Very few individuals in this world can change lives of people they encounter. Like a sandalwood tree they transmit the fragrance of life to whoever meets them.
Sardar Gurbir Singh was one of those rare Guru inspired GurSikhs. And I was one of the fortunate ones to be blessed with his sangat.
His life was a shining example of positivity and humbleness. Every day after working at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), he used to go to the Sector-34 Gurdwara, Chandigarh. Although he was the head of the Chandigarh circle Sikh Missionary College, I witnessed him cleaning the office and doing all kinds of menial chores that men in India still avoid.
He was blessed with a unique talent of doing Gurbani Katha. By relating Gurbani to everyday life examples, he would capture the undivided attention of the sangat.
This was one of the reasons, he was the most sought-after non-professional Katha Kaar in Chandigarh.
I remember going with him to attend a bhog ceremony for someone’s death in Manimajra Gurdwara. The way he explained the life after death and common myths had people smiling during the bhog ceremony. I have never witnessed that kind of an environment before or after that.
As an RBI employee, he would travel to various places to provide training. Once he told me about an incident that took place when he was in Gujrat. He went to a local Gurdwara there and found a group of young Sikh youth (not in Sikhi saroop) staying there waiting to go abroad through an agent. He started meeting with them regularly and shared the great heritage of Gurbani and Sikh history. After about two weeks when he had to leave, everyone in the group promised to live their lives as per Gurbani and come back to their Sikhi saroop. Later, he even received letters from those individuals telling him how they were living a Guru-inspired life on a foreign land.
Sardar Gurbir Singh was one of the people who inspired me as I began my journey to walk the Guru’s path. I don’t know what my life would have been if I had not met Sardar Gurbir Singh and his family.
Unfortunately, he died recently in a car accident while visiting his son in Australia. Fortunately, he will live forever in the hearts of the people he has inspired.
With great reverence, I called him “Pita ji”, I was not the only one. I know he will be missed by many.
ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਦੁਹਹੂ ਮਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਜਨ ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰੀ ਆਏ II
ਜੀਅ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਇਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਲੈਨਿ ਮਿਲਾਏ II (SGGS 748)
Manjit Singh works as Acoustics Engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He loves practice and research of Sabad Kirtan and has led Gurmat Sangit workshops at several retreats and camps across North America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.