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Bandginama (English ) - Book By Raghbir Singh Bir

Foreward To The Book 'Bandgi Nama' By Raghbir Singh Bir

In spite of the affluence, the material comforts and the advanced technology by which Man has reached the realms beyond the moon, he is not at peace either with himself or with the world. Man, in his arrogance, makes plans and depends for his happi­ness upon their fulfilment. If his plans succeed there is no end to his desires. He becomes greedy and selfish. It adds to his lust. Lust is an animal passion. If his plans fail he bemoans his lot. The result is there is tension, anxiety and fear all round. Finding no way out he runs after shadows. He feels frustrated anti realizing the peace of mind evading him, in spite of economic euphoria, he begins to wander and wonder, and eventually, through trial and error, real as that there must be a refuge somewhere else. A  that "somewhere", S. Raghbir Singh Bir tells us through his book, Bandgi Nama, is in the "Name of the Merciful," wherein exists comfort, peace and happiness, unalloyed by woe and worry.

The author does not preach theories; he has been a practical man who has experienced the bliss of living in the Divine, and sets an example of material and spiritual progress and attainment, for those afflicted with the malady of tension and unrest in spite or abundant material comforts and plenty of treasures. A realized man ascends not to become shunya, or "nothing", but in the spirit of love and sacrifice, goes forth among the poor, sick and the needy to serve them, sharing fruits of his labours and spiritual ideals with them in a spirit o~ brotherliness.



Bhag Singh, (Captain) M. B. E.
Dated 26th February, 1981 Editor, The Sikh Review. 


Preface Of The Book 'Bandgi Nama' By Raghbir Singh Bir

Sardar Raghbir Singh Bir's Bandgi Nama, written in Punjabi, has provided spiritual solace and enlightenment for the Sikhs for many years. It has now been translated into English with a view to making it available to non­-Punjabi speaking readers who are interested in religious and meditational issues. Although the book is an outstanding interpretation of Sikhism it is not at all sectarian in outlook, and the followers of other religions can profit by reading it and using it as a guide for progress in their spiritual journey.

Sikhism is one of the great world religions; the teachings of the Gurus transcend the limits of caste and creed as also of time and place. The universal appeal of the Guru Granth Sahib is evident not only in the catholicity of Gurbani but also in the inclusion of hymns composed by Hindu and Muslim Bhaktas. By quoting extensively from the Holy Book and explaining the essence of its leading ideas in simple language the author has not only cleared the way for a new understanding of the Sikh view of life but also established fresh links between the Sikhs and other religious communities.

Bandgi Nama is not an academic study of metaphysical problems. It is not a philosophical dissertation, although it could not have been written by a person whose mind was not deeply rooted in philosophical knowledge and illuminated by philosophical insight. As a frank and convincing record of the author's own spiritual experi­ences it is primarily a practical guide for earnest seekers of Truth. As a true Sikh he lived the life of a householder, performing his domestic duties on lines prescribed by the Gurus but declining to be diverted from the real purpose of life by domestic entanglements.

At the initial stage of his quest of Truth he asked himself t h e question : "Why must I try to realize Truth"? Like many others, he "defied and resisted" the "inner voice" but meditation -- Simran-- "metamorphosed" him and "recre­ated" him "in spirit".

He did not share the common idea that one should not divulge one's spiritual experiences. He says, "Our spiritual stock does not shrink or dwindle by sharing it with others." Apparently he thought --quite rightly--that some seekers of Truth might find his experiences helpful in their difficulties.

The author was prompted to write this book by his "firm belief that a correct interpretation of religion could transform men into angels and this world into a paradise." In particular, he aimed at diverting the mind of the young generation--tending to be "materialistic and atheistic" under the "influence of Westernism" -- to the right path by "unfolding to them the great spiritual treasures we have inherited from our forebears."

The "spiritual treasures" unfolded by him in this book are a heritage of the Sikhs in a special sense, but they form a part of India's common heritage and provide a stimulus for nation-building on the basis of abiding values.

"The central aim and aspiration of the Sikh," says the author, "is to see God, to realize God, to be one with God". In his effort to achieve this "aim" the Sikh seeks guidance from the Sacred Book, of which the two "central, essential points are: "God and His realization through Naam".

The Word is the substance of the teachings of the Gurus-- "a vision of their souls, of their Spirit, of their life experience". By regulating life in the light of the Word, one merges--at the final stage of one's spiritual journey-- in "the Light of all light."

At that stage there is "something indefinable, ineffable, a sense--indescribable--of joy". One basic point--essential to all spiritual efforts--is stressed by the author : "God cannot be realized through mere devotion, meditation, self-effort, cleverness, ritualism, or Tapas, or even merely through Simran; God can be realized only through His own grace." Grace--the indefinable blessing­-" manifests itself when we purge ourselves of self or pride, and take to Simran ,or adoration, with our whole heart."

The author communicates to the reader, with exemplary lucidity and through apt quotations and examples, the meaning of dedication of life to One who is Sargun, Nirgun and Nirankar. He has written a book which should be read again and again, not only by believers in Reality, but also by those who are troubled by "honest" doubts.

11 February, 1981 Formerly Guru Nanak Professor,
  Jadavpur University.


About the Author 'Raghbir Singh Bir' of 'Bandgi Nama' 

S. Raghbir Singh Bir, I scion of the distinguished family of Jawahar Mal Ahluwalia who was chief engineer in charge of the arsenal of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was born in Lahore on 7th October, 1896. He lost his mother when he was 1.5 years old. At the age of four under the inspiration and guidance of his grandmother, Sardarni Bishan Kaur, who was a lady of great devotion, young Raghbir Singh began to practice "Simran": He continued this practice all through his academic career while studying Sikh history side by side. He was married at the age of 14 to the eldest daughter of S. Sulakhan Singh of Gujranwala. She died after two years and he was married again to Sardarni Rawel Kaur, eldest daughter of S. Sundar Singh Jaspal of Kapurthala, who remained his life long companion right upto his demise.

A graduate from the Khalsa College, Amritsar, he took an active part in social and religious activities and wrote patriotic poetry, growing to be a poet of the masses. His most inspiring masterpiece which he sang himself at the Sikh Educational Conference held in Lahore, was "Bajan Walia tere school andar asan sunia ke lagdi fees koi na" became a household song in many Sikh homes. His first book "Bir de Tir" was banned by the British Government as seditious, in the wake of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy which had a great impact on his youthful and sensitive mind. He joined heart and soul in the Akali - Movement and had to go underground several times on account of his anticolonialpoems.

His father, S. Lehna Singh was a high official in the Indian Railways. But S. Raghbir Singh refused to join the British government service. He came to Calcutta in 1922 and started his business. In 1940 he started Atam Science, a monthly magazine. Earlier, he _joined in partnership with S. Niranjan Singh Talib and established Desh Darpan, a daily Punjabi Newspaper in Calcutta. In 1940 he started the Gurmat Prachar Society in Calcutta for the propagation of Gurbani and Kirtan, which continues to this day. It was in Calcutta that he conceived the idea of establishing a Sikh Convent and, for this purpose, created the Atam Science Trust in 1955.

His endeavours bore fruit and in 1957 he established a Sikh Public School at Dagshai, Himachal Pradesh. Later in Delhi in 1969 he created another trust known as the Gurmat Prachar Trust for the propagation of the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs.

Bir-ji passed away on 14th April 1974 at Dagshai where he spent his last 17 years devoting hi ms elf solely to the service of God and Simran (meditation). He is the author of a dozen books, in Punjabi, on how to live a holy and happy life in this troubled world.


Table Of Contents of The Book 'Bandgi Nama' By Raghbir Singh Bir

  FOREWORD: Capt. Bhag Singh, MBE i
  PREFACE: Prof. Anil Chandra Banerjee ii
  INTRODUCTION: Dr. Hira Lal Chopra V
I. Joys of the Spiritual Journey 1
II. Who is a Sikh 14
III. Gurbani - The Word of God 19
IV. Sangat---The Holy Congregation  28
V. Prayer 36
VI. Simran : Rememberance of God 55
VII. Three Stages of Simran : Ascent up to God 66
VIII. Gyan----The Divine Wisdom 82
IX. Nurturing Faith 101
X. Humility Exalts 114
XI. Tyag-or Self Renunciation 118
XII. Miracles and Reality 124
XIII. Samadhi or Trance 130
XIV. Light Blending with Light 135
XV. The All Pervading Presence 145
I. Confluence Of Prayer, Simran and Gyan 152
II. How we can be Tid of Evil 156
III. Nature of Sickness 161
IV. The Parental Home & Bridal Home 166
V. Play of Honest Doubts on our Mind 170
VI. Divine Grace 173
VII. The Persisting Bug-Bear 178
VIII. Need for the Guru or Spiritual Teacher 185
IX. Diet for a Spiritual Seeker 192
X. Human Frailty 195
XI. Guru Worship 198
XII. Interpretational Pitfalls in Understanding Gurbani 200
XIII. God Centere V. Self Centered People 208
XIV. Submission to God's Will 210
XV. The Quest For Spirit Divine  
  - How to fight Apathy and Impatience 223
XVI. Creator and The Seeker  
  - A Many-Splendoured Relationship 228
XVII. Knowing and Achieving 240


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