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Emergence of Dera Sant Sarwan Dass Ji Sach Khand Bal & A great spiritual saint-Sant Pipal Dass Ji

Satguru Ravidass Ji has said that there is no difference between saints and Almighty. Saints bless the astrayed people with NAM-simran. Among such saints, there was one highly spiritually enlightened saint named Shri 108 Sant Pipal Dass Ji Maharaj. He was born in village Gill Patti in Bathinda district. His grandfather had decided to settle permanently at Gill Patti after shifting from Kuttiwala and Joganand villages. Sant Pipal Dass Ji’s earlier name was Shri Harnam Dass Ji. The parents of Sant Pipal Dass Ji were religious minded and Shri Pipal Dass Ji used to chant NAM of God under peepal tree sitting in solitude. The villagers had deep regard for him. He took up farming of his land. He received education in Gurmukhi. He was a very good scholar of Punjabi and Amrit Bani. He used to read the books which contained apathetic and renunciatory themes. He was very fond of tree planting. The beri tree planted by him still exists in the village Gill Patti. He was married to Bibi Shobhawanti who was a religious minded lady. He was blessed with NAM by Sant Mohan Dass Ji. They had two sons. The eldest son was Sewa Dass Ji and younger was Sarwan Dass Ji. Sarwan Dass was five year old when his mother Bibi Shobhawanti died. Sant Pipal Dass Ji was very sad. After some time he left Gill Patti village assigning the duty of farming to his eldest son Sewa Dass Ji. By travelling though various towns and villages, Sant Pipal Dass Ji ultimately, reached village Bal. However, he decided to settle at village Ballan in Jalandhar district. The scenic beauty and natural surroundings and dake trees of village Bal tempted Sant Pipal Dass Ji. He decided to settle there. Moreover, the residents of the village showed utmost regard to Sant Ji. After some days Sant Pipal Dass Ji left for Singriwal village along with Sarwan Dass Ji to bless NAM to the sangat there and to meet Shri Kaloo Ram Ji. But Sant Sarwan Dass Ji asked his father that he had been feeling sad and depressed, so please take him back to village Ballan. Both came back and the residents showed them great respect and offered a mud house for their permanent stay there. Here Pipal Dass Ji continued worshipping Almighty and read out teachings and amritbani of Satguru Ravidass Ji to the sangat every morning and evening. There was one peepal tree in the village which was totally dried up. The sangat of the village requested Sant Pipal Dass Ji to make it green again so that the people might sit under its shade in the summer. However, Sant Pipal Dass Ji watered the tree and it became green in course of time. This incident changed the name from Shri Harnam Dass Ji to Sant Pipal Dass Ji. Mark juergens Meyer in his religious book “Religious rebels in Punjab” had beautifully described as under. “Sant Pipal Dass established the Dera at that location, near village Ballan, around the turn of century while wandering in search of truth. When he encountered the place, he found a peepal tree which appeared to be dead, but after he watered it, it sprang back to life. Pipal Dass understood this as a clear indication that truth was to be obtained on that spot, so he solicited nearby villagers to donate the land and began constructing his Dera. It soon became the centre of pilgrimage for lower castes and other villagers from all over central Punjab and from its inception it was a center for the veneration of Guru Ravidass.” It was a worshipping place for the devotees of Ravidass Ji Maharaj, Sant Pipal Dass Ji used to meditate in the west of the village Ballan along with Sarwan Dass Ji during the day in solitude SachKhand Ballan has come up at this place. A school was also started at Ballan Dera where Punjabi and Amrit Bani was taught to children. They were taught the life and mission of Satguru Ravidass Ji. The sangat brought food for him. Sant Ji preached to abstain from intoxicants, not to believe in rituals and superstitions and to respect parents. When a great social reformer Babu Mangoo Ram Moogowalia was struggling for the establishment of AdDharam and collecting the historical data of Maharishi Balmik Ji, Satguru Namdev Ji, Satguru Ravidass Ji and Satguru Kabir Ji, he came to meet Baba Pipal Dass Ji collecting literature on teachings and writings of Satguru Ravidass Ji Maharaj. The word spoken by a Sadhu is always truthful. Whatever Sant Pipal Dass Ji uttered proved to by true. Once Sant Pipal Dass Ji visited the house of Baba Shami Ram Ji. He took pity on their poor financial condition. He told him that they get out the required grain from the kothi and it will remain full. He also asked them not to check up that the kothi is still full or not. They took out grain from the kothi for 13 months to see whether it is still full. To their amazement the kothi was still full of grain. But thereafter the kothi became empty as the grain was taken out from it. Sant Pipal Dass Ji visited Arjanwal village to the house of Shri Waryama Ram. His wife requested Sant Ji that she had no child and her mother-in-law always taunted her and threatened her to compel her to leave the house. Baba Pipal Dass solaced her and told her that she would be blessed with five sons and truly, five sons were born to her including Giani Joginder Singh Ji. One day when Sant Pipal Dass was going to the village Bal to have some offerings from residents. He was in his own spiritual mood. He stopped in front of the house of Namberdar Piara Singh for alms. Smt. Mohan Kaur w/o Namberdar Piara Singh offered the offering to Sant Ji and politely requested that you were pride of the lowly, shelter for the poor and hope for the hopeless. There was no dearth of anything in my house but I have no child kindly bless me with this gift. Sant Pipal Dass Ji was moved by the request of Mohan Kaur and told her that in due course of time Almighty would bless her with five sons and advised her and her husband to worship NAM daily. Baba Ji came back to Dera. Truly after gap of some years five sons and a daughter were born to her and all the children were very nice having good manners. The entire family always praised all the saints of Dera Sach Khand Ballan. Shri Wattan Singh and Bibi Kesari Devi were living in Muradpur village andafter some time shifted to Alawalpur in Jalandhar district. Whenever Baba Pipal Dass Ji visited their residence, he always asked them to prepare saltish chapaties. When once Baba Ji went to their Muradpur house both Bibi Kesari and Wattan Singh humbly requested Baba Ji that they had no child and politely submitted that he should bless the couple with the gift of a son. At this Baba Ji asked the couple to solve five sweet patasas in water and then knead the flour with that water and prepare the food. They did so and prepared the sweet food for Sant Pipal Dass Ji which he took gladly and thereafter told the couple that Almighty will bless them with the gift of four children. Truly four sons were born to the couple. And doing such kind and munificent acts to the needy and poor, the great saint Baba Pipal Dass Ji left for his heavenly abode on Thursday, first Navrata, in 1928, to be one with the Almighty. The poet Tota Ram had rightly writtenJeewan ke udharne ko paapian de taarne ko Moorakh sudharne ko aaye sansar si Bachan raseele tap tej de hatheele Vishe paanch jin keele shiv shankar murar si Unni sau pachasi bikrami si maheena assu Chhabbi din gaye chhad ditti gulzar si Veerwar din pherr time vi swer wala Poorva nachhattara mein pujje mokh dwar si. Baba Pipal Dass Ji was cremated towards east of village Ballan where the Smadh Angitha was erected. In the Dera Sach Khand Ballan, a room having minaret on its top is dedicated to the memory of the great spiritually enlightened saint. He left very rich legacy to his saintly son Sarwan Dass Ji who later established the Dera. The Dera is symbolic of spiritual highness and noble values. His Barsi is celebrated on first Naurtatra by holding Bhandara, satsang and hoisting of Dera Nishaan Sahib.

Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass Ji

Sant Sarwan Dass Ji was born on 15th February 1895 in the family of Baba Pipal Dass Ji and Mata Sobha wanti Ji at Gill Patti Bhatinda. After the joti jot smaye of Baba Pipal Dass Ji, Sant Sarwan Dass Ji took over the Dera. He held the sangat in high esteem. He himself was a highly disciplined saint. Since the days of Baba Pipal Dass Ji, he used to come out of the village to a distant quiet place and meditated there for longer hours. He attained divine enlightenment. He had padam (flower type of symbol) in his right foot. It signified his predetermined divinity. He built a Kutia of mud and sarkanda on one kanal land donated by one Shri Hazara Singh of village Bal. At this place an elegant mandir stands erected . He moulded his life to three norms SEWA-SATSANG-SIMRAN. He became famous and an example for others for noble values. He treated patients with free Ayurvedic medicines and divine blessings. Also he used to teach children. He strongly preached education among children in including girls. He liberally donated funds for schools, technical schools, colleges. There was one raised platform in front of the kutia on which Maharaj Ji always meditated and held satsang. In course of time, Sant Hari Dass Ji joined the Dera. Later Sant Garib Dass Ji and Sant Niranjan Dass Ji dedicated themselves to the Dera and joined Sant Sarwan Dass Ji. They all joined for Sewa of the Sangat under the guidance of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji. The writer has been fortunate enough to be close to Sant Sarwan Dass. He spent his night at his place at in village Bal. He always got up at 3.00 am. After bath he would sit in Samadhi. At the dawn of the day, he would go out for a long walk. Then he would come to Dera and give ayurvedic medicines to the patients, redressed individual problems of the devotees. Discussion on divinity were held with the saints and scholars. As soon on he was free from these engagements, he would start satsang. Then he would ask one or the other saint or any devotee from those present to recite amrit bani. This continued up to lunch. After lunch all devotees were requested to go to their homes. Maharaj Ji took rest for some time. He would again start religious discourses in the after-noon. A little after sun set, Maharaj Ji daily went to spend his night at village place. There again used to be satsang. Many devotees from the Village Bal used to attend night satsang. After ardas at about 10 pm, Maharaj Ji would allow them to go to their homes. This was the daily routine. Many devotees and saints used to recite sacred bani exhorting us to worship God and to do noble deeds. Many sang soul touching songs in melodious tunes conveying the message of Bhakti. There used to be calm and serene atmosphere. Indeed, Sant Sarwan Dass Ji became successful in creating a cult among the devotees to do good, to learn, to work hard, to spread love and affection, to make life meaningful, to do noble deeds, to be pious, to be an ideal and worthy person and above all to always remember God. He vehemently preached against rituals and superstitions. Following the foot prints of Guru Ravidass Ji, he laid stress on equality, fraternity, dignity, brotherhood. He was very practical. He asked his followers to discard traditional customs and beliefs which are inimical to the growth of human beings. Sant Sarwan Dass Ji was highly distressed when he ever heard of oppression of theweak. He shouldered the cause of the poor and the down-trodden and dedicated his life to the welfare of humanity. He wanted their unity and that inspired them to struggle for regaining their human rights and dignity. In those says there were stray incidents of opression and insulting the poor on the pretext of the religion, religions books, religious place, bani, Bhagat, Guru and the like. He was a great visionary saint. As if he had a premonition of future course of incidents, he held the opinion that Ravidassias should have their own supreme place of worship- the Ultimate Place of Pilgrimage. He shared his views with other leading contemporary saints, scholars, intelligentsia, dignitaries. All supported his opinion. But they extended moral support only. The onus to build a temple on the birth place of Guru Ravidass Ji fell on Sant Sarwan Dass Ji alone. He traced the birth place of Satguru Ravidass Ji at Seer Govardhanpur, Varanasi. The construction of 7- storey grand temple was completed during his life-time itself. His dream was fulfilled. Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir, Seer Govardhanpur, Varanasi is the supreme gift he has given to the humanity. Today pilgrims from the world over visit this holy temple and seek blessings of Satguru Ravidass Maharaj Ji. Sant Sarwan Dass Ji fell ill. In the last satsang he held on 11th June 1972, he asked to recite Juggan de jug beet jaange Tainu milni na manas dehi Juggan de jug beet jaange. After the satsang he was taken to American Hospital at Ludhiana where he left for his heavenly abode on 11th June 1972 at about 12 p.m. Huge number of followers from far and near attended his cremation on 13-6-1972 in the premesis of the Dera. His body was placed in pyre. It was lit by Sant Hari Dass Ji and Sant Garib Dass Ji. After a short while when the flames engulfed the pyre, a sudden three four feet high gush of stream of blood flowed from his body out of the pyre. It was an unprecedented phenomenon. Probably, he conveyed a message for us all for sacrifice for the poor people.

Shri 108 Sant Hari Dass Ji

Shri 108 Sant Garib Dass Ji

Shri 108 Sant Niranjan Dass Ji

Qaum de Amar Shaheed

Shri 108 Sant Rama Nand Ji

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