With reference to
In 1963 Bhagat Munshiram was a new entrant into a new Dera called Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur established by Baba Faqir Chand.
Whenever a new dera or religious centre comes into existence or a new religious sect sprouts in India, it is natural to see it from the angle of caste and see from which background it comes from. It is a socio-religious trend of Indian society.
I had a connection with the Manavta Mandir of Hoshiarpur, which was founded by a great sage Faqir Chand. I feel very hesitant to call him 'Baba' because many times he used to use this word for corrupt 'Babas'. Faqir Chand was from a Brahmin family, very sincere to his religious style and path, very honest in his thinking and expressions. Others may not have agreed with him but he was very honest with the work he was doing in compliance with the instruction of his guru and the vow he had taken to truthfully tread on the path told by his guru and tell his experience to the world. He was a Brahmin as expressed by him in his autobiography published in the book The Unknowing Sage written by Dr. David C. Lane. Initially, the Manavata Mandir was considered to be a religious centre of Brahmins. Many people associated with it were from the Brahmin community who accompanied Faqir Chand Ji in his journey from the beginning. Many of them were his young age friends. Perhaps, Mr. Munshiram Bhagat was the first person from a low caste who got the opportunity to stay in the Manavta Mandir for a long time of around 14 years. He had gone there for his spiritual quest. He was from the Megh (weaver) caste. Some people were troubled by his coming there, but the personality of Faqir Chand Ji was such that no one openly talked about this subject during Faqir’s lifetime. Maybe a few more people from other lower castes also later joined. In this connection, I remember another gentleman Professor B. R. Kamal who belongs to the Ad Dharmi community and had a long association with Faqir.
The word 'Baba' also indicates a Brahmin identity in many contexts. But one has to admit that Faqir was very honest and untraditional in his social behaviour. He was truly a humanist and also non-believer in traditional casteism.
Almost all the saints in India were from low castes. Faqir Chand Ji, in his Satsangs, used to say some times that he could not become a saint. It was a very mysterious expression that also meant (possibly) that he could not feel or experience the life of the downtrodden like other saints could do. The followers of Faqir used to call him 'Param Sant'. In the narratives of different deras, the words 'sant' and 'param sant' can have different ‘definitions’. But there is no doubt that most of the saints in the medieval times were from low castes and many of them were killed because they were very vocal against the caste system.
It is important to note that the literature of saints is called 'Bhakti (devotional) literature' in the history of Hindi literature. On the other hand, a lot of interpolations have been made in their literature to mislead the masses. Many social scientists like Professor Vivek Kumar have told that the major undercurrent in the literature of saints is Mukti (emancipation from untouchability and casteism) and not Bhakti (devotion, slavery).
The recent historical research has proved that Kabir died at the age of 52 years. The cause of his death may be a subject of further research. But Kabir's role was very important in starting a struggle against the casteist terror prevalent in the Hindu society of that time. The voice that Kabir and other saints raised in this regard continued to gain momentum in the coming centuries. The poverty prevailing in low castes was almost permanent. In such a situation, it was the priority of saints like Kabir that people suffering from casteism should first be taught how to psychologically tackle the conditions of poverty. At the same time, they were teaching tools to the people to fight against the caste system. From that point of view, their main work was to attack casteism and propagate humanism for which they had to pay a heavy price. The literature of Faqir Chand should be tested in this perspective as well as to why he used to say that he could not 'become a saint'.
Since poverty is mainly caste-based in India, therefore the ultimate peace became the general craving of masses living in poverty. Saints came to their help. They taught them spiritual tools that could keep their day-to-day life smooth and functional. Now modern management gurus are doing the same job for workers in the industry.
Once, during a general talk Faqir told that when he went for the discipleship of Data Dayal Shiv Brat Lal Ji Maharaj, the people of his own Brahmin fraternity felt bad about it. Faqir Chand was a high-caste Brahmin, whereas Shiv Brat Lal was a Kayastha, obviously a lower caste as compared to the caste of Faqir. It is to be noticed here that the commitment of Faqir to his Master Shiv Brat Lal was amazing, whatever the reason be, whether a divine vision or some spiritual inspiration or any other argument. Faqir might also have had some other reasoning. Faqir had a background of Sanatan Dharm. His Guru Shiv Brat Lal Ji initiated him in Radha Soami Mat and Faqir was initially uncomfortable with that.
Now it is very important to note that in 1968 Faqir Chand Ji went to the Kumbh Mela of Ujjain and was very happy when he returned to Hoshiarpur. On reaching the Satsang Hall of Manavata Mandir, he happily announced, “I went there and I have unified Sant Mat and Sanatan Dharma there.” The Satsangs given in Ujjain on the occasion were published in a book titled Sat Sanatan Dharma. By reading this book, one will be able to guess why this book is important and worth reading. In my view, Faqir intended to establish a syncretism between Sant Mat and Sanatan Dharma and he made a significant effort in that direction with his own socio-religious and philosophical logic but a practical view. He intended to make people see, read and understand the shared elements in both streams.
But as we can see devotion (भक्ति) is an essential element in Sanatan Dharma but finding devotion in Sant Mat, especially Kabirmat may not be that much correct since Kabir was not preaching devotion to the lower castes, rather he was teaching them how to get rid of mental slavery which was prevalent in the form of ‘Karma and Rebirth’ theory. Saints had actually started a sort of liberation movement. It appears to me that it was done in accordance with Buddhism which, at that time, was live in the form of Nath Panth and Siddh Panth. From this perspective, it was the beginning of a movement against Indian slavery stemmed from the religiopolitical region. A clear difference can be seen in the attitude of Kabir and Faqir which is related to their social environment in which they were born and brought up. When the Acharyas of our previous generations wrote about the history of literature, imposing their ethos, they included Kabir in 'Devotional Times (भक्तिकाल)' as already mentioned above.
Here are some excerpts from Baba Faqir's book Sat Sanatan Dharma. This will give some idea about the Sanatani ideology with which he was associated right from his childhood. He writes:-
"You people don't see, we do it in writing, make you big boobies, tell you such things that make you the animal of our carriage. Has any Mahatma ever said that he had not manifested in anyone? Open the pages of history and see there. An old lady had come and she was sitting with me today. The last time when I came here she had said, “Baba Ji, I was in pain. In my dream, you came and said that you should hammer a nail in the frame of your door. I did it and I recovered.” In Indore or Ujjain, I saw that nail in the door frame. I had not manifested in her dream to say such a thing. Then what is the truth? You will not find a person who tells you the truth. If you find one then you do not appreciate the truth.”
‘The person who dances sings and does all drama
Is respected by the people’
(नाचे गावे तोरे तान, दुनिया ताकी राखे मान)
‘Hail to Sanatan Dharma’. I had said. Why? Because I am a Sanatanist (सनातनी). What does Sanatan Dharma say? It was born of the resolve of Adi Manu, the Adi Karta who created the universe. The child was born from the resolve or desire of Adi Manu. The first resolution was powerful. It was a mental creation. Then it was Gemini creation (मैथुनी रचना). The sequence of karma proceeded and the beings (प्राणी) of this entire world have come in the cycle of this karma. ………” (page-22 of ‘Sat Sanatan Dharma (सत सनातन धर्म)’”
I consider the above statements to be of great importance as Faqir Chand Ji acted cautiously and with great sincerity while living in the variety of impacts (संस्कार) of Radhaswami faith, Sant Mat and Sanatana Dharma. He had gained experience from practical life and developed a peculiar style of expressing his deepest thoughts. He also took care that his expressions did not hurt anybody. He intended to tell the truth of his lifelong experiences in various streams of religions so that it reached the people curious to know about it. His utterances that 'my form manifests in others but that is not me' was a sentence in which the truth was filled with a ‘codification’ and it was not possible to escape from its efficacy. The people who listened to the truth told by Faqir, were not able to go anywhere else and remained with Faqir forever. This work of Faqir has not yet been evaluated in India. Faqir’s thought was definitely better and more scientific than many other religious heads.
It is necessary to say one thing here that this is a small part of the thoughts expressed by him. In order to understand Faqir from a complete perspective, his entire view must be understood. In my heart of hearts, I am referring to a verse of Kabir- “O LORD Increate, who will serve Thee? (अनगढ़िया देवा कौन करे तेरी सेवा”). Faqir did explain this verse many times to his followers. A link of his Satsang Dated 13-07-1980 can be seen at this YouTube link, shorturl.at/oFOX6. This verse represents the mysticism Kabir had come across during his association with Nath Panthis and Siddh Panthis and developed his own style of expression.
Almost all the branches or streams of Sant Mat have included Kabir in their literature and philosophy in one way or the other. In Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib is the supreme Guru. A lot of literature of Kabir has been included therein. Also, it can be noticed that Guru Granth Sahib contains Vani of many other saints belonging to labour classes (low castes). Kabir's literature is referred to at many centres of Radhaswami faith. Even Sanatanis use verses of Kabir but they first reinforce the on-going devotional (भक्ति) elements in the name of religion and then emphasize on means and practices. They do not refer to the 'Muktikal (Times of emancipation)' that modern litterateurs and sociologists underline.
This fact particularly draws attention that since centuries Dalits were generally not allowed to enter Hindu temples. On the other hand, the followers of saints were mostly from the low castes and they built deras in the name of their gurus. It was a better social grouping with a sense of equality and fraternity. It was also like opening new shops of religion where there was already a big competition. The upper caste people have made their own religious places i.e. temples, deras etc. in the names of many saints. The Brahmins built temples in the name of Kabir. The flow of money and services started flowing from Dalits to those centres. Many deras of Radhaswami faith became success stories due to this trend. Radhaswami deras did accommodate downtrodden people. (‘See a sad face and give him Namdan’). Many deras were dominated by a particular community or caste. For example, Kayasthas dominated Agra centre and Jats dominated Dera Beas and Dinod. Religiosity may not pay attention to it, but it is important for those who focus constantly on the flow of money. Sociologists look at it with open eyes. It is money that provides fame, recognition as well as glamour and political capital to a dera or temple or any other religious place. Politicians do use them as a readymade vote bank.
Faqir used to start all Satsangs with the words ‘Radhaswami’ and also used literature (वाणी) of Kabir Saheb and Swami Ji for making his points clear and fetch confirmation to his own experiences. Faqir had also installed a statue (replica) of Data Dayal Ji in the Satsang hall of the temple which is a Sanatani tradition. Because of that statue and the use of Data Dayal’s Vani, many Kayasthas were ‘interested’ in the Temple. But the last will of Faqir (see appendix) made the difference.
The business of religion in India is mainly dominated by Brahmins. Baba Faqir gave the work of guru to many people during his lifetime but through his will, he gave it to two persons from two different castes to work in his place. One Mr. I.C. Sharma a Brahmin (high caste) and Mr. Munshiram a Megh (low caste) in his place. Some of the Gurus and Acharyas nominated by Faqir built their own centres at different places, some did not. Mr. Munshiram Bhagat did not build a separate centre as it was not required for doing the specific duty of Satguru given to him.
However, Mr. I.C. Sharma was a Brahmin and perhaps knew how to run a religious centre and bring money to the temple. He tried to open more branches of the Manavata Mandir Ashram with some success. Munshiram, in his literature, has admitted that he did not possess qualities that could bring money to the temple. I believe that if the duo of these two persons could work together for the Ashram, then it would have been auspicious for Manavta Mandir. But the game was different in the background and at the end of the day, Munshiram had to leave the Temple. After I.C. Sharma Ji and Shunyo Ji, now Professor B. R. Kamal is the spiritual head of the Ashram with the consent of the trust and other concerned Acharyas of the Ashram. As I have already told above, Dayal Kamal Ji is from a low caste which was associated with the Ad Dharmi movement. If I am not wrong, he has brought sufficient money to the temple. It is heard that he too is facing some odds.
Munshiram left the Ashram and settled in Chandigarh. Many people came to Chandigarh to meet Mr. Munshiram and kept asking why Faqir Chand Ji did nominate two persons for the work in the temple. Munshiram Ji used to explain to the visitors that “There are two types of work in the temple - the first is to bring money to the temple, which Mr. I.C. Sharma can do better. I can't do that. As far as other spiritual work is concerned, it is not necessary for me to be in the temple. I am doing that while sitting here. There are very few people who want spirituality and they do reach here. So whatever has happened has happened according to the law of nature and that is fine.” Munshiram Ji knew that casteism was prevailing somewhere in the affairs of the temple but he never underlined it in his literature.
Once Narayan Das Dogra Ji came to meet Munshiram Ji at Chandigarh. Their conversation included a question from Narayan Das Ji regarding the rationale behind the nomination of two persons by Baba Faqir for one seat (गद्दी). Dogra Ji discussed the caste bondage between the two (Baba Ji and I.C. Sharma Ji). But I am sure this was not the reason for the nomination of Dr I.C. Sharma.
Certainly, there was under the table circulation regarding caste of Munshiram which was a major hitch for many of the old colleagues of Faqir. Moreover, senior Satsangis were used to seeing Faqir Chand Ji and the sudden major change in the situation and atmosphere was not easy to accept or digest. For many of them, Dr. Sharma was a natural choice as he belonged to their own caste. To my knowledge, a major reaction came from members of the Trust who wanted to establish Mr. I.C. Sharma as a single Guru in the Ashram. Perhaps they had the majority as well. On the other hand, people who did have unpleasant experiences with Mr. I.C. Sharma in India or elsewhere, they too had some questions regarding his nomination. There was a lot of bickering on this subject which was not good for the Ashram.
I was 16 when Munshiram Ji retired and went straight from Bhiwani to Hoshiarpur to live in the Manavta Mandir. In order to meet my parents, I used to travel from Chandigarh to Hoshiarpur. Mostly I spent my summer and winter vacation in the Ashram and listened to all the Satsangs of Faqir during that period. Faqir, many times, very kindly made my stay arrangements in the best rooms available at that time. After living in Ashram for 14 years Munshiram came to Chandigarh in 1982 and thereafter he stayed with me. He lived a very simple and disciplined life and people kept coming to him.
There was another dedicated worker of the Ashram, Mr. Karmchand Kapoor. He served for a very long period in the homoeopathic dispensary of the temple. Mr. Kapoor had a hunch. Mr. Kapoor used to read out literature of Faqir and other saints to Munshiram and Karm Devi every evening. It continued till Munshiram left the Ashram. A question still remains in my mind as to why after about a year Munshiram left the ashram, Dr Kapoor, like some other people working there, had to leave the temple?
Faqir needs to be seen from yet another angle. Shiv Brat Lal Ji once told Faqir Chand that – ‘In your previous life you were the monk Ananda and I was Buddha’. Isn't it an indication that the education Data Dayal was imparting to Faqir was influenced by Buddhism or else there was no point in saying so. What Faqir has said in his Satsangs, especially that 'I do not manifest in others मैं किसी के अंतर नहीं जाता' and his inner experiences, might have been influenced by the rationalism of Buddhism.
During his lifetime Baba Faqir instructed Munshiram Ji not to prefix the word 'Pandit' with his name. His instructions were followed while publishing his literature including the periodic magazine Manav Mandir. In Sant Mat the word ‘Pandit’ is considered derogatory. The literature of saints confirms it. The word 'Pandit' is also synonymous with the word 'Brahmin'. But after Faqir left the body, a convention of writing 'Pandit' with his name was started in the publications of the Trust which continues till date. Is this the area where Faqir was unable to make an influence? Were his propagators not interested in the bigger gateway of society from where Faqir could be seen more clearly?
I was very impressed by another thing in Baba Faqir. He often used to say in his Satsangs that those who came in his Satsangs will not be born again. In Sanatan Dharma and Hinduism, a belief in reincarnation, rebirth and the results of deeds done in previous births, exists. Was Baba Faqir Chand trying to break the sureness of that belief, a Sanatani belief? I think Faqir was aware of the truth about these frequently questioned doctrines as we call it. These doctrines had become instruments in the hands of high caste employers. Poorly paid domestic help was told stories of previous births of imaginary characters who were very rich in previous birth but they did not serve some high caste master and as a result of that kind of very bad karma (deed), they were reborn in low caste (a poor family they belonged to). Of course, it was a softer way of exploiting poor people.
I give a lot of importance to Baba Faqir when he says that he who came to his Satsang will not be born again. It also means that rebirth is just a thought that can be removed from the mind of an individual. Kabir Saheb did use poetic instruments for awakening the masses against slavery supported by religious scriptures.
Faqir Chand Ji had said during a Satsang at someplace that saints had come to Manavta Mandir. Obviously, they were more than one. Perhaps Faqir intended to point to Munshiram Ji, his wife and perhaps more others. Munshiram Ji used to wonder who those saints were. Perhaps he got only a partial answer during his lifetime. Had he been alive today, he would have got an answer from me that the saint means the downtrodden low caste religious people with a forgotten background of Buddhism. I could tell him that Kabir was not a 'slave' (दास) or a 'devotee' in the worst meaning of the words. He was a protester who raised his voice against caste-based slavery prevalent in his times. Kabir did it at the risk of his life.
By the way, Faqir had also put his life at risk due to his clear and honest expressions regarding the manifestation of Guru’s vision/form in his followers. He once said, "People in deras plan to kill me."
Now finally something about Faqir Chand Ji and the Faqir Library Charitable Trust of Manavta Mandir established by Baba Ji. Much has been written above with regard to the mission of Baba Faqir Chand to unify Sanatan Dharma, Sant Mat and Radhaswami Mat. Munshi Ram Ji was well aware of the mission of Faqir Chand Ji and it is reflected in his literature. It is not appropriate to say anything about the spiritual gurus who later worked in the temple. It is difficult to tell how many of the officials of the trust knew about this subject and how much was their commitment. Usually what we expect from the Trust is the maintenance of temple premises, proper arrangements for the visitors, fostering of the mission given to it and publication of literature, its proper distribution and general management. Trust should also keep cognizance of the manner in which Param Dayal Faqir Chand Ji had unified Sanatan Dharma, Sant Mat and Radhaswami Mat and set the goals accordingly.
Baba Faqir Chand Ji has established a new religion in his own way. Special attention should be paid to it.
THE LIFE AND WORK OF
SRI MUNSIRAM BHAGAT
(December 19, 1906 - June 29, 1998)
Bhagat Munshi Ram was born on December 19, 1906, in Sunderpur village of district Sialkot (now in Pakistan) as mentioned by him in his books. His childhood hobbies included wrestling, Kabaddi, swimming, racing, boating and playing on Jodi (a musical instrument with two flutes joined together). His father was Mr. Menhgaram ‘the contractor’. He was an influential person in his village. He had a very harsh temperament. It certainly affected the personality and life of Munshi Ram and drove him to spirituality and devotion. Throughout life, he remained less talkative. The name of Munshi Ram’s wife was Karam Devi. During his stay in Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur she was there in Ashram. Bhagat Ji's book ‘नर-नारी’ (Men and Women) contains more information about her. He knew Hindi, Punjabi, English and a little bit of Sanskrit.
His childhood name was Munshiram and his full name was Munshiram Bhagat, the word ‘Bhagat’ being his caste identification in his later life. Originally his caste was Megh (a tribe from Jammu and Kashmir). During the purification movement of Arya Samaj, many Meghs were ‘purified’ and called ‘Bhagats’. They were taken into Hindu fold, included in the Hindu caste system and kept at lower levels of the social ladder. Many of them adopted this ‘Bhagat’ word as their surname and Munshiram became ‘Munshiram Bhagat’ also under the influence of the Arya Samaj movement. However, as a matter of family tradition, his forefathers used to have a Guru for their spiritual needs. Baba Sat Kartar was the first guru to initiate Munshiram much before 1947 i.e. prior to the division of India. He gave this information to Baba Faqir in my presence.
Param Dayal Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj, in his last and final will, mentioned his name as ‘Bhagat Munshi Ram Ji’ (if the order of the words really matters) while nominating him to work in the capacity of Satguru in his place. After passing the tenth class he was sent to Jammu for doing Diploma in Engineering. He passed out the diploma by securing very good marks. Later he got a job as an Overseer in the Public Works Department (Buildings and Roads). Many a times he got postings to difficult places including the tribal areas of Balochistan where getting the drinking water was a problem. In that area, the British and the hat were not tolerated. He worked there with a hat on his head. He also worked at Jhelum, Thatta Basal, Head Marala, Attak, Pindi Keb, Upper Chenab etc.
After coming to Indian side after partition of India he worked at Muktsar, Ferozepur, Amritsar, Mandi (HP), Rampura Phul, Rohtak, Tohana, Sirsa and Bhiwani. While at Tohana, he constructed a house in Chandigarh in the year 1960-61. Also, during his tenure in Tohana, Munshiram while travelling in a bus, heard about Faqir Chand from a chat between two Sadhus/Satsangis who were talking about the best spiritual Gurus of that time. It was in 1963. Munshiram went to Hoshiarpur Ashram and met Faqir. During the very first meeting in his Satsang, Faqir enquired about his job. Kissed him on both the cheeks and asked him to join the Ashram after retirement. Munshiram retired as Sub Divisional Engineer in 1967. On retirement, he directly went to the Ashram of Faqir at Hoshiarpur where he had been permitted to construct his own one-room-kitchen set. Few months later Faqir wanted to know his caste but Munshiram could not and did not respond to his question. It is normal in Hindu Society to ask the caste of a person if his name does not include surname (caste). Here it is noteworthy that, socially, 'Manavta Mandir’ was considered a centre of Brahmins. However, due to the personal influence of Faqir Chand Ji, people from other castes also joined and stayed there. He lived there till 1981 and later left it when the temple atmosphere changed after the death of Faqir Chand Ji.
Coming back to his life in Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur, in course of time, Param Dayal Ji appointed him as Secretary of Faqir Library Charitable Trust. He remained Secretary of the temple for 9 years and played an important role as an engineer during the initial stages of construction of the Temple. Then he also looked after the publication work of Ashram’s magazine- ‘Manav Mandir’. He played an important role in the publication of Param Dayal Ji’s discourses and books. While working in the capacity of Sant Satguru Waqt (giver of true knowledge of the time), Param Dayal Ji explained many secrets of Sant Mat. Faqir Chand did make several changes in spiritual education. Those changes are recorded in his literature. Bhagat Munshi Ram has also preserved most of them in his books especially in ‘परम दयाल जी ने क्या शिक्षा बदली’ (What Changes Param Dayal Ji made in Teachings). He was in the association of Param Dayal Ji for 18 years. He was in search of peace and in due course he became a researcher of Sant Mat. He worked tirelessly for the mission of humanity started by Data Dayal Ji and Param Dayal Ji. Param Dayal Ji made the first successful experiment and use of his research on Bhagat Munshi Ram, a truly eligible person, can call him ‘raw material’, for his teachings. On March 20, 1977, Faqir gave him the work of Guru in plenum by giving him a turban, five rupees and putting a holy mark (तिलक) on his forehead. The proceedings of this function were published in the magazine ‘Manav Mandir’, the monthly publication of the temple. Bhagat Munshi Ram, who had attained a Jeevan Mukt and selfless state, however, has mentioned that in fact, Param Dayal himself had been working through him. He has expressed it in these words:
"From March 1977 until he left his bodily frame, I obeyed his orders. There are three things in his order’s - to give Namdan, to instruct the people and give comfort to souls. It is the duty of a master in Sant Mat. Then I used to ask my soul. Can you do this job? The answer from the conscience used to be negative. Then who used to do that? He (Faqir) did himself. If I had the strength to be a guru, I would have made millions of disciples and brought charm to Manavta Mandir. But I did not give Namdan to a single person. Similarly, the work to instruct and give comfort to souls was also his (Faqir’s) work. I did nothing, just obeyed his orders. This gave support to souls in his absence. He had appointed me for that purpose." (from the book Sant Satguru Waqt Ka Vasiyatnama (The Testament of Santsatguru of the time) written by Munshiram.
Through his last will Param Dayal Ji Maharaj, at an appropriate time, appointed Bhagat Munshi Ram to work as Satguru in his place. After Param Dayal Ji relinquished his body, the circumstances of Manavta Mandir underwent changes as have been explained by Bhagat Ji in the book ‘Sant Satguru Waqt Ka Vasiyatnama’. He then moved to Chandigarh and spent most of his time in silence. However, the sense of gratitude and the education imparted by Param Dayal Ji and the duty of 'Satguru' assigned by Faqir could not observe silence. During his meetings with old friends and followers, the interaction invariably included references regarding life and work of Param Dayal Ji Maharaj.
Bhagat Munshi Ram Ji not only practically lived the teachings and preaching of Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj but also preserved it. It would not be an exaggeration if I say that Bhagat Munshi Ram was the first embodiment of changed teachings of Param Dayal Ji. In many discourses, Param Dayal had said that the living (life) of Munshi Ram was thousand times better than that of his own. Later, Param Dayal Faqir Chand assigned Bhagat Ji the work of Satguru to be done in his place. As a leading faculty of Param Dayal Ji’s teachings, Bhagat Munshi Ram himself followed Humanism as propounded by Param Dayal Faqir and carried forward the real mission of Param Dayal. To me the major work of Faqir was to unify Sant Mat and Radhaswami Mat to Sanatan Dharm. His positive expressions gave peace and energy to the hearts. These are shared qualities in both Param Dayal Ji and Bhagat Ji Maharaj. Param Dayal Ji did sometimes use harsh language befitting sages but Bhagat Munshi Ram has nowhere used harsh words. His speech was soft but notes were very high. Whereas, on one hand, it was his personal quality, on the other hand, it was a complementary function of Param Dayal Ji.
Munshiram Ji regularly sent his own donations to Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur in addition to the donations/offerings made to him by visitors and Satsangis. All the visitors were offered a cup of milk in accordance with the wish of Munshiram Ji. All eatables offered by Satsangis were given to the domestic help. Family members were instructed not to take anything brought by Satsangis. Once somebody had brought fruits as offerings and my children ate it by mistake. Some money in lieu of those fruits was sent to the Mandir.
My memories of Munshiram:
During our stay in Amritsar, when I was 6-7 years old, I heard Bhagat Ji singing Tulsidas's Vinay Patrika. He used to sing 'I have heard that Hari (God) is the saviour (मैं हरि पतित पावन सुने)’ with an overwhelmed voice. It was in the year 1956-57.
It was around the 1960s. We lived in Rampura Phul near the railway station in a big Kothi which was office-cum-residence of The Sub Divisional Officer. Munshiram was incharge of it. It was said that the Kothi was previously a rest house of the ruler of Sangrur state. New roads were being built around Rampura Phul and the land of farmers had been acquired by the government. One morning a mob of hundreds of people with sharp-edged weapons entered the office premises. In those days I was a child but their stance was not difficult to understand. All employees of the office except Munshiram and one Lower Division Clerk Mr. Des Raj fled from the office. Desraj Ji told Munshi Ram Ji that the Government had acquired the land of those agitated farmers. That day I saw Munshi Ram Ji’s tenacity. He firmly stood in front of the armed crowd having sharp-edged weapons and asked them with a gesture of his hand to sit down on the ground and asked them the reason for their coming. The conversation took place for some time and after an explanation given by Munshiram, they went back. The runaway office staff returned to the office.
I was only 12 years old when I first saw a photo of Faqir Chand Ji wearing a gown. We lived in Tohana where I first saw it. Tohana was a town of Haryana state. During those days my father, Munshi Ram was working as a Sub-Divisional Engineer. Many times he was not seen in Tohana on (Sundays) I missed him a lot. He used to do a lot of inner practices. Many times I saw him in KukkutAsana (sitting on feet with a sheet of cloth around the body, a posture for practising Samadhi) even after midnight. I was in sixth class at that time. One night he awakened my mother and told her that a sound had been coming from within and not stopping despite efforts. I was also awake by that time. Next day mother distributed sweets in the neighbourhood.
While in Rohtak in 1960, Bhagat Ji suffered from T.B. It was considered a deadly disease during those days. For the treatment, he had to go to Jalandhar. Then in 1961-62, he had the problem of diabetes. He retired in 1967 and went to Hoshiarpur to be with Faqir Chand Ji. Faqir had asked him whether he had any health problems. Bhagat Ji told about diabetes. Faqir asked a doctor the reason for the disease. The doctor described. Faqir said that it was not a problem. I watched him take medicines for diabetes in Hoshiarpur. After a few years, the medication was stopped. When in 1981-82 he came to Chandigarh he had not been taking any medicines for diabetes. Rather he used to take a lot of sugar. He once said, "It has been written that taking sugar is yoga. As per his wish I myself used to give him 8 to 10 spoons of sugar per day with breakfast, milk, tea, etc. It continued till 1996. By then, at the age of 90 years his body had begun to weaken. After my transfer from Chandigarh, I did not have any specific information about his daily routine. In 1998 I was told that he again had mild diabetes. By that period he had attained a particular state where he stayed for a very long period. Whether it was due to inner practices or impact of old age I do not know.
I wish to mention some of the words naturally spoken by Bhagat Ji. In 1996 I was transferred to Thiruvananthapuram. I was very much worried about his health. However, he asked me to join there by saying, “You will not have to stay there for long.” I believed in what he said. In a year of my stay there I was promoted and official circumstances brought me to Mumbai.
In 1983 I was working with the Central Excise and Customs Department. However, I started applying for jobs in the banks. I was selected in a few banks. I asked Bhagat Ji for guidance. The bank job meant much more salary but posting at remote places. Bhagat Ji advised in a small sentence, "Dry bread at home is better than sweetmeat elsewhere. (बाहर की पूरी रोटी से घर की आधी रोटी भली)” Against his advice, I decided to join the bank. I joined Udupi town in Karnataka. The experience was very painful. Because of language, culture, local difficulties etc. I experienced a sort of mental trauma. I wrote letters to him almost every day. I used to tell him about my state of mind. My condition was getting worse. I suffered from insomnia. One day I felt a ballooning bubble in my heart. One night I woke up to a sudden metallic sound in the brain- 'Resign and come back'. The next day I went to my office as usual. Bhagat Ji's telegram was lying on my desk - 'Resign and come back'. I decided to quit. On my return to home, Bhagat Ji remarked, "It is good that you have come back." Brother also said, “Father had been making arrangements for your return. He had prepared himself to sell off property.” Personally, a phase of unemployment started for me. He always kept me busy in writing his articles and replies to the letters he received from Satsangis. Meanwhile, my heart condition was not good. Pulse was very heavy and increased from just getting up from the bed. It was then I got an appointment letter from NABARD asking me to join at Hyderabad. Anand Rao Maharaj Ji lived there. He was a friend of Bhagat Ji. It must have been in May 1984. The Bank had asked me to join in the month of July 1984. I booked the tickets. Just one day before catching the train I said, "Father, the condition of my heart is such that I may not be able to travel”. He said with an encouraging voice, "Kabir has said that it is better to die at a far-off place (मरना भला परदेस का). Relatives won't let die properly”. His sentence gave me immense strength. I firmly made up my mind to go to Hyderabad. My sister’s son Mr. Rakesh Kumar accompanied me to Hyderabad. I really required his help. In Hyderabad, I came in contact with a homoeopath. He took care of my heart and it is still functioning fine. I wonder as to who gave me that encouraging energy to move to Hyderabad. It was the work of Bhagat Ji’s Satguru mode or format. During my childhood in Tohana, I had taken him as my Guru. Later he was given the task of Satguru by Faqir. Since then I saw him less as a father and saw more as Satguru. I had yet another experience in Thiruvananthapuram. It was in 1996. Bank had made my stay arrangement in Hotel South Park. One evening I was lying in the hotel. Suddenly I felt as if my father (who by then had lost eyesight due to glaucoma) in Chandigarh had come out of the house, crossed the road and sat on a railing. He was expecting some help. Later, the incident was confirmed by my wife.
During my stay in Mumbai, one summer, I was, as if, getting the message that Bhagat Ji was thirsty and wanted water. I called my eldest daughter Agma over the phone and asked her to give him water. I am impressed by the fact that in my absence, in such a situation, my family and the family of my elder brother served him dedicatedly.
Mother's health had begun to worsen in the early 1990s when I was transferred from Hyderabad to Chandigarh. She was undergoing treatment for many ailments but the effect of age had increased. She was in trouble. Cough and moaning used to continue day and night. Bhagat Ji and his family looked after her. My sisters also assisted. A time came when my mother was unable to sleep. Bhagat had had restless months.
One day Bhagat ji asked his elder son Maya Dhari to shift the bed of mother to the next room (he had indicated a particular place). By then mother was hard of hearing. But she understood everything. In a very emotional tone, she started saying with whatever energy she had, "I used to wish that when he would be doing inner devotion (Bhakti) then I would serve him. Now he is unable to take a rest because of my coughing. My bed is now being shifted." The atmosphere at home became very emotional. Bhagat Ji got up. Went up to the bedside of his wife, held the arms of the bed and leaned upon her. Then he spoke in a loud encouraging voice, "My intention was not to send you out of my room. You can stay here if you wish. But do not go haywire. You're ahead of us." Mother's moaning stopped. She readily shifted to the other room.
She had to be brought down from the bed more than once (traditionally a dying person is laid on the floor when symptoms of death appear). Bhagat Ji used to get information about whatever she spoke during those moments. One day mother came back from a death-like state. She said, “They say it is not my turn yet." Bhagat Ji heard it with all curiosity. Then the mother was put on the bed again. She died with three last hick-ups a few days later right where Bhagat Ji had directed to place her bed.
Mother's body was moved to the cremation ground. On that day, as a matter of chance, many dead bodies were brought there for cremation. We had to wait. Bhagat Ji then smilingly said in my ears, “A queue, here too?”
After three-four days of mother's death, Bhagat Ji once said, “Shall I tell you something peculiar? Your mother is here today. Did you feel?” “No.” I said. Maybe he was experiencing something within or without.
I am fully satisfied that though he believed in the rebirth of thoughts however he firmly believed that there was no rebirth of humans. He had written a letter to Professor Kamal on this subject.
I remember another incident. I was posted at a far-off place. Bhagat Ji's health was a concern to me. Once I went to him for morning reverence with a flower. At that time, I had a wish in my mind that he left his body while I was present besides him. I had not spoken a word and he said, “Do not worry. Whatever will happen it will be in front of you.” His words were of real support for me when I was away from him. I came from Mumbai many times on long vacations. Every time he looked weaker.
In June 1998 I came to Chandigarh on a long vacation. Then he was unable to take solid food. He took only liquid food. He disliked salty stuff. Family members avoided giving him sweet food as he had again developed mild diabetes. He would spit if the eatables were not sweet. He was extremely weak. On arrival of relations, he usually would not open eyes. However, on the arrival of Satsangis (followers), he would wide open his eyes even while they were at a distance from the house. I observed it many times. His eyeballs looked separated from his eyes. He expressed many times the feeling of bones having been separated from him. While on deathbed he developed bed sour. But that was cured with a prescription from Dr. Hans Raj Ghai.
His health worsened. One day while sitting beside him I silently wished, “Now you may leave the body. Today I'm sitting close to you.” I told it as a prayer within. Perhaps he listened to it. I could see a glimpse of satisfaction on his face. He was in a full conscious state. All signs of last moments were visible on the third day. Before his last moments, I gave him sugar mixed water. He relished it and took it nicely. After drinking a few spoons, he raised his hand and gently placed it on my hands thus refusing to take more.
I kept checking his pulse at intervals. Once he had said, “Horde of relatives would not let die peacefully. They start crying and pull back the dying person.” Otherwise also relations stop coming in such conditions. They wait until the fellow dies. What help can others offer? I thought it better not to inform anyone. His pulse stopped. Then I told it to my elder brother. He came and did the rest. Bhagat ji gradually left the body in a conscious state, I believe. It is my belief. Perhaps everybody does that. It should be the right place to say one more thing. Whenever I had been in Chandigarh, I slept in the adjacent room where Bhagat Ji used to sleep. I never ever heard him moaning or creating a painful voice. We could never know if he had any sufferings of old age. Of course, loss of memory to some extent was obvious. By narrating all this I am not establishing that he had been doing miracles around. Whatever happened was natural. I can say that his degree of sensitivity towards human existence was marvellous, there is no doubt about it. I can call it humanity in the best form.
Bhagat Ji has not recorded any systematic narrative of his life anywhere.
While Munshiram was in Manavta Mandir Faqir had asked him to write the anthem of the flag of humanity. Munshiram ji wrote it and Faqir approved it. This song is sung when the flag is hoisted in the temple on the occasion of Vaisakhi.
Munshiram Ji did not print his photo in any kind of literature or magazine while working in the temple. Maybe he was there in a few group photos. Some of his photos that I have got are from family photos. One photo was taken on the occasion when Faqir assigned him work. He wore a sort of garb on which the words ‘Be Man’ were printed. Whenever I tried to take an individual photo of him, he stopped me from doing so. There could be contradictions while mentioning the age of Munshiram because of the difference in narratives of people telling his age.
Literature of Bhagat Munshiram
Munshiram Ji was an example of the change that Param Dayal Ji brought in education. This is reflected in his writings. Mostly he wrote in Hindi. His books are titled:- संत सत्गुरु वक़्त का वसीयतनामा (The Testament of Sant Satguru of the Times), नर-नारी (Men-women), प्रेम शब्दावली (Verses of Love), मेघमाला (Meghamala) and छुआछूत:कब और क्यों (Untouchability: When and Why). Apart from this, he wrote many long articles and booklets which were published in the book form titled संतमत (Sant Mat), अंतर्राष्ट्रीय मानवता केंद्र (International Center for Humanity), सत्गुरु की महिमा और माया का रूप (Glory of Satguru and the Form of Maya). He also wrote many articles in Urdu, a language neither I knew nor I had resources to utilise it. He also wrote another book on the National Language Hindi, however, the manuscript of the book was destroyed during a heavy rain. Munshiram Ji gave two Satsangs to pay homage to Param Dayal Ji. The first from the forum of Manav Kalyan Sabha, Chandigarh (at Mr. Trilok Chand's residence) on 02-05-1988 and the second at Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur on 29-09-1982. Both these satsangs and some other articles were published as a tribute in a book titled परम संत दयाल फकीर चंद जी महाराज को श्रद्धांजलि (A tribute to Param Sant Dayal Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj).
(This literature is available on the Net and published in unicode Mangal font which facilitates partial translation in English with Google Translate)
1. ‘Untouchability: When and Why’ (छुआछूत: कब और क्यों)
In the preface of this book Munshiram writes:
‘For the understanding of the people regarding these influences (of untouchability), Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj had experienced knowledge in his life that man is a bubble of consciousness. To live life in this world made of name and form, one should respect everyone and their feelings, complete the life journey by following the rules of 'give help to someone and take help from someone'. In this way, a country is built up. This brings peace in the country.
Whatever I have written in this book, it is based on the education and knowledge that I received by sitting at the feet of His Holiness Paramdayal Faqirchand Ji Maharaj. Therefore, I present this book at his feet.’
The book deals with the subject in detail.
2. ‘Men and Women’ (नर-नारी)
In this book ‘Men and Women’ (नर-नारी) he has described the impact of association of Faqir on the lives of both Munshiram and his wife. His description of the condition of his ailing wife a few months before her death is very meaningful:
“In 1990, Mr.s. Karm Devi, while she was sleeping in Chandigarh, had a dream. In her dream she was sitting in front of her room in Manavta Mandir, Hoshiarpur and repairing the cover of the quilt of Maharaj Ji. Param Dayal Ji Maharaj came in her dream and asked her what she was doing? She said, “I am stitching the cover of the quilt.” Huzur said, “Leave it, the time has come.”
He has recorded his worldly life with Karm Devi, her devotion to the family and husband, the impact of Param Dayal Ji on her life and her spiritual journey as seen or visualised by him after her death.
3. ‘In search of Guru (गुरु की तलाश)’
Munshiram Ji belonged to a poor family. He used to ponder over the issues like search for a Guru and its various aspects e.g. why to have a Guru, how to find him, whether Guru appears on his own, whether Guru really saves our soul from the circle of life and death. In the article ‘In search of Guru (गुरु की तलाश)’ he has explained how perturbed he was because of some of his ‘bad deeds’ due to bad company during childhood. He suffered from a sense of ‘dirty self मैली चादर’. So, he required someone who could bring back piousness to his life. Some miracle type experiences occurred to his first guru Baba Sat Kartar (Sardar Hari Singh) before he came to Head Marala where Munshiram lived. Baba Sat Kartar tried to explain to him but he could not understand what he was trying to explain to him. Sat Kartar, then, asked him to go ahead with his job, live a plentiful life and not to worry. He promised him that he would save Munshiram from the carousel of life and death at the appropriate time. Baba Sat Kartar died in 1940.
In 1963 Munshiram heard about Baba Faqir Chand ji and approached him at Hoshiarpur for spiritual guidance. The life of Baba Faqir Chand also showed the aspects of life compelling him to go in search of a living avatar or a guru. Baba Faqir Chand understood the problems of Munshiram and assigned to him some work of his Ashram in which Faqir had no personal interest. This changed the course of life of Munshiram. By simply obeying the orders of his Guru, Munshiram developed a habit and attitude of doing selfless service. This perhaps solved all subtle problems Munshiarm had with his life. The master key being ‘Whatever manifests within you, it is not real but virtual (जो भी तुम्हारे अंतर में आता है, वो है नहीं, मगर भासता है)’.
4. Satguru and the Form of Maya (सत्गुरु की महिमा और माया का रूप)
In one of his articles Mushiram has described Satguru and Maya in these words: “Hazur Param Dayal Faqir Chand ji Maharaj, after his long experience, thought of a new way of delivering satsang which could work for all humans of different nature so that they understood the truth and lived the life like saints. He delivered Satsang in the form of Sattpurush (True Form) and Sattnam (True Name). His interest was in the well-being of the Satsangis which was possible by going into Satlok i.e. ambit of light. Once, his friend Master Mohanlal Ji said, “Maharaj! What will happen to us?” The Master replied, “I will take you to that point.”
When a Guru tells certain things to his disciples with love and kindness, it works as instructions at the time of last moments of life. Every year on Vaisakhi satsang Faqir used to wish everyone the fulfilment of the wish they had come with. So, the gentlemen who wished for liberation, salvation or nirvana at that time, the fulfilment of their wish was mandatory.
In Sant Mat it is necessary to understand the form of Maya. Saints have said that Maya traps us and Maya only brings liberation to us. Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj cried for twenty-four hours with the belief that the Lord comes in human form or comes as an avatar. Then the form of the Data Dayal Ji Maharaj manifested. That form is Maya but proved to be good for his well being.’
5. Verses of Love (प्रेम-शब्दावली)
Munshiram writes in the preface of the book ‘Verses of Love (प्रेम शब्दावली)’
‘After the establishment of Manavta Mandir Hoshiarpur, many types of gentlemen Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc. used to come on Vaisakhi or in other monthly satsangs, amongst them the name of Professor Vashisht is notable. Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj used to tell Professor Vashisht Ji, “Vashisht Ji! Don't mind, I do not love you because you are MA, MOL, I do not love you because you are a scholar, I love you because you are in a special lineage. I have brought the thoughts same as thoughts that the distinguished Vashisht Maharaj brought to the world, to the people. I have brought the same sentiments and I keep giving them to the curious (जिज्ञासु) people of the world.”
I did not understand what was the reason for having love of that sort. Love is a word that can be interpreted in many ways. There are many stages of love. The word 'love' can be interpreted keeping each stage in mind. In order to understand the reason for love of Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj for Professor Vashisht, this Prem Shabdavali (The Verses of Love) has been written.
In the past, from time to time, many people appeared in human form. Human forms can be many, but the basis of all these, which is the ultimate element (परम तत्त्व), is the same. Where Satpurushas (Truly Humans) in the past, agreed with the words, sentiments and thoughts of many other Satpurushas, and experienced the state of unity amongst them during their physical existence in the world, that agreement with others was a sense of unity and the love was born in their mind. That was the kind of love which Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj had for Professor Vashisht. There are other reasons for love, such as to fulfill worldly desires, to gain honor, prestige, wealth, etc., and to become Sadhus, Saints, Mahatmas, Gurus, and desire for Gaddi (seat). But the actual form of love is what is described above. This is the testimony of the fact that Munshiram Ji had full faith and belief in the path suggested by Faqir.
Munshiram writes, “In order to understand that love, it is necessary to read this "Prem Shabdavali". The feelings and thoughts in it came from where, who described it and who threaded them into a string of words, it is worth noting. I was benefited by the 18 years of association with Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj. I could not understand his words well, but still his knowledge landed in my mind and compelled me to pick up my pen and write. I was not a scholar, poet or writer, yet I was compelled to do so. Maybe it was because of my past lives. Now because he commanded me (दास) to act as a Satguru, I believe that my relationship has also been with true love or truth and it will become stronger in future. Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj kindly gave me love in the outside and in the interior to convince me about the form of true love and to understand the knowledge of that love. Those who understand the education of the saints can also get the benefit of his kindness by reading this Prem Shabdaval.”
‘How does the thought of Huzur Param Dayal Ji match with the thought of Vashisht Ji Maharaj? Vashisht ji used to evanescence the world of unhappy people of the world in the same way in which the world of Vidyadhari (विद्याधरी) was erased. You can read 'Yoga Vasistha'. Similarly, on the basis of his experience, Hazur Param Dayal Ji Maharaj used to give the knowledge to the unhappy people to erase the world created in him, which is the work of Sant Satguru. He explained the form of the mind that all colors, forms, expressions, thoughts are illusion. They do not exist but they appear to be. To prove this truth, he told that his form had manifested to the Satsangis, Sadhus and devotees, but he did not go there. By explaining this, he evanesces their world. If living people love him and obey what they are told to do they will be benefited in the way told above.’
Munshiram’s book ‘Prem Shabdawali’ (Verses of Love) is a wonderful book that shows the relation of Munshi Ram Ji with the real teachings of Faqir. Some of his verses were used in the satsangs he delivered in Manavta Mandir. It seems that most of his poems were written while he was in the temple. Maybe few of them were written in Chandigarh. I wish to quote one verse wherein he has summarised teachings of Faqir. These were meant for the worldly people for a peaceful living.
The person who comes to reality (सत्संग) is a perfect human.
One who gets knowledge of the Guru, he is a perfect human.
It is better to become a human instead of becoming spiritual.
He who keeps a balance of mind and body is a perfect human
If there are old father and mother, or widowed sister in the house.
The person who brings them happiness is a perfect human.
The one who produces children, only for the sake of having progeny
He who goes for fewer children is a perfect human.
Who has a child and stays in control.
Saves the food of the country, he is a perfect human.
He who Saves the food of the country, with the intention of charity.
He is a donor of food, he is a perfect human.
He who lives in a peaceful environment of his home
He is liberated from life, he is a perfect human.
Folks! This is the message of the saint Satguru of the time.
The person who can understand it, he is a perfect human.
Prem Shabdavali is a collection of poems in which almost all highlights of the religious and spiritual life of Param Dayal Faqir Chand are available. Miracles assigned to him, his research relating to Sant Mat, his relationship with Sanatan Dharma and the experiences he gained in Radhaswami faith and the experience he gained out of all these. Many poems are written in praise of Param Dayal Ji.
6. Sant Mat (संतमत)
The book named Sant Mat is a collection of various articles written by Munshiram Ji. The title was given by me. All the articles tell about the Sant Mat which Bhagat Ji had lived in the company of Faqir Chand Ji. It includes answers to the questions usually asked by almost all the followers and researchers of Sant Mat e.g. - how to be eligible for Sant Mat, the need of Sant Mat, the true form of Guru, the types of Satsang, the types of Satnam, Reforms in Sant Mat, the enigma of Sant Mat, the unravelling the enigma of Sant Mat. The articles given in the second section of this book, tell about his experiences with inner practices. There are four articles namely- Mangalam (propitious), Practices (Abhyas), The Chant without chanting (Ajapaa Jaap) and The Form of Guru (Murthy). These articles are in fact records of guidance given by him individually to his mentor-brothers (Guru Bhai).
7. 'The Testament of Sant Satguru of the Time' (संत सत्गुरु वक्त का वसीयतनामा)
Although all the books written by Munshi Ram Ji explain and analyze Baba Faqir's teachings, one of his books 'The Testament of Sant Satguru of the Time' caught the attention of many people. This book gave a detailed account of the circumstances in which Faqir wrote his will from time to time, and finally, in 1977 he made a will at the behest of the trustees and he gave work to two persons in his place. It was not explained in detail in the will as to what work was assigned to both of them individually or severally.
Munshiram was clearly instructed to do the work of Satguru. Probably that was the reason he felt it necessary to explain the will and put it before the curious Satsangis. He explained it on the basis of his experience, long association with Faqir. He also did research work for this purpose as is obvious from the book.
In the preface of this book itself, Munshiram Ji has mentioned that Param Dayal Ji had written a will long before the said Testament when he got fed up with the circumstances in the temple. This was not the sole incident. Even on another occasion Faqir offered himself for expulsion from the temple if the office bearer wanted to expel him. It is clear that the Ashram was the work place of Faqir, but he had no attachment with it. In 1966, when his health deteriorated, he made a will and appointed his mentor-brother (गुरु भाई) Pir-e-Mughan (पीर-ए-मुग़ां) to work in his place. Even in 1971, he had made a will and nominated Gopi Lal Krishak Ji Maharaj to do the work of Satsang and Namdan. He also instructed him to work but not to become a guru (or work like other gurus). He wrote his last will in 1977, in which he appointed two people to work.
As long as Baba Faqir was alive, no one thought it necessary to ask him the meaning or interpretation of the will or questioned as to what work would be done by both of them individually or severally. After his death only his will became the subject of discussion. It resulted in such a situation that should not have been there at a religious place for long. Munshiram Ji left the temple and came to his residence in Chandigarh. There he wrote this book explaining the testament of Faqir. During his lifetime, Munshi Ram Ji discussed his interpretations with friends and Satsangis coming from the Ashram and other places. But this book was not published by him. It was published in 2007 after his death. I thought it necessary to take permission from Shunyo Ji Maharaj, who was working in the temple at that time, to distribute the book on the occasion of Vaisakhi Satsang. I myself went to his residence in Dagshai (Himachal Pradesh) to seek his permission. He very kindly allowed it and this book was distributed in the Manavata Mandir.
This book contains para wise explanation of the last will of Baba Faqir on the basis of Sant Mat thought.
Given below are some excerpts from Bhagat Munshi Ram's book Sant Satguru Waqt Ka Vasiyatnama (“The Testament of Sant Satguru Waqt”). These paragraphs explain causal points of Faqir Chand's testament.
Testament of Faqir – appointment of two gurus
1. In 1966 Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj suffered from paralysis. Then he wrote a kind of testament. His Gurubhai (mentor-brother) Peer-e-Mughan (Pandit Bua Dutt) was appointed to hold satsang in his place. He used to come from Delhi every month and return to Delhi. It was not a registered testament. But it was Published in the Magazine “Manav Kalyan” (Part Fifth), on page 50. In 1970-71, once Faqir felt sad over the situations in the temple. He prepared himself to leave the temple. At that time, a testament and a Hidayatnama (instructions) were written. It was published in the 'Be Man' periodical in the February 1971 issue. Mr.. Gopi Lal Krishak was given the work of Satsang and Namdan. But he was instructed not to become a guru. After Faqir's death Satsangis were constrained to read the testament. Most of the gurus of Sant Mat appointed only one person in their place. But after their death, disciples started different centers in different areas. They did not work together. It was difficult to understand the intention of Faqir as he appointed two men to work.
2. Faqir understood Sant Mat by experience and changed it. Adopted a simple method of writing this testament to explain it to the people. He appointed two men to work in his place. One was appointed to work in 'his place'. The other one was appointed to 'work in his place in Satguru's capacity.' They were asked to work turn by turn as per the time.
3. Many brothers thought that both would compete with each other. Many gentlemen came to me and said, “Do not fear. Keep courage. We are with you." There was an apprehension of a split in Ashram people. Many office bearers wanted one of them to give in writing that he did not want to work. It did not happen. Later they started a propaganda in favor of one person. They thought that the other person would make another guru seat. In order to remove that confusion, it was necessary to explain the testament.
4. Faqir, in the first part of the book 'Manav Kalyan' (page 40) has written, "I have not come as a guru. I have come as a researcher of Gurumat. Nam has brought me to this state that during inner practices there is no form of Guru, Sumiran or Light. While listening to inner sound I go into a state where the 'I' won't exist. It is my position."
5. The work of saints is not completed even after writing a testament. Many souls are in the world. They are eligible for the benefit of their spiritual work. It is not needed to devise a testament for them. Many worldly people and trustees have a desire or perspective that the task of Sant Ji Maharaj should continue and testament should be written for that purpose also. They force them. Saints do not hurt their feelings.
6. The day Param Dayal Ji dictated the testament he expressed himself by saying that he had no fear even if he had died that day itself. He renounced the flow of Karmas to the extreme. He also assigned his work of 'be humane' to his ashes (bones).
7. But the work of Satguru does not pertain to Karmas or act. He wrote testament in order to explain a subtle point like that. Satguru's work is mentioned there because he comes in a human body. In fact, the work of Satguru is not attached to any desire or hope.
8. In 1980 Faqir presented both the persons a sort of garb of 'Be Human' (The words ‘Be Man’ were printed on it). One was to work in his place. The other one to work as Satguru in due course. Major Brijlal Sahib, who had been assigned the work of Satsang and Namdan in Himachal Pradesh both by Baba Sawan Singh and Faqir, wrote a letter to Faqir requesting him to provide a separate room for Munshi Ram Bhagat who had been living in Manavta Mandir for facilitating him to give Namdan to Satsangis while Dr I.C. Sharma had been living in a very far off place like America. I heard the content of the letter. I was very happy that I had become a Guru. But Faqir did not allow it. Nor Faqir himself gave Namdan in a traditional way after 1942. Why? Because that was an outdated method of Sant Mat and he had come in the form of Sant Satguru of the Time to change it.
9. Faqir used to say that he often went out to other places to bring some money for the temple and also explain the reality. The work of bringing money was given to a very deserving person. Satguru's work is to explain the reality and the same was assigned to another person in order to spread the work of his experience.
10. Work of a guru is given to such people whose Karmas contain these three purposes. Saints before their death, assign this work to such persons who are incomplete, to continue their work. By doing this they overcome their shortcomings. After his death Faqir kept 'A' free from that work. He knew that because of the given Samskaras (संस्कार) he would work as Satguru.
11. The work 'Pandit Faqir' was doing during his lifetime in order to run the temple was assigned to the person 'B' so that the work of Faqir Library Charitable Trust should not stop. Here the words 'my place' denote the work Faqir did in the form of a body. The lectures given by person 'B' are the proof to it. He took Pandit Faqir Chand s/o Pandit Mastram as his guru.
12. Faqir used to say, "I go to other places. Do I go for the spiritual upliftment of the people? No. I go out to bring some money for the temple. Secondly, I explain the truth to them." To bring money was the work of Pandit Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj. To explain the truth was the work of a Satguru. So, he appointed one person to work 'in his place' and the other person to work as Satguru in his place.
13. Faqir gave the work of Mandir and Dera to ‘B’ because it was Karma of "B". Faqir did not do Saguru's work with him. Saints give such gentlemen work in their place and not the work of Satguru's capacity. One can get the work of temple and dera by asking for it but not the work of Satguru's capacity.
14. Faqir gave the work of the Temple, on repeated requests made by 'B', even while, until 'A' attained the capacity of Satguru. So, he wrote in his will that- 'when he will not be here then 'A' named person will work in my place in the capacity of Satguru'.
15. Faqir made it clear that the person 'B' was well educated in Parmarth and inner practices etc. He would go out and work on the basis of bookish knowledge and bring money for the temple.
16. Faqir often said that he himself was not a scholar or educated person and could not deliver lectures. I do not give meanings of Sant Mat scriptures. I tell personal experiences. It naturally comes from within. This means that learning and education becomes a hindrance in Parmarth. Education or learning is a subject of organs (mind, intellect, ego). It cannot take us beyond ego. Such an educated person will be favoring the other educated person.
17. Now Faqir is being quoted here to tell the difference between Pandit (scholar)/educated and the saint. Once Faqir went to London. He delivered a Satsang on 14.6.80. It was published in 'Manav Mandir' October 1984 issue. It is written on page 15 that- "I.C.Sharma has sent a letter from America. I have nominated him to work in my place. He will work after my death. He wrote that I had said so, and so is written in that Shastra, in Upanishad it is written like that. He is a master of Sanskrit. I do not know Sanskrit. Saints contradicted the Vedas as they questioned Pandits and Pandits were not practical, saints were practical. Pandits could not answer. Saints contradicted Vedas. In fact, the law of nature is the same and will remain the same. The style of telling is different. A practical person describes it, others do not." In this way, Faqir warned the people living abroad so that they might not misunderstand him from the words, 'I have given him work in my place' and get cheated. In a discourse dated 27.9.71 Faqir said, "Now in my turn whom should I give knowledge. No eligible person is visible to me. If I declare someone my successor, he will loot the people. In a Satsang dated 4-9-1977 Faqir said, "Yes, that one I.C. Sharma who is in America is a Ph.D. One is in philosophy, the other perhaps in religious philosophy or in English. He has two Ph.Ds. He is a very famous man. Here in India many governors are known to him. I asked him. He said he would be there (in India). His telegram is lying here. 'I shall obey you in all respects' - meaning that I shall obey your orders in all respects. Now, I went to him. He told me that two years remained to attain 58 years of his age. Then he would get a pension from there. He would sometimes be there in the temple and sometime in America. It will be better as he will bring some money from there. Do you understand or not? I do not know what sort he will turn out to be. If he does something bad, it will be for him. I am not bothered about what happens after my death."
18. Initially when I went to Hoshiarpur, I used to refer to Faqir as Pandit and also used to write 'Pandit Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj' in published Satsangs. For many years, he did not say anything. When I had had sufficient Satsangs he himself said, "I'm not a Pandit. Do not write like that." He has given an interpretation of the word Pandit in a Satsang given in London........that should suffice to believe that the work he has given to a person to work 'in his place' is a Pandit. Pandit is merely educated and learned one in Paramarth and inner practices.
Lastly, I want to add that Munshiram Ji was of the view that the testament written by Faqir Chand Ji was based on the truth of Sant Mat and matched the statements made by Swami Ji in his Sar Bachan.
(Note: This is an interpretation from one side. There could be other interpretations from other sides.)
Faqir Chand Ji Maharaj
Munshiram Bhagat Ji Maharaj
The last will and the Testament of Baba Faqir Chand
I Faqir Chand, age 94 years, s/o Pandit Mastram, s/o Shri Dasoundhi Ram, resident of house no. 18, am a resident of Railway Mandi, Hoshiarpur. Whereas, I was ordered my Guru Maharishi Shivbratlal Barman Ji who was my Satguru, in according with his orders to change the education before leaving the body, as the order was, so I, 18 years back from today, I founded Manavta Mandir with the help of Seth Durgadas, who has since died, and established a registered trust. After my death, no person of my blood can become a trustee, however, he can serve, can work in the temple, but he cannot interfere in the arrangements of the temple. Experiencing life, after treading the spiritual, household, religious path of my life, I have concluded that the world needs to become humane first. That is why I have given calls to householders, people from social and political lines to become humane. Mr. Munshi Ram Bhagat, who is the secretary of this temple, has been appointed to give Namdan, to instruct the souls, and to help the suffering souls, and after him or in his presence, Dr. I. C. Sharma who is well educated and of Paramartha (परमार्थ) and practices (अभ्यास) etc., will come here after two years with pension from USA, and he will work in my place, and when he is not here, Bhagat Munshiram Ji will work in the capacity of Satguru in my place. The rest of the work of the temple will be in the hands of the trust, it will be the responsibility of the trust. I have opened children’s (शिशु) School, here no fees are charged from the children. When the child is admitted for the first time, the parents of children will have to give an affidavit (तहरीर) that they will not give birth to more than three children, if they already have more than three, then they will not do so any further. The rest of the work is handed over to the trust, I am not concerned with it. After my death, my bones should be buried in the Manavta Mandir and the flag already hoisting on Manavta Mandir should be erected on my bones. My trust does have relation with any other trust or institution, I have not taken anything from any organization, rather I have given them. People have built a mausoleum of my Satguru in district Benaras. In my Santmat there is no worship of mausoleum, grave or tomb or veneration of the great men who have died. Therefore, I have no connection with Shiva-Samadh. Out of respect I have been giving something annually to them. If some Acharya works there according to my wish, I will continue to help, not otherwise. Nor do they have any right over me. Many centres of Manavta are opened in my name in the country and abroad. For this, now, I with sound mind and full understanding in the interest of the said temple write my first and the last will so that it remains evidence.
(This is a free hand English translation. For legal interpretations the original testament should be referred to which had been written in Punjabi language.)
Hindi transcription of testament of Faqir Chand Ji
मैं फकीरचंद उमर 94 साल पुत्र पंडित मस्तराम पुत्र श्री दसौंधी राम वासी मकान नं. 18 रेलवे मंडी होशियारपुर दा हां. जोकि मैंने आपणे गुरु महर्षि शिव व्रतलाल बरमन जी जोकि मेरे सत्गुर थे. उनके हुकम अते आज्ञा के मुताबिक कि शरीर छोड़ने से पहले शिक्षा को बदल जाना, उनका हुकम था इस लई मैंने सेठ दुर्गादास जो अब मर चुके हैं, उनकी मदद से आज से पहले अठारह साल होए हैं, मानवता मन्दिर की बुनियाद रखी थी, और उसका ट्रस्ट कायम किया गया है, जो कि रजिस्टर्ड है. मेरे मरने के बाद मेरे खून का कोई ट्रस्टी नहीं बन सकता है हाँ पर सेवा कर सकता है, मन्दिर में नौकरी कर सकता है, मगर मन्दिर के इन्तजाम में कोई दख़ल नहीं दे सकता है. मैंने आपणे जिन्दगी के तजरबे रूहानी, गृहस्थी, मज़हबी लाईन पर सफ़र करने के बाद यह नतीजा निकाला है कि सबसे पहले दुनिया को इन्सान बनने की ज़रूरत है. इस लई मैंने गृहस्थ, सोशल और पोलिटिकल लाईन वालों को इन्सान बनने की आवाज़ दी है. मेरी मन्दिर से गैर हाजिरी में श्री मुन्शी राम भगत जो यहाँ के सेक्रेटरी हैं उनको नामदान देने, जीवों को हिदायत करने और दुखी अशांत प्राणियों की मदद करने के लिए, उनको मुकरर किया है और इनके बाद जां इन की मौजूदगी में डाक्टर I.C. शर्मा जो बडे तालीम याफता और परमार्थ और अभ्यास वग़ैरा के हैं, वो दो साल बाद अमरीका से पैनशन लेकर यहाँ आ जाएँगे, और वो मेरी जगह काम करेंगे, और वोह जब यहाँ नहीं होंगे तो भगत मुन्शीराम जी मेरी जगह सत्गुरु की हैसीयत में काम करेंगे. बाकी मन्दिर का सारा हिसाब किताब ट्रस्ट के हाथ में रहेगा, यह ट्रस्ट की जुमेवारी होवेगी. मैंने शिशु स्कूल खोला हुआ है, यहाँ लडकों से कोई फीस नहीं ली जाती. पहली दफा जब बच्चा दाखल होता है तो उनके मां बाप से तहरीर लेनी पड़ेगी कि तीन बच्चों से ज्यादा बच्चे पैदा न करें, अगर तीन से ज्यादा पहले हों तो आईंदा न पैदा करें. बाकी सारा काम ट्रस्ट के हवाले है, मेरा इससे कोई मतलब नहीं है. मेरे मरने के बाद मेरी हडिडयां मानवता मन्दिर में गाड़ दें और उनके ऊपर मानवता मंदिर का झंडा जेहड़ा कि इस वक्त मानवता मंदिर पर लहराता है, वो झंडा मेरी हड्डियों पर खड़ा कर देवें. मेरा ट्रस्ट किसी दूसरे ट्रस्ट जां संस्था से कोई तुअलक नहीं रखता है, मैंने न किसी संस्था से कुछ लिया है बल्कि दिया है. मेरे सत्गुरु की समाधि जिला बनारस में लोगों ने बनवा दी है. मेरे संतमत में समाधि, कबर, मकबरा जां मरे होए महापुरुषों की पूजा नहीं है. इस लई मेरा कोई संबंध शिव समाध से नहीं है. इज्जत के ख्याल से कुछ न कुछ सालाना देता रहा हूँ. अगर मेरी मरजी के मुताबिक वहाँ कोई आचार्य काम करे जब तब हो सकेगा मैं मदद करता रहूँगा वरना नहीं. और न ही उनका कोई हक़ मुझ पर है. मेरे नाम पर बहुत से देश विदेश में मानवता के सैंटर खुले हुए हैं. वहाँ के आचार्य अपना अपना काम करते हैं. उनका और मेरे ट्रस्ट का सिवाए प्रेम के और संबंध नहीं है. इसलई हुण मैं बकायमी होश हवास अते दरुस्ती अकल नाल बराए हित मन्दिर मज़कूर पहली अते आखरी वसीयत लिख दिती है कि प्रमाण रहे.
Smt. Karm Devi w/o Munshiram Ji
Munshiram Ji and his daughter-in-law Smt. Shanti Bhagat
Munshiram Ji and his grand son Mr Abhay Bhagat
Munshiram Bhagat Ji