Translated from a Punjabi biography compiled by Sevadar Bhai Jarnail Singh Ji (Gurdwara Karamsar, Rara Sahib)
Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji Maharaj (Rara Sahib Wale) were born on the 17th of January 1927 in the home of father Raam Singh Ji and mother Sant Kaur at the village Poheer (Ludhiana). Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji acquired their worldly education from the village school. Baba Ji received their Gurbani Santhya and spiritual progression from Giani Giaan Singh Ji (Gurdwara Sahib Ahmedgarh Mandhi). It was here at Ahmedgarh Mandhi that Baba Ji learnt Kirtan and memorised their Nitnem and many other Baania.
When Baba Ji was studying at school, they came to hear that Sangat from their village was going on a Yatra to many historic Gurdwar’eh such as Harmandir Sahib (Amritsar), it was at this point that Baba Ji handed their school bag to a fellow classmate and themselves chose to go with the Sangat. Baba Ji in their tender age, carried out the Japji Sahib Maryada at Gurdwara Goindwal Bauli Sahib, whereby they recited 84 Japji Sahibs (one on each of the 84 steps) in 13 hours. When Baba Ji carried out the Ardas, the Sangat were shocked at Baba Ji’s strong sense of faith and love for Guru Sahib at such a young age.
At the age of 11-12, Baba Ji went to Calcutta to stay with their elder brother Mehar Singh, who was in charge of a business company there. When Baba Ji was there, a member of the company organised an Asa-Di-Vaar Da Kirtan at his home in which there were members of the company, relatives and other Sikh devotees present.
When the Kirtan had finished, all the Sangat stood up to join in Ardas. As the Sangat were reciting the words ‘Toon Thakur Tum Pehi Ardas…’ the Granthi Singh whose duty it was to conduct the Ardas, was no where to be seen. It was at that moment, that Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji stood forward and completed the Seva of the Ardas. The Sangat were really impressed at Baba Ji for their approach in this Seva and began to refer to Baba Ji as ‘Shotte Giani’ (young Priest). The Sangat of Calcutta had immense respect for Baba Ji after witnessing their Gursikhi Jivan.
After leaving Calcutta, Baba Ji went and stayed with their other brother in SihaalKot, who worked in a parachute company. Whilst staying here, Baba Ji used to visit Gurdwara Ber Sahib, a historic Gurdwara where Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj had taught the Muslim Fakeer Hamza Gons the right way. Hamza Gons had vowed to destroy the town and had imbedded fear in many of the residents. However after meeting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, Hamza Gons gave up his angry ways. It was at this Asthan that Baba Ji underwent much Vairaag and developed further desire to practise Seva and Simran. After leaving SihaalKot, Baba Ji went to Ludhiana Paral Hojri and remained amongst a few of their friends. All those present at Paral Hojri would take it in turns to prepare food for the others. One day as all the present friends were eating food together, one friend of Baba Ji took a Prashada from their plate. Without complaining, Baba Ji looked at the individual and gave him the other Prashada they had. Baba Ji had a sense of detachment from a very young age and were concerned with the needs of others before their own.
Some associates of Baba Ji recognised Baba Ji’s maturity and hence respected Baba Ji deeply. They scolded the individual who had stole Baba Ji’s Prashada and made it their aim to ensure in future, that Baba Ji would be the first to be served.
Baba Ji’s Sihaalkot brother migrated to ‘Mansoori’ and set up a business there instead. Obeying their elder brother, Baba Ji to went to Mansoori and after much persuasion carried out work. Baba Ji’s mind however was not attuned to carrying out worldly duties and instead they had an inner pull towards conducting Seva and Simran.
Even during childhood, Baba Ji had the blessed opportunity to have Darshan of Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji Maharaj (Rara Sahib Wale). In 1946, Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji Maharaj was administered into the Khalsa Panth after being baptised with Amrit. Baba Ji also received ‘Naam Di Daat’ from Sant Ji Maharaj. The Pooranmashi of March 1948 was a turning point in the life of Baba Ji; they had set out amongst their village Sangat to visit Rara Sahib, however after this day, they left home and began to live at Rara Sahib. Sangat from Baba Ji’s native village came under the advice of Bhai Chanmba Singh to bring Baba Ji home. Baba Ji explained that Sant Ji Maharaj had ordered them to conduct Langar Seva. Upon hearing this, the Sangat requested the same to Sant Ji Maharaj. Sant Ji Maharaj asked – “How many brothers are they?” Bhai Chanmba Singh explained that there were four brothers in that family, two of which were older than Baba Ji and one of which was younger. Sant Ji Maharaj replied; “If he has three other brothers, let this one do Seva of the Guru Ghar.” The Sangat folded their hands and accepted the words of Sant Ji Maharaj as the truth.
Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji Maharaj would awake without fail at Amritvela and after having completed their Nitnem, would go to prepare Langar for the Sangat at 3:45AM. When preparing Langar, Baba Ji would remain in one position – legs crossed and back straight. They would not talk to anyone and would continue reading Gurbani until all the Langar had been prepared. Baba Ji would also encourage others to do the same. After doing this, Baba Ji would go to the nearby river and alongside a Mahapursh who lived at the river, Baba Ji would sit in meditation. Baba Ji would then return to the Langar at approximately 8AM, after having consumed their own food, Baba Ji would carry out seva in the Langar from 9:30AM until 12:00PM. After having prepared the midday Langar, Baba Ji would take an Ishnan and serve food with their own hands to the Sangat. At 2:30PM Baba Ji would prepare tea for the Sangat to drink and take a short rest. Then during the evening and night, Baba Ji would yet again be preparing Langar and distributing it to the Sangat. After completing their daily duties, Baba Ji would wash the dishes of the Sangat as long as the Katha in the Darbar Sahib would last for. It was only after listening to Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji Maharaj’s Kirtan at night time that Baba Ji would then consume their own food.
Sant Ji Maharaj’s Sevadar Bhai Ralla Singh (referred to as Baboo Ji) used to prepare Sant Ji Maharaj’s Prashada and take it to the Bhora Sahib, Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji Maharaj would take milk for Sant Ji Maharaj to drink. Baba Ji would then take Sant Ji Maharaj’s dishes back to the Langar and go to sleep at 11:00PM. Sant Baba Teja Singh Ji Maharaj remained committed to this intense routine of Seva for six years. (PART 1 OF 3)