Born to a devout Sikh family in the holy city of Amritsar on December 5, 1872, Bhai Veer Singh Ji became a well acknowledged scholar and an eminent part of the Sikh community. Bhai Veer Singh Ji wrote many books, novels, and articles pertaining to the Sikh history, Gurbani and understanding of the Sikh principles. His works include the renowned novels such as Sundri, Satwant Kaur, Bijay Singh, and historical collections such as Sri Guroo Nanak Chamatkar, Sri Asht Guroo Chamatkar and Sri Guroo Kalgidhar Chamatkar.
Bhai Veer Singh Ji is considered as the father of modern Sikh and Punjabi literature. It was him who started writing in Punjabi when no other writer willingly chose to do so as in those days everyone was inclined to follow the trend of writing in Brij, Hindi, Urdu and English. It was Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s hard and remarkable work that brought and aligned Punjabi amongst other popular languages of the world.
Bhai Veer Singh Ji was not only a good writer and a scholar, but also a reformer, humanist, saintly figure, and an ideal Sikh. Bhai Veer Singh Ji was very keen of spreading values of Sikhi and helping others understand them, and at the very young age of 18, he started the Khalsa Samachar, which has ever since been successfully published. Bhai Veer Singh Ji also played a key role in establishment and development of many institutions such as the Chief Khalsa Diwan, Khalsa College Amritsar and The Khalsa Orphanage.
Bhai Sahib’s contributions to Sikhi and Punjab are so immense that if published, will require us to contain them in separate editions. Though at present the resources available to us do not allow us for that, we will however try to publish translations from the Sri Asht Guroo Chamatksar, miracles of the ‘5’ (see note below) Guroo Sahibans in larri-vaar (serial-wise) editions.
Note: The word Asht translates to the number 8, but unfortunately Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s work on Sri Asht Guroo Chamatkar is not complete as it only includes life stories of 5 Guroo Sahibs. While Bhai Sahib was working hard on bringing the mysterious miracles of Guroo Sahibs to the sangat he had to depart his physical body to leave for the place where he belonged – Sach khand. The Center Government of the time was requested numerous times to complete the series of life stories of the 8 Guroo Sahibs but who could write something of caliber of Bhai Veer Singh Ji? And moreover due to the shortage of resources available to conduct research on rest of the Guru Sahib’s lives, it was decided that Bhai Veer Singh Ji’s written Sri Asht Guroo Chamatkar would be published as it is, without the life stories of the remaining three Guroo Sahibans- Sri Guroo Har Rai Sahib Ji, Sri Guroo Har Krishan Sahib Ji and Sri Guroo Tegh Bahadar Sahib Ji. Guroo Nanak Dev Ji’s and Guroo Gobind Singh Ji’s life stories were written separately by Bhai Veer Singh Ji.
Chapter 1 "Sri Guroo Nanak Dev Ji Antar Dhiaan"
An ascetic yogi named Shankar lived in the town of Gorakhpur. One day after coming back from pleading for food in the nearby towns he came back to his place of residence. He placed the bowl full of flour aside, and said to another yogi with haste, “Gopi Jio, I just heard that Guroo Nanak has passed away!?”
Gopi: Watch your tongue Shankar Ji! Those with high spiritual powers become Antar Dhiaan (one with their source). Aren’t there already enough people out there to pass away?
Shankar: Hey, he wasn’t a naath (yogic master), nor a Siddh (those with magical powers) and neither was a student of a yogic teacher. How can a gristee (family man) become antar dhiaan?
Gopi: Just because of some differences (in ways of thinking), honor of a praiseful person doesn’t diminish.
Shankar: Ok mate, as you say. Guroo Nanak Dev did become antar dhiaan, are you happy now?
Gopi: If you say it from heart. Internally residing jealously doesn’t go away just with mere statements.
Shankar (laughing): No mate, even internally…… Now I remember, Yogendra (his spiritual teacher) was once saying that Nanak is an avtar with all the spiritual powers. I have seen his powers with my own eyes along with others. Please don’t get mad, I was only saying. From now on I will only say that he became antar daan.
Gopi: Even now you aren’t stopping with twisting your words, huh? Say antar dhiaan. Antar daan refers to becoming lost or disappeared.
Shankar: Oh sorry, I didn’t know what the difference is between antar dhiaan and antar daan.
Gopi: Antar dhiaan refers to merging with the one who you meditate on and antar daan means to become lost! Understood?
Shanksar: Haan Ji (Yes)!
Gopi: Who has taken his place?
Shankar: I heard a little murmur some place that Sri Chand Ji is going to succeed him.
Gopi: So he installed his own son in his place! But he’s an ascetic just like us, a real yogi.
As Shankar and Gopi were talking, Bhangar Naath along with other yogis entered that place.
Bhangar Naath: What are you saying? Sri Chand who? And whose place has he been established onto?
Shankar: Guroo Nanak Dev’s place.
Bhangar (surprisingly): What! And Guroo Nanak?
Shanksar: Naath Ji, he became antar dhiaan.
Bhangar (with sudden): When?
Shanksar: Just a while ago.
Bhangar: Shiv, Shiv, Shiv, forever Shiv, forever Shiv…. (Shaking his head) What a high personality he was, highly spiritual, really his way of life was truly of an avtar. Not bowing in front of anyone, but still humble, Renounced but still giver, family person but still in the stage of Nirvana. Servitor but yet still supernatural, (sighing with closed eyes) should I call him a yogi or an avatar with spiritual powers? Oh sadly at last his worldly journey has ended as the physical body is meant to. Shiv, Shiv, Shiv. (opening eyes) Did he take his spiritual powers along with him or did he establish someone else in his place?
Shankar: I heard that he established Sri Chand over his place.
Bhangar: That’s hard to believe! Guroo Nanak’s way of life was of living spiritually while yet staying attached to family – a new way of life, where as Sri Chand is a yogi. He must have chosen someone like himself, from those who he called Sangat. (still shaking his head) Sangat of those who he called ‘Gurmukh’.
Shankar: And Gursikh.
Bhangar: Yes, those who could follow him – Gurmukh, and those in meditation – Gursikh. Both were part of his sangat.
Agarh Naath: You said something like this to Guroo Nanak when we met him formerly.
Bhangar Naath: What did I say?
Agarh Naath: I don’t remember the words, but you said something like: This non-bowing head will only bow in front of one who will fulfill his ideals.
Bhangar: Yes, I remember that. I am sure he picked someone from his sangat to succeed him. He must have chosen someone of truthful living. (Thinking) So, how did you hear that an ascetic got chosen?
Shankar: When I went pleading for food yesterday from a house, I heard someone talk from a distance about Guroo Ji’s departure and Sri Chand becoming his successor. It wasn’t really clear to me, so I am not too sure about it.
Bhangar: Whose house are you talking about?
Shankar: Pandit Prashan Raaj, he’s really knowledgeable. He became a Sikh of Guroo Nanak a long time ago. He had read all the Shaastars (ancient scriptures) but he used to say that he still doesn’t feel any satisfaction, but Guroo Nanak blessed him with contentment at once. He is originally from Madra Desh, and I heard some murmuring going on at his house.
Bhangar: Okay, if it was Pandit Prashan Raaj then we can find out what really happened. We will ask him directly whether this new way of leading a spiritual life along with family life stopped with Guroo Nanak’s antar dhiaan or if it is going to continue. If yes then how? Prashan Raaj will tell us everything correctly, go and tell him to come visit this place.
Shankar: Naath Ji, I will bring him along with myself tomorrow. Guroo Nanak’s followers are full of humbleness and along with that they have the quality of giving big charities. I have never come empty-handed from Prashan Raaj’s house.
Eeshar: Guroo Nanak Dev himself said at that time that characteristics of a Gurmukh are: Naam Daan and Ishnaan – they meditate on naam, they believe in goodness of giving charity and they ask for true cleansing of one’s mind and body.