Kartar Khalsa: Sikh or NonSikh

by Guru Sant S, Friday, April 02, 2010, 09:13 (4257 days ago)
edited by Gursant Singh, Monday, June 13, 2011, 09:01

Kartar Khalsa CEO of Golden Temple Foods has cut his hair as shown by this photo. Kartar is a Sikh or nonSikh?

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Please read an Excerpt below taken from

"Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"
by Dr. Trilochan Singh (Link to entire book)

The Name of Golden Temple and its Murals

"In England last year a firm advertised some blue jeans as Jesus Jeans. The whole religious world of England rose in one protest and stopped the manufacture of these jeans. The word Golden Temple has become an instrument of commercial affairs of Yogi Bhajan He has now even named shoe stores as Golden Temple. I was given a "Wha Guru Chew.""

"Yogi Bhajan is using the sacred Sikh mantras and the sacred name of Guru Ram Das as a mantle for his Tantric Sex Yoga which will inevitably lead to mental and physical debauchery of those who take his brand of Sikhism contaminated by crazy sex-energizing asanas seriously."

Many of these 3HO profiteers have cut their hair and renounced Sikhi! See these pictures below of Kartar Khalsa CEO of Golden Temple Foods and chairman of Yogi Bhajan's "Unto Infinity Board" who has cut his hair and is no longer a Sikh.
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(Is it any wonder that Kartar and Peraim, members of Yogi Bhajan's "Unto Infinity Board",are wearing masks in the above photo?)http://cirrus.mail-list.com/khalsa-council/Kartar-Peraim.2-10.jpg


Cereal, tea and yoga Cover story
Kartar Khalsa embraced Sikhism at OSU and soon was living in an ashram in Eugene; that’s where Golden Temple was born
By Sherri Buri McDonald
blue chip
Appeared in print: Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, page K15
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Every morning, Kartar Khalsa, CEO of the Eugene cereal and tea manufacturer Golden Temple, rises before dawn. The lean 58-year-old spends an hour to an hour and a half meditating, and doing yoga and relaxation exercises.

“I got up at 4 a.m. this morning because I had to drive down from Portland,” he told blue chip recently. “I used to do that all the time. But now it’s more like 5 or 5:30. It’s nice to do it when it’s still dark out and most people are not up. It’s just kind of a quiet time.”

Khalsa, né Tom Burns, was in his early 20s and an engineering student at Oregon State University, when he discovered yoga. That was during the political and cultural upheaval of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Just one credit hour short of earning his engineering degree, Burns, the son of a Portland foundry owner, abandoned his plans to join the family business — and his Catholic upbringing. He embraced the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, an Indian-born guru who died in 2004.

Bhajan’s brand of Sikhism, which emphasizes kundalini yoga — typically a Hindu practice — ultimately attracted thousands of followers.

Burns was drawn to Eugene in 1973 to live in the budding yoga community here and to help build a new natural foods venture. Also that year, at Burns’ request, Yogi Bhajan gave him a new name: Kartar (pronounced kah-TAR) Singh Khalsa. Kartar means “God the creator is the doer of everything.”

Khalsa was among a handful of Sikh believers living in a Eugene ashram who started a bakery in the back of a natural foods store in Springfield in 1973. From the beginning, the business was meant to reflect their beliefs in natural living and to be a financial support, Khalsa said.

Several decades later, that fledgling venture has grown into Golden Temple Foods, an international enterprise with 330 employees in Eugene and 100 in Europe. It has annual revenues of about $125 million.

Golden Temple is a division of KIIT Co., a Sikh-owned holding company based in Nevada. The privately held company does not release the names of its shareholders or information about executive compensation.

Since 1987, Golden Temple’s headquarters have been at a 130,000-square-foot plant at 2545 Prairie Road in Eugene. The company also operates a 35,000-square-foot tea plant at 950 International Way in Springfield.

Its Yogi brand herbal teas are the No. 1 natural tea in the United States and Europe, Khalsa said. And Golden Temple is the top-ranked supplier of bulk granola in the United States, he said.

“We have about 60 percent market share of bins of granola at natural food stores and grocery markets,” Khalsa said.

The company also manufactures its branded products, Peace Cereal and Sweet Home granola, as well as private-label cereals for a variety of customers.

Khalsa lived in Eugene from 1973 to 2007, with a brief stint in Salem from ’75 to ’78. For the past two years he has split his time between Eugene and Portland. He has three grown sons.

Question: What was it like when Golden Temple was just starting in the early 1970s?

Answer: Well, it was a lot of fun. We were young and lived together in a community, so our financial needs were not great. We were providing ourselves room and board and some amount beyond that, but we were pretty dedicated. So there was a lot of sweat equity in the business.

Question: What were some of the jobs you’ve done throughout your career with Golden Temple?

Answer: We started the bakery here. Then, shortly thereafter, one of the people that started that went to Salem to open up a yoga center in Salem, and then we started a natural foods distribution (business) in Salem. So I spent a year here and on my days off I’d go with him on his truck routes. Then I went to Salem, and we started building that business.

By the early to mid-’70s we had a natural foods distribution business out of Salem and the bakery here in Eugene. We opened a Golden Temple Natural Foods restaurant in Salem. And we had a Golden Temple Natural Foods retail store on Alder in the university area, between 13th and 12th. I think it’s where Sy’s pizza is.

Question: Where did all the capital to start those ventures come from? Did it come from the larger spiritual community that you were connected with?

Answer: It came from sweat. It just came from Golden Temple — from what we were generating in the business.

One of the funny stories was we started out baking bread. Then when we moved to Second and Blair, we had some friends who had a granola business. It was a couple, and they decided they didn’t want to do it anymore. I think we bought the business for $50.

Question: What did you buy for $50?

Answer: A granola recipe. ... We named it “golden granola.” That was really the beginning of our cereal business.

Question: When you say “we,” it was you and who else?

Answer: The ashram here, the spiritual center. There were probably a core of maybe a dozen people who worked in the business in Eugene.

Question: Was there a leadership group who made purchasing decisions and kept track of the money?

Answer: In 1973 we were incorporated. So we had somebody who was president and vice president and controller. So we would have meetings and make decisions.

Question: What was your title at that time?

Answer: I can’t even remember. I just loved being out driving trucks, so it was hard for them to get me off of that. That was just more fun than being stuck in the office.

When they said, “Come on, you’ve got to come in and do this,” at that point I probably got more into it financially. I (became business partners with) the guy who was running the distribution business. That was Cameron Healy, who at the time had a Sikh name. He went on to (found) Kettle Chips and Kettle Foods, which (sold to a London-based investment group in 2006). He and I are still friends.

We used to be the largest distributor of this product called Haiku juice that came out of Hawaii by a company called Prasadam, which I think was linked to Hare Krishna, which is similar to us (in that) they were a spiritual group that had a company.

(I told Healy), I think I figured out why we are the largest distributor of this product anywhere because I just determined that we sell it for a dime less a case than it costs us. But, don’t worry, we’ll make it up in volume.

Question: Were you in a leadership role at the start, and then stayed in that as Golden Temple grew?

Answer: We didn’t think of it that way. But I was one of the people who started it. I was basically in one of the leadership roles. We started the bakery in ’72-’73, then we started a distribution business in Salem, and then by ’77-’78 we had just gotten overexpanded and had to reorganize. So I came back to Eugene and was really the general manager of the bakery operation. We actually sold off the wholesale (business) and started concentrating on the cereal business.

Question: When you say over­expanded, do you mean in product, or in the regions where you were distributing?

Answer: The people we bought the granola business from for 50 bucks, a few years later we bought their distribution business for I can’t remember how much. But we literally went from ‘X’ to ‘5X’ overnight. That’s no exaggeration.

We were young. We were all in our 20s, and bigger was better. The financial guy, who’s still around, would say, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

We said, “Ah, come on. Forget it. This is right. We don’t care what the numbers say. Let’s go.”

Question: What made you realize that it wasn’t working and you needed to reorganize?

Answer: We started running out of money to pay the bills.

People would say you should just go bankrupt, and we said, “Nah, it just doesn’t feel right to us.”

So we got everybody to agree, and we set up debt repayment to all the suppliers over three years. We made every payment on time. That really became the majority of my job for three years after that, from about ’78 to ’81.

Question: That doesn’t sound like much fun. What kept you going through that period?

Answer: I guess just commitment to our ideals. We started this, and we were going finish it. And there was potential in this. We just needed to get ourselves back to a place where we were solid financially. I suppose it was lot of learning by hard knocks.

Question: So what did you learn from that time?

Answer: That bigger wasn’t necessarily better. You needed to make sure that whatever you were taking on, you could handle financially, and that you could actually create a profit and be able to manage that.

Question: Were there other times in your leadership of Golden Temple that you remembered that lesson?

Answer: In the late ’80s. There was the cereal business here and there was an associated business in L.A., which was the tea business, Yogi Tea, and then the body care business called Sunshine. We took those and put all of those together. So that took some time to digest.

Question: What happened to the body care line?

Answer: We sold that off to a couple people in our broader organization. I think then we started to understand that we needed to have a tighter focus. We had a lot of potentials and opportunities, but we needed to focus on a few of those and then put our energy there and maximize the opportunities.

Question: You were raised in Portland where your father ran a foundry. What was your background growing up?

Answer: I suppose upper middle class. As kids you don’t even think about that. All of our friends, probably their parents, were involved in business somehow, or professionals.

Question: Did you have any spiritual or religious background?

Answer: Yeah, I was raised Catholic. I went to 12 years of Catholic School. I went to Jesuit high school and from there to Oregon State.

I went to school with one of the McMenamin brothers — Mike, (co-founder of a string of microbrew pubs and historic hotels in Oregon and Washington.)

(Our) parents knew each other and (his mother) wanted him to be a lawyer and (my mother) wanted me to be a doctor, and they looked at us doing our own little businesses. And years later they said, I guess it turned out OK.

Question: What is your educational background? Did you end up getting a degree from OSU?

Answer: Almost. I’m like one hour short. After I (left school), then before (having) kids, I’d gone back and (asked a university official), “OK, how can I graduate?” At first, the guy goes, “No you can’t do that,” and finally he goes, “Well, we’ll put this together and that together, so all you need is one hour of upper division. Why don’t you just get the remaining credit at the UO?”

That was 30 years ago, and I still haven’t.

But I grew up in a business family. My grandfather had started a foundry business in Portland around World War II. He had businesses in the state of Washington and then started (the foundry in Portland). My father and uncle ran that, so I grew up in that with the idea that I would end up being an engineer — that’s why I started school at Oregon State — and run the business.

Because my father and uncle had business and sales experience, but they were not engineers, they wanted me to be the engineer. (That was the plan) since (I was) 6 or 7 years old. You know in first or second grade they’d ask you what you want to be when you grow up, and I’d say I want to be an engineer. “You mean a train engineer?” And I’d go, “No, I mean a real engineer.”

Question: What did your family think about your decision to leave college and move to Eugene?

Answer: I’m sure they had their angst about my personal life decisions. My dad at various times would try and say, you know, “Look, I’ll give you this and set up a foundry for you,” or whatever.

But then in ’74-’75 there was a fairly deep recession, and they went out of business. So I kind of go, hmm, well, it might not have been very long-lived for me if I had decided to stick to that.

Question: Why did you leave engineering and get involved in the natural foods business?

Answer: I got to college in the late ’60s, early ’70s. As you expand in college and your mind opens up, and with what was going on and the changes in whole social fabric in the ’60s and the ’70s, I just go, hmm, maybe there’s something else to do besides this.

What led me into business was really moving in my personal desire to meditate and do yoga. Then I ended up getting involved in the business.

Question: Had you had any business courses, or was your background only in engineering?

Answer: I took one accounting course in college, but it just seemed that (the business) part came fairly natural. Looking back ... there’s just a lot of inherent things when your family is in business that I didn’t even think about.

Question: Can you think of any examples?

Answer: I enjoyed what my father and uncle did. I was involved when I was young, and I started working there in the summers as soon as I could, and any chance I could.

I knew businesses from the ground up. I did all the production jobs. I knew how to get at the base level business and understand that.

That was my sense even when I was young that I wanted to learn the whole business because if I was going to run it, I wanted to know what the people on the floor were experiencing and not do it from on high or from some kind of tower without really understanding what happens on the ground level. That’s really how I like to train people here.

Because of the spiritual organization that we were associated with, we would have people sent to us by our spiritual teacher (Yogi Bhajan) to put to work and help develop. If I thought there was any potential with somebody, I’d put them in production, and they’d (complain), “Well, you put me in production.” That’s because I think you have potential. Otherwise we’d just sideline you somewhere else.

If you’re going to be successful in business or in management, you better be in a position when someone tells you something, you can say that’s true, or not, because of your own experience.

Question: Does your spiritual organization still send you workers?

Answer: No, that was early on. We lived in a spiritual community, an ashram. Then (people) started getting older and getting married and having kids, so they had their own homes. I think it’s just evolved over time, so that doesn’t happen anymore.

Question: Is your work force mostly Sikh?

Answer: No.

Question: When did that change?

Answer: A long, long time ago. Probably it was like that when we started the business in the early ’70s. But I would say by the early ’80s we probably had more people that were not Sikhs.

Golden Temple has about 400 employees, so I think less than 10 percent (of the work force is Sikh).

Question: How would you describe the growth of the business? Was it slow and steady, or were there times of rapid growth?

Answer: Somewhere in mid-’80s to early ’90s we grew from maybe a few hundred thousand (dollars) in revenue a year to about $10 million. So that seemed like a lot of growth at the time. I think pretty much from there it’s been fairly steady growth.

Question: What are annual revenues now?

Answer: On a global basis, I would say roughly about $125 million.

Question: Do you see revenues continuing to grow?

Answer: We would like to see it probably grow two to three times in the next five years. Certainly that’s fairly aggressive growth, particularly tripling. But we do see the opportunities to double business in the next five years.

Question: Where do you see those opportunities?

Answer: I think just across the spectrum of our business. We have tea both here in the U.S. and in Europe. We also have cereal here, and we do private label cereal and our own branded cereals. Each one of those areas in each one of the regions really has potential for growth.

In general, probably a common theme to all that growth is natural foods moving into the regular grocery business, into what we call the mass market business, and that’s a trend in natural foods throughout the industry. Whether it’s here in the U.S., or in Europe, or in cereal or tea, that opportunity exists for all natural food.

Question: You mentioned that the business grew as a result of the founding group’s own hard work. When did Golden Temple become part of KIIT Co.?

Answer: That was all kind of organic. We had another large business in our spiritual organization called Akal Security based in New Mexico. Then we decided (in the early 2000s) to put those all under one holding company, which was KIIT.

Question: Is Golden Temple the largest piece of KIIT?

Answer: It depends on how you look at it. Akal by number of employees is much larger, but it’s just a whole different business model.

Question: Is there much revenue sharing between the two?

Answer: No. They run separately.

Question: Do the more established organizations help seed other businesses within your spiritual community?

Answer: No, not directly. We, through charitable donations, support our spiritual community, as well as the local community. For Golden Temple in Eugene and Springfield, that’s mostly in our work with FOOD for Lane County and the Oregon Food Bank network.

Question: Last year you launched a campaign “Sharing Food, Awakening Goodness,” to encourage local businesses to step up their donations to the local food bank. What were the results of that effort?

Answer: In the nine months ending in June, more than 25 companies joined together to boost business giving to FOOD for Lane County by 25 percent. That included contributions of time, money and food and equates to 33,000 meals.

Question: It’s relatively rare for somebody to stay with an organization as long as you have. Were there points at which you contemplated leaving, or did for a time? And, if not, what has kept you with Golden Temple?

Answer: The business grew out of, I suppose you could say, a mission, a philosophy of life. So that really hasn’t changed, and it’s been able to grow, and transition and develop continually, so it’s always really kept my interest.

There have been hard times, like the three years we had to pay everybody back. But you learn from those times.

I can remember the (former) CEO of ITT — a huge, (fast-growing) business — said, “Look, when you’re young in your career and you have the option of getting paid in experience or in money, always take getting paid in experience because when you make mistakes when you’re small, it’s easier to recover. If you never have the experience and don’t understand and make the mistakes, when you’re big you may never recover.”

Those times, looking back, have always brought a better understanding of how to go forward and hopefully not repeat the same mistakes.

Question: How would you describe the core mission of Golden Temple. Has it changed? Or is it the same as it was in the ’70s?

Answer: It’s really the idea that business exists to serve — to serve the community, to serve your customers and suppliers that work with you, and, particularly, your employees and yourselves, in some way that’s positive for everybody.

I think something from the spiritual side of our business is that we believe in the universality of everybody. We believe that you should live and earn righteously, and then the big thing is that you should share with others.

I think that’s really what’s driven Golden Temple and the people who have been here a long time and the managers is that idea of being able to give back to the community and be socially responsible.

We use this motto: “Feel good, be good, do good.”

The driving factor in that is the “do-good” part — wanting to give back to the community, wanting to support the community in ways that are financial and in ways that are just with time — being involved in the community.

But that happens if the business, the “be good” part, creates a good profit and shares that. We feel for the company to be good, you have to feel good about it. People have to feel good about working together and being part of the business.

In putting it in a short motto, that’s really been what the business has been about from the beginning.

Question: Has there always been a giving-back-to-the-community piece to it, even during the three years that you were paying back your creditors?

Answer: We’ve had a broader spiritual community that we’ve helped support, whether it was here in Eugene or beyond that. That pretty much has been consistent. But as we’ve grown as a company and had more wherewithal, then we’ve been able to actually do a lot more in the local communities, and particularly all of the work to feed people through FOOD for Lane County.

Question: How much does Golden Temple contribute to FOOD for Lane County?

Answer: Our goal is to donate 1.5 million servings of cereal this year, which is a 13 percent increase over last year.

Question: What have been the pivotal moments during your time with the company?

Answer: The reorganization in mid-1980s. The bringing together of the tea, the cereal and the body care business — that was definitely a pivotal moment in figuring out what to focus on and what not to focus on. And (for the past two years), we have reorganized our whole European side of the business.

Question: What’s involved in that?

Answer: It was aligning the (U.S. and European) businesses so they’re run much more as one. They had been more loosely associated and run a little more independently, but that was not meeting our (overall objectives). ... So we needed to go in and restructure things, so that the structure was supporting our mission and objectives in a way that was executable (and measurable).

Question: Are you seeing results from that reorganization?

Answer: Yes, we are. I think over the last five years what I’ve learned is the value of focus. Deciding what you do best and focusing on what you do best, and not trying to do everything well, but doing a few things well.

I don’t think that’s anything profound, because I think in business that’s what you come to. But (we had a business) that was involved in many different types of products and in many different areas ... (with operations in) the U.S. and Europe, and all of that was associated with our spiritual group.

It just brought a lot of different aspects to the business and now (we’re) narrowing it down to the ones that are key and making sure that we capitalize on a few opportunities and maximize them.

Question: How would you describe your job now? Is there an average day for you?

Answer: Things have grown to a level where we have extremely competent senior managers. My role is really to spend time with them and to look out in the future. ... On a day-to-day basis, I don’t have a lot of things that are pressing me.

It’s more making sure that our senior people have what they need to get done what we’ve set up as our goals.

Question: Do you live here in Eugene or in Portland — or in both?

Answer: Both. I’ve done that for the past two or three years.

Question: Why do you split your time between both cities?

Answer: A couple of things: We were growing and needed to develop our marketing department. It had been a challenge to hire and get people to locate in Eugene. So after a few tries, we decided that we would open up an office in Portland. (Also) with our Europe operation and some of the changes we’ve made there, and the more time I spend there, then getting in and out of the country was a lot easier out of Portland.

But the driving factor was really opening our (seven-person) marketing office. I spend probably now the majority of time, if I’m not traveling, in the Portland office. And I’m in Eugene once a week, and then our other senior managers are in Portland either one or two days a week.

Question: How often do you travel to Europe?

Answer: Once a month. That’s been steady for the last couple years.

Question: Where are your European operations?

Answer: Our headquarters are in Hamburg, Germany. We always had our biggest sales office and some of our production in Hamburg. But our headquarters (used to be) in Amsterdam. And we have a tea bagging facility outside of Bologna, Italy.

Question: What kinds of economic indicators or business resources do you look at for business guidance?

Answer: We’ll get Nielsen data on movement of our products in the marketplaces, and we’ll also watch the categories in general to see how those are growing. Other than that, we’re not looking at major market indicators. It seems that one way or another we figured out how to grow, whether it’s been in a recession or not. But I would say in our history as a company this has probably been the most difficult economics that we can remember. Maybe we’re just getting too old. (laughs)

Question: How has your company weathered this recession?

Answer: Fairly well. We had expected to be maybe overall on a global basis up a few percentage points. But I think it will be closer to flat, or slightly down. ... Both retailers and distributors have been cutting back their inventories, so, as a manufacturer, (we’ve had to) adjust our business.

Question: Do you agree with the folks who think we’ve reached bottom and are going to start to recover?

Answer: In some ways, yes; in other ways, no. I think in some ways there are some more rough spots to go through or to wring out of the system.

The silver lining, at least for us, is we’ve reviewed how we do business — where we need to spend money and where we don’t. Because of this, we’re a lot more efficient. So as the economy starts to grow, our business, as well as other ones, I think, will be substantially profitable.

Question: What has been your involvement with the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce?

Answer: I’ve probably been on the board for about 10 years. The business is starting to mature, and I thought it’s good to get involved in community and in the business community. Then I had the chair position of the board in 2007.

The board thought the way business should go is a much more inclusive, collaborative way of getting things done — being more dedicated to the community in general, and not just the business community.

We started moving more towards that in ’07. So we decided that was just a good start. Normally the chair had just been one year, and (I suggested) that it ought to be more than one year. (I served as chair again) in ’08. Now that position is a two-year position, hopefully to provide more continuity.

Question: Was there any kind of education you had to do for the business community? Were there any misperceptions out there about you or about Golden Temple?

Answer: I don’t think there were a lot of misperceptions, but I think it’s been definitely helpful to be more involved and to get more visibility for Golden Temple.

Question: What do you think is the biggest challenge out there for the Eugene-Springfield business community?

Answer: Making sure that we have a strong economy for the future that’s vibrant, that attracts new businesses and that attracts young people.

I think potentially the concern or challenge is that we could end up with a more gentrified community.

I think Eugene has such a great quality of life and such a great opportunity that we really need to make sure that we focus on the assets that we have and somehow figure out how to grow those.

The chamber is involved in helping businesses oriented around health care since that’s one of the biggest assets here. (That involves) the university and the health care industry and the cities together all working on a common set of objectives.

see link to Eugene Register Guard article for the entire article

See more photos and discussion on facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=108156&id=1214270541&l=5a22781e63

“Amid the legal infighting following Yogi Bhajan’s death, critics are offering another portrait of the Sikh leader.”
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Kartar Khalsa: Sikh or NonSikh

by Pahaar Singh @, PUNJAAB, Saturday, April 10, 2010, 16:38 (4249 days ago) @ Guru Sant S

And in contrast:


Effect of Meeting a Gursikh: Dr. Surinder Singh jee
By Sd. Preetam Singh in Sooraa, June 1984
Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

Dr. Surinder Singh jee must now be in Vahiguru jee’s feet, absorbed in naam and basking in the divine colours but I can never forget the twenty years of love he gave me. He spoke very little. He was always coloured in naam and vairaag and in Gurmat Smaagams, he would always be sitting apart, lost in naam.

My First Meeting


20 years have passed now. It was 10 at night and it was winter. It was very cold and in those days I pulled a rickshaw to support my family. Bhai Sahib (Dr. Sahib) in this bitter cold was dressed only in a simple chola. He was wearing no pyjama and on his feet he had regular shoes. His face was glowing with naam. He was already handsome because of his light complexion and because of the naam his face was reflecting, I was drawn to meet him. Blessed are Guru Gobind Singh jee’s Singhs who do not feel cold even in the dead of winter.

I was returning home but I was drawn to this person. I began to take my rickshaw behind him. I did not have the courage to speak to him but I had a deep desire to serve him by carrying him in my rickshaw and take him to where he was going. After some time, Bhai Sahib’s glance fell on me and Vahiguru jee gave me the strength to utter Vahiguru jee kaa Khalsa, Vahiguru jee kee fateh!

Bhai Sahib, slowly in a sweet voice, answered my Fateh and came to stand by my rickshaw. I humbly requested, Bhai Sahib jee, let me take you on my rickshaw to where you want to go. Where are you going? I feel like doing your seva.

Bhai Sahib did not reply and after silently standing for two minutes, he got on the rickshaw. Bhai Sahib was going from the Jagraon bridge to Bharat Nagar Chownk. After Bhai Sahib had gotten on, I did not have the courage to ask where he was going because Bhai Sahib was lost in the deep colours of naam. I gathered my courage and began to take the rickshaw to Bharat Nagar Chownk. I had just gotten to the Chownk when Bhai Sahib told me to go to a home behind the New Model Town Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sahib. In those days, Bibi Mahinder Kaur used to live in this house.

I arrived in front of the house and then Bhai Sahib motioned for me to come with him inside. I was astonished and began to follow him. There was a water hand-pump beside the door. Bhai Sahib began to pump and had me do a punj-ishnana and with his hands, motioned for me to accompany him in. I put the rickshaw near the hand-pump. Bhai Sahib went straight to the kitchen.

The Divine Milk in Sarbloh


Bhai Sahib spread a mat and asked me to sit down. I sat crossed legged with my hands folded together. For such a long time Bhai Sahib boiled milk in a Sarbloh bata and played in Vahiguru’s divine colours. For over an hour his consciousness was completely absorbed. I was bound by his order to sit but was getting anxious to go home because I was tired from pulling a rickshaw all day.

When a big bata of milk was brought to me, I began to drink and right away I began to be coloured in naam. Some divine colour came over me. My simran began to go automatically. My body began to feel like it was flying. My eyes filled with tears of vairaag and I was losing consciousness. After some time when I regained awareness, Bhai Sahib put a bata of kheer in front of me. As soon as I had eaten this, I completely lost consciousness and had no awareness of where I was.

Bibi Mahinder Kaur’s Pain


When I became conscious again after some time, I found that Bibi Mahinder Kaur, the person who was in the house, was feeling pain in her stomach. She could not bear the pain. Bhai Sahib knew about medicine and he gave her some medicines but none brought her peace.

I had an idea and remembered how Bhai Sahib before giving me the milk and kheer had gazed into the milk for such a long time and as a result, it was also coloured in divine colours. I took some water and after gazing into it while doing sirman, gave it to Bibi jee and she felt better.

Bhai Sahib Asked, Why did you do that??

Bibi jee felt better but the feeling of divine colours left me. Bhai Sahib saw how sad I was and asked, Why did you do that? I felt upset over my mistake and began to cry, which would not stop. Bhai Sahib took my hand and kept doing simran beside me. It was now three in the morning. Again, I was taken by the divine colours and Bhai Sahib told me to accept bhaaNaa (God’s will) in the future.

Bhai Sahib gave me five rupees and a lot of sarbloh utensils. I told him that I could not afford to use desi ghee but he said to use saro(n) da tael instead.

Getting Peshed with My Family


With Bhai Sahib’s encouragement, I gave up pulling a rickshaw and took a job at the post office as a guard. From there I became a packer, then a postman then a clerk and today I have received a promotion to Under-Postmaster. My memories of Bhai Sahib have been refreshed today and so I wrote some lines.

With Dr. Sahib’s support, my wife and children began to wear the Khalsa’s BaaNa and seeing this, Baoo Mul Singh jee was very happy. He blessed us and had us appear before the punj pyaaray and we became tyaar-bar-tyaar. I am forever bowing my head before Gursikhs like Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee, respected Baoo Mul Singh jee, Dr. Surinder Singh and other high Gursikh souls in Sachkhand and beg,

ਦੇਹੁਸਜਣਅਸੀਸੜੀਆਜਿਉਹੋਵੈਸਾਹਿਬਸਿਉਮੇਲੁ ॥੩॥

Kartar Khalsa: Sikh or NonSikh

by Hardeep Singh @, Patna Sahib, Saturday, April 10, 2010, 16:43 (4249 days ago) @ Guru Sant S

And another Gurmukh:

Rangalay Sajjan: Bhai Giaan Singh Jee
By Pr. Gurmukh Singh in Say Piaaray Mael
Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

Introduction


Bhai Giaan Singh jee was a naam-loving Gursikh and a very big lover of keertan. He was born in village Joieeaa(n) in Sargodha (now Pakistan). He was born in 1885. The area he was born in was on the banks of the Jehlum. He was the middle child of four boys and one girl. The children were quite young when his mother passed away.

Bhai Giaan Singh received bhagtee almost like an inheritance from his father Bhai Amar Singh. Bhai Giaan Singh used to take everything as God's will and remained satisfied in it. It was his nature not to slander anyone or speak badly about anyone nor have enmity. At the same time, he was also not close with any worldly friends. He would spend his time in satsangat with the other Gursikhs. If someone came to him and started to gossip he would simply say, "Everything is in his will. Whatever he does, he does it for our own good."

Once Bhai Sahib's son became ill with typhoid and his fever was over 105 degrees. The doctors said that the child could only survive if his kesh were cut. Bhai Giaan Singh answered that this could not be done. He said, "this is God's gift and he can take it back when he wishes. But will we be able to get the Guru's blessings by making him a patit?" It turned out that the child recovered by himself. Sachay Paatshah tests our faith and this was such an occasion. Many other tests came in his life and he passed them with steadfast courage.

Tests of Faith


Bhai Giaan Singh was an A-Class Guard on the NorthWestern Railway. He was posted on the Frontier Mail train. This train used to run from Peshawar to Bombay. Bhai Sahib stayed at Rawalpindi at this time. One day, a jealous co-worker betrayed him very badly. He gave a bribe to a railway worker and had him detach the last compartment from the rest of the train. The Guard waved his flag and the train set off. At the next station, Bhai Sahib was informed that one compartment had been left behind. For a normal, worldly person, such an incident would have been very worrisome but Bhai Sahib remained calm in the divine-will. This was a very serious incident and he could have been fired from his job, but he did not waver. He was suspended pending an inquiry but did not feel sad and said, "We'll work for the true "sarkaar" (Vahiguru) now" and spent his days in naam simran and keertan. When the inquiry was completed, the guilty parties were punished and Bhai Sahib was exonerated completely and even given a promotion.

" ਪੂਰਾਨਿਆਉਕਰੇਕਰਤਾਰੁ ॥ ਅਪੁਨੇਦਾਸਕਉਰਾਖਨਹਾਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ " (199).


Another time Bhai Sahib was in a difficult situation was when the topmost officer of the NorthWestern Railway came to Rawalpindi Station. When the train stopped at the station, Bhai Sahib was lost in simran. He exchanged some important papers with the Stationmaster and returned to his personal compartment for rest. When the whistle blew to move the train, he waved the flag and was again lost in simran. The British officer of the NorthWestern Railway was standing in the veranda watching Bhai Sahib and when Bhai Sahib walked by him, he did not salute. The Officer took this as an insult and asked his assistant to note down Bhai Sahib's name and information so that he could be reprimanded when they returned to headquarters.

When they returned to headquarters, the assistant gave Bhai Sahib's information to the Officer along with his personal file. The next day, the file was returned without any reprimand written on it. The file was sent a second time and it again returned unchanged. The third time, he personally brought the file to the Officer and reminded him that Giaan Singh did not salute and was to be reprimanded. The Officer laughed and said, "Whenever I try to write something on his file, I get dizzy and feel afraid. For God's sake, just close that file and find out who this person is."

The assistant collected full information about Bhai Sahib from Rawalpindi station and told his British Officer about him. The Officer was very surprised to hear about everything and was thankful that he had not done anything against him.

"ਜਹਜਹਕਾਜਕਿਰਤਿਸੇਵਕਕੀਤਹਾਤਹਾ ਉਠਿਧਾਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਸੇਵਕਕਉਨਿਕਟੀਹੋਇਦਿਖਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੋਜੋਕਹੈਠਾਕੁਰਪਹਿਸੇਵਕੁਤਤਕਾਲਹੋਇਆਵੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ " (403).

Personal Life


Bhai Atma Singh of Patiala and Dr. Harbans Singh tell us that Bhia Giaan Singh jee was a very big lover of naam and baaNee. His head would sway in ecstasy and his lips would always be moving with "Guru Guru". Those who heard him doing nitnem can attest that he would recite it very slowly and in bairaag, taking a full two hours to do so. When he would take a Vaak from Guru Maharaj, his eyes would be teary and he would read each line many many times like he was personally conversing with Guru Sahib.

A Gursikh is of course ordered to give dasvandh, but Bhai Giaan Singh was so genours that he would give half his income to the Guru's cause. Bhai Sahib loved listening to keertan and whenever a Singh or Singhnee did keertan, he would become very excited. Sometimes while listening to keertan, he would even become late for his train. Someone would remind him about the train and only then would he get ready and go to the station. Whenever this happened though, the train itself was late and so he was never in any trouble.

Meeting Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee


How could such a person like Bhai Giaan Singh not meet Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh then? Whenever the Jatha would have a smaagam at Rawalpindi at the home of Dr. Pargat Singh and Bibi Indar Kaur, Bhai Giaan Singh would certainly come and enjoy the keertan. He retired from his job in 1940 and after that he moved to Sree Amritsar Sahib. When Bhai Sahib Randheer Singh jee would come to Sree Amritsar Sahib and do smaagams, Bhai Giaan Singh would always attend.

Once it was at Gurdwara LohgaR Sahib that the Jatha was having a keertan. Bhai Sahib was doing keertan and Bhai Giaan Singh arrived in the divvan, matha tekked and then went to the back of the hall. Who knows when Bhai Sahib saw him, but while doing keertan, he sent a Singh to Bhai Giaan Singh and asked him to come sit at the front. At the conclusion of keertan, Bhai Sahib met Bhai Giaan Singh and said, "Piarayo, when you come, come sit in front of us. Seeing you brings us into chaRdee kalaa." A divinely inspired soul can always recognise another.

Keertan Today vs. Keertan Before


There is something that all of Bhai Sahib's companions know that is that at Jatha Smaagams, the front lines were always filled with Gursikhs. Many would be gathered around Bhai Sahib and lost in divine colours. It was a sight to be seen. They would be facing Guru Sahib and singing to them,

"ਤੂਸਤਿਗੁਰੁਚਹੁਜੁਗੀਆਪਿਆਪੇਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ॥ " (1406).


Today, we are happy to do keertan in a big crowd but don't feel excited to do so in a small gathering. Those Sachkhandee Souls were singing keertan for Satguru jee. In those days, the way Singhs and Singhnees did keertan was totally different. Whoever sat and did keertan or listened, it was as if they were sitting before Satguru jee and addressing him face to face. Now we don’t do keertan for Satguru jee, we address the Sangat instead and give parmaaNs (examples) to explain to them. This custom was started by Bh. Mohinder Singh SDO in 1958-59 and has continued until today.

There are many examples from Bhai Giaan Singh jee's life that showed Guru Sahib was always with him. After retiring, he made a Gurdwara Sahib in his native village. He also brought many people to the path of Gursikhi. On May 22, 1951 the divine call came and he left for the Guru's feet. Bhai Sahib's son lives in Ranjit Nagar Amritsar.

Kartar Khalsa: Sikh or NonSikh

by Baghiar Singh @, Amritsar, Saturday, April 10, 2010, 16:46 (4249 days ago) @ Guru Sant S

How Baba Mitt Singh Stopped a Public Conversion
By G. Eeshar Singh Nara

Baba Mitt Singh jee was a great Gursikh who lived in village Kishanpur (Jalandhar). He was once a solider but became engrossed in bhagti and then left the service.

Lajjo and Umar-din


Village Sarala is about 2.5 miles from Kishanpur. The village was half Sikh and half Muslim. In the village there lived a Khatri by the name of Hema and his wife Ram Daiee. They had two children, a son named Nikka Ram and a daughter by the name of Lajjo.

Lajjo was married at a young age but became a widow very soon. According to the wrong custom at the time, Hema did not re-marry Lajjo. As Lajjo grew older, she became involved with a Muslim of the village, by the name of Umar-din who was the lambardar of the village.

For some time Umar-din and Lajjo carried on their affair in secret but they then decided that Lajjo would convert to Islam and become his wife.

Umar-din was well known in the village and he publicly announced to everyone with the beat of a drum that he was about to convert Lajjo and make her his wife. He said that because he was not doing this secretly, no one should complain afterwards.

Umar-din took Lajjo to the big village in Jalandhar and began to make preparations for the public conversion ceremony.

Hema Asks for Help


Lajjo’s father and brother went to the Sikhs of the village and asked for their help but no one was willing to take the risk and interfere. The Muslims on the other hand were very happy and making preparations for a big ceremony. They prepared big pots of beef and rice. Kazis and Mullahs had gathered at the mosque and were reciting verses. Approximately 5-6 thousands Mulsims of the surrounding area had gathered at the Mosque. They were prepared to fight if anyone tried to interfere in the ceremony.

Lajjo’s father, Hema was devastated when he heard of the preparations taking place in Jallandhar. He proceeded to the final place he could go. He took his entire family and went to the dera of Baba Mitt Singh at Kishanpura.

It was 10am when the family arrived. Baba Mitt Singh was a very great Gursikh whose nitnem began at amrit vela with ishnaan. After doing his nitnem, he would go for darshan of Guru Granth Sahib to do paath. He would then have something to eat and then go back to his room for simran until 12pm.

From 12-1pm Baba jee would come out to supervise the activities in the dera or to meet anyone who had come to see him. He would then return to his room to rest or do simran until Rehras Sahib.

When Hema arrived, Baba jee was in his room. Hema knocked on the door but a Singh told him that Baba jee would not come out until 12. Hema began to weep and said that even a minute for him was like a year now. If they did not act quickly now, it would be too late. He then began to knock on the door again.

Baba jee emerged from the room and Hema fell at his feet, sobbing loudly. He told Baba jee about his problems and said that no one would help him. Baba jee was moved by Hema’s situation and went back with him to village Sarala.

At Village Sarala


All the Sikhs were called together and Baba jee said, “When we hear stories from the past, you often say ‘if we were there, we would’ve done this or that’ or ‘to protect women from the invaders, we would have given up our lives too’. Today, that very situation has come to us. What will you do? Who here is not afraid and willing to sacrifice their lives?”

Hearing Baba jee’s words, the Sardars hung their heads and remained silent.

From among the crowed, on Sardar Laabh Singh was sitting. His spirit was enflamed. He prepared himself to go with Baba Mitt Singh. He was old in age but was physically stronger than any youth.

Preparations


Baba jee and Sd. Labh Singh went back to the Dera at Kishanpur. Baba jee did keshi ishnaan, went before Guru Granth Sahib for ardaas and said “Satguru jee! Bless us. Let us either be successful in bringing back Lajjo or let us not come back at all.”

During the ardaas, waves of spirit could be felt coming from Baba Mitt Singh. Baba jee who was always calm was now giving vibrations of ‘joash’. It seemed as though Baba jee’s shaant ras had transformed into bir ras now.

Baba Mitt Singh and Sd. Labh Singh both had long and sharp kirpans in their gatras. In their hands the clutched saffajangs (battle axes). After bowing to Guru Granth Sahib, the got on a tongaa and left for Jallandhar’s Mosque.

Arrival at the Mosque


The tongaa stopped before the Mosque and Baba jee and Sd. Labh Singh saw the preparations that had taken place for the conversion. 5 thousand Muslims with long staffs and axes were standing outside. Big pots of beef and rice were cooking.

Baba Mitt Singh explained to Sd. Labh Singh that they would gently with folded hands make their request for the return of Lajjo three times. If they accepted, then it was fine. If after the third request they did not agree, then they should not think or look back. They should begin their attack and use force even if it meant their deaths.

Baba jee and Sardar Labh Singh moved forward and began to cut through the Muslim crowd. Everything had fallen perfectly silent and all eyes were focused on the two Singhs going through the crowd.

The entire area, including the Muslims knew that Baba Mitt Singh was a very spiritual person and respected him. Baba jee saw Lajjo and walked straight towards her. Lajjo fall at Baba jee’s feet. Umar-din was standing nearby and said Salaam to Baba jee. With hands folded, Umar-din said, “I am your servant and slave. If the entire village had come, were would have been ready to attack them. But you may order me as you wish.”

Sardar Labh Singh who was filled with birr as was ready to swing his kirpan at Umar-din and begin the show but Baba jee stopped him. Baba jee took Umar-din into his arms and said, “you have shown us great respect.” Baba jee released Umar-din with a pat on the back. Baba jee took Lajjo outside of the Mosque and put her on the tongaa. As the Muslim crowd watched, the Singhs and Lajjo galloped away.

Conclusion


Upon return to Sarala, the villagers were ecstatic to see what Baba jee had done. They took Baba jee in a parade and requested him to stay with them for three days. All the Hindus and Sikhs of the village served Baba jee with great respect.

Kartar Khalsa: Sikh or NonSikh

by Haripreetam Singh @, New Mexico, Saturday, April 10, 2010, 16:52 (4249 days ago) @ Guru Sant S

Gurmat Gems From the Life of Akali Kaur Singh
By S. Attar Singh in Soora, March 1985
Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org

Loving Even Slanderers


There was a big gathering at Jammu and one Singh began to speak very harshly about Akali jee from the stage. Akali jee sat in the congregation and listened calmly and silently to all that was said. When the divaan ended, he called that Singh and said, “Singh Sahib, please sit”. The Singh sat down and Akali jee whispered, “Singh Sahib, if you wish to say anything further then please do so now. I’m here for you.”

Hearing this, the Singh felt very ashamed and fell at Akali jee’s feet and begged for forgiveness over and over again.

Transforming a Thief


It was the final days of the year 1929. A Sikh by the name of Jeevan Singh, who lived in Sialkot (now Pakistan) had been imprisoned for being a Dacoit (considered a type of “macho” thief who lives in a gang). After spending his time in Jail in Kashmir, he was released and arrived at Gurdwara Amira Kadal. It was the month of December. It was very cold and he was shivering without any proper clothes to cover himself.

Akali Kaur Singh jee was descending from the stage after doing Katha when he saw this poor Sikh. Akali jee sat down beside Jeevan Singh and after Karah Parshaad was distributed, he spoke to him in a very soft and sweet voice:

“Singh Sahib, you appear to be a Punjabi?”

Jeevan Singh replied, “Yes Maharaj, I am Punjabi”.
“Then how have you come here in the dead of winter?”
“Maharaj, I was arrested and imprisoned here for being a Dacoit and was released just yesterday”
Akali jee then asked, “Singh Sahib, can you tell me what is the difference between a common thief and a Dacoit?”
Jeevan Singh replied, “Yes Maharaj…”
Akali Jee: “Alright, please tell me then”

Jeevan Singh was uneducated and in his own way tried to explain the difference between a Dacoity and Robbery, “Maharaj, it is robbery when you would be sleeping in your home and the thief would sneak into your house from the back and then take all your belongings. Now here’s what a Dacoity is like; you would be sleeping in your house and we’d come knock on the door and you’d ask, “who’s there?” and we’d say, “It’s your son-in-law” and you’d open the door and then we’d storm in, take all your stuff and you’d be left watching it all. That’s called a Dacoity.”

Akali jee listened to this simple explanation and began to laugh. He said, “Veer, tell me, is there anything I can do for you?”

Akali jee then gave Jeevan Singh all that he needed and asked for.

Akali jee then asked, “Singh Sahib, why do you do this (Dacoity)?”
Jeevan Singh replied, “Maharaj, I do it to feed my children…”
“If you could meet this need some other way, would you stop doing it?”

Jeevan Singh promised that he would no longer steal. Akali jee then took him to Guru Nanak Ashram Chakaar (the orphanage Akali jee ran) and made him a Guard with a salary from which he could raise his family.

Two Pathaans


Just seeing Akali jee left a very deep impression and he had a magnetic quality to him. Whoever saw Akali jee just once, would want to keep staring at him. Whenever he would travel on a bus or by train, the other passengers would all be drawn to his glowing face. His Nihang Chakars, his glowing red face, his radiant white beard, blue dumalla and simple clothing were all in addition to his natural beauty. Because of this, everyone who saw him kept looking and wanting to keep seeing him.

Once in Delhi, two Pathans (fierce Muslim tribals who live in Afghanistan/Pakistan and considered very hostile to Sikhs) began to walk behind Akali jee. There were two bibian also walking with him and they suspected that perhaps they wanted to harm Akali jee. They warned the Singh who was with them that perhaps these Pathans may attack Akali jee. As the Pathans kept following Akali jee, they kept staring at his face.

The Bibian became apprehensive as the Pathans came in front of Akali jee but where shocked when they fell at his feet and said, “Baba, we had heard that Prophets of God look like you and because of this we wished to see your face and now we feel want to keep looking at you…”

Akali jee stepped back and said very respectfully while motioning upwards, “Brothers, the Prophets of God are there, you should look towards them…”

Not Liking Self-Worship


Akali jee was very opposed to people bowing to him or touching his feet. If someone would try, he would grab their hands and say, “It is Guru Sahib’s order to say “Vahiguru jee ka Khalsa Vaahiguru jee kee Fateh!” to Singhs. Our heads should not bow before anyone but Guru Sahib.”

Akali jee had firm belief that no one had the right to have others bow to them. All Singhs should be treated equally.

If some Muslim would say to Akali jee, “Baba jee, Salaam!” Akali jee would hold his Sri Sahib or Safaajang in both hands, raise it to the sky and say, “To the Lord…”

Akali Jee used to say Singhs should say Fateh to each other and the reply should be proper, not just a nod of the head or tipping of the walking stick.

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