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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha/Akhand Kirtani Jatha cont'd

The concept of the ‘Rensbai’ is an ancient Indian Hindu holy practice, which was adopted by the A.K.J. Bhai Gurdas Ji writes with regards to the Hindu Sikh Bhagat Sain thus:

‘Listening to the glory of Kabir the second Sikh became the barber Sain.
He indulged in loving devotion of God at night next day he goes to King’s court.
The Sants came as guests Kirtan was done Ren Sabai
‘Varaan Bhai Gurdas’, Bhai Gurdas Ji, Var 10, Pauri 16

Bhagat Kabir
An early 19th century sketch depicting Bhagat Kabir (right) with a disciple

After Bhai Randhir Singh, the most noticeable member of the A.K.J. was the late Fauja Singh.

On 17th May 1936, Fauja Singh was a Jatt Sikh, born in District Gurdaspur to a middle class family. His father was Sirdar Surain Singh, a farmer by trade. After the partition of India, Fauja Singh and his family moved to the village of Gazneepur in Gurdaspur District. He got initiated into the Khalsa whilst he was still in his village during the 10th grade of education. According to A.K.J. sources, this ‘Amrit’ that Fauja Singh took was not valid, as he had not received ‘Naam’ (the exclusive esoteric mantra which the A.K.J. believe is held by them).

Fauja Singh
Fauja Singh lost his life during his fight against the 'Nakli Nirankaris' in 1978

As a consequence of this, according to A.K.J. sources, Fauja Singh’s spiritual hunger was not satiated. At this tender age, he ran away from home for over a month, and sought spiritual solace in the company of ‘Sants’ and ‘Sadhus’ (Sikh/Hindu spiritual individuals). On passing the 10th grade, he enrolled into the Khalsa College, Amritsar where according to the A.K.J., he fell into 'bad company' and strayed away from Khalsa Sikh practice.

He once again abandoned his studies and ran away. According to the A.K.J. biographers of Fauja Singh’s life, he spent over 2 years seeking spiritual peace by visiting ‘Deras’ (abodes of spiritually enlightened souls). He eventually came across what the A.K.J. claim was a ‘false Sadhu’, whom Fauja Singh began to serve.

Fauja Singh and Wife
Fauja Singh seen here with his wife, Amarjit Kaur

As a gift for his service, Fauja Singh was given a 'mantra'. This, he contemplated for over 2 years. Meanwhile, his distraught family sought him everywhere and even placed adverts in newspaper columns. Eventually, his family found him and forcefully brought him back home. For the next few years, his family kept a good eye on him to ensure he did not attempt to run away again.

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