and again Bhai Sahib said he could not go. Dr. jee again stayed. All day Dr. Sahib waited for a time when Bhai Sahib would not be in such bairaag so he could ask to go, but Bhai Sahib was always in the same state. Finally, Dr. Sahib asked Bibi Dalaer Kaur to get permission for him to return to Dehradun. Bibi jee went near Bapoo jee and said, Bapoo jee, the boy wants permission to return to Dehradun. Bhai Sahib asked, where is the boy? Bibi jee replied, he is outside. Bhai Sahib called him and said, Kaka Surinder Singh, must you go?
Dr. Sahib: I don’t want to, but I must return to my job.
Bhai Sahib: If you must go, then you may.

After getting many blessings, Bhai Sahib said, tell Col. Piara Singh that the joy I got from his fruit was surpassed by the joy I got from meeting the one who brought them.

Dr. Sahib began to walk towards the train station but his spirit remained behind. He kept looking back. He later would say that leaving Bhai Sahib was very difficult and that only someone with courage could meet him and then leave.

On Marriage

Whenever anyone brought up the issue of marriage, Dr. Sahib would delay the issue. Col Piara Singh had considered marrying his granddaughter to Dr. Sahib. Dr. Sahib was very simple and at first did not openly refuse. Later it turned out that the girl’s mother wanted Dr. Sahib to tie his beard and upon hearing this, he refused to do so and turned down the marriage offer. He was completely dedicated to Gurmat principles. After this, he gave up even thought of marriage and never thought about it for the rest of his life.

When he was staying with Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee once, his sisters Harjeet Kaur and Mahinder Kaur asked Bhai Sahib to tell Dr. Sahib to get married or himself should arrange his match with a Gursikh family. Bhai Sahib, at this time, was in Ludhiana sitting on his bed in his room. Dr. Sahib was sitting on the ground on a rug. Bhai Sahib had the following, unique conversation with him:

Bhai Sahib: What is this Bibi saying?
Bhai Sahib: It’s very difficult. Think about it.
Dr. Sahib: Many have done it.

Then Bhai Sahib, who knew everyone’s feelings said, Bibi, he will not get married. He will be chakarvarti. After that day, no one compelled him to get married.

Returning to Bhai Sahib

Dr. Surinder Singh jee returned to his job in Bombay. Physically, he was thousands of miles away from Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee but his mind was always with Bhai Sahib. While living in Bombay the memory of his meeting with Bhai Sahib in Kumar Hatti kept returning and he wanted to go back and stay with Bhai Sahib. This state of vairaag forced him to resign from his job. Inside, he was anxious to go do Sangat with Bhai Sahib.

Dr. Sahib’s pull was felt by Bhai Sahib in Ludhiana. Bhai Sahib wrote to the Singhs in Bombay that they should tell Surinder Singh not to leave his job and should help him adjust to life there by giving him love. But who could stop this bairagi? Even though the Singhs tried to convince him to stay, Dr. Sahib offered his resignation and after a few days, arrived in Punjab.

He went straight to Bhai Sahib in Ludhiana. Once he arrived he joined with Bhai Sahib completely, that they became like one. They shared their faith in Gurmat, their goal, their path and their love for Vahiguru. Dr. Sahib was always with Bhai Sahib after this. Whatever smaagams took place, Dr. Sahib always took part. He was still very young and his beard was yet growing in, but his consciousness was flying very high. The effect of Bhai Sahib’s Sangat and the smaagams was that he forgot worldly life and Guru Dashmesh jee’s Gurmat took hold over his heart completely. Soon he began to keep Sarbloh Bibek and other Gurmat Rehits.

All day Dr. Sahib would serve in the langar and would not tire. He would not speak with anyone, nor argue and he had a link with no one. He was constantly immersed in his love of Vahiguru.

Dr. Sahib had quite a bit of land but he only took enough money to sustain himself. The rest he would give to the needy for medicine or use to serve Singhs.

Learning Keertan

It was 1953 and Bhai Amreek Singh, Hazooree Ragi Sree Darbar Sahib, was staying at his native village of Kurali where he would teach children keertan. 10 to 15 children were learning keertan from him.

In Kurali lived Dr. Sahib’s sister who had a loving relationship with him. Dr. Sahib used to say that whenever he was having problems, he would go to his siter and her love would make him forget all his worldly pains and sorrows. His sister’s husband, S. Guriqbal Singh had a lot of land and was respected in the entire area.

Once, when Dr. Sahib was visiting his sister, Bhai Amreek Singh came to their home. He was blind and had a strong relationship with this family. Bhain jee replied that Bhai Amreek Singh taught keertan. Dr Sahib asked if Bhai Sahib would teach him keertan and his sister replied, Of course, he is like our child. Why wouldn’t he teach you keertan?

The next day Dr. Sahib joined the other students and learned the basic notes. Bhai Amreek Singh himself tells that when Dr. Sahib joined his class, he was very effected by Dr. Sahib’s high spirituality. Dr. Sahib gave Bhai Amreek Singh the first edition of the Amrit Keertan which he has kept ever since.

Dr. Sahib’s first shabads were

ਦਰਸਨੁਦੇਖਿਜੀਵਾਗੁਰਤੇਰਾ ॥,

ਚਰਨਕਮਲਕੀਆਸਪਿਆਰੇ ॥ 


ਤੂਠਾਕੁਰੋਬੈਰਾਗਰੋਮੈਜੇਹੀਘਣਚੇਰੀਰਾਮ ॥

Dr Sahib used to sing very softly. Once Bhai Amreek Singh said, Guru kay laal jee, you should sing the shabad in a loud voice. Dr. Sahib replied, Bhai Sahib, I don’t do keertan for others to hear. I am learning keertan only so I can hear it myself.

Dr. Sahib liked the calm keertan style of puraatan Gurmukhs. He would say that anyone who wanted to enjoy the ras of keertan should listen to Bhai Amreek Singh Hazooree Ragi. Dr. Sahib also gave Bhai Amreek Singh a vaja and told him to teach his new students keertan on it. Bhai Sahib still has this vaja with him. He says that whenever he teaches someone keertan on it, the memory of Dr. Sahib is revived.

Walking to Gurdwara

Dr. Sahib’s nephew, Gurjaspal Singh tells that when Dr. Sahib used to live in Kurali, he used to walk to Chamkaur Sahib and Bhatha Sahib Gurdwaras. One day Gurjaspal Singh said, Uncle, it is no longer olden times. Buses are very common. Why don’t you take the bus? Dr. Sahib replied, When going to the Guru’s sharan, it is better to go by foot. Guru Sahib’s blessings can be obtained this way and your haazree is accepted.

After some time, Dr. Sahib again returned to Bhai Sahib in Ludhiana and then returned to Bombay.

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