By S. Attar Singh in Soora, March 1985
Loving Even Slanderers
There was a big gathering at Jammu and one Singh began to speak very harshly about Akali jee from the stage. Akali jee sat in the congregation and listened calmly and silently to all that was said. When the divaan ended, he called that Singh and said, “Singh Sahib, please sit”. The Singh sat down and Akali jee whispered, “Singh Sahib, if you wish to say anything further then please do so now. I’m here for you.”
Hearing this, the Singh felt very ashamed and fell at Akali jee’s feet and begged for forgiveness over and over again.
Transforming a Thief
It was the final days of the year 1929. A Sikh by the name of Jeevan Singh, who lived in Sialkot (now Pakistan) had been imprisoned for being a Dacoit (considered a type of “macho” thief who lives in a gang). After spending his time in Jail in Kashmir, he was released and arrived at Gurdwara Amira Kadal. It was the month of December. It was very cold and he was shivering without any proper clothes to cover himself.
Akali Kaur Singh jee was descending from the stage after doing Katha when he saw this poor Sikh. Akali jee sat down beside Jeevan Singh and after Karah Parshaad was distributed, he spoke to him in a very soft and sweet voice:
“Singh Sahib, you appear to be a Punjabi?”
Jeevan Singh replied, “Yes Maharaj, I am Punjabi”.
“Then how have you come here in the dead of winter?”
“Maharaj, I was arrested and imprisoned here for being a Dacoit and was released just yesterday”
Akali jee then asked, “Singh Sahib, can you tell me what is the difference between a common thief and a Dacoit?”
Jeevan Singh replied, “Yes Maharaj…”
Akali Jee: “Alright, please tell me then”
Jeevan Singh was uneducated and in his own way tried to explain the difference between a Dacoity and Robbery, “Maharaj, it is robbery when you would be sleeping in your home and the thief would sneak into your house from the back and then take all your belongings. Now here’s what a Dacoity is like; you would be sleeping in your house and we’d come knock on the door and you’d ask, “who’s there?” and we’d say, “It’s your son-in-law” and you’d open the door and then we’d storm in, take all your stuff and you’d be left watching it all. That’s called a Dacoity.”
Akali jee listened to this simple explanation and began to laugh. He said, “Veer, tell me, is there anything I can do for you?”
Akali jee then gave Jeevan Singh all that he needed and asked for.
Akali jee then asked, “Singh Sahib, why do you do this (Dacoity)?”
Jeevan Singh replied, “Maharaj, I do it to feed my children…”
“If you could meet this need some other way, would you stop doing it?”
Jeevan Singh promised that he would no longer steal. Akali jee then took him to Guru Nanak Ashram Chakaar (the orphanage Akali jee ran) and made him a Guard with a salary from which he could raise his family.
Just seeing Akali jee left a very deep impression and he had a magnetic quality to him. Whoever saw Akali jee just once, would want to keep staring at him. Whenever he would travel on a bus or by train, the other passengers would all be drawn to his glowing face. His Nihang Chakars, his glowing red face, his radiant white beard, blue dumalla and simple clothing were all in addition to his natural beauty. Because of this, everyone who saw him kept looking and wanting to keep seeing him.
Once in Delhi, two Pathans (fierce Muslim tribals who live in Afghanistan/Pakistan and considered very hostile to Sikhs) began to walk behind Akali jee. There were two bibian also walking with him and they suspected that perhaps they wanted to harm Akali jee. They warned the Singh who was with them that perhaps these Pathans may attack Akali jee. As the Pathans kept following Akali jee, they kept staring at his face.
The Bibian became apprehensive as the Pathans came in front of Akali jee but where shocked when they fell at his feet and said, “Baba, we had heard that Prophets of God look like you and because of this we wished to see your face and now we feel want to keep looking at you…”
Akali jee stepped back and said very respectfully while motioning upwards, “Brothers, the Prophets of God are there, you should look towards them…”
Not Liking Self-Worship
Akali jee was very opposed to people bowing to him or touching his feet. If someone would try, he would grab their hands and say, “It is Guru Sahib’s order to say “Vahiguru jee ka Khalsa Vaahiguru jee kee Fateh!” to Singhs. Our heads should not bow before anyone but Guru Sahib.”
Akali jee had firm belief that no one had the right to have others bow to them. All Singhs should be treated equally.
If some Muslim would say to Akali jee, “Baba jee, Salaam!” Akali jee would hold his Sri Sahib or Safaajang in both hands, raise it to the sky and say, “To the Lord…”
Akali Jee used to say Singhs should say Fateh to each other and the reply should be proper, not just a nod of the head or tipping of the walking stick.