BABA ATAR SIṄGH, (1866-1927), of Mastûâṇâ, the most charismatic figure in latter-day Sikh piety, was born on 13 March 1866 in the village of Chîmâ, in Saṅgrûr district of the Punjab. His father, Karam Siṅgh, was a farmer of modest means and could not afford to send him to a school in town. So Atar Siṅgh was apprenticed to Bhâî Bûṭâ Siṅgh, head of the Nirmalâ ḍerâ or monastery of Bhâî Râm Siṅgh, in his own village. He acquired proficiency in the Sikh religious texts and also read philosophical treatises such as the Vichâr Sâgar. Side by side with his progress in Sikh learning, he developed a deeply religious cast of mind. While tending his cattle, he would become absorbed in reciting hymns from the Gurû Granth Sâhib.


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