Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur

Rangley Sajjan - The Imbued Ones
Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh Jee
Translated by: Bhai Jaspinder Singh Jee

Chapter 11: Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur

Here is a tribute to the great Sikh, wife of the Late devout Vir Simran Sardar Joginder Singh Ji of village Raipur. Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur Ji belonged to the ancient Gurusikh family, devoted to Faith generation after generation, from Daudpur. Her paternal uncle, Sriman Sant Hira Singh Ji, was a leading light of the Jatha. His devotion to Nam Simran and Godly love was exemplary. This young girl was born and brought up and greatly influenced by the high spirituality of her uncle. At the time of her birth saintly Bhai Hira Singh Ji prophesized that she was destined to be great devotee and her strong Sikh Faith would be worthy of emulation.

When she attained a marriageable age, as a consequence of Sant Bhai Hira Singh Ji's blessing, she got married as per the Anand Karaj rite to Sriman Bhai Joginder Singh Ji. It was indeed a great blessing that such devout spiritual seekers got united in marriage. Though their economic condition was bordering on poverty, they enjoyed enrichment of Nam Wealth. Their spiritual flourishment together was truly exemplary. Their minds got focused on pure Gurmat as soon as they got baptized. With their total reliance on the Efficacious Nam, they never cared much about worldliness. The handling of household duties of Bibi Harbans Kaur was so auspicious, that soon everything was transformed. The hard days ended with a sense of great prosperity. The talents of Bhai Joginder Singh Ji came to be recognized and rewarded by Patiala State. Though worldly riches now abounded, humility of spirit was retained. Sister Harbans Kaur Ji was the living embodiment of Gurusikh living in thought, word and deed. Her head was always adorned with a light bluish turban. She had a strong healthy body and with turbaned head she carried herself with great dignity, worthy of great devout Sikh lady.

She personally attended to all the household chores. The sound of Nam Simran became automatic all the time while attending to her normal activities. It is rare to find such faith in personal life. She would always take full head to toe bath. She followed this practice even soon after delivery of a newborn, not caring for medical advice against this. The blessing of such firm faith was, that she never suffered even a slight sickness throughout. She always eagerly looked forward to serve holy ones and her kitchen was always open for this service. She prepared food and served all by herself. The visitors were always fully satiated. This auspicious service never experienced any shortage.

She was very adept in reading the hidden meaning of actions of devotees. Once she was serving prepared food to the great spiritualist, godly Bhai Atma Singh from Moga. It so happened that suddenly Sri Bhai Atma Singh Ji went into trance and stopped eating from his plate, yet kept chewing with his mouth. His eyes were rolled back and his face shone in Divine splendor. Bhai Joginder Singh Ji was sitting close by and was perplexed with this strange goings-on. In amazement, he enquired the meaning of all this from his wife, that without taking food from his plate Bhai Atma Singh appeared to be partaking of invisible food. Bibi Harbans Kaur Ji replied, 'There is nothing to wonder. Bhai Randhir Singh is offering him morsels from Narangwal.' Hearing this, Bhai Joginder Singh noted the time of the occurrence. At that very time I was served food by my wife, Srimati Kartar Kaur at Narangwal. I had taken only a few morsels and then stopped eating even though my hands took food from the plate.
My mother sitting by my side noticed this strange occurance. Puzzled by this, she enquired from Kartar kaur and explanation of this wonderment. Srimati Kartar Kaur could also read through the strange happening as Bibi Harbans Kaur could. He promptly came, 'There is nothing unusual or surprising about it. He is feeding his Sarablohia friend (sharing commonness of eating from Steel utensils) Bhai Atama Singh Ji, who is being served by sister Harbans Kaur at that house of Bhai Joginder Singh at Patiala. 'When I came out of my trance, I too noted the time. After few days Bibi Harbans Kaur, Sant Hira Singh Ji, the great devout Ascetic Bhai Atma Singh Ji and Bhai Joginder Singh Ji visited Narangwal. The mutual query was secretly answered and the events found to coincide.

Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur was such, so outstanding and assertive, that all wives of Patiala high officials and chieftains acknowledged her overpowering religious influence. The consorts of ministers and royal queens all held her in awful respect. They used to send for other ladies to the palace, but none ever dared to ask Bibi Harbans Kaur. She was without a parallel in her chastity.

Sri Bhai Joginder Singh Ji was then a member of Shromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (S.G.P.C). The agitation against British Rule by Akali-Panth was at its peak. Almost every member of S.G.P.C suffered imprisonment due to participation in this agitation. Bhai Joginder Singh did not have good health those days and had grown weak. However Bibi Harbans Kaur aroused his religious fervor like brave wives in Sikh history and encouraged him for the sacrifice of courting arrest and jail. However at the moment of his departure, unintentional tears came to her eyes. Bhai Joginder Singh was astonished at this and asked the reason for this show of weakness after putting up a brave front thus far. Bibi Harbans Kaur smiled and replied that the possibility of an early reunion was remote. We seem to be destined for a long separation. Sardar Joginder reassured her that he was fine now with her blessings and there was nothing to fear.

In fact Bibi Harbans Kaur had envisioned her own death, though she never revealed this to him. By the time Sardar Joginder Singh returned after his tern of imprisonment, Bibi Harbans Kaur had left for her Heavenly Abode-Eternal. He could not cope up with the pangs of separation from his faithful godly wife. His health deteriorated fast. Though Bibi Harbans Kaur completed her life sojourn successfully as the very embodiment of faith, the family left behind suffered incompletion of its household affairs. The acceptance of the Divine Will of Bhai Joginder Singh was unique in bearing this terrible loss.

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