“Baba Karam Singh Ji (Hoti Mardhan Wale) was the next to be blessed with the gift of leadership. Similar to his predecessors, Baba Karam Singh Ji had a lot of spiritual powers and abilities which they had obtained through intense meditation and selflesss seva of the Saadh-sangat. It’s believed that Baba Ji gave the gift of ‘Brahmgiaan’ to 360 mahapurkhs, and at all time were tyaar-bhar-tyaar with 100 brahmgiani mahapurkhs. Baba Ji’s dera was originally located in Pakistan, however after the partition in 1947, it moved to Makhsudpur, Hoshiarpur.”
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
(8) Baba Karam Singh Ji (Hoti Mardaan)
Baba Karam Singh Ji Maharaj was born in Sanmat 1883 Bikarmi, Din Somvaar (Monday), during the ambrosial hours (Amrit Vela), on the Pooranmashi of Haar. Baba Karam Singh Ji’s father was named Kirpa Singh Ji and Mata Soobi Kaur Ji. Baba Karam Singh Ji was born with the holy Bachan of Baba Sahib Singh Ji Bedi Oona Sahib Wale. Upon birth of the holy child, the whole house was illuminated with mysterious unknown bright lights and all were very happy. Bhai Kirpa Singh Ji received many messages of congratulations from the local villagers and to thank Maharaj Akaal Purukh – took the Holy Child to the Gurdwara Sahib. Both parents folded their hands and bowed in reverence to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Granthi Kush-haal Singh prepared Karah Prashad Di Degh and done Ardas. After arriving home, both parents committed many good deeds. They shared whatever they had and gave all beggars their requirements and necessities. When the child became 40 days old, upon following a Maryada layed down by Baba Kirpa Singh Ji’s elders, preparations were made for a Sri Akhand Paath Sahib and a large Langar throughout all 3 days. After the Bhog of the Akhand Paath Sahib. An Ardas was made in order to name the young holy child:
Placing His Hand upon my forehead, God has given me the gift of His Name.
One who performs fruitful service for the Supreme Lord God, never suffers any loss. ||1||
Giani Kush-haal Singh Ji named the Young Child – Karam Singh. It was throughout Giani Kush-haal Singh Ji that Baba Karam Singh Ji learnt their early teachings of Sikhi. Baba Ji spent their time serving Guru Sahib at the Gurdwara as well as fulfilling their worldly responsibilities at home with their parents. When Baba Ji turned 18, they decided they would work and so enrolled into the Army. Baba Karam Singh Ji served the Army faithfully and loyally. Any order that was presented before them, they would complete with eagerness. Baba Ji would consider all fellow members of the Army as though they were blood brothers.
Baba Karam Singh Ji was administered Amrit from Baba Raam Singh Ji and from them, was given the Waheguru Mantar. In 1857, the British Government raised a commotion and told all soldiers, that they can do as they wish in the capital city of Delhi. Many soldiers became excited upon hearing this and after losing all trace of thought began to practise things which were very much against the basic conduct of a soldier – someone whose duty is to protect a country and it’s people. Soldiers began riots and mass looting through Delhi. The soldiers began raiding peoples home and committing mass atrocities. The daughters of Delhi placed their heads between their legs and cried, contemplating what was about to happen. Hearing this, Baba Karam Singh Ji became very upset and made a sincere plea to Waheguru – “O Waheguru! Please bless me with such courage and power, that I be able to fulfil the duty of protecting the honour of many, and bringing a end to this horror and tyranny. Give me the strength to serve under you. May I be granted the boon to be the support of the poor and weak. May I be given the strength to show your Sikhi and may I prevail, with your grace, in this action.”
After finishing the Ardas, Baba Karam Singh Ji left for the town whilst being very upset. In front of Baba Ji stood a huge mansion style building and nearby, were the sounds of crying, screaming and pain. Baba Ji instantly stopped. It appeared that a mischievous Soldier was attempting to discard the honour of the women inhabitants. Baba Karam Singh Ji ran and warned the soldier – “Khabardaar! This family is under my supervision. I have been sent by the Lord Master, and I see it as my duty to protect them. If you attempt to commit any action which will be threatening towards any of these individuals, be warned – I will shoot you.” Trembling with fear, the soldier ran away as fast as he could. The frightened young woman ran insider her house to seek shelter. An old woman than came outsider from the house; “O Khuda! O Saint Soldier! We are the descendants of Hajarut (The Prophet) Muhammad Sahib. All our men have left to fight Dharam Yudh and have since not returned. For the sake of the Prophet and for the sake of Guru Nanak Dev, please be the support of us troubled women. The Lord will grant you this boon!”Baba Karam Singh Ji reassured the women that there is no need to worry and that they will be protected. Baba Karam Singh Ji proclaimed – “As long as their is strength in my arms, these men will be unable to even cast their eyes upon you.”Baba Karam Singh Ji took their gun and sat infront of this large house as a Pehradaar. Baba Ji did not eat or drink water and maintained security and protection of the women 24 hours a day. The resident men of the house soon returned.
After hearing the amazing sacrifice of Baba Karam Singh Ji, the men were extremely happy. Baba Karam Singh Ji then asked for permission to leave and at this point was requested by the family members to take mass amounts of Gold which has been presented by them. Baba Ji however refused and said that they fulfilled their duties as a Saint Soldier and so had no need for such possessions. After hearing this, Shah Sahib’s (the head of the house) eyes began to water and after folding his hands said – “O beloved being of God – You truly are the living and breathing ideology of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Your name is not only Karam Singh – You truly are the Karam of support that has come to our house, in our service. We would have nothing, if you and your Gun were not here to protect us!” After several methods of persuasion, Baba Ji finally agreed to take the gift.
Baba Karam Singh Ji then returned to the army and settled down in the army base headquarters at Hoti Mardaan. At Hoti Mardaan all the soldiers that had been sent to raise havoc in Delhi were sanctioned and were suspended for 3 months without pay. Baba Karam Singh Ji also took time off for vacation and after returning, engaged in excessive amounts of meditation whilst practising the remembrance of Waheguru. Baba Ji would always focus their mind and soul in an emotional state of mind and remain indulged in spiritual bliss. Baba Ji continued to serve their duties within the army.
Outside of the army base, flowed a dense river. Baba Karam Singh Ji would arise daily at 2AM and after having bathed in the water, would indulge in meditation at the river’s shore. Until sunrise Baba Ji would stay in a state of meditation. Neighbouring villages and towns began to speak very highly of Baba Ji and many were discussing and praising what Baba Karam Singh Ji had done in Delhi. The Muslims and the Pathaans were also devout followers of Baba Ji, however nearby there was a large base of Muslim Fakeers who had a large following and gathering on regular occasions. These Muslims Fakeers were very jealous of Baba Ji’s aura and effect on the people and in their minds – wanted Baba Karam Singh Ji to leave. These jealous Fakeers then got together and devised an evil plan to attack Baba Ji whilst they be in a meditative position and have their eyes closed. Baba Karam Singh Ji arose as per their normal daily routine at 2AM and sat with their legs crossed and eyes closed on a large boulder. After having completed their daily Nitnem, Baba Ji began to do practise Waheguru Simran. Suddenly, the Fakeers attempted to attack. Baba Ji opened their eyes, yet however did not react and maintained their still position. The Pathaan Fakeer began to scream at the top of his voice and to his astonishment, infront of him, sat a lion. After seeing the lion, none of the Fakeers had any courage to step forward and were scared to go back, in fear that they might be attacked from behind. The Fakeers trembled in fear and were unable to go anywhere. After a short amount of time, they could see Baba Karam Singh Ji sitting in a lotus position – to which they attempted to step forward. As soon as they placed a step forward – the lion reappeared. Baba Karam Singh Ji then reappeared in their calm position – the Fakeers acknowledged that this Mahapurkh was a Pooran Mahapurkh. The Fakeers fell at Baba Karam Singh Ji and asked for forgiveness. The Pathaans folded their hands and told Baba Ji that they had come to attack and murder them, but after witnessing the lion, they had become very scared and now after acknowledging their faults – they requested to be forgiven.
Baba Karam Singh Ji came in a state of compassion and after bestowing their grace upon the individuals, explained that they were not angered at what had occurred, and all of them had been forgiven. Baba Karam Singh Ji told the Fakeers to contemplate Waheguru and serve the people – viewing them as the image of Waheguru. Baba Ji began to explain that the path of religion teaches unity, to love one another and to destroy pain/suffering. Baba Ji began to further explain that the peace of the Soul is found through following the path of religion. The Pathaans accepted these amazing teachings and lay their heads at the lotus feet of Baba Karam Singh Ji. They promised to always commit righteous actions and from that day became devout servants of Baba Ji. However, Baba Ji focused on their Simran and Saadh-na.
Following their daily routine, Baba Karam Singh Ji travelled to the shore of a River to continue their meditation. Baba Ji remained imbued in the love of Waheguru and would engage in excessive meditation without much care towards the time. Baba Ji remained in meditation and the night had now approached. However on the other side, the Commanding Officer in the Army received a report that Major Karam Singh Hauldaar had not arrived for his duty. It’s believed at this point, Akaal Purkh Waheguru themselves came in the form of Baba Karam Singh Ji and arrived on time for their duty. After completing his formality check, the English officer approached the Soldier who had made the complaint regarding Baba Karam Singh Ji, and scolded him for lying.
Following the arrival of the next morning, Baba Karam Singh Ji awoke from meditation and felt guilty for having not arrived at their work duty. Then at 9AM Baba Ji then travelled towards the office to which, the commanding Officer asked Baba Ji to come closer. The Officer began to say – “Last night, I received complaints that you had not arrived at your duty last night, however, after 5 minutes, I saw you on duty as per usual.” Baba Ji explained that they had forgot to give their duty as they were in deep meditation at the river shore and that upon waking up, they had decided to travel straight towards the office. The Officer was very confused at this point and told Baba Karam Singh Ji that he along with another witness, had seen Baba Ji fulfilling their duty as per instructions.
Upon hearing this Baba Karam Singh Ji said – “It seems as though Akaal Purkh themselves gave my duty last night.” Baba Ji thanked Guru Sahib. Baba Karam Singh Ji then handed over their rifle and uniform and said – “From today, I am going to retire giving duty at a false authority. From today I will resume my duty at the feet of the true authority, who has helped me!” The commanding officer who was aware of Baba Ji’s loyalty towards their work, persuaded Baba Ji not to quit and offered promotions. Baba Ji failed to come to any terms. The commanding officer even when as far to say that Baba Ji didn’t even need to any work, and that Baba Ji count continue to just engage in meditation within the Soldiers quarters. Baba Ji however still disagreed and stressed that they would serve the true Lord who has served them. Baba Ji then said – “Please do not take time, remove my name from the list, I wish to be free.” The officer refused to remove Baba Ji’s name and insisted they stay, to which Baba Ji said – “Fine then, check your registers, you shall not find my name, my name is now in the Lord’s register!” The Officer being stubborn insisted that Baba Ji’s name was still present on the register and that it he would not remove it at any costs. Baba Karam Singh Ji then told the man to check his register for reassurance. To the shock of the commanding officer and all present, there was no evidence of Baba Ji’s name being present in the register! And so, Baba Ji left.
The glory of Baba Karam Singh Ji began to grow day by day and many high ranking officers, Sardars and Pathans became Baba Ji’s devout servants. One day, a Pathan of Hoti Mardaan, whose name was Khvaaz Khan Muhammed, came to meet Baba Ji. Upon meeting Baba Ji, this Pathan felt enlightened and at peace. The Pathan made a request that Baba Ji stay at Hoti Mardan and that all the surrounding land would be given to them for free. Mass acres of land was given to Baba Ji by this Pathan. Baba Ji didn’t want such complexities to occur but due to the love of the devotee, accepted. Baba Laal Singh, a companion of Baba Ji from the army, also retired and began serving Baba Karam Singh Ji. The leading members of surrounding areas – Bhai Saiee Dia, Sardar Sant Singh Gujjar Garhi, Bhai Esher Das and Baba Laal Singh came to Baba Karam Singh Ji and after having bowed in reverence, made a request that the Pathans were carrying out too many atrocities. The Pathans seemed to have a lot of hatred against Hindus and considered it a virtue to murder them. The leading members stressed that there had been a lot of change since Baba Ji had arrived to the area and the Pathans had began to love the Sikh folk. The leading members then said “Baba Ji, a lot of congregation travel from far to stay here and be in your company. It’s a humble request from us that a large complex be made to cater for the congregation and rooms be made for them to stay in.” After listening to this, Baba Karam Singh Ji closed both of their eyes and in their mind began to engage in deep thought. After some time, Baba Ji agreed that it was necessary and that all of the Sangats needs be catered for. The congregation were very happy after hearing this and within days the work had begun. The congregation provided for all the building materials and well was erected. Baba Laal Singh Ji was responsible for controlling the Langar and within days, large amounts of Langar began to be distributed. Large amounts of Sangat began to travel to Hoti Mardan and the Sangat brought large amounts of food supplies along with them. English Officers, young men in the soldier quarters, Hindus and Muslims, Saints and Householders, Men and Woman – all began to come to Hoti Mardan on regular occasions.
After witnessing this all, Baba Karam Singh Ji felt sadness with their soul, due to the fact that they weren’t after fame and wanted to stress their focus upon Simran. Baba Karam Singh Ji pondered for days on a way to escape this cycle of being so busy. And so, one day Baba Karam Singh Ji arose at 12AM and after having bathed, travelled towards Sri Panja Sahib. Baba Karam Singh Ji then began a ‘Teerath Yatra’, after having travelled to Panja Sahib they went straight to Amritsar Harmandir Sahib. However, when the local Amritsar congregation learnt of Baba Ji’s coming, they immediately travelled in mass amounts! Baba Ji then went to Har Duaar and sent up a temporary base there. Baba Ji engaged in excessive amounts of meditation at the shore of the River Ganges. Even at Har Duaar, a lot of congregation began to follow Baba Ji and presenting them with expensive gifts. Baba Ji then travelled back to Amritsar Sahib.
After completing their Yatra, Baba Ji returned to Hoti Mardan Sahib. The news of Baba Ji’s return spread like wildfire, the Sangat arriving for Darshan now increased four-fold with Sangat arriving from further villages in hope of spending time with Baba Ji. Baba Karam Singh Ji’s daily routine consisted of sitting at a river bank until 11:00PM. From 11:00PM-1:30AM, Baba Ji would rest for 2 and a half hours in their small straw hut. After having brushed their teeth, Baba Ji would sit in the river and do 5 Sri Japji Sahibs. After completing this, Baba Ji would adorn their clothes and then join with Waheguru in Smaadhi. Whether it be the winter, the summer, rainfall or thunderstorms, Baba Ji would maintain their routine. When sitting in the winter, it has been said that ice would form on Baba Ji’s body, however this wasn’t enough to stop Baba Ji from their strict Maryada. During the day, Baba Ji would listen to the troubles and pains of the Sangat and address them accordingly, whoever would request something off Baba Ji, their needs would be answered.
There were many dedicated and devout Mahapurkh who came in the service of Baba Karam Singh Ji of which the prominent names are; Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji (Reru Sahib Wale), Sant Baba Harnaam Singh Ji (Jiaan Wale), Sant Baba Aaya Singh Ji, Sant Baba Javand Singh Ji, Sant Baba Tara Singh Ji (Garri Kapoora), Basant Singh Ji (Amritsar), Sant Khushaal Singh Ji, Sant Prem Singh Ji (Hoti Mardhan), Sant Mani Singh Ji alongside many others. Many of the virtuous devotees were mainly those who had worked in the Army alongside Baba Karam Singh Ji.
And so in such a way, Baba Karam Singh Ji travelled all around, joining individuals who had faltered back onto the Sikh path. When Baba Ji reached the age of 74, they began discussing the fact that they would soon leave for their heavenly abode. A week before Baba Ji left they called for a gathering of all the local Sangat and said the following: “Whoever has took birth on this here planet will one day have to leave too – this is the Hukam of Waheguru. Death claims the rich, the poor, the king, the sinner, the saint, the fool and the wise in the same way. It is our desire to escape this worldly cage and become one with Waheguru once again. And so, beloved Sangat Ji of Guru Sahib, you are all to carry on singing the praise of the Lord and all are to work together in maintaining the routine of this Dera.” After hearing this the whole Sangat became immensely upset and all began crying. Whilst tearing up, the Sangat did Benti to Baba Ji – “Without you, who do we have? Baba Ji, please bless us with Darshan longer – we all know that you are capable of controlling life and death!” Baba Ji replied – “O’ Gurmukhs! The creation of this world is similar to the coming and going of flowing water. Do not exhibit any emotions as you should all be aware that attachment with a body is false. The body becomes older, we are born and then we die, however the soul is forever immortal. Do not cry over the wearing away of this body. Ask for whatever you desire, Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj will be graceful upon you. However, acknowledge that this is the last time you will have the opportunity to see this body…” Upon hearing this the Sangat began crying even more. The Sangat collectively decided that they must request Baba Lal Singh Ji to beg Baba Karam Singh Ji to stay longer. Baba Lal Singh Ji was unaware that Baba Karam Singh Ji had uttered such a Bachan and upon hearing this froze on the spot.
Baba Lal Singh Ji had a life long desire to leave before Baba Karam Singh Ji in order to prevent the feeling of separation. Baba Lal Singh Ji accepted the request of the Sangat and went to meet Baba Karam Singh Ji, the Sangat followed closely. Baba Lal Singh Ji folded their hands in front of Baba Karam Singh Ji who asked what it was that they had come to ask for. Baba Lal Singh Ji however was unable to speak and stood silent. Understanding why the Sangat had gathered in such a way, Baba Karam Singh Ji once again addressed the Sangat and said: “Sangat Ji. Not one individual has been able to stay on this planet. You are all mature and knowledgable individuals, you should henceforth not exhibit any sadness at our departure. Ask for whatever you want from Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s house, we will ensure your wishes are fulfilled from Akaal Purakh.” When the whole Sangat heard such utterings from Baba Karam Singh Ji, one Sikh stood up and said – “It is our request that you Baba Ji, bless us with more time to do your Seva and learn from your Jeevan and Bachans.”
Baba Karam Singh Ji replied that by living longer they would be guilty of distorting the will of Waheguru and explained to the Sangat that they must remain in accordance to the will of Waheguru. Baba Lal Singh Ji stood up and on behalf of the Sangat said – “Baba Ji, it is the Sangats request that you continue to bless them with company for a minimum of two more years.” Hearing this, Baba Karam Singh Ji went silent and pondered for a moment. Baba Ji was stuck – what was worse? Defying the Hukam of Waheguru, or refusing to attend to the Sangat’s requests? It is important to accept the order and will of Waheguru and at the same time it is important to accept what the Sangat says as Gurbani states that Waheguru resides himself within the Sangat. Baba Ji accepted that the request from the Sangat was completely selfless and was done merely to continue Parup-Kaar. Baba Ji also pondered on the fact that ten Guru Sahibaan also accepted such requests from Pooran Gursikhs.
Whilst sitting in contemplation, Baba Karam Singh Ji received ‘Akaash-Baani’ (the voice of God) and was reassured to fulfil the request of the Sangat. Baba Karam Singh Ji opened their eyes and said – “First of all, I am not the support of the Sangat, the Sangat’s utmost support is Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj. Secondly, there is a condition upon which the demands of the Sangat can be fulfilled. The completion of that condition is in the hands of you, Bhai Lal Singh! People of the Lord, there is peace in accepting the will of the Lord. Mahapurakh take birth on this planet to remind and resort appropriate Maryada – certainly not to manipulate it even more. However, as this has now become the case, we have only 8 days left to live whereas Bhai Lal Singh has 2 years and 2 months more to live. If Bhai Lal Singh chooses to leave in 8 days time instead of myself, then Daas can do Darshan of the Sangat for another 2 years and 2 months.”
Upon hearing this, the Sangat became baffled at how this could possibly happen. Baba Lal Singh Ji on the other hand was delighted and proceeded to join their hands and bow at Baba Karam Singh Ji’s Charan. “Baba Ji you are blessed and blessed is my fortune that my worthless body is able to come to some use today, otherwise my body is worth less then that of animal skin. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to carry out such Seva – I accept the condition.” Hearing Baba Lal Singh Ji’s content nature, the Sangat’s doubts were dispelled and they were all convinced that Baba Karam Singh Ji would continue to bless them with their company for another 2 years. Baba Karam Singh Ji praised Baba Lal Singh Ji as an ‘Anmolak Lal (priceless diamond) of the Guru’. The news of Baba Lal Singh Ji’s approaching departure spread like a fire in a jungle.
Baba Karam Singh Ji continued their daily routine and the time for Baba Lal Singh Ji’s departure grew nearer and nearer until eventually the 7th day arrived. Many individuals who doubted the possibility of Baba Lal Singh Ji leaving in place of Baba Karam Singh Ji arrived at Hoti Mardan. Jathe came from Nushera, Pishaur, Panja Sahib, Raval Pindi and many other places. Muhammad Khan (Pathan of Hoti) along with other Muslim senior officials also came to witness the event unfold. Baba Karam Singh Ji acknowledging that there would be a large gathering, ordered for a large Langar to be prepared for the Sangat which would be prepared all night. As the day struck noon, all attendees consumed Langar and gathered outside Baba Karam Singh Ji’s room.
However, Baba Karam Singh Ji did not sit in their room out of respect for Baba Lal Singh Ji’s departure and instead were seen to be seated outside. Baba Lal Singh Ji was seen adoring new clothes after have having had a bath. Baba Lal Singh Ji bowed to Baba Karam Singh Ji and said – “Please forgive me for any mistakes I have made until now. Please ignore my faults!” Baba Karam Singh Ji assured Baba Lal Singh Ji that Guru Nanak Dev Ji is Ang Sang and that there is no need to fear.
The time was now 4PM, Baba Lal Singh Ji requested permission of Baba Karam Singh Ji after which they lay down with a white blanket to cover their body. Baba Lal Singh Ji left their mortal frame to merge back with the almighty Lord, Waheguru. Following this, Ragi Singhs began singing Kirtan and a battalion arrived from the army to honour Baba Lal Singh Ji with all sorts of instruments and salutes – there was a ray of emotion in the atmosphere. Baba Lal Singh Ji’s Antam Sanskar was carried out in accordance to Gurmat Maryada.
And so, Baba Karam Singh Ji continued giving Updesh to Sangat, joining individuals with Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj and emphasising the importance of Seva and Simran. One day, a large number of soldiers arrived for Darshan at Hoti Mardan. In respect and service of the soldiers, Baba Karam Singh Ji ordered that ‘Maal Pooreh’ be made for Langar. When Baba Karam Singh Ji’s Hukam was passed on to the Head Laangri, the latter became immensely stressed. “Baba Ji, there is enough ghee in the Langar to make rice, however there is no way near enough to make Maal Pooreh.” Baba Ji replied: “This Langar caters for such a large quantity of people that the food stock should be prepared many days in advance. You should have organised ghee 4-5 days ago as its impossible for you to gather so much right now. Today is also a Sunday and so all the surrounding shops will be closed!” The Sevadars all begged for forgiveness and stated that they would be careful in future.