On the occasion of Sant baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s Birth Anniversary on 1st May, we remember and honour him, and promise ourselves to keep his legacy alive.
Sant Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s journey is a story of inspiration and resilience, from humble beginnings to many achievements. He has gained respect for his relentless dedication to serving humanity and firmly rooted principles. Let’s dive into the remarkable story of Baba Iqbal Singh Ji and how his legacy continues to inspire us all.
The Transformative Role of Mother in Shaping Character
Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s journey to greatness was kindled by the mesmerising tales of legendary characters that his mother, Mata Gulab Kaur Ji, lovingly recited. From the awe-inspiring virtues of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Sahibzada’s to the captivating stories of Dhruva and Bhakta Prahlada, Baba Ji’s young heart was entranced by their unwavering devotion and courage.
Baba Ji often said that Mata Gulab Kaur Ji’s care and guidance laid a solid foundation of spirituality and honesty. These stories of sacrifice, bravery, and unshakable faith left an indelible mark on his heart and soul, igniting a fire within him to pursue greatness. Baba Ji always emphasised that a mother holds the power to shape a child into a ‘Saint’ or evil, and he attributed his remarkable journey to the virtues instilled in him by his beloved mother.
Unconventional Routes to Spiritual Enlightenment
Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s journey towards spiritual enlightenment was sparked by a blissful meeting with Sant Teja Singh Ji [M.A., LLB. (Pb.), AM (Harvard USA)], a disciple of Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji(Mastuana sahib), a revered spiritual leader. Baba Ji knew he had found his spiritual teacher as their profound teachings and undaunted humility enthralled him. While pursuing a master’s degree in Agricultural Science, Baba Iqbal Singh Ji remained deeply connected to Sant Teja Singh Ji, seeking his guidance and wisdom.
After completing his M.Sc. in Agriculture, Baba Ji joined the Department of Agriculture with the Punjab government. However, his heart was set on fulfilling Sant Teja Singh Ji’s vision of revealing the Tapo Bhoomi at Baru Sahib. Driven by his passion for spirituality and commitment to his spiritual Master’s teachings, Baba Ji transferred to the Agricultural Department of Himachal Pradesh.
Fueled by resolute faith and dedication to Sant Teja Singh Ji’s vision, “Baba Ji” established The Kalgidhar Trust and Society, which has positively impacted the lives of many. His teachings and guidance have kindled hope, fostered spiritual growth, and illuminated the way for those seeking purpose and direction. Many professionals have been inspired to join Baba Ji’s mission, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly and leaving behind their professional lives. They have found a tranquil state and soulfulness in Baba Ji’s cause, exemplifying his boundless compassion. His enduring brilliance inspires generations, as numerous individuals have been drawn to his mission and have found deep fulfilment in contributing to it.
Surrendering to the Guru’s Grace for a Blessed Journey
Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s life-changing moment occurred when he was about to embark on his PhD studies in the USA. With all the arrangements in place and while preparing to leave for the airport, he sought the blessings of Sant Teja Singh Ji. During this time, someone from the sangat (congregation) mentioned to Sant Ji that Baba Ji was going to the USA for his PhD studies.
Sant Teja Singh Ji’s penetrating question, “Is this the aim of your life?” shook him to the core, making him realize that his aspirations lacked true purpose. Baba Ji surrendered to Teja Singh Ji’s wisdom, overwhelmed with emotions, changing his path and attributing his journey to greatness at that pivotal moment.
This turning point in Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s life was a spellbinding reminder of the power and guidance of Akalpurakh in shaping our destiny. He echoed the Saints’ teachings, conveying that by surrendering to the True Guru and practising their teachings, one’s affairs are resolved, and their path becomes blessed.
With unwavering faith, Baba Iqbal Singh Ji continuously shared the profound understanding and embodiment of these teachings, inspiring countless others to follow the path of surrender and devotion to the True Guru. He used to disseminate the wisdom of Guru Granth Sahib Ji
— “je ko bachan kamaavai sa(n)tan kaa so gur parasaadhee tareeaai”
— One who practices the Teachings of the Saints, by Guru’s Grace, is carried across, and
— “man bechai satigur kai paas, tis sevak ke kaaraj raas”
— One who sells his mind to the True Guru, that humble servant’s affairs are resolved, resonated deeply with those who heard it.
How a Visionary Leader Transformed a Jungle into a Modern-Era Gurukul
Inspired by the profound teachings of Sant Attar Singh Ji (Mastuana Sahib) and his disciple Sant Teja Singh Ji and driven by faith and devotion, Baba Ji started the first school at Baru Sahib in 1986 with just five pupils. This began his vision for a Modern-Era Gurukul — a unique blend of spiritual and scientific education.
Baba JI’s vision was challenging. He faced criticism and scepticism when he laid down certain principles for the school —a simple dress code of churidar pyjama kurta with a gol dastar(round turban), starting each day with spiritual hymns during Amrit vela(sacred pre-dawn time), and abstaining from serving non-vegetarian food. However, he remained steadfast in his beliefs. He held onto the timeless wisdom of Guru Nanak’s words, “Jis kaa kaaraj tin hee keeaa maanas kiaa vechaaraa Raam”, knowing that it was the Divine’s job, and He had done it; what could a mere mortal being do? With this conviction, he put his efforts into the mission, leaving the rest to the hands of the Almighty.
Today, the results speak for themselves. From a humble beginning with just five children, the mission has grown into a large group of 129 CBSE-affiliated English-medium schools and two private universities. The school is affiliated with renowned boards like the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge. Baba Ji’s journey is a delightful example of how firm faith, dedication, and belief in a higher purpose transform dreams into awe-inspiring realities.
Transforming Lives, Shaping Generations
Baba Ji, a visionary leader, recognised the urgent need for women’s empowerment in India, particularly in northern regions where gender discrimination and female feticide are prevalent. To address this, he initiated the AIRWE (Akal Institute of Rural Women Empowerment) program, which aims to provide education and employment opportunities to rural girls in educational institutions operated by the Trust.
Baba Ji firmly believed that educating girls is equivalent to educating an entire generation, as women play a pivotal role in shaping families and communities. He deeply respected the girls, whom he called “devi’s” (goddesses), and recognised the power of value-based education in transforming their lives and those of their families.
Through the AIRWE program, Baba Ji envisioned empowering rural girls by breaking the social norms favouring boys over girls. He sought to positively impact the male-female ratio in northern India and promote gender equality.
Baba Iqbal Singh Ji’s life is a compelling story of spiritual awakening, selfless service, and inspirational leadership. From his humble beginnings to his role as a revered spiritual leader, his persistent conviction, guidance from his mother, and vision for a Modern-Era Gurukul have shaped his remarkable journey. Through his efforts to promote education, environmental sustainability, and holistic living, Baba Iqbal Singh Ji has become a luminescent exemplar of inspiration, embodying Sikhism’s teachings of oneness and inspiring countless individuals. His story is evidence of faith, perseverance, and service, resonating with readers seeking wisdom and inspiration from his exemplary life.