A Brief Life Sketch of Sant Ajaib Singh Ii


SANT AJAIB SINGH JI MAHARAJ, was born in a Sikh family September 11, 1926, in Mama, District Bhatinda, Punjab, India; his mother died giving him birth and his father died a few days later. He was brought up by his great-uncle and his wife, who named him Sardara Singh, and who loved him as their own child; it is they whom Sant Ji means when he refers to his "parents."

Sant Ji has told many tales from his own life experience in the discourses and conversations included in the book Streams in the Desert; my purpose here is to provide a framework in which those references can be understood, and to introduce additional information. But to acquire a real understanding of the inner meaning of this very remarkable life story, it is essential to read his own comments scattered throughout his talks, in the context in which he has placed them.

His search for truth began when he was five years old; he used to get up early in the mornings and read the writings of Guru Nanak, and an overwhelming longing to meet a true Guru - a "dispeller of darkness" or genuine spiritual Master with the compassion and competence to guide him - would come into his heart. But whenever he asked anyone about a Guru - "Where can I find a Guru?" - everyone told him that the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy scripture of the Sikh religion) was the Guru. His great-uncle said, "When you see this holy book, you are seeing God; when you read it, you are talking with God." The little boy took these statements very seriously, kept the book with him as much as possible, and read it as carefully and devotedly as he could. He dwelt on it so much that he used to see the book in his dreams; nevertheless, as he says, "There was no real peace in my mind. For in that book also, it was written that there should be a true human Guru for real peace and salvation." So his search for a Guru continued through his childhood and adolescence.

At one point he met a sadhu who told him, "Believe me, I am your Guru, and I will take you to God." Then he started to teach him how to change forms - from his own form to various animal forms, etc. - "But I told him that I wanted to rise above the man body. I didn't want to convert myself to any other form." And the sadhu also gave him a book in which some of the signs of a true Master were given - "and when I read that book, I didn't find any signs of the true Guru in that sadhu, and so I left him."

In Lahore he met another sadhu who was also working miracles, "but I was longing for the knowledge of Naam, as Guru Nanak had written, and I was not interested in miracles." This sadhu took an interest in the young seeker, then in his early teens, and gave him the mantra, Hey Ram, Hey Gobind, which he repeated for many years. This sadhu also taught him to do the well-known "austerity of the five fires" in which the aspirant sits in a circle of four burning fires with the sun overhead; this rite is done during the hot season (when the temperature may reach 130 degrees) for about forty days each year. When asked if he had derived any benefit whatever from doing this, Ajaib Singh replied emphatically, "No!"

This sadhu also gave him a rosary to repeat the mantra with, and encouraged him to eat meat and drink wine; which however he did not do. (He had been a vegetarian from birth.)

Although he was happy to repeat the mantra, Hey Ram, Hey Gobind, he did not otherwise derive benefit from that sadhu; and a short while later, about 1940, he met Baba Bishan Das, a sadhu who was to become his first guru and who, as Sant Ji has often said, "made my life." References to Bishan Das abound in Streams in the Desert; it was the job of this enigmatic figure, a spiritual descendant of Baba Sri Chand, Guru Nanak's son, with his partial knowledge of Surat Shabd Yoga, to prepare his one disciple for his tremendous destiny. In this he was eminently successful: when Ajaib Singh met his ultimate guru, Sant Kirpal Singh of Delhi, he was, thanks to Bishan Das, in a position to take full advantage of the opportunity offered to him. It was Bishan Das who changed his name from "Sardara Singh," an inauspicious, almost meaningless name, to "Ajaib Singh" or "wonderful lion"- "Ajaib" means "strangely wonderful" in Punjabi. Bishan Das accepted, in his own way, Ajaib Singh's devotion, but refused adamantly to initiate him or to give him anything for many years. In Ajaib Singh's words: "I used to go to many sadhus, because I didn't get anything from Bishan Das. Still I went to Bishan Das and he was a hard nut to crack. I used to go to other sadhus also but I didn't find any like Bishan Das, so I came back to Bishan Das and tried again and again to get something. But Bishan Das was very hard and he didn't give anybody anything. But still I tried - I tried for ten years to get the knowledge... and when I went to Bishan Das, he slapped me. And he never allowed me to wear any fine clothes. And all my relatives and other people who saw this, they abused me and made fun of me: 'He has gone mad! He is going to a madman. When he goes, he gets slapped and told to go away!' " But Ajaib Singh says that Bishan Das's slaps were sweeter to him than the smiles of the other sadhus, because he saw that he had something real.

Not too long after meeting Bishan Das, in the early 1940's when he was still in his teens, Ajaib Singh was drafted into the Army, where he served approximately seven years and at one time saw duty in Germany. He continued to visit Bishan Das whenever he could, and he continued to be treated roughly by him. Once, when under the influence of some fashionable colleagues he was tying his beard in modern Sikh style, Bishan Das grabbed his beard and forcefully untied it, saying, "Who do you think you are - a fine gentleman? Who taught you to do this?" and pulled it down to full length. He also demanded of Ajaib Singh his entire salary, with the exception of five rupees a month which he allowed him for his own expenses; with that money he built an ashram - which, however, he refused to allow Ajaib Singh to visit, on the grounds that he might think it was his (since his money had paid for it).

During this time he was still repeating the mantra, Hey Ram, Hey Gobind, so much so that the repetition had become automatic. While on parade duty in the Army he was supposed to be saying, "Left, right; left, right," but the mantra had become so much a part of him that he was saying, "Hey Ram, Hey Gobind," instead. A Punjabi-speaking native officer heard him and was very displeased with him, singling him out and making him repeat the mantra in front of everyone. He repeated "Hey Ram, Hey Gobind," exactly as before. An English officer of higher rank who was present interceded on his behalf and excused him from parade duty; from that time on he had a great deal of freedom to pursue his spiritual practices. That officer became very friendly with Ajaib Singh, and told him that even though he was younger than he was, he (the officer) felt that Ajaib Singh was like a father to him.

His regiment was stationed near Beas in the Punjab for a long time, and here the young seeker made the acquaintance of one of the giants of our time: Baba Sawan Singh Ji, the guru of Sant Kirpal Singh, whose followers in India numbered in the hundreds of thousands (and who began the practice of initiating disciples in the West through representatives). At the time the young Ajaib Singh made his acquaintance (the 1940's) the Great Master was in his eighties and at the peak of his spiritual career. Ajaib Singh recognized Sawan Singh's stature at once, and begged him for initiation; the Master refused, saying that the One who would initiate him would come to him later by Himself. Ajaib Singh brought Bishan Das to see Sawan Singh also, and Bishan Das, despite his advanced spiritual status, also asked the Master for initiation; Sawan Singh replied that it was not necessary for him to be initiated as he was very old, but that he would take him under his protection. The Great Master introduced Ajaib Singh to Baba Somanath, a disciple of his who had been working in South India introducing Sant Mat there, telling him that Somanath's background was similar to his, having involved him in a long search and many difficult austerities. This was an important meeting: although the two men had little outer contact after this, both of them were in due course to carry on the spiritual work; and after Baba Somanath left his body in 1976, many of his disciples were to find peace at the feet of Ajaib Singh.

Sant Ji also met and was influenced by two other advanced disciples of Baba Sawan Singh, both with extraordinary personalities, and both mentioned frequently throughout Streams in the Desert the Baluchistani Mastana ("Mastana Ji"), a God-intoxicated sadhu who also became a Master in his lifetime; and Sunder Das, a meditator of great power who went through a very difficult period of personal trouble and insanity, but who died in triumph. Ajaib Singh was very close to Sunder Das, who lived with him for some time. Once at the beginning of their friendship, they were meditating together in front of an open fire when a burning stick rolled away and came to rest against Sunder Das's leg - but his concentration was so complete and profound that he never faltered for a moment; when he finally came out of meditation, his leg was very badly burned. That afternoon, Ajaib Singh went with Sunder Das to see Baba Sawan Singh; the Master was very pleased with Sunder Das's devotion and gave him a salve derived from the neem tree which healed his leg.

The young Ajaib Singh was tremendously impressed and influenced by Baba Sawan Singh, and his discourses and informal talks are filled with quotes from him, references to him, and stories and illustrations that he first heard in his discourses. Those disciples of Baba Sawan Singh who are now at Sant Ji's feet say that his Satsang talks are very much in Sawan Singh's style. There is no doubt that the prolonged association with him at such a young age (late teens and early twenties) plus the intensive contact with some of his most impressive disciples, played a very important part in the shaping of his future. Sant Ji still speaks of Sawan Singh as "the most beautiful man I have ever met," and he is a living reality to him even now.

When Ajaib Singh was discharged from the Army in the late 1940's he returned to his parents' home to discover that they had plans for him which involved marriage and inheriting their property. Although the Sant Mat tradition does not forbid either (some Masters have married and owned property and some have not), he had no inclination to marry, nor did he want any property. His parents pointed out to him that if he refused his inheritance it would be divided up among the relatives, which they did not want to happen; so he selected an illegitimate boy, a village outcaste with no hope or expectations, and designated him his heir; today he is a leading citizen of that village.

At this period he was living with his parents and working as a farm laborer, in the fields. In the year 1950 or 1951, Baba Bishan Das came to him in the garden of his home; he had walked twenty-four miles to see him. He said, "Ajaib Singh, I am very pleased with you; I want to give you something!" He then gave him the first two of the Five Holy Names, telling him that he would get more later from Someone Who would come to him at his own place; and transferred all of his power to him through the eyes. The next day he left the body.

Ajaib Singh was Bishan Das's only initiate, and his love for his first guru remains strong to this day. He says, "It never occurred to me to think that Bishan Das was any less of a guru because he did not have large throngs of disciples. I saw that he had truth, and I loved him." His love remained constant and deep despite rebuffs, insults, and repeated refusals to give him anything. Finally, Bishan Das rewarded that love by giving him everything he had.

After his initiation, Ajaib Singh continued to live with his family and work as a farm laborer; but before long, in response to orders from Bishan Das within, he moved to Kunichuk in northern Rajasthan and built an ashram there in the middle of the desert. At the time he moved there, it was a very inauspicious place: water from the canal system that has transformed the face of that part of India was not available there, and it was very remote. He dug a pond to hold rain water, and for a time that was the only source of water. (Eventually other sources became available.) Following his inner orders, he did build the ashram, and for twenty years he operated it as both an ashram and a working farm; not only did the produce supply the langar (free kitchen), but a portion of the crops was sold for cash to meet the needs of the ashram and provide a livelihood for the ashramites. Ajaib Singh managed the farm while assiduously cultivating the gift that Bishan Das had given him, spending many hours in meditation, so much so that the people of that area, aware that a genuine devotee had come among them, began spontaneously to call him "Sant Ji," by which title he is now universally known in that part of India. (Master Kirpal Singh also called him "Sant Ji.") People began coming to Kunichuk Ashram to meditate with him, to be with him and to ask him questions; many of his present-day initiates began their acquaintanceship with him during this period.

Baba Sawan Singh had in the meantime left his body (in 1948) and his beloved gurumukh disciple, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji, had been entrusted with the task of giving Naam and taking the children of God back to their Father. But Kirpal Singh was prevented from carrying on the work at the Dera in Beas, Baba Sawan Singh's ashram, and after several months' meditation in the Himalayas, began carrying out his guru's orders, with the help of a handful of Sawan Singh's disciples, in Delhi. This however was unknown to many of the Master's disciples in remote places, including Ajaib Singh; and when in the course of time, Sardar Charan Singh Ji, Sawan Singh's grandson, came to occupy the dais at the Dera, Ajaib Singh went to see him and to question him.

Sant Ji has referred to his relationship with Charan Singh in this way: "I was never initiated by Charan Singh, but I went to see him at Beas. I asked him if he was competent to guide me further on the inner planes, to which he replied that as far as guiding me spiritually within he was not competent, but that his mission was to give the theory and the Five Names. I appreciated Charan Singh's honesty and as a result I sent hundreds to him."

When a question was put to him by this writer on the nature of his connection with Charan Singh, he replied simply, "I loved him," but reiterated that he had not taken initiation from him or any other Beas guru.

For many years, Ajaib Singh continued at Kunichuk Ashram, operating the farm and progressing further and further within. While his reputation for holiness and sanctity increased as the years went by, and more and more people came to him, he did not take any disciples or initiate anyone in any degree; he knew that he was not ready to. At last his deep and prolonged meditation bore rich fruit, and he began seeing the Radiant Form of Swami Ji Maharaj within (the spiritual ancestor of Baba Sawan Singh and Baba Kirpal Singh), Whose face gradually changed into another face which he did not recognize, but which he later came to know was that of Kirpal Singh. In his own words: "In 1966, Maharaj Kirpal Singh Ji manifested to me in His Radiant Form, and one year later I came to know of the physical existence of the Master Who was blessing my meditations, and was initiated by Him in 1967."

Baba Sawan Singh's prophecy was fulfilled when, during the course of his 1967 Rajasthan tour, Kirpal Singh stayed with Ajaib Singh at Kunichuk Ashram; he was initiated at Sri Ganga Nagar, the nearby chief city of the district. Several eyewitness accounts agree that Ajaib Singh was initiated in a separate room, apart from the hundred or so who were gathered in the main room. According to one witness, when Ajaib Singh tried to sit on the floor at His Feet, Kirpal Singh stopped him, saying, "No, you are a saint," and made him sit on a chair. The Master gave him the remaining three of the Five Holy Names, looked into his eyes and took him up; when someone protested that the Master was not giving Ajaib Singh any of the theoretical instructions, Kirpal Singh replied that he did not need it. From that point on, Ajaib Singh was totally and completely devoted to his Master, and used all his influence and whatever reputation he had on His behalf.

Sant Ji's meeting with Kirpal Singh was unquestionably the turning point and focus of his life: everything before that meeting had led up to it, and everything after derived from it. His association with Baba Sawan Singh and his initiation from Baba Bishan Das were both preliminary, as they themselves explicitly stated: their promise was fulfilled when Kirpal came. The impact that this magnificent Saint had on Ajaib Singh can be judged from the number of - and the quality of - references to him found throughout his discourses, informal talks, and poetry: as he says at many different places in many different ways, "God came in the form of a man." This attitude is technically known as Guru-bhakti, and is in accord not only with Sant Mat - the esoteric system followed and taught by these Masters - but with the highest mystical tradition in India and everywhere: the Gospels are based on it. The term Satguru or True Master means just that: "the Word made flesh," a human being who has left his ego behind and penetrated so far into the Word or Power of God which is his innermost essence that he is able to function consciously on that level, and also to make it possible for others to function consciously on that level. The Word itself - called Naam (Name) or Shabd (Sound Current) by the Masters - the Creative Power of God, manifesting itself as Light and Sound, is the means of ascent; once a seeker is shown how to regain his connection with the Word by a true Master or Satguru, someone who has done it for himself, then he can proceed from there. (The Word is ours already, the essence of our being, but once we have lost touch with it we need help to regain it.) It is important to note that the essence of the lifegiving Word - the essence of the Essence - is love: God is love, according to all Masters, and His expression - the Word or Naam - is also Love. And so is the human being who is the manifestation of that expression. This is the meaning behind Guru-bhakti and the main point of the Gospels: that love for the living Master, the Word made flesh of our own time, cements us firmly and unshakeably with That Which he manifests. It has a great liberating power.

This teaching, called Sant Mat or the Way of the Saints in India, and by other names elsewhere, is both very simple and very demanding, requiring a deep commitment on the part of the seeker "a ruling passion," in Kirpal Singh's words - as well as the grace of God working through the living Master. It has been taught in India since the fifteenth century by a truly extraordinary line of spiritual giants beginning with Kabir, the Muslim weaver who has, the Masters say, incarnated four times, once in each yuga or time cycle, and inaugurated one or more lines of Masters each time. Other Masters of Sant Mat referred to by Sant Ji in his talks (some of them are the authors of the hymns on which the talks are based) include a number who were directly influenced by Kabir: Ravidas the cobbler, Dhanna the Jat farmer, Ramananda (outwardly Kabir's guru), Dharam Das, and Baba Nanak, the first guru of the Sikhs. Nanak had nine successors, all of whom were Masters of Sant Mat; and then, the Sikh religious establishment maintains, the line ended. But the esoteric tradition has it differently: as the accompanying chart shows, the line continued on through the ruling family of Poona-Sitara, members of which had been initiated by the last of the Sikh Gurus.

Contemporary with the Sikh Gurus were many other Masters, some of them in other lines founded by Kabir, some perhaps (like the great Sufis Bulleh Shah and Hazrat Bahu) latter-day representatives of a line continuing from a previous age. Among these Saints were Mirabai, a Rajput princess and disciple of Ravidas; Tulsidas, the great Hindi poet, author of the Ram Charitrar Manas, or Hindi Ramayana; Paltu, Dadu, Jagjivan; Sehjo Bai, another great woman Saint, disciple of Sant Charan Das in the early nineteenth century; and many others. But the recasting of Sant Mat for modern times was done by Swami Ji Maharaj of Agra, an initiate of Tulsi Sahib, whose hymns present the eternal teachings of the Masters in extremely simple, almost basic language, so that they can be understood by anyone. Swami Ji, like Kabir, was a seminal figure in the history of Sant Mat, with a number of disciples who became Masters; one of them, Baba Jaimal Singh, was the guru of Sawan Singh and thus the ancestor of the modern Masters we are concerned with here.

So Kirpal Singh - and Sawan Singh before him - were not just tremendous personalities in their own right; they were also the living members of a truly distinguished spiritual lineage, and carried with them all the force and power and love that the lineage had developed. And Ajaib Singh had, through his long search, his association with Baba Sawan Singh, his apprenticeship with Baba Bishan Das, and (perhaps most important of all) his seventeen years' intense practice of what Baba Bishan Das had given him, put himself in a position to be a perfect receiver for that which Kirpal Singh wanted to give: in the terminology of the Masters, he had become a gurumukh. It is no wonder that his initiation had gone the way it did, or that his life from here on was to take the form it took; the wonder would be if it hadn't.

His association with his Master on the physical plane lasted for seven years, during which time Kirpal Singh visited Ajaib Singh a number of times, sometimes publicly, as part of a Rajasthan tour, sometimes privately: he would disappear from Delhi for a few days, not telling anyone where he was going, and would return with his clothes dusty. He gave Sant Ji strict orders to leave off the whole outer aspect of his life, not to see anyone or go anywhere, and to spend full time in meditation - orders that eventually culminated in his being told to abandon Kunichuk ashram altogether: not to sell it, but to walk away from it and to forget it - an order that, as Sant Ji says, was hard to obey. But obey it he did, and it earned him the taunts and jeers of many of his erstwhile admirers, who liked things the way they had been and considered that he had gone mad and thrown everything away. Although he had never initiated anyone, he was treated as a guru by many people, and had in fact a large following; now he was, as it seemed, throwing it all away. But one of his earliest associates, Sardar Rattan Singh, had built a small ashram near his farm in Village 16PS, including an underground room specifically for meditation; here Sant Ji meditated for more than two years non-stop in almost continuous Samadhi, coming out once a day or so to take some light food. He left this meditation only a few days before Kirpal Singh left his body.

In retrospect, it is clear that the Master was putting him through an intense final course in spirituality; but he was also, in his wisdom, keeping him hidden from the Sangat at large and protected from many of the currents of personal ambition and jealousy that were sweeping through the ostensible leaders of the Sangat during Kirpal Singh's final days. Sant Ji was known in Sawan Ashram in a vague kind of way: most of the responsible people there knew that a guru in Rajasthan had been initiated, and had turned over his entire following to the Master. That sort of thing doesn't happen so often that it isn't news. But very few knew even his name, let alone how to find him; only the Master knew, and whatever the disciple needed, he was given.

Kirpal Singh's last public visit to Rajasthan was in the spring of 1972, two years before He left the body; on this occasion He again stayed with Ajaib Singh at Kunichuk and this time told him that he would be carrying on the work of Naam initiation. Ajaib Singh protested, but the Master was adamant. An initiation was conducted at the ashram, at the Master's orders, at which fifty people were given the instructions by Ajaib Singh while the Master sat on a sofa and watched. On this occasion, Master Kirpal also said to him, "Ajaib Singh, I am very pleased with you; I want to give you something" - the very words used by Baba Bishan Das in 1950. And then, in Ajaib Singh's words, "Maharaj Ji passed His very life and power into my soul through the eyes. And I begged the Master not to do this, as I feared that it would not be long before He too would leave" - just as Bishan Das had left. From this point on, Ajaib Singh had the authority to give Naam without asking the Master first.

As we have said, Sant Ji spent the next two years in meditation in the underground room in the ashram at Village 16PS, sitting on a wooden slab and devoting his whole time to Surat Shabd Yoga. He came out of Samadhi a few days before Kirpal Singh left his body, in August 1974, and visited Village 77RB, a few miles away, on the loving invitation of some devotees there; it was there that he learned of his Master's physical departure and, weeping bitterly, went to Sawan Ashram in Delhi to pay his respects.

On arrival there - he was greeted and shown to a room; but after several hours he was asked to leave by the person in charge, and was escorted to the railroad station to meet his train even though it was the middle of the day and the train did not leave until 9 p.m. He had innocently walked head-on into the currents mentioned earlier: there was no room for him in his Master's ashram. He left without protest, just as Kirpal Singh, twenty six years previously, had left the Dera in Beas for similar reasons; he had no personal desire to be a Guru, and he had a positive aversion to political maneuverings. He returned to 77RB and, a few days later, in the deep deep agony of his physical separation from his Master, left the village and wandered into the wilderness, taking nothing with him and weeping so much that he damaged his eyes.

This subject of vireh, or separation from the Master, can be perplexing to the disciple. Kirpal Singh wrote a chapter on it in his Punjabi prose masterpiece, Gurmat Siddhant, and often related how Baba Sawan Singh made him read that chapter to Him twice and how he realized then that he was going to experience personally everything that he had written in those pages. The disciple thinks that of all people, the new Master should be the least affected by the physical departure of the preceding one; he is, by definition, more closely connected with him than anyone else - why should the physical separation matter so much? But it is not like that: it is precisely because the Masters know better than anyone else the true significance of their Master's physical form that they grieve for its departure. Baba Sawan Singh once said, speaking of his Master, "Though Baba Ji is in the heart of my heart and I am never for a moment separated from Him, yet what a blessing would it be if I were to see Him once again moving amongst us as before. For such a sight I would part with all I possess." And Sant Kirpal Singh, who referred to this subject many times, explains the matter further:

"When we love a human being, we feel grieved on separation. But when we love a man who is connected with God, the intensity of His love is much greater. Someone may question: 'When the Master initiates His pupil, He sits inside the pupil's soul and remains always with him. So why this feeling of sadness?' The reply is that inside we get one sort of enjoyment and when we see Him in the body, we get two enjoyments. To live after the Master's death is the greatest misfortune.

"One person's Master died. He went to his Master's grave and prayed: 'It is misfortune to live now!' So saying, he lay on the grave and died ...

"When tears well up in eyes, while remembering one's Master, all his sins are washed away..."

Thus it would seem that Sant Ji's odyssey in the wilderness, carrying the full weight of grief brought about by separation, was the final purging of whatever dross he was still carrying: the necessary climax of the long preparation. But what a price was paid! The damage done to his eyes from excessive weeping was real and lasting, and has already required two operations.

Despite the fact that he had no interest in what in India is called gaddi (the seat of the guru used as a symbol of spiritual authority) and in his wandering had cut himself off from all those who knew him, the commission that the Master had given him had not gone away. While his stay at Sawan Ashram had been very brief, and he had been removed as quietly as possible, he had not gone totally unrecognized: one senior disciple noticed that "his eyes turned into the eyes of the Master" invited him to his apartment at the ashram and treated him with great kindness and respect. He also spoke about him to others, one of whom, a friend of mine, followed Sant Ji to Rajasthan to meet him for himself. They had a brief inconclusive meeting the day before Sant Ji left the village; but it was sufficient to bring hope to the western Sangat, sadly affected by the Master's leaving and its aftermath.

While he was wandering, the satsangis he had left behind in the canal-system villages of the northern Rajasthan desert missed him terribly. One of the devotees living at 77RB, Gurdev Singh, called "Pathi Ji" because he is an excellent pathi or chanter (and has often filled that role at Sant Ji's satsangs, chanting the hymns on which the discourse is based), could not bear his prolonged absence and went in search for him; meanwhile other devotees at that village built an ashram for him, hoping that he would consent to live there. After several months' search, Pathi Ji did find him; and to the great joy of the devotees, he did consent to make use of the ashram they had so lovingly built. Their love pulled him back; and, farming the ashram land, working quietly and doing nothing to further the terrible controversies among his Master's disciples, he began to carry out his Master's orders: holding Satsang monthly, giving Naam-initiation to those who came to him, giving darshan and counsel to those who wanted it. And so it went until this writer's visit to him in February 1976.

The story of that visit has been told in detail elsewhere and need not be repeated here, except to say that I went in response to inner orders from Kirpal Singh, of whom I am a disciple, and I was totally unprepared for what I found: a simple loving beautiful man, of total integrity and authenticity, living in the timeless life of the Desert Fathers or the Biblical prophets in his mud ashram in the middle of the desert, and working in the express image and power of Kirpal Singh. The Master had said, just before he left, when asked about a successor, "That very power comes through different human poles. When Guru Nanak left the body, he blossomed. When they wept, he simply said, 'Look here, if a friend of yours goes away today, he comes in another robe another day. What difference does it make?' Clothes may be changed but That won't. These are very delicate points ... and a few days later he added, "The Word never changes. When your friend comes today in a white suit, tomorrow in yellow clothes, third day in brown clothes, would you not recognize him? I hope you recognize and do not discard Him (chuckles). That's all I can say ... " - and there before my eyes was the prophecy being fulfilled. After my return I described our meeting this way: "Every time he looked at me, it was Master looking at me. There was no doubt about it ... this tremendous inner joy - that I had never experienced since the last time I saw Master - began to come up. It just welled up inside me. And I couldn't believe it. I suddenly understood what is meant by 'our Friend with a different coat on.'"

He made it clear also that he had no personal interest in Guruship: at one point, he said to me, "Who wants to be a guru? What is there in being a guru, tell me that? Is it not better to be a disciple?" But perhaps even more significantly he had issued orders to all his disciples and admirers in the area NOT to give out his whereabouts to anyone coming in search of him. This made it very difficult to find him, and the people who finally guided us to him did so in defiance of his orders and only after a lot of grace had been brought to bear on them. Sant Ji was not interested in Guruship, but he still had the Master's orders to obey; and he did agree not to turn anyone away who came to see him. Immediately on my return, groups began forming to make the trip: a stream that has continued since then, with the groups now numbering fifty or more at a time, going periodically thoughout the year for two weeks of intense meditation and direct spiritual guidance. He graciously agreed also, within a few months, to make arrangements so that seekers in the West could be initiated; now his initiates number in the thousands with Representatives authorized to give the instructions in many countries of the world. And, most graciously of all, in response to the tremendous love he has received from disciples of both Sant Kirpal Singh and Baba Somanath, as well as from seekers desiring initiation, he has left his beloved Thar Desert in Rajasthan and traveled widely in India, to North and South America in 1977, and finally, in 1980, around the world, visiting every continent in four months of continuous traveling." His simple mud ashram at 77RB was expanded again and again to make room for the greater and greater numbers of disciples flocking to his feet, and finally abandoned altogether - Sant Ji deciding to return to his former ashram at Village 16PS, where he had meditated underground for so long. More substantial buildings and a more convenient location were among the contributing factors in shifting back to this very holy place, which was done in the summer of 1981.

The story is not over, thank God; it continues, and one thing many of us have learned: the grace of God working through the living Master is full of surprises. To follow the Path is not the same as studying theology or comparative religion, or reading books, even this one: it is an intensely real roller-coaster ride up and down the mountains of our Self, and at the end of it is more than we ever dreamed possible. If we think that prophets and Saints lived only in the past and the possibility of talking directly with God ended when the last page of the Bible was written, we are wrong. God loves us as much as He loved the people of two thousand or five thousand years ago, and He continues to send His beloved Sons to tell us that which our soul longs to hear. The life outlined in these pages is living proof of it.

The Main Line of Masters of Sant Mat in the Kali Yuga

Master Lifetime Age at
Start of
Age at
Location of Principal Ashram Social
of Birth
1 Kabir Sahib 1398-1518 ? 120 Kashi (Benares) Muslim
2 Guru Nanak 1469-1539 ? 70 Kartarpur, Punjab Hindu
3 Guru Angad 1504-1552 34 48 Khadur, Punjab Hindu
4 Guru Amardas 1479-1574 83 95 Goindwal, Punjab Hindu
5 Guru Ramdas 1534-1581 40 47 Amritsar Hindu/Sikh
6 Guru Arjan 1563-1606 18 43 Amritsar Hindu/Sikh
7 Guru Har Gobind 1595-1644 11 49 Sri Hargobindpur, Punjab Hindu/Sikh
8 Guru Hari Rai 1630-1661 14 31 Sri Hargobindpur, Punjab Hindu/Sikh
9 Guru Hari Krishan 1656-1664 5 8 Delhi Hindu/Sikh
10 Guru Teg Bahadur 1621-1675 43 54 Patna, Bihar Hindu/Sikh
11 Guru Gobind Singh 1666-1708 9 42 Anandpur Hindu/Sikh
12 Sant Ratnagar Rao unknown ? ? Poona Hindu
13 Tulsi Sahib 1763-1843 ? 80 Hathras, U.P. Hindu
14 Swami Ji Maharaj 1818-1878 25 60 Agra Hindu
15 Baba Jaimal Singh 1838-1903 40 65 Beas, Punjab Sikh
16 Baba Sawan Singh 1858-1948 45 90 Beas, Punjab Sikh
17 Sant Kirpal Singh 1894-1974 54 80 Delhi Sikh
18 Sant Ajaib Singh 1926-1997 48 70 Village 16PS, Rajasthan Sikh

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Sant Ajaib Singh Ji's Memorial