S. Man Singh, Head clerk in No.36 Cavalary, was staying at Ambala Cantt. He was a devoted Gursikh and often used to pray with moistened eyes for spiritual orientation of his youngest son, Harbachan Singh. He would thank the Lord for all that was bestowed on him, as the worldly position, wealth and all the comforts. Harbachan Singh was his most beloved child, yet devoid of all spirituality while the rest of the family would pray daily both morning and evening. He would ridicule the family devotion and the Sikh Faith. He was sent to Khalsa College Amritsar with a view to expose him to religious environment, that would possibly evoke his interest in the Faith. However inspite of his being educated there, he remained more of an atheist. S. Man Singh pleaded his helplessness towards reforming the boy to God and sought Divine intervention through his prayers to make Harbachan Singh God-oriented.
He would make such prayers tearfully and finally these were answered. One day our humble Kirtani Jatha came to Ambala Cantt. , attracted by the love of yearnings of our dear ones, Babu Mal Singh and Bhai Piara Singh. We were singing the Divine melody in great moods, when this young man passed near by. As he heard the Divine Words of the music, he sat down right on the spot in the dust of the road as a shot down bird falls. The more he heard, the more was the piercing effect and his restlessness. He even lost his bodily consciousness. Meanwhile, the great Divine hunter, benevolent Vir, Babu Mal Singh, sensing the appropriate occasion, got him lifted in the same sitting posture and brought him to the assembly. This tearful, new aspirant o f God Love, was further subjected to the sally of Divine Kirtan. He just remained statue-like. The one who used to make so much fun of the Faith, was now under such a spell-bound state! At the end of Akhand Kirtan, full recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Akhand Pathh, started. It was like the continuous pouring of Blissful Rain day and night for 48 hours, that imbued the spirit of the soul aspirant for Baptism. The mystic reciters further hightened the yearnings of Bhai Harbachan Singh for God Love. At 4:30 A.M. once again the kirtan started just as the Pathh recitation ended and yet he sat motionless with closed eyes. Knowing this is an eligible soul and with Divine Prompting, the Baptising ceremony was planned. Bhai Harbachan Singh was given a full bath and dressed up in the Khalsa garb. He presented himself before the Chosen Five and begged to be Baptised, with folded hands. Feeling the Divine Presence, he was enchanted with anticipation of the new happening. As he received the first drops to drink and sprinkled in his eyes, his entire being got flushed with Divine Light and what followed was akin to:
At the very sight all consciousness was lost,
There was no awareness nor comprehension,
Neither any memory nor contemplation,
Without any sense of knowledge, rendered motionless,
It was beyond endurnace and all self-ego was gone,
Lost in Divine Love, devoid of separate existence,
This is wonder of the wonder beyond measure.
Kabit, Bhai Gurdaas Jee
It was three days and three nights, that Bhai Harbachan Singh remained in deep meditation. Just as the Kirtan was non-stop, so also was the meditation. The place was full with the holy congregation and the newly Baptised Khalsa was seated at the rear, behind everybody, imbued in Nam. Whereas his family had earlier been worried about his lack of religions interest, they were now worried for restoring him to a normal state. Only his deeply religious father, a Gursikh S. Man Singh Ji remained unperturbed. He was, in fact, in a thankful mood to see his son in advanced state of spiritualism. The Kirtan was in full swing, when suddenly from his sitting posture, the young love-bird flew over the heads of the assembly straight to lie prostrate in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. His head touched ground, while his body swayed in the air like a winged fish jumping to fly in mid-air. This was a rare and wonderous scene, which held surprise for all. The Kirtan was at the peak and this scene also held on. Once again on Divine Prompting, the Kirtaniyas started to sing the Lavan, the hymns for a sikh marriage. This was a marriage between a realized soul with the Divine Lord. The captivating Kirtan on that occasion was never heard before or since. All the spiritual beings experienced strange blissfulness. Just as the Divine couple made love, the holy congregation and the Kirtaniyas were also lost in Rapture. Soon after Kirtan of Lavan , the song of Divine worship, Arati was sung. With this a sense of deep Bliss prevailed. As the words, ?Gopal Tera Aarta? (O, Lord, Thy servant seeks Thy Shelter), the belly swaying in mid air came down to earth and the newly wed remained motionless in prostrate meditation.
All got stunned with premonition. To dispel all fears and anxiety, the chosen Five brought Bhai Harbachan Singh to his consciousness. With loving care, he was taken to the adjoining room for rest. General access was restricted and the family got reassured of his well-being. Resting for the night, he was still enjoying his simran. He took his morning bath along with others, meditated and recited daily prayers. Asa-Di-Var Kirtan started, with Bhai Harbachan Singh in attendance. Moved by the Kirtan, he laid prostrate while doing loud Simran. Alongwith the Kirtan, he kept his Simran in tune. In this Divine Rapture, all sense of time was lost. On distribution of Karah Prasad, Vir Harbachan Singh?s hunger for Divine Love was satiated with the Prasad. Meanwhile the touring party, ?The divine friends arrived at home? took leave to continue their sojourn. All departed, leaving behind the Love Lorn, Bhai Harbachan Singh all alone. Following this, whenever their was an occasion for a Samagam, this Divinely prompted, Bhai Harbachan Singh, would also come. His spirituality remained at the same peak. He never showed off his high state and remained a humble householder and a true renouncer.
Bahi Harbachan Singh was highly compassionate and large hearted. Very few equal him as unknown benefactor. He would think nothing of sacrificing his all for a good cause. Whenever it was thought of selecting him among the Chosen Five during baptising ceremonies, he would remain humble in offering his services. He was never stuborn and also abided by the general decisions. He never yearned for any position. He was Divinely blessed and enjoyed Divine favor. This continued for many years.
Once, during the first World War, Bhai Harbachan Singh was stationed in a military camp on the banks of a river in France. At amrit vela, Bhai Sahib was immersed in naam abhyaas when the river began to flood. The army began to flee and in moments, they emptied the camp and went far away. Bhai Saahib stayed stationary in deep smaadhee. The water began to go over him as well. When roll call was taken for the unit, Bhai Saahib was listed as missing due to "having drowned". But after two or four days, when the water receded from the camp, the soldiers who came to survey the damage found Bhai Saahib covered in deep mud. They picked him up and after cleaning him, Bhai Sahib's smaadhee finally opened. Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee used to say that the English forces won the war because naam abhyaasees like this were in the ranks of their army.
taken from Chapter 14 of the book 'Rangle Sajjan' by Bhai Sahib Bhai Randhir Singh jee
thanks to Bhai Atma Singh ji for email.