By Principal Gurmukh Singh in Soora
Baba Atma Singh Jee, Bhai Randheer Singh Jee and Sant Juaalaa Singh Jee(right)
7 km from Rajpura on the Patiala Road is the bridge for the Bhakra river. The caretaker of this bridge was Bhai Juaalaa Singh, who later became famous as Sant Juaalaa Singh in this Jatha. He became very close to Bhai Sahib Randher Singh jee. How he became so is a very interesting story. Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh honoured Bhai Juaalaa Singh with the title of Sant, even though in the Jatha, Singhs were not called Sant but only Bhai or Bhai Sahib.
Bhai Juaalaa Singh was supervising the construction of the bridge when an unknown Sikh Sadhoo approached him. After offering his Fateh, the Sadhoo asked,
Sadhoo: do you recognize me?
BJS: No. Who are you? Where are you from? Who do you wish to meet?
Sadhoo: My name is Juaalaa Singh. I have come very far to meet you.
BJS: To meet me? Then it is my good fortune! Come home with me and have something to eat.
Both went to Bhai Juaalaa Singh’s home and there Bhai Sahib gave the Sadhoo some food. At the same time, he was also astonished and wondering what message the Sadhoo could have brought for him. After finishing his meal, the Sadhoo began,
Bhai Juaalaa Singh jee, your my companion from a previous life. In our last life, we were three friends who meditated together. After all three of us died, Akaal Purakh gave us human life again and named all three of us Juaalaa Singh.
BJS: Who is the third Juaalaa Singh?
Sadhoo: The third is Juaalaa Singh is a Sant at Harkhovaal. Have really totally forgotten your last life?
BJS: I remember nothing.
Sadhoo: I have come here to remind you then. You used to say, Oh Lord, if I get human life again, may not even one of my breaths go without your remembrance. Today you’ve forgotten everything?
Sadhoo: Alright. The moment is now approaching. In the next six months your family will all pass. Don’t worry! First your only son will leave and then your wife will leave shortly after. Akaal Purakh wants to first relieve you all your family duties so that you can remain in his will and meditate on his naam. Your naam earnings will begin where you left them in your last life. But be warned! If you falter, your path will become long and you might have to go through the cycle of many births.
Now allow me to leave. I was pulled to you by our old love and came only to warn you.
After saying this, the Sikh Sadhoo left for an unknown destination. That Sadhoo never met Bhai Juaalaa Singh again.
Bhai Sahib was astounded yet worried after hearing all these amazing things. He kept thinking to himself, if Nirankaar did exercise his will on his family, what should he do? He did not understand what path to take, but in his mind he had reached the firm decision that he would not let this birth go to waste. Whatever had happened in the past, was past.
In the next few months Bhai Sahib reduced his work. After two months, his only son fell ill but because he had been warned, Bhai Sahib remained steadfast. After a few days, the boy died.
Then came the turn of his wife. Three and a half months after the death of his son, Bhai Sahib’s wife also died. Like the Sikh Sadhoo said, within six months, his entire family had passed. Bhai Sahib was now all alone in the world. No daughter, no daughter in law, no grand son, nobody. This was such a turn in life at which a person looks back at what has happened and attempts to look forward into the fog of the future. If Bhai Sahib was a usual worldly person, and if the Sikh Sadhoo had not warned him, it’s possible he could have faltered. But Bhai Sahib did not take long to decide on his future. He gave up his supervisory position and decided to engross himself in naam simran only.
One of Bhai Sahib’s close companions, Rtd. Cpt. Sher Singh, who was an amrit vela companion of Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee, tells us that Bhai Juaalaa Singh folded his business and then moved to Nandpur KalauR near Patiala and took up residence at the Gurdvara. Here he became to do akhand paths. His voice was very sweet and because of the departure of his family and the effect of BaNee, a sense Bairaag grew within him. In this village lived some members of Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee’s keertan congregation, and Bhai Sahib became close with them. It was natural that seeing Bhai Sahib’s bairaag those Singhs should have given him some of Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee’s books or perhaps told him lovingly about Bhai Sahib. As a result, Bhai Juaalaa Singh developed a deep desire to meet Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh. After a few months at the Poh Sudee Satvee Smaagam at Narangvaal, Bhai Juaalaa Singh went to fulfill his desire. The Singhs brought Bhai Juaalaa Singh into the presence of Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh, but instead of the Singhs introducing Bhai Juaalaa Singh, Bhai Sahib rose up and embraced him and exclaimed Oh long last Sant jee! Welcome!
The Nandpur KalauR Singhs were all astounded. Bhai Sahib thanked these Singhs for allowing him to meet a long lost brother.
After the smaagam, Sant Juaalaa Singh jee remained with Bhai Sahib when all the other Singhs returned to their villages. He became a permanent member of Bhai Sahib’s amrit vela sangat. He would recite Sree Sukhmanee Sahib in a very sweet voice.
One day when Sant jee was reciting Sukhmanee Sahib at amrit vela, he was reciting the line ਪ੍ਰਗਟੇਗੁਪਾਲਮਹਾਂਤਕੈਮਾਥੇ ॥ when Bhai Sahib said here comest the Mahantee! No one understood. Nor could Sant jee understand what Bhai Sahib had quickly said.
When the day at risen, the village council of Nandpur KalauR arrived at Bhai Sahib’s home with a request. Sant Juaalaa Singh was also sitting there. The council told Bhai Sahib, the previous Mahant (caretaker) of the Gurdvara Sahib at Nandpur KalauR, Sant Punjab Singh, has passed away. Please give Sant Juaalaa Singh permission to carry out this service now.
Bhai Sahib accepted the request of the village Sangat and they brought Sant Juaalaa Singh to Nandpur KalauR. Sant jee now understood the brief reference Bhai Sahib had made during nitnem. Sant jee then remained at Nandpur KalauR till his last breaths. He had such a glowing face. At one Ran Sabaaee keertan I attended as a youth, Sant jee sat beside me in Sangat. I was amazed to see that everyone was hearing the same keertan but sometimes Sant jee would begin to laugh and at other times tears would fall from his eyes. Later I understood this spiritual state from GurbaaNee:
Those Singhs who have heard Sree Akhand Paath Sahib from the voice of Sant jee know that Sant jee’s recital had a curious pull to it and gave a unique pleasure. The Paath was very fast but filled with nectar. His face would glow with divine colour. Only by seeing it could it be understood.