Words cannot do justice to a personality like Sant Kirpal Singh
Esteemed worldwide as a great Saint of the 20th century, embodiment of kindness and mercy, He gave out the living knowledge of the true nature of man whose aim is to return to his origin – God, and emphasised the value and dignity of each individual as a conscious being or soul. Sant Kirpal Singh did not teach any new faith. He treated the subject of spirituality as a science.
His teaching was universal: He ever refused the idea to mould all religions into one, but pointed out their common core in all His talks, lectures and writings, quoting Sages and Prophets, Saints and Masters of all epochs. Competent both in theory and practice by having passed through experiences of spiritual nature, He gave a key to understand the right import of the scriptures, which is often hidden under archaic terms. Sant Kirpal Singh's books were translated into several languages. Disciples from different faiths and various nations were guided by Him to a deeper understanding of their own religion by the practical spiritual experience He was able to impart. His life was the living example of His teaching.
The early years
Sant Kirpal Singh was born on 6 February 1894 in Sayyad Kasran, in the part of India situated in today’s Pakistan. Growing up in a pious Sikh family, He attended a Christian missionary school in Peshawar. An excellent student, He was a voracious reader of classical works and books on mysticism from His early age. Since His childhood He showed love and compassion for others, not limited to His own family. For instance He came forward to serve hundreds of people during the epidemic of lethal influenza that overtook India in 1919 inspiring others by His example to help. At that time He was already married and in the service of the Indian Government.
Time of search
He was captivated by the question about the aim and purpose of human existence. An extensive study of the scriptures of various religions and the writings of Saints and holy men in English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Punjabi could only afford an ephemeral satisfaction to Him. After a long time of search and deep prayer He finally was led to His Master Baba Sawan Singh.
During twenty-four years He was combining spiritual discipleship with the duties of a householder and the demands of His high post, with hundreds of employees under Him. He retired in 1947. In the difficult time of the partition of India, often risking His life, He helped all refugees alike, irrespective of their religion, whether they were fleeing to India or to the new established Pakistan. In 1948 Baba Sawan Singh left his body, and Kirpal Singh, in distress, left for Rishikesh. When after some months He returned, the newly independent India was still under the shock of the secession of Pakistan and the unbelievable suffering that entailed.
Beginning in Delhi
According to the instructions He had got from Baba Sawan Singh, He went to Delhi to which the Punjabi refugees were pouring, and started His work there. In the very beginning He went by bicycle to the park and gave heart to heart to talks on spirituality. By 1951 a site was purchased on the outskirts of Delhi and a centre was built. Soon His reputation grew as a holy man who actually lived up to what He preached and to what the scriptures said and His work widespread more and more.
Visiting the West
Three World Tours led Him to the West in 1955, 1963-64 and 1972, where He gave public lectures in the major cities of Europe and America and met many religious, political and social leaders.
World Fellowship of Religions
In 1957 Sant Kirpal Singh was unanimously elected President of the World Fellowship of Religions, an office He was to keep for fifteen years and four World Conferences convened by the World Fellowship of Religions.
Man-making, man-service and land-service
As an important facet of His work, in 1970, on 6 February, the conception of a "Manav Kendra" – "Man Centre" – was presented to the public. Man-making means character-building and evolution of the mind and soul along with the development of the physical life. Service to the suffering is a basic condition for the spiritual growth. A suchlike centre was to be eventually self-supporting and would serve as an agricultural example for the farmers in the area – combining traditional methods with scientific know-how. Sant Kirpal Singh was well informed and deeply concerned by the outer conditions of humankind, and He stated, "A hungry man is an angry man and to talk about God to him is a mockery."
Punjab tour 1973 – commissioning the future Manav Kendra
During His last Punjab Tour in October 1973 Sant Kirpal Singh visited Nag Kalan (Amritsar) the homevillage of His disciple Dr. Harbhajan Singh. There He laid the foundation stone of the hospital on 14 October. Sant Kirpal Singh asked Dr. Harbhajan Singh if he has any wish as he has never demanded anything from Him in his life. He said, that his only wish is that His mission should florish in the world. Sant Kirpal Singh was very happy and answered, "So far nobody had demanded such things, it will happen like this. This power will work with thousands of hands and there are many people in the world with right understanding. They all will come together and work with you." On 24 October, Sant Kirpal Singh visited His little Farm in Nawanshahar along with Dr. Harbhajan Singh and said, "The Manav Kendra I wanted to build is not yet built, it will be built here". There He took one rice corn and some water and said, "Time will come when from all over the world people of all religions will come and it will be a common platform for all." This place is now named as Kirpal Sagar.
World Conference on Unity of Man 1974
The outer climax of His work was the calling of the "World Conference on Unity of Man" from 3-6 February 1974 in Delhi. Two thousand delegates from all over the world and about 50 000 non-delegates participated. Among the distinguished guests – religious, spiritual and political leaders – was the Prime Minister of that time, Mrs Indira Gandhi, with members of her cabinet.
This world conference was the origin of the movement Unity of Man. The same year, on 4 April 1974, Sant Kirpal Singh gave instructions for His further work to his disciple Dr Harbhajan Singh, indicating that his tenure was going to end.
At the Kumbha Mela
Sant Kirpal Singh's untiring efforts on behalf on unity were going on. A short time later, on 12 April, at the Kumbha Mela at Hardwar, He organized a large number of sadhus and holy men into the National Unity Conference, pledged to work together for the elimination of religious strife and the economic uplift of the poor.
Speech at the parliament
On 1 August, at the invitation of the Indian Government, Sant Kirpal Singh spoke to the members of the Lokh Sabha (Indian Parliament) on 1 August 1974 – the first time in history that a spiritual leader was invited to address the parliament.
Commissioning the further work
Until 17 August, He continuously had heart-to-heart-talks with a couple of western disciples who stayed in His ashram in Delhi. Four days later, on 21 August, 1974, Sant Kirpal Singh left his body forever, in the presence of Dr Harbhajan Singh, who was commissioned by Him to carry on His noble work.
He guaranteed that for the time coming He Himself will be responsible for the inner work and conscious people or Gurmukhs (developed disciples) will take on the task to explain the theory and to give a practical example for a spiritual life. On 21 August, when asked, "Who will be our saviour after you?" Sant Kirpal Singh was holding His finger above and said, "He already did and He will do in future. You need not to worry. He has done everything."