(PANJ PYARE-3 BHAI MUHKAM SINGH OF GURU GOVIND SINGH & PRITAM SINGH MEHER OF AVATAR MEHER BABA)
Bhai Muhkam Singh
Guru Gobind Singh came into this world with a special mission. He was the tenth Sadguru Sikh sect and performed certain duties for the emancipation of mankind. The Guru thus decided to evolve a new order with the sole object of making people realise the necessity of sacrificing their lives for the cause of dharma, righteousness. People should fight against the tyranny of the rulers, he said.
The Guru sent letters to his devotees, throughout the country, to come to Anandpur to attend the festival of Baisakhi. The devotees started converging on Anandpur like swarms of locusts. The year was 1699. A day before the first of Baisakh, a large number of people, including many women and children, collected at Anandpur. A large shamiana was pitched and decorated with buntings and flowers. Hymns from Sri Guru Granth Sahib were recited and divine atmosphere was created. Guru Gobind Singh was present in the pandal and listened attentively to the chanting of Asa-di-Var. He sat motionless for some time and then stood before the huge gathering, estimated to be about eighty thousand. His eyes were red like rays of the sun. He took His sword from the scabbard and flashing it in His hand, thundered like a lion: “My devoted Sikhs! My comrades! The goddess of power clamours for the head of brave Sikh. Is there anyone among this huge gathering ready to sacrifice his dear life at its call?”
Complete silence prevailed. People were stunned. They thought something had gone wrong with the Guru. The Guru once again roared. Again, there was no reply. The whole assembly was thrown into consternation. The Guru repeated His call. There was hushed silence. What the Guru wanted nobody knew. No Guru before Him had ever demanded the head of his followers like this. The Sikhs were surprised at the demand of the Guru who had all along been bestowing great affection on them. It was an amazing call. “Is there not one among the thousands who has faith in Me.” were the last words uttered by the Guru, flashing His eyes. People present there trembled. First, Bhai Daya Ram, a Khatri of Lahore, stood up with folded hands before the Guru to the astonishment of the whole gathering. It was unique scene – the Sikh offering His head. The Guru caught him by arm and took him inside the tent specially pitched for the purpose. The Guru, after a few moments, came out with his sword dripping with blood. Blood flowed from the tent too. The Guru then asked for another man to offer his head.
On 3rd call, Bhai Mukkam Chand, a washer man of Dwarka offered his head. Earlier Bhai Daya Ram and Dharam Das had offered their heads one by one.
Then Guru himself went into the tent and brought out the five Sikhs he had taken into the tent earlier. They were dressed in new clothes, with blue turbans on their heads and in loose long yellow shirts. They had waist bands and wore under wears of a special style, with swords hanging by their sides. They looked attractive and handsome like soldiers of velour. The audience was awe-struck. The Guru named them Panj Payaras, the five beloved ones. The whole congregation shouted with one voice Sat-Sri-Akal, Victory of God. The Guru address them thus; “I wish all of you embrace one faith and follow one path, obliterating all difference of caste and religion. Let the four Hindu castes mentioned in the Shastras be abandoned altogether and the path of co-operation with one another be adopted. Let nobody think himself superior to another. Do not follow the old scriptures. All should follow the tenets of Guru Nanak and his successors. Let men of the four castes receive My baptism and eat from the same vessel. Let nobody feel contempt for the other”.
Once again, the sky resounded with the shouts of Sat-Sri-Akal. The Guru was extremely delighted. He had achieved his objective. A new path was shown by him to his followers – the path of valours, devotion and sacrifice.
Bhai Muhkam Singh 1666-1705) was born Muhkam Chand, one of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved of honoured memory in the Sikh tradition, was the son of Tirath Chand, a cloth-printer of Dwarka in Gujarat. About the year 1685, he came to Anandpur, then the seat of Guru Gobind Singh. He practised the manly arts and took part in Sikhs’ battles with the surrounding hill chiefs and imperial troops. He was one of the five who offered their heads in response to Guru Gobind Singh’s call on the Baisakhi day of 1699 and earned the appellation of Panj Piare. Initiated into the order of the Khalsa, Muhkam Chand received the common surname and became Muhkam Singh.
Bhai Muhkam Singh attained martyrdom in the battle of Chamkaur on 7 December 1705.
Pritam Singh Meher
Pritam Singh Sahni was staunch follower of Avatar Meher Baba (Baba said He was like one of His Panj Piyre). He was a successful businessman running a thriving trade in Thailand. Once on Buddha's birthday, the local Buddhist people paid Him much respect and greatly honoured him. Pritam Singh questioned them, "Why are you felicitating me on this day?" And they replied, "You come from the land where our Lord Buddha was born."
This answer moved him deeply and lifted a veil from his mind. He thought: "What a pity that I know nothing about Buddha, although I come from India, and here these people are worshiping him so devoutly. My whole mind is obsessed with making money, and yet these people revere me as someone spiritual."
Leaving his business, Pritam Singh returned to India and began longing for the darshan of the "Living Buddha." He visited several sadhus and saints, but was never satisfied. It was in 1936, Pritam Singh read about Meher Baba through small news in one of the columns of “Advance” English daily of Calcutta. Pritam Singh recognized his Beloved Meher Baba by very name and reposed faith in Him. Pritam wrote letter to Baba at Ahmednagar to seek His darshan. He was asked to wait for appropriate time. He had to wait for a long six years to meet before he could meet the one his heart had recognized. That day, December 26th 1942, his wishes were fulfilled.
Pritam vividly remembered that first meeting:
On arrival on 26th December, 1942 Soon after, Adi K Irani (secretary of Meher Baba) called Came running there saying that meher Baba called Me.
I followed Adi Sr. in a state of immense joy, my heart full of his [Baba's] love, my eyes full of joyous tears, running toward the Lord of my heart, who had made me his, long before.
One step in the hut, I was face to face with my Beloved Baba, who was reclining. I saw his brilliant face shining as a full moon, more beautiful than any face I had ever seen before. His two beautiful eyes, as wide and deep as an ocean, pierced my heart and kissed my soul. His graceful smile confirmed forever that I belonged to him and him alone.
I was lost in him for a while; then Adi took my hand and bade me sit beside him. Baba looked at me and the happiness of my millions of lives cannot equal the bliss of that one moment with Baba. Baba held my hand, drew me to his heart, gave me a warm embrace and made me aware that I was in the lap of the God-Mother, drinking deep from the well of his love.
Pritam Singh described how he was touched by the omniscience of Meher Baba in one incident.
It was November 1955’s darshan program. Meher Baba took all His lovers to tomb. Pritam Singh’s heart was immersed in the ocean of Is His love lol love but his mind had a passing thought. He thought, “In my Sikh religion, when a guru gives ‘Deeksha’ (Initiation), the guru confirms the initiation of disciple by holding right hand of disciple. But Meher Baba has not held my hand. Meher Baba instantly held Pritam Singh’s right hand in His right hand tightly giving a compassionate look in His own inimitable way.
In darshan program in December 1955, in his presence, Baba, asked him, “What do you wish for?” Before he could reply, Baba dictated on Board, “I know what you want?” For you words are unnecessary and Baba took him in His embrace.
during sahwas in 1958, when Pritam Singh was in queue with his son Waryam Singh behind him, baba jokingly said to Pritam, “Pritam ji, Pritam se Miliye” in Hindi it means ‘Beloved , please meet the Beloved”. Pritam Singh was really ‘Pritam’ of Meher Baba. Once Baba said to Pritam Singh through Eruch, “Baba says He folds His hand to your love”.
In April 1960, at Guruprasad, Pritam Singh sitting in front of Baba he said, “My name is Pritam Singh, humbly prays to his Baba not to leave him even for a moment, otherwise he will be lost and will be no more. You are the only hope.” Beloved Baba in reply gestured “Kabool” meaning accepting his earnest request.
Pritam Singh wanted to associate himself with Meher Baba all the time so with his name also. He sought permission from Meher Baba to change his name from Pritam Singh Sahani to Pritam Singh Meher. He was indeed very fortunate to get the permission to change his name by beloved Baba himself.
Pritam Singh was not only a lover and follower of Meher baba bur also attires worker. He always undertook the work of printing of Baba messages and distributing them. Once he distributed 4000 pamphlets in 4 days during World conference of religions in 1974.
In Baba’s love he reached to the stage of self-abnegation and wrote a letter to Baba seeking permission to renounce his family and retire to a secluded place to live in His communion forever. He got a reply through Adi K. Irani, “Beloved Baba wants you to continue to reside with your family till such time as you see Him after 1967 and then you can ask Baba about life that you want to live.
On 31 st January 1969, Baba dropped His body Pritam Singh had Baba darshan at the tomb on 4, 5 & 6th February when he recollected his first darshan of Baba in 1942 in reclining position at lower Meherabad.
Pritam Singh would not involve himself in any other pursuits except some activities related to Baba, Once at khamaria at Jabalpur, there was Baba’ programme in year 1953. Bhau Kalchuri, Nana kher and few others had come came for that programme. There was no electricity due to failure of and finally programme was held with the help of lanterns. Pritam singh was always eager to participate in such activities, would immerse in telling Baba stories. Many would come to meet him and he would tell Baba tales in most touching manner.
Professor Amiya Kumar Hazara, another staunch Baba lover and resident of Jabalpur had very profound memories of Pritam Singh which he described in his book “Memoirs of Zetetic”. He recorded in his book, ‘a peculiar phenomenon too place when Pritam Singh was pouring out his heart’s love for Meher baba in most touching words. A strong exudation of fragrance, like hundred roses fill the room as old eyes sparkled with tears punctuating his stories about his Master. Meher Baba must have made an invisible member of the audience at such time and sudden manifestation of fragrance was the testament of His presence.
Prof. Hazra further wrote further about Sardar Pritam Singh, an elderly gentleman deeply impressed with his age, sagacity, intelligence and other devotion to Meher Baba. In his first meeting with Meher Baba, someone asked him , what his impression about Meher Baba was, Pritam Singh’s reply was “Can a new born baby describe his father?” This was an apt manner in which to describe the indescribable. He was the role model for his son, Waryam Singh.