“Baba Bir Singh Ji (Naragabad Wale) a holy man and a great warrior who practiced Gurmat in its purity. Being disgusted at the events that followed the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs talked of making Baba Bir Singh jee their ruler King or Prime Minister. After Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death the anti-Panthic Dogra clan took control of the Sikh Kingdom and led an attack on Baba Bir Singh jee’s dera (camp) which led to Baba jee’s heroic shaheedi (martyrdom) which will be remembered throughout Sikh history.”
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
(5) Baba Bir Singh Ji (Naraungabaad Wale)
Baba Bir Singh Ji was born on Saavan Sudi Teej, Din Budhvaar (Wednesday) mutabak 1825 Bikrami, in the early hours of the morning in the household of Sardar Seva Singh and Mata Daya Kaur in the village Pind G-gobooa. The 6th Guru – Sri Guru Hargobind Singh Ji Maharaj had once come to this village and prophesied that a Great Sikh saint and warrior will take birth in this village and will achieve a lot for the Sikh Faith. When the family took Baba Bir Singh Ji to the Gurdwara, according to Gurmat Maryada, Karah Prashaad di Degh was done and Ardas for the Hukamnama to name the young Baba Bir Singh Ji. The Hukamnama was as follows: “Brahma Binde Tisda Brahmat Rhe”. And so from the letter B, the young child was named Bir Singh. In a short amount of time, Baba Bir Singh Ji learnt the vidya of the world and completed full santhiya of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Baba Bir Singh Ji then began to look into deeper granth’s such as Sarkutavli, Vichaar Saagar, Yog Vashisht Aadh Vedhant etc. It’s said that Baba Bir Singh Ji were so smart that they only required to read baani once and it would be shudh. As Baba Bir Singh Ji grew older they enrolled in the Army.
Baba Bir Singh Ji’s father was also in the Army and became Shaheed (a martyr) in the battle of Multaan. Henceforth, Baba Bir Singh Ji was asked to replace the position of his father and happily accepted. Baba Bir Singh Ji began practising riding horses and the art of weaponry and combat. A Singh of the same village as Baba Bir Singh Ji stayed in the same quarters as Baba Bir Singh Ji who along with Baba Ji would engage in religious discourse and join in meditation on the divine Lord Akaal Purukh.
The Sikh was a devotee of Baba Bhaag Singh (Khuri) and left his job in order to permanently go live at Khuri. Before leaving, the devotee told Baba Bir Singh Ji to ensure that if they ever goo back home via the route of Raavalpindi, then they must not miss the opportunity to meet with Baba Bhaag Singh. He convinced and put hope in Baba Bir Singh Ji that through having blessed vision of this Saint, one’s soul will feel at peace. This statement took it’s place into Baba Bir Singh Ji’s heart and they were convinced, that doing darshan of Baba Bhaag Singh Ji will fulfil their religious needs and wants. It became hard for Baba Bir Singh Ji to complete a day, as all day they would contemplate how they wished to see Baba Bhaag Singh Ji.
Baba Bir Singh Ji then requested that they be allowed to leave their job permanently. Those in charge, bribed Baba Ji with all greeds possible and tried their utmost best to convince Baba Ji not to leave. However, Baba Bir Singh Ji said that they now wish to work at the door of the true Darbaar. Baba Bir Singh Ji travelled on horse to Khuri and saw their friend from the army, Bhai Chanda Singh. Bhai Chanda Singh had already told Baba Bhaag Singh about Baba Bir Singh Ji.
Baba Bhaag Singh Ji then came to the position where Baba Bir Singh Ji was and asked; “Bhai, who are you? Where are you going?” Baba Bir Singh Ji then replied: “Until today I have not acknowledge who I am, and whether it is that I am destined to go? All this knowledge and understanding shall only be obtained with your assistance, Maharaj!” Baba Bir Singh Ji closely watched Baba Bhaag Singh Ji’s face. Baba Bhaag Singh Ji then asked: “What is it that you are looking at?” Baba Bir Singh Ji then said, “It seems to me as though I have seen you before, that too on many occassions! But I can’t seem to remember where?” Baba Bhaag Singh Ji then replied “We are in debt to you, we have something to give to you, for a long time we were pondering how we are going to give it you, however you’ve come yourself and will take it with you!”
Following the holy commands of Baba Bhaag Singh Ji, Baba Bir Singh Ji abandoned their weapons and horses and became detached from all worldly possessions. Baba Bir Singh Ji returned home and having turned their backs on all worldly responsibilities, engaged in Naam Simran and worship of the Divine.
In the village of Baba Bir Singh Ji there was a dera (camp) of holy men. It was the cold days of winter and the holy men were suffering as they had no wood for shelter. Baba Bir Singh Ji took it upon themselves and sacrificed their own roof for these holy men. The news of the whereabouts of the roof soon reached Baba Bir Singh Ji’s parents. Frustrated, Baba Bir Singh Ji’s mother ran towards Baba Bir Singh Ji and said; “Bir Siyaan, what earnings are you rewarding us with o’ son? You haven’t even spared a roof over our heads! Go! Run away from here, we have no need of you, do not show us your face again!”
Hearing this Baba Bir Singh Ji prepared themselves for Khuri and having being relieved of all worldly attachments and responsibilities, travelled to Baba Bhaag Singh Ji. Upon hearing the news, Baba Bhaag Singh Ji immediately declared Baba Bir Singh Ji head of all Langar Sewa. Baba Bir Singh Ji began to fulfil this sewa with their body and mind.
Baba Bhaag Singh Ji one day closed their eyes and remained imbued in the colours of Waheguru for a long period of time and began to say: “From the first day I met you Bir Singh, I had told you that I am in debt to you and so today that debt is being payed back because when you have something to give to another, what is the need of wait? Here you go, take this Pure, ever-lasting gift of ‘Aatam-Giaan’ (Acknowledgement of the soul) which has been being passed down since the time of Bhai Daya Singh Ji. Take care of this gift.” Baba Bir Singh Ji bowed their head in reverence and humbly stated – “Maharaj Ji, this pure gift can only be maintained with your blessings and grace.” To which Baba Bhaag Singh Ji replied – “We shall always be with you.”
Baba Bhaag Singh Ji then wrapped a basket on a donkey and commanded Baba Bir Singh Ji to take it to Oona Sahib. The basket and the donkey had both been given by a devout Sikh as a gift. Baba Bhaag Singh Ji then gave Baba Bir Singh Ji money clothes and a letter. Baba Bir Singh Ji then wrapped themselves in a blanket, placed the basket on their head and began walking the donkey on their side. The journey lasted several days after which Baba Bir Singh Ji arrived at Oona Sahib. Upon recieving the news, Baba Sahib Singh Ji who was present in Kirtan arose and went to greet Baba Bir Singh Ji. Baba Sahib Singh Ji collected the basket of fruits from Baba Bir Singh Ji and proclaimed – “You have a lot of responsibilities in the Sikh faith and metaphorical weight upon your head, henceforth please allowed me to take this basket.” Baba Sahib Singh Ji then read this letter written by Baba Bhaag Singh Ji which read – “We have sent you this diamond of a Sikh, who shall perform self-less service in your company.” Baba Sahib Singh Ji too acknowledged that Baba Bir Singh Ji was no normal individual and would one day be a great Mahapurkh. Here, Baba Bir Singh Ji was blessed with serving Langar to the congregation. Baba Bir Singh Ji had stopped talking and would practise Waheguru Mantar on every breath they would take. This has become a daily practise in their life.
After witnessing such levels of spirituality, Baba Sahib Singh Ji was impressed and in their mind praised Baba Bhaag Singh Ji for having found such a great Sikh. They then said to Baba Bir Singh Ji – “Inside you exists the capabilities and powers to rid the world of pain and suffering, to sacrifice your life to the faith, your service is accepted, you are fruitful! The Sikh community will forever honour your spiritual wealth.” During this, Sardar Chanda Singh arrived at Oona Sahib and made a humble request to Baba Sahib Singh Ji that a camp of Sikh’s be set up in the Majha region of Punjab. Baba Sahib Singh Ji accepted the request and sent Baba Bir Singh Ji to set up the base. Before sending them off they said – “Go, bless the region of Majha! Even those heads that do not bow to anyone, will bow to you!”
Baba Bir Singh Ji accepted the holy words of Baba Sahib Singh Ji and set up base at Naraungabaad (Majha). In a few days, the word of this camp spread quickly within neighbouring villages and towns. The Langar started with 20 regular visitors. It shortly became 100 regular visitors and as soon as anyone knew it, there were 1000’s of devotees eating in the Langar on a daily basis and large amounts of money was being spent on flour on a daily basis. There was a saying in the Majha region that – In the Langar of Baba Bir Singh Ji there is no estimate of the flour, there are kilogram’s upon kilogram’s of salt and the soup is taken down from the huge pots via ladders! A lot of m’haan Sikh Mahapursh performed selfless service in the Langar of Baba Bir Singh Ji – whose name was shining like a shooting star nationwide. Sikhs such as Baba Maharaj Singh Ji, Baba Khuda Singh Ji and Baba Patasa Singh Ji would partake in service daily.
In 1839 Maharaja Ranjit Singh passed away and Sikh history was seeing some of it’s darkest days. The British began to commit atrocities across Punjab and murdered Maharaja Kharak Singh and Kanvr NauNihaal Singh. During all these atrocities, Baba Bir Singh Ji sat in their base, carefully observing every moves that the government were taking. There were inner weaknesses within Sikhs, not enough mature knowledgeable people in the Raaj and no truly wise Saint-like people in authority. Baba Bir Singh Ji, along with most of Punjab’s elder Sikhs were aware that the Sikh Raaj was destined for doom. The Sikh Empire was soon to fall.
Baba Bir Singh Ji travelled to Lahore to do Afsos (Punjabi tradition of consulting the families of those who have passed away) of Knvr Naunihaal Singh. They arrived at the location of Maharani Chand Kaur and said – “Maharani, we have to come to do Afsos of the death of Knvr as they were the last hope for the Sikh Empire and unfortunately we no longer have the privilege of his hope. The way that is empire is now beginning to run is morally wrong, the poor man has no voice and is victim to poverty, pain and suffering. Such an empire needs to be brought to an end!” The court began to echo these words and those that had heard the words of Baba Bir Singh Ji began to tremble with fear.
The British devised a plan in ordered to overthrow the Lahore Darbar and take control of the empire. Raja Heera Singh a predominant figure in this plan, knew that any counter attacking plans required could be obtained from the current leader of the Bhai Daya Singh Ji Samparda – Baba Bir Singh Ji Naraungabaad Wale and longed for an opportunity to meet with Baba Bir Singh Ji and finish them off. The Lahore Darbar had become a battleground and so many people left Punjab in fear of death. Baba Bir Singh Ji send letters to Sardar Attar Singh, Ajit Singh, Knvr Kashmira Singh, Psaora Singh, Sardar Jvaahar Singh and General Hari Singh Nalwa and all arrived at Naraungabaad. Baba Bir Singh Ji had become a predominant figure in Sikh politics as they were giving shelter to revolutionaries.
Along with the British, Raja Heera Singh martyred Baba Bir Singh Ji on the 6th of May 1844. It was on this same day that Baba Bir Singh Ji had arrived in the town of Marhaanhe. In order to eliminate the fears and stress of the residents, Baba Ji ordered that base will be set up on a river bank within the town and that Baba Ji will wait for the forces to arrive. After evening recitals of prayers and Kirtan, Baba Bir Singh Ji arose and told the Sikh congregation that the Heera Singh had betrayed them and had joined the British in order to murder them. Baba Ji told the Sangat that no one is to attack the crusaders as we don’t wish to give out the impression that Sikhs are fighting with one another.
Baba Bir Singh Ji ordered Baba Maharaj Singh Ji to prepare double Langar so that even the enemies not go hungry! The Kirtan continued and Baba Ji demanded Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji be taken to a safe location before the attack. Baba Ji sat on a Manjha (rope-bed) and went in to meditation (Smaadhi). Gun shots began to be let off, however upon the command of Baba Bir Singh Ji, the Kirtan was not to be stopped. Not one bullet hit Baba Bir Singh Ji and instead the Hazooriya-Sikh doing seva of Baba Ji was shot. After countless efforts, the British brought in cannons and shot Baba Bir Singh Ji’s blessed body and so through this amazing sacrifice Baba Bir Singh Ji left for their heavenly abode.
Click to read: Baba Maharaj Singh