In this world full of gloss and glamour, where any news is good news and people do any unimaginable bit to hog the limelight, some people are uniquely different, they work silently and selflessly. Unfortunately they fade away silently too, without much ado.
Looking at the recently conducted Kumbh Mela at Ujjain and the way the some Sadhus behave (or rather misbehaved), their over flattered ego and the clashes that arosed between their Akhadas over trivial matters, clashes that resulted in grievous injuries and hospitalization of some “sadhus”, did raise question about their being real Sadhus and their claim of renunciation from this world which they claim as “maya” and which they say they have renunciated.
Somewhere during this Kumbh Mela period I read the news of sudden accidental death of head of Nirankari Mission Baba Hardev Singh in a car accident in Canada. I felt sad, I felt a personal loss. No, i was in no way associated with the Nirankari Mission or its movement. But, some people are such that their existence or loss of it do matter in your life. These people through their good work do spread their radiance far beyond their physical bodies. Their aura extend far far beyond.
My tryst, although indirect one with Nirankaris begain in early part of 80s My childhood friend Nilesh and his family were the staunch followers of Nirankari Baba. Nirankar basically means Nirakar, the almighty, the formless one. I frequented my friend’s house and many a times had the privilege to attend the discourses and evening prayers. I was too small to understand those things, but, inertly did like those things and the respect for the Baba and the organisation kept on growing.
My Maternal Uncle and Aunt too were followers of Nirankari Mission and the way i saw they behaved with fellow followers was amazing, they would touch feet of each others and would address each others as “Maharaj” or “Mahatma”. The respect was mutual, it transcended the borders of gender, age, caste, creed. Very few sects displayed this kind of universal acceptance. One incident which i vividly remember associated with this Mission was during the death of my Maternal Aunt. My Aunt passed away after five years of death of my Uncle. They were childless and she had o near relatives at the time of her sudden death that night. Very few relatives resided in Mumbai. So when we took her to the cremation ground, we about 15-20 people thought it would be a quite affair. But, to our surpise we found that about 100 odd people were waiting for us. They all were from Nirankari Mission and we understood they were waiting for us. As the pyre was being lit one person from the crowd came to us and requested to wait for five minutes for a common prayer. All they chanted which i loosely recollect was “Aye Malid Inhe Maaf kar Ye tumhari sharan hai”, which in turn meant “O lord, forgive this soul, thy has surrendered to you..”. The prayer chanted by the entire group reverberated in the otherwise eerily quite creamtion ground that evening. I wondered and respected the camaraderie of those unknown faceless people, whom we don’t know, crowd who came hearing about the death of one of their fellow spiritual traveller. Her association with this mission had indeed made her “Punyatma” as they kept on referring her there. Otherwise, in the fast and furious life of Mumbai blood relatives find it difficult to attend such occasions.
The Nirankari Mission which began in 80’s has done some wonderful social work, they have arranged hundreds and thousands of community weddings and other such noble deeds, without any expectations all through self raised funding from their members. They never craved for Media Publicity, never hogged the plethora of Spiritual Channels which Market the new age babas.
RIP Baba Hardev Singhji,