Wednesday, May 9, 2012
PURAN SINGH STUDIES.
A GREAT SIKH Prof. Mohan Singh The late Prof/Puran Singh was a great Sikh; Sikh not in the narrow sense of the word, as a disciple of this and believer in that, but in the general, all-inclusive sense of the term, as one who like Dattatraya gleaned from every store and plucked from every garden. It was in May 1927 that I first met Puran Singh at his residence, Ivanhoe, in Dalanwala, Dehra Dun. He seemed to be at the height of his intellectual power. We did not know each other before, but such was the fullness of his love for every seeker, howsoever humble, that within an hour of our meeting he was fast travelling on the road of self-revelation in a most confidential mood. And these confidences were, of course, entirely literary and spiritual. I caught the contagion from him so that when he stormed the citadel of my self-possession by the sweet, piercing query—what is your personal belief (or something very similar). I hesitated not a moment and surrendered the whole structure of my beliefs and hopes and fears and superstitions. You had only to touch a particular chord in him when such masterful music will flow as will sweep you along with it in any direction it chose. We started correspondence. From the one letter I happily preserved and which I reproduce below, the reader will be able to judge how very profound even his casual correspondence was and how soon did he allow his acquaintances to enter the inmost recesses of his heart. The comments in this letter were evoked by a note from me reflecting that pessimism which is natural to intellectual youth—what Goethe calls Wertherism. MY DEAR MOHAN SINGH, Your letter of 15th. I would like to see the Chapters of your new book, but the tone of your vehemence against religion in the East is somewhat in the nature of a misplaced enthusiasm. Why should the mere existence of the Himalayas where it is, obstruct the vision of a poet. What have you who aim to sing out your soul, whether in pain or in pleasure, to concern yourself with the heaps of dirt that lie in the bosoms of these ancient races,—Mere pointing out is not removing them. To say it is all darkness can never make light in its place. But you are young and you have to ebulliate in your growth. Thank you for your two poems, I need more of your work, the context of the background of your poetry to say anything about it. I wonder you write in Urdu, instead of in Punjabi. I find the Urdu language is incapable of any easy and spontaneous expression. It, as a language is more or less stiff with strange but harsh formalisms and mannerisms. Do send me your books when they are ready. Yours in Religion, PURAN SINGH P.S. By the way there is no poetry which is not religion and there is no religion which is not truest and highest poetry. There in that one letter you have the whole man, like the whole heaven reflected in one small clear pool in a pasture. Religion and Poetry, Poetry and Religion, these were the food he ate, the air he breathed in and breathed out. The first meeting had made that clear to me. I was face to face with a man who in all the various types of religious experience he had gone through during 30 years or so— Buddhism, Vedanta, Sikhism—had been concerned, chiefly if not entirely, with the poetry of such experiences and in all the poetry he had been reading or writing he had been pledged mainly to seek and express the poet’s attitude towards things and thoughts spiritual, eternal, infinite—that is, things religious. This search would naturally take the disciple to men with very strongly developed tendencies—such men, whether poets or religious mystics, as had moulded song-toys of the mixed clay of Art and Philosophy Poet-saints were his ideals; Bharthari, Miran, Qurat-ul-ain, Carlyle, Whitman, Okakura, Nanak, Ram Tirath and others of the holy fraternity attracted him. In this attempt to present an artistic religion and to preach the gospel of a religion of Art there was absolutely no break. In spite of what Puran Singh himself every now and then asserted in the vein of a new, enthusiastic convert to Sikhism—its monotheism and institutional devotionalism—the present writer is convinced from abundant testimony in Puran Singh’s works that he never for a moment got away from under the influence of Vedanta which though later absent from his writings so far as transcendental terminology is concerned, ever revealed its hold on him in that deepened longing for eternity and that extended attitude towards the infinity of effort. Let me quote from him in proof. The Seven Baskets of Prose Poems was published in 1928 by Kegan Paul. Strange is Thy Illusion in everything, Thou allurest all, Both in hunger and in lust, in sin and in pleasure, in vice and in virtue men and birds and hearts Seek Thee Beloved ! Thou knowest all, they know not. Thy one touch, thy one look bestows on me an elevation of soul that rings from pore to pore of my flesh, and it mounts to the skies, it spreads over lands and waters. “I” is dead and a deeper music plays in my being that no other music comprehends. I dive deep into the infinite everywhere, What strange cup of life is in thy hands of which when I drink, I am satiated, I need no knowledge then ? The need of personal touch, of personal experience is a basic soul—deep need of every poet and mystic. Where sex-love has not come and been later sublimated, the love of a disciple for the Guru, sharing some of the ecstasies of sex-love, takes its place, and the disciple offers all his hunger, all his praise to his Guru. When the personal influence of Swami Ram waned after his death, Puran Singh looked for inspiration elsewhere. His return—if one may so call it— to Sikhism was but natural, considering that it offered for the spending of his treasures of devotion something more definite in form and more near in time and place than the Krishna-cult provided for his type of mind. What added good Sikhism brought to Puran Singh is uncertain, but, on the contrary, this is certain that Puran Singh’s interpretations of Sikhism have done an immense amount of good to the cause of the Gurus. What, however, appeals most to me personally is neither the glorification of Sikhism nor the religion-ization of Art; it is the humanization of the relation between men and God, between men and animals, between men and men and the artistic expression of that fact as so many emotional pictures or as paintings of actual things. The most enduring part of Puran Singh is such poetry : Thou art the betrayed girl who seeks faithfulness of man in her own tears, And thou the condemned man who seeks a friend that would love his crimes and betrayals. Thou art the little girl just risen from bed rubbing her eyes of wonder, who washes her face in light and sees herself in a mirror, and goes out skipping over her rope on the grass, and how thy hair jumps in air. Thou art the spoilt Child of God, that wastes the wealth of the sky on the beauty of a sinner’s face that no one else doth see, on the pride of the grass of life, wherever found. (A Hymn to the Dawn) Desire flames still And illusions of beauty inflame it more, Love wishes to grow new; And soul fettered in clay longs for a fresh colour, for a glory more than before; In my heart is the same nut-size pain; I can not think, I only ache and ache ! The infinite is made small by love and a falling tear gives all the knowledge one needs. And we wondered as we roamed on the shores of the oceans of love, in what strange coincidences lies the secret of growing ever-young and new ; And we wondered more as he wandered on to the shoreless, feeling a way to God in touching each other’s limbs, and taking steps swift and sure in a vast blue emptiness that still separates, as they tell us on the way; man from God, holding each other by the arms, we went in converse sweet. Brother Puran Singh Sir Jogendra Singh I met him by an accident. I was on my way from Lucknow to Lahore and at Jullundur Puran stepped into my compartment robed in yellow silk and radiant with life. He was then full of oneness with God, ready to lose his own identity by definite declaration that he was Rama and Rama was he. I had heard of him and it was a joy to meet him. The meeting was the beginning of a friendship which grew stronger as the hours counted out our days. It was at the Sikh educational conference at Sialkote that I persuaded him to speak at a Sikh meeting and this proved a turning point in his career. He met Bhai Vir Singh and found in him an interpreter, who won his love and he became filled with the word of the Guru. He was a wonderful worker, ideas pressed on him for expression with a rapidity which his pen could not compress. I think I am not far wrong in saying that no Punjabi has written in English and Vernacular more books than he. He was rich and deep in style and caught glimpses of radiant realms that swept him off his feet. His thoughts came robed in passion and every word with him was faith and every lecture was a torrent of feeling which rushed and joyous appearance was consuming himself: his spirit was free but his flesh was clearly failing. He always declared “I must be free, free as the air,” And his heart burnt for his country and he and Dr. Khuda Dad, both trained chemists dreamed great dreams of economic development and worked for their realisation and merely faced the agony and experience of mundane activities refreshed for the fragrance of the flower of their friendship which knew no fading. They marched together through good times and bad times as they did in the spring tide of their youth. All my heart goes to Khuda Da in his loneliness. Puran had great ideas of economic development but he had no love of money, and money does not stay with those who wish to use it. The Higher values spurred him on to action and he launched upon experiments which often landed him in difficulties, but his work even in physical domain lives. The lemon grass oil from his farm is now in the market and during the war their little laboratory supplied the world with Thymol. The deep unchanging Puran-Khuda Dad friendship may serve as a beacon light for communal understanding and its spiritual riches may invade the country and fill it with wealth which remains with us for all times as the heritage of the soul. As 1 sit and write a thousand memories are rushing for expression but they are too sacred to he revealed. We miss him more than any words can describe, but we feel, that he has gone home and rejoices in the freedom which this earth denied him. We mourn his loss but his spirit is with us. Smiling he stands close to me and his son’s letter in my hands unfolds the story of his last days: “On October 1930 my father was at Lahore. He was getting slight temperature. The doctors diagnosed it as due to an infection in the right lung, and advised him to take a treatment of rest and good diet. For this purpose he was brought to Doiwalla and was kept on a very rich diet, which consisted mainly of meat. He got strong and his fever also disappeared. But after a month he got a severe attack of gout which was due to meat diet on which he had been kept. This was so painful that it undid all the good that the diet had done him. He would now get very high temperature, some times rising to 103. It was now decided to try the Pneumothorax treatment. This was in the last week of December 1930. This treatment did not prove to be a success, since the lung had certain adhesions and could not be completely compressed. The result was that the temperature would not come down appreciably. Also my father got disgusted with this treatment. So in the last week of February this was stopped. It was then proposed to try the treatment of certain antitubercular vaccines of Italian make. This was started about the middle of March. But about this time his condition became very weak. He grew weaker and weaker every day. The disease developed into galloping pthisis. But even now he had unusual energy. Although he had become so weak that he could only talk in a whisper, he would still like to talk. He would like people to sit around him and to hear him talk. He was very interested in the newspapers. He remembered you some times. Two days before his passing away we read out to him your letter, enquiring after his health. He was very pleased to hear it and asked Dr. Khuda Dad to write to you immediately. It was on the morning of the 31st March he called for my mother and asked her go get him weighed. But he was too weak for that. On that day he was rather weak and his breathing was unusually heavy, but yet we did not think that his end was so near. At about 1 O’ clock he called Dr. Khuda Dad and told him that he was feeling very uneasy. Dr. Sahib said that it must be due to the heat and that he would be alright soon. Father then said “I am going, you are always optimistic.” But Dr. Sahib did not think his end to be so near. At about quarter to two his great soul passed aw^y from this world. At that time my mother and a few more ladies were reciting “Bawan Akhri” and he was listening to it peacefully. There was a strange influence in’th’e room. People who were there say that they felt that moment to be a mement not of separation but of a great union. Some strange calmness pervaded the room. And for twenty minutes after his passing away there was silence in the house.” Brother Puran And My Trip To Japan Damodar Singh I and brother S. Puran Singh left Rawalpindi on 28th Feb., 1900 for technical education in Japan and sailed from Bombay on (I think) 5-3-1900 by Nippon Yuson Kaisha Company’s Steamship Komagota Maru, a 4000 ton boat which was mainly a cargo boat but carried a few passengers also. At Bombay we met Mr. Bodas, a Bar-at-law, an advocate who had given to us all information required for technical education in Japan and to the late Bhagat Gokal Chand M.A., who acted at that time as Secretary of the Ahluwalia Biradari Educational Council. Mr. Bodas gave us further information that we needed and also gave us two letters of introduction to Mr. K.D. Kulkarni, a Maharatta student sent by Gwalior State Government who was studying mining and Mr. Rama Kant Roy from Calcutta who also was a student of the Mining Engineering College at the Imperial University of Tokyo. In Bombay we also called Mr. Ranade, a High Court Judge for whom the late R. B. Bhagat Narain Dass had given us an introductory letter. Judge Ranade also give us some information about the conditions in Japan. The Boat sailed on the 5th March, 1900 and called first at Singapur and halted there for 3 days to take in some goods. We visited the botanical gardens and others sights round there. We met some Sikhs serving as Police officers and some as chowkidars. They were very cordial to us and invited us to dinner and we enjoyed Indian dishes at their place. Then the boat called at Hongkong and stopped there for 4 days to unload and load some cargo. We found Hongkong a beautiful city by we used to go out for long walks. The view steamer at night is beautiful. The roadlights and building lights present a charming view, the boat being on a slope by the hillside. One day we started for the Bluff, a hill top is called so there. When we went half way, brother Puran stopped there and refused to go any further. He said that he felt tired and’ was fed up with the climb. With great difficulty I persuaded him ‘and took him to the top of the hill and when he enjoyed the view of the sea from there, he was very pleased and thanked me for bringing him there. In Honkong also we met many Sikh ex-soldiers who were working as chowkidars. and policemen. They were very cordial to us and invited us to tea and offered, nay pressed us, to taste their wine, but we declined and they were surprised to learn that we, though Sikhs, were poor people from Punjab Sikh villages where most of the people were addicted to wine. From Hongkong the boat reached Moji, after a voyage of a week, a southern port of Japan and from there we reached Kobe port after 1½ days. As the boat was to stop at Kobe for a week to unload its cargo, we shifted into another light steamer of about 1500 tons which was to leave for Yokohama, the next day. During this short journey of about 12 hours we suffered very badly from sea-sickness due to the boat being light and rolled and pitched greatly, besides the weather was also rough- We thanked God when we reached Yokohama. Yokohama is the sea port for Tokyo and is a very important and large industrial town as well. Here we met our new friends, Mr. Ramakant Roy, Mr. K.D. Kulkarni and Mr. D. S. Saligram, students from India who were already studying at the Tokyo University and Technical School. We had wired to them from Kobe that we would be reaching by the boat at Yokohama wharf at noon. These kind friends received us very cordially and took us first to the hospitable and good Sindhi Merchant, Mr. Wassiomul AssumaH’s house where we were entertained to a sumptuous lunch. We enjoyed our Indian meal very much after having been fed up with English food on the steamer for so long, as we were not used to it at all. At about 3 P.M. we left Yokohama by train for Tokyo and reached Shimbashi (Railway Station for Tokyo) in an hour’s time and from there we got into rickshaws and reached the house in Yamashi to street where our friends were residing. There were already five Indian students at that time in Tokyo : (1) Rama Kant Roy studying in the Tokyo University; (2) K. D. Kulkarni doing mining; (3) S. D. Shaligram doing Applied Chemistry at the Imperial High Technical Institute Tokyo; (4) M. Tambat taking practical training in pencil making and match manufacture and lamps manufacture etc., in the factories; and (5) another student learning soap, candles and essence manufacture in the factories. We had to decide what industries we should take up. At first it was decided by us that brother Puran Singh Ji should take up glass manufacture and learn it theoretically at the Technical School and practically at a factory, and he started attending a factory. I was advised to take up pharamaceutical chemistry at the University due to my sober, methodical and careful way of doing things So. I went up to the Head of the Pharamaceutical section of the University and told him of my aim. He asked me if I knew German language. I replied in the negative- He informed me that all books used in the section were in German, the Head Professor Mr. Nagai was a Chemist of German qualification and all the other students knew German. So I would not be able to follow the lectures etc., unless I first studied German language. He discouraged me very much. So I returned disappointed to my friends. Brother Puran Singh by now had got fed up with the work at the glass factory. He said he would see if he could study German and take up Pharmacy as his subject. He wen t to the University and fortunately for him he met the Assistant Professors who told him, “It is a very good idea. You have to know German but you can do both things. Join the class and take up German privately. I shall help you and do all I can for you to make your work easy and shall also teach you German.” So brother Puran Singh decided there and then to take up Pharmacy and from the next day began to attend the University classes in Pharmacy and also started taking lesssons in German language also which he continued for about six months and picked up enough German to be able to read technical books in German. The Professor was very kind to him in his work at the Laboratory and in the lecture hall by explaining to him important things in easy Japanese and English after the lecture in German was over. We had started taking lessons in the spoken Japanese language also after our arrival in Japan for about three months as colleges did not begin new session till after three months. Then with the advice of other Indian students I decided to take up Electro-mechanical Engineering Course at the Imperial High Technical Institute as the training in it was more thorough and practical there in the University and I joined the Institute. Before we finally took up our respective studies we had spent about three months in learning the spoken Japan Language and visiting different factories, manufacturing a number of things such as pencils, matches, maps, soaps, paper medicines, toys, sewing machines, cotton mills, shoes, buttons, needles, calico-printing works, essence, etc. etc. In those days the manufacturers were very cordial to us and showed us all their factories without reserve. We also visited important and famous shrines and other worth seeing places such as Kamakura where there was a statue of Buddha about 60 feet high (if I mistake not) and Nikko temples and Kyoto city, the old Capital of Japan & Osaka the largest industrial town in Japan. I should relate also our visit to Fujiyama (the highest 12,000 feet extinct volcano in Japan). We took a Japanese friend, Mr. Honda, with us as a gujde and left for the railway station (I forget the name) from where the pilgrims went up to Fujiyama, for there is a small temple at the top of the mountain as also about 2 small hotels which remain open through the summer months but close down for five winter months when the top is covered with snow of 10 to 15 feet depths. We reached the railway station X in the evening and put up in a Japanese Yadoya (hotel) and made enquiries about the trip to Fujiyama (Yama means mountains and Fuji means snow). Next morning we took our breakfast early and carried lunch and water bottle with us and left for Fuji at 6 A.M. It was in the beginning of September 1900. We were told that the foot of the hill, from where the ascent started was only about 3 miles from the hotel, but actually it was not less than 6 miles, for it took us two hours to reach there. Then the ascent started and at about noon we reached only half way up, this climate being very difficult due to the sides on which foot paths were covered by thick sands. We took our lunch there and after relaxing for about half an hour we began to climb again. After walking up for half an hour brother Puran got very much tired and fed up and declared that he would go up no further as he was dead tired but would return to the hotel. I entreated, begged and even scolded him for this behaviour but he would not listen. He told me that I might go up with the guide friend and return to the hotel next day, but he himself would go back from that place to the hotel. I told him that I could not permit him to return to the hotel alone as we did not speak Japanese and were strangers to the country so it was not safe to go alone, but he was adamant. I then told him alright I would also return to the hotel with him but would never forgive him for the foolish and mulish behaviour that he was resorting to- We had come from Tokyo for the object and underwent so much expense of the journey and had covered more than half the ascent and he wanted to break off and return to Tokyo. We started to go down the hillside and partly covered about 200 feet when brother Puran changed his mind and revoked his former decisions and asked me, “No, brother Damodar you are right. We should go up to Fuji. So come Damodar let us retrace our steps.” I was very much annoyed, cut up and disgusted with him, so now it was my turn to teach him a lesson. I refused to accompany him. I told him that I had found out how fickle-minded and unreasonable he was, so in the future I would never go out anywhere with him and I must return to the hotel. Then brother Puran began to humour me, cajole me, embrace me and kiss me saying he was only joking with me. I to’d him that I did not trust him any more. Then our friend and guide intervened and told me not to be foolish like Puran and go back from this place without climbing to the top. He said that Puran’s conduct and behaviour were most unreasonable but that I was a sensible man. So he asked us to go up. Brother Puran again embraced me and entreated me to forgive him. So I agreed and we started the climb again. It was a stiff climb and we were dead tired when we reached the top of Fuji and tumbled into a Yodya (Japanese hostel) and asked the guide friend to make our beds and let us relax. We got under the quilt and lied down (as it was very cold up there) and slept for about two hours when our friend woke us up and asked us to eat something. We were not inclined to eat anything but he pressed us to have a few cups of Ama Yoki (sweet soup of semi boiled and ground rice). So we took about 8 small cups each and slept again till early in the morning before sunrise. I went out and noticed the sun just rising at the horizon out of the sea. I rushed in and pulled brother Puran out of the bed and brought him out to view the wonderous sight. Oh ! it was amost enchanting and glorious sight to see. A large bright golden disc gradually rising out of the sea. The sky was very clear so it presented to us a most beautiful sight such as I had never seen before. We were high up and the sun was rising from a level 12,000 feet below us. He sent us into Vismad and when we moved away, brother Puran embraced me and profusely thanked me for showing him a never to be forgotten wonderful phenomena. Then we took tea and started going round the crater, the circumference of which was a mile round. The crater’s depth was about 500 feet and it was shaped like a funnel (V). Snow was lying on all sides on its slopes. There were 8 lakes in the country round Fujiyama from 6 to 10 miles distance and the view presented by these lakes was very beautiful and glorious. We returned to the top Yadoya, then had our breakfast and started on our downward journey back to the Railway Station Hotel. It was a most enjoyable view that we had and brother Puran thanked me again and again for taking him to Fujiyama. The next day we returned to Tokyo and described to our Indian friends the sight that we had enjoyed. In 1902 (please verify the year) a great famine took place in India and so we Indian students decided to collect funds for famine relief in India. We set up a relief committee with a few responsible Japanese public leaders such as Mr. Okakura, a leading artist, Prof. Taneka, Baron K-handa, and others and appealed to the public through Japanese press and by holding meetings in Tokyo’s different localities. We also went to other towns and delivered lectures; arid collected about 20,000 zens and sent the amount to India. The leading part in this work was taken by Puranji for he was gifted with power of speech and his lectures were very effective in melting people’s hearts and make funds pouring. f (SoUrse our lectures had to be translated by a Japanese scholar into Japanese for the audience. Japanese news-paper editors also helped us by writing articles on the pitiable conditions of the famine stricken people and by printing the pictures of skeltons looking like Indians. When we reached Japan, the Indian students were receiving only one newspaper in Bengali and one in Marathi. Then it was decided by Puran to appeal to other leading national newspapers to send us their copies without charge and articles would be contributed to them from Japan by the Indian students. So we wrote and requested several newspapers such as Bengalle (English) and the Amrit Bazaar Patrika from Calcutta, the Leader from Allahabad and the Hindu from Madras, and the Maharatta from Poona. In (I think) April 1903 brother Puran became ill and was laid up with fever for 2 or 3 days. I did not pay much attention to the fever thinking it would be ordinary malaria but when temperature persisted and began to rise and the doctor who was attending on him could not diagnose what kind of fever that was, he advised me to remove Puran to an appropriate hospital for diagnosis and treatment as an indoor patient. So I with the help of other students shifted Puran to the hospital recommended by our doctor. The temperature began to rise and brother had severe headache as well. The doctor-in-charge of the hospital tested his blood and discovered typhoid germs in it and began to treat him for that. A nurse was engaged to attend on the patient and I visited him morning and evening after school hours. His condition became bad and temperature went up to 106 degrees. So the doctor wanted to cut off his hair and keep his head covered by ice, but Puran stopped him and told him to send for me (D. Singh). 1 was called to the hospital and the doctor told me that the patient’s condition was not good due to very high temperature and so to guard against complications due to high temperatures and its effect on the brain, he wanted to cut off the patient’s hair to be better able to apply ice bags to the head, but the patient had stopped him and had refferred him to me to permit this. I was silent for a few minutes and did not know what to advise. After a few minutes I asked him whether by resorting to that treatment he would be able to save Puran’s life. He replied he could not guarantee life but that was the best treatment for the condition the patient was in. If the fever could be prevented from affecting the brain the patient would live. I decided there and then and told him to do what he could and prayed to save Puran’s life. In a letter of 26.7.48 Damodar Singh wrote thus about this passage. “In my notes on brother Puran Ji’s life, please correct the para regarding removing his Keshas like this as under, or better insert this and strike off the old one : “When the doctor asked me to permit him to remove Puranji’s hair as he thought that was the only way by which he could probably save his life by keeping his head cool by keeping it well surrounded by ice baggs, I permitted the doctor to do what he thought best and save dear Puran Ji’s life at my cost, and that if Puranji lived, he would grow his Keshas again. I told brother Puranji also that I had permitted the doctor to remove his hair but that he should grow Keshas again and keep them when he got well.” The doctor removed the hair and immersed brother’s head in ice bags, at this time the brother was feeling an unbearable headache and restlesness. I went near him and spoke to him affectionate and encouraging words. I told him that the doctor was almost sure of his recovery and he should not feel sad and worried, everything would be alright in a few hours. But inwardly I was very much affected and tears began to trickle down my eyes when the brother with folded hands wished me adieu (perhaps he inwardly suspecting that to be our last meeting). I felt very much depressed and left his room. I went and sat in the doctor’s room for sometime. When I returned to his room the doctor told me that the patient was in delirium. I brought my bedding to the hospital and stayed there for the night. The brother was not alright, at times he was in a swoon and at times he would utter some words which we could not understand. After 2 days his temperature came down from 106 deg. to 105 deg. and then it began to decrease gradually and the doctor became hopeful and assured me that I should not worry any more the crisis had passed, the patient would live. On the 4th day that I was in the hospital his temperature came down to 102 degrees and then the doctor and brother told me to go back to my lodging and attend the school and visit the hospital in the evenings as there was no danger then. The brother’s fever left him after 21 days and then he began to gain strength. He was moved to our lodging house after 1.1/4 months and rested there for another fortnight. I then gradually began to go and attend the college. At the college laboratories he worked very hard. Sometimes he would start work at 9 A.M. and continue working till 8 P.M. and his professor was very much impressed by his intelligent and diligent work and the brother became a favourite of the professor so much so that the professor often took Puran to his house for tea and dinners. Once the professor gave brother some sea weed to extract iodine from it. The brother started the process as directed by the professor. The brother was already working on extractions in another experiment in the laboratory. Sojduring these experiments he somehow neglected the iodine work and the result was that the weed was overheated and partially damaged and only 1/4 quantity was left thus causing the Department 100 Yen loss. But the professor said nothing to Puranji. He only gently told him not to be one-sided but attend to all things that were under preparation. In the year 1903 (I think), a leading artist, M. Okakura with another professor friend of his mooted this idea, of holding a world religious conference in Tokyo, Japan. Without informing us he advertised about it in some newspapers of leading countries like America, England, France, Germany, India and China. But their plan did not succeed. In the Indian newspapers that we were receiving we read about this proposed religious conference. But we found nothing in the Japanese Newspapers about it nor amongst the public. No preparations afoot about it were visible. It was due to the purposers not joining with these leading newspapers of Tokyo and the religious heads in Japan that the scheme failed. We Indian students felt it our duty to inform leading Indian newspapers in India that there was no sign of any such Conference being held in Tokyo and so the religious Heads should not incur the expense of journey to Japan for it. We also cabled this information to the Bengalis of Calcutta, the Leader of Allahabad and The Tribune of Lahore, and also wrote letters to them. But Swami Ram Tirth had made preparations to attend the religious conference and he left India before our cable was published in the newspapers and reached Japan in the month of (I think) June, 1903. He came straight to our lodging as he knew our address through brother Puran Singh’s articles that were published in newspapers from time to time. He told us that he had come to attend the world religious conference that had been advertised to be held in Tokyo. We told him how the matters stood but insisted on him to stay with us and we would introduce him to the leading public men and religious heads in the country and also arrange for his lectures if he desired to deliver on Vedanta, etc. Brother Puran was deeply impressed by Rama’s talk and discourses that he held with us Indian students and other professors and learned men of Japan who came to see him, so that so that he donned a yellow garb and began to chant ‘Hari Om, Om, Om’ day and night. Swami Rama also took special interest in him and began to treat him as his favourite and held prolonged and deep discourses with the brother. For some days the brother did not go to his college and laboratory. Eventually he was advised by me and the other Indian students that he should complete his course of studies, even though he had taken to Sanyas. He began then to attend his college and laboratories in his yellow garb. The professor and his Japanese friends were curious to know how that change had come over him. But the brother told them he had taken to Sanyas and that was the garb of a Sanyasee. He began to chant ‘Om, Om’ most of the time he was not busy otherwise. The brother loved Swami Rama so intensely and devoutly that he began even to look like Swami Rama. Eventually Swami Rama left for America with one Mr. Chathra, the owner of a circus that had visited Japan in those days and brother Puran was left alone. The brother had Rama’s constant company for two months when he was in Japan. Brother Puran also felt a great urge to follow Rama and to go to America and asked me to arrange for his passage or he himself would approach Indian Merchant friends to get him a passage to America. After his conversion to Sanyas the brother gave up correspondence with his parents and other friends in India. The letters from his father, mother and sisters were not being opened by him. He became a different person. I used to open his parents’ letters, read them and used to send them news about Puran’s welfare through my parents. When the brother insisted on proceeding to America, I threw his parents’ letters into his face and told him how had he the heart to neglect and ignore those people whose all future hopes rested on him, they would all die of broken heart and want, if he went away to America and was lost to them. This way I scolded him, I begged him, I entreated him and livingly persuaded him by turns. I told him of what worth was Sanyas that ruined the lives of so many of his people. I read to him a few most pathetic and appealing letters from his devoted mother and from his younger sister Ganga and made him listen to them. I wept when reading those letters, but though outwardly he showed no signs of having been moved but I thought those letters made a deep impression on him and touched his tender heart and made him waver. He would never obtain peace of mind and bliss, I told him impressively, when so many souls of his life and blood relations were pining for him in India and curs ing him for their misery and starvation. The blood of his family members would be on his head if he forsook them and went away to America instead of returning to his people in India. My entreaties succeeded and he stopped talking of going to America from Japan. I told him that he had been saying that he was free like air and could and would go anywhere, if that was so he should return to India, visit his parents and like Gautama Buddha preach to them his great message, restore to them peace of mind and after that sail forth for America and even North Pole if he wished, and then I would not object to his going. Puran Singh —Dr. Balbir Singh TOWARDS the beginning of the twentieth century, Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India wrote in one of his letters : “There is no doubt that a sort of quasimetaphysical ferment is going on in India, strangely conservative and even reactionary in its general tendency. The ancient philosophers are being exploited; and their modern scribes and professors are increasing in number and fame. What is to come out of this strange amalgam with European ideas thrown as an outside ingredient into the crucible—who can say ?” Round about that time, a senior student, in Lahore, Khudadad by name was studying Light of Asia. A dark shadow of renunciation began to cast its sombre gloom on his mind. Hardyal, another gifted student caught the infection from him. The vision of Nirvana loomed large on his mental horizon. Self-sacrifice to save others soon began to exert its compulsive force. Puran Singh, a science student in Japan, began to lead the life of a Buddhist Monk in order to realize objectively the essence of ‘Abandonment.’ Such was the spell of the book, Light of Asia, originally written some eighteen centuries earlier by Ashva Ghosh and now rendered into English by Edwin Arnold. It was not a textual translation from Sanskrit into a modern language; but something more. It was in a way putting the old doctrines into the melting crucible and taking out a crystallized version. In the fusion process the old script lost its original theological impress and came out as a powerful human document with a universal appeal. Puran Singh was a young man of twenty-one (1902), going through a hard training in pharmaceutical chemistry in Tokyo. He had in his an ideal element, a vague melancholy, a moonshine of joy different from the exuberance of healthy objectivity. Physically he was handsome, temperamentally volatile, mentally unstable, ready to sacrifice material gains but with an inordinate appetite for fame. He had a voluble fluent tongue. Besides being a vivid conversationalist, he had become a public speaker. This facility he acquired as he became the Secretary of the Indo-Japanese Club. The more he would speak, the more he was in demand and each performance helped to shape him into an orator. On the pulpit he was alway restless. He would soar high and open the floodgates of emotion through the imagery of his impassioned speech. As he spoke his words gained momentum and the audience would feel the warm impact of glowing sparks. As a monk all this stood him in good stead. It was in Kyoto, he said : “that an old priest offered me a whole pure estate of a Buddhist temple, with a beautiful Japanese landscape garden full of plums, cherry and bamboo trees.But I thought I was too innocent to lead the life of a professional priest.” The code of discipline for a Buddhist monk in Japan was not so hard as say in a lamasery in Tibet, still the aim was not different, inasmuch as it related to building metaphysical power through psycho-physical controls. It was the influence of the Zen cult that had modified the hardships of monasticism in Japan; still Puran Singh was feeling ill at ease wrapped within the sacerdotal robe of piety. It was not for him to seek purification through pain. Nor could he be convinced that the ordinary pleasures of life were positively harmful in the process of cleaning the mind. It was difficult for him to fall in line with the thought that popularity and fame pervert the soul leading it astray from the path of piety. As a matter of fact he felt the other way round. He would experience the cleansing effect of his own talk. While speaking he would flow into a detergent river of words. It is common knowledge that any stream of water carried with in the potentiality of self-purification as it proceeds scurbbing against the atmosphere. Puran Singh had a large lung capacity. He was an extrovert, caught in the ceremonial rigidity that sought to impose the code of a disciplined introvert, It did not succeed. Conversation and lectures became his favourite hobby. He could talk on any subject. There never was a plan in his theme, no logic, no sequence of arguments. The fire of his emotion would fuse the irrelevency and bestow upon the topic a coherence of a liquid stream of eloquence. Of one speech (in Japan) he says himself, “I had made no preparations for my lecture. I went and rose and spoke and thrilled the audience.” Kyoto, according to him, ‘Was Zen, Osaka, Kobe and Yokohama of Confucius cult, Niko and Komakura pure Buddhist, Tokyo Taoist.’ He was a great thriller. It was in Tokyo that he met the great person Okakura. This meeting was fruitful and had an enduring effect. It provided a new guideline. Puran Singh was not searching for Atman (self) through abstract meditation. His pursit was not knowledge that seeks to transform itself into virtue through stoic restraint. He was not for mental calm of Sunyavadin that comes through steady comprehension of cosmic vacuum. His quest was for ‘life. He was not so much concerned with the art of making a cup but with the art that fills the cup in such a \yay that brims over and spills in perpetual inundation. When he met 6kakura he put him a question. In his words : ‘I asked him. What is life ?’ No reply came from the Master1 of Bijutsuen—The Academy of Japanese Art. He sat silent, “His Mangolian cheeks grew rosy like those of a blushing Persian maiden, and down rolled from his closed eyes the pearl drops of ecstasy; so time passed in songful silence, till suddenly Okakura seemed to grow large like mother Nature and to rise from his seat. He uplifted his arms and raised his eyes uttering broken words that still thrill me. “Down from below the mud rising upwards through the turgid waves of the waters of Maya upon its stem seated invisible, seeking life from the depths and from the heights, the lotus rises higher and higher and yet higher, until it bursts out in the glory of its full blossom on the Blue Waters. The glory of the full Blossom.” And the master closed his eyes again and was silent. Puran Singh began to look for the rising buds in the inner pools of the muddle of mind. At that time Japan was going through the process of industrialization. Scientific education had caught the imagination of the nation. The West .was being copied at the blueprints of occidental machine were being translated into working models. The chimneys were belching smoke. The strangest thing however, was that whereas imitation was key to success in the domain of manufacturing processes, the horizone of art was kept pure. No imitation could pass its threshold. The dividing line between the East and the West was sharp and distinct. It was really the Western artist who first noted the distinction. It was a European critic who became conscious of the fact that in the East there is a deliberate avoidance of copying the Nature. Men like Okakura were laying the emphasis that Nature is a raw material. It is only a source, a stuff, a stimulus, an incentive. The artist has not to copy it. He has to impose his own heartbeat, on his creation. It is this subjective oscillation flowing from the brush of a painter that imparts the ecstasy of his mood to his creation and makes it original. The greater the artist, the more vitally vibrant is the frequency with which his brush quivers. Nature is thus conquered through the laws governing man’s own rhythm. Puran Singh’s mind was enriched with these Eastern traditions. In a very original but diffused way he began to express himself. Later in life his thoughts were crystal clear. What gems he produced in the following lines : “I love to see the brush of the wind painting cloud figures in the sky.” or “I love all shapes—be they of brass or gold, of stone or chalk—only they should bear in them the touches of the chisel of my master.” In the maturity of his life he expressed himself more aptly. His own inner rhythm was fully asserting itself when he wrote’- “Life interests the artist, and not the dead conceptions of it. The face of the man, more than the sparkle of the diamond. And his Art converts the Universe into the Deity of the Temple of his heart... art., creations in marble and in colours, the flower and the fruit, are in hands of artist just a beautiful alphabet which has its full meaning only when it spells the name of the Beloved.” While talking of art Puran Singh thinks it is the element of feeling which is a check from within that saves art from imitation. He says : “Feeling is all in all. Man is conceived as feeling in flesh, as divine act in flesh, as God’s word in flesh. And while feeling creates its own new form, imitation cannot. Imitation is like making dead status of marble. It is of no interest to the artist of the Guru. Imitation is repetition that has no meaning.” Has imitation any use ? Yes, it has, Puran Singh says: ‘ ‘Imitation has its uses in schools as forms of training but that constitutes no grand expression of the Divine Inspiration.” About originality he is very positive. One has to avoid imitation even of himself. One has to be original to that extent : “The bold and astonishing originality as I have said man-transmuting, age-transmuting originality, is the first sign of the true artist.” Mr. Okakura is rightfully bitter against imitation when he says : “Imitation whether of nature, of the old master, or above all of self, is suicidal to the realization of the individuality, which rejoiced always to play an original part, be it of tragedy or comedy in the grand drama of life, of man or Nature.” The Indo-Japanese Club in Tokyo proved very congenial to his genius. It afforded not only the stage for full-dress rehearsals of eloquence; it also provided opportunities for contacts with eminent men distinguished in art, literature and philosophy. Again, it was here that he came in contact with Swami Ram Tirath. The meeting with Swami Ram Tirath was a turning point in his life. Puran Singh’s description of it is as follows : “It was in 1902...he was on board bound for Japan...He was the guest of Messrs. Wassiamall Assomall at Yokohma for a day on his arrival in Japan. The following day with a companion from the said firm he arrived at Tokyo, and entered the house known as the Indo-Japanese Club of which I was the Secretary, and lived with other Indian students as a resident member of the club...As the man from Yokohama introduced two orange robed monks into the club, a thrill of joy went round...! had gone almost mad with enthusiasm,, though I knew neither of them. Their language was all so strange and glow all so spiritual that it commanded silent obeisance. As, the younger Swami asked me, “Where is your country ?” I replied with tear in my eyes in soft loving accent, tb,e. world is my country. And the elder Swami looked up into my eyes and said : ‘To do good is my religion.’ Thus we met each other in two sentences.” The hook-up with Swami Ram was not of the nature of a confluence of souls. It was like a juicy graft devetailed on to a living stock with its own root system. The green twig of Vedanta took root naturally and began to thrive on the Buddhist sap in Puran Singh. Swami Ram who was a Vedantist, openly declared himself a Buddhist. In one of his lectures he said : “The religion that Rama beings to Japan is virtually the same as was brought centuries ago by Buddha’s followers, but the same religion requires to be dealt with from an entirely different standpoint to suit the needs of the present age. It requires to be blazoned forth in the light of Western Science and philosophy.” This was getting near Okakura who declared “Asia is one” and he knew how under the influence of Buddhism the whole continent once rallied round under one ideology. The stay of Swami Ram in Japan was very short. He went away to America the same year (1902) from where he returned to India in 1905, to die a year later. In Japan Swami Ram created a great impression. His lectures, though in an idealistic vein, had a subdued practical tone. His approach was pragmatic. Japan at that period with an industrial bias in its growing economy could heartily appreciate all that. After his lecture on the ‘secret of success’ in the Tokyo College of Commerce, he met Puran Singh and told him in the most affectionate manner for : “I came (to Japan) not for the Parliament of Religions, but to guide Puran.” Puran Ji replied: “And I forthwith became a clean shaved monk in love of him, and not of anything he taught, for I understood then nothing of that and I am not sure if I understand everything now.” When Swami Ram went to Japan he had a definite mission. He was to address an International Congress in Tokyo to be named ‘Parliament of Religions’ after the style and fashion of Chicago in 1893, which made Vivekanand famous. The Tokyo Scheme did not mature. “Swami Ram left Japan for America from where he returned to India in 1905. He did create an impression in America, but America too put its own impression on his mind. Puran Singh met him at Muthra. He narrates : “I met him after three years. It was winter. He was clad in are orangecoloured blanket, and he met me imperso-nallv, bade me sit by him as he started, and there was a flash of light from his eyes as he said: Sacrifice will secure the freedom of this country. Rama’s head must go, then Puran’s, then of a hundred before others the country can be free, India, mother-India must be free.” One cannot wonder about the concern of Lord Curzon. He was more apprehensive of the quasi-metaphysical ferment in India with the strange amalgam of European ideas thrown as an outside ingredient into the crucible. During his three years stay in Japan, Puran Singh had become a different person. He learnt science and industry in the academic and technical laboratories built in Japan mostly in imitation of the German system. Even German language was being used as a medium for higher scientific studies. But he imbibed the spirit of Japanese art from its environment and atmosphere. The colloidal staff of his mental membrances sucked up the artistic awareness in a subconscious way. This was more a comprehension of culture by permeation through osmosis. Puran Singh returned to India in 1903. He had with him a certificate of higher education in science. He had also with him a bundle of blueprints of distillation units and pharmaceutical machinery. Besides this, he had the distinctive originality of an artist alongwith the long winded lung capacity of a great orator. He still wore the ochre dyed mantle against which his beautiful face gleamed with sunshine radiance. What is his duty ? Of Socrates, it is said, that once on a sea voyage he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in Crete. A Corinthian named Xeniades bought him and asked his trade. Socrates replied he knew no trade except that of governing men and that he would like to be resold to a man who needed a master. Xeniades made him a tutor of his two sons in Corinth. Like Socrates, Puran Singh wanted though unconsciousuly to be sold as a slave to some one who needed a master. That was the riddle of his life. He was restless. A woman was waiting for him. She needed a master who may be bound to her in perfect loyalty as a slave. That woman was Maya Devi, with whom his wedding took place in less than six months of his arrival in India. How this was brought about, has been narrated by his biographers in emotional details. When he agreed to the marriage proposal he did not realize its inconsistency with the orthodox tenets of sanyas. He honestly thought the woman would also go about as mendicant with him as a beggar’s bowl. Though things did not happen that way physically, they were not different in essence. The wife gave him such sympathy, love and devotion that he felt he was really in need of such cushions. Very soon her presence was realized to be so tenderly soothing that his bruised sensitive soul could comfortably relax and rest on this soft prop. It is in this context I read his following poem : “I sought Him in pain, He turned upon me and said : “I am pleasure.”/! sought Him in pleasure, He turned upon me and said ‘: ! “I am pain.”/In renunciation, He came and whispered “I do not live in forests, I live in pearl-palaces./”When I was in palaceis He said: “Go and find me in the foest.”/When I turned my back on woman, He laughed at me and said: “Seest thou not, I am the beautiful Woman !” From 1903 to 1907 Puran Singh had an unsettled life. He got the job of Forest Chemist in Dehra Dun in 1908. Uptil 1912 his literary output was not much. First he started a paper The Thundering Dawn from Lahore and edited it for about a year. Then after the death of Swami Ram in 1906, he wrote a comprehensive introduction to his works collected and published by Master Amir Chand (1908) who was later convicted and hanged in the Delhi conspiracy case. It was during this period that he came across Dr. Khudad (1905) who lived with him and met Hardyal and others. Mr. J.M. Chatterji was initiated into the revolutionary activities by Lala Hardyal and was connected with Ras Bihari Bose, who later threw the bomb on Lord Hardinge. Ras Bihari Bose was a head clerk in the Forest College (Sylviculture Department) and purloined the explosive material from the laboratory of Puran Singh. The bomb was the picric acid gun-cotton type. Although Puran Singh lived in a vortex of insurgence he held different views. He loved liberty and had sympathies with the freedom movement but his ideology was different, He had told Swami Ram in Japan that the whole world was his country. His interests were global. All the revolutionaries who met him in India had territorial limits. Purau Singb transcended the geographical circumspection. He looked to a vaster horizon. His focus was a spacious vista that encompassed humanity from the benefit perspective. In 1912 Puran Singh went to Sialkot. The 5th Sikh Education conference was to be held there under the presidentship of the then Maharaja of Patiala, That was the occasion when Puran Singh met Bhai Vir Singh, a saint poet, who exerted a profound influence on him and reshaped the bare headed monk into a turbaned apostle with a flowing beard. When the actual session of the Conference started the next morning, it was announced that His Highness had not been able to come and that he had sent his Home Minister to deputize for him, who was non else than Sir Joginder Singh, a celebrity held in great esteem in intellectual circles. It was also announced that Puran Singh would speak. Puran Singh was at his best. His lecture delivered in English was like storming a citadel. It was virtually a high blast fusillade of words. Those who understood him were delighted and those who did not were charmed but they cried for his speech in Punjabi so that they might also understand him. There was an enthusiastic encore. The Chairman requested him for his second performance. Puran Singh got up. This was the first occasion for him to use Punjabi as the medium for public utterance. His tone was subdued; he fumbled for words. For a short while he became silent, stood motionless with eyes closed and then began speaking in a musical tenor. His voice echoed from end to end: “This Congregation is a replica for a divine vision. I see before me the personality of Guru Nanak projected in the mirror of the supernal air. I see him changing His aspect into the form of the “Tenth Guru.” His Punjabi accent sounded a bit strange but modulated into the pitch of an oration, it began to unfold in its resonance, the glimpses of his vision. The audience was transported into the dreamland of a reverie. There were many people at Sialkot to meet Puran Singh. He was tired. In spite of his fatigue he met Bhai Vir Singh again in the evening. This encounter added a newer experience. He felt fresh and revitalized. This gave him a novel comprehension. A new orientation came about in his spiritual adjustment. He wrote about Bhai Vir Singh. “Having seen him, I realize how the touch of the foot of the great Rama freed the impriosoned Ahilya.” Puran Singh mentally revolved his whole life around the lives of those who came in contact with him. They all seemed to suffer from spiritual fatigue. It was this thing in his mind when later he wrote about Swami Ram: “He suffered from self-exhaustion, because he did not seek this contact of saints in whose company the exhausted God-consciousness is recharged. He failed to realize the ‘absolute necessity’ of the “Tavern,” and its votaries, emphasized by Omar Khyam and Hafiz. All great prophets thought of holding converse with the inspired.” From 1907 to 1919, he lived in Dehra Dun, his thoughts began to acquire a new dimension in 1912. Although he professed Vedants but there were difficulties. There were others also who immensely liked the Indian philosophy but could not be fully convinced of the Advaita doctrine. C.F. Andrews, although a great admirer of Swami Ram, made no secret of it when he wrote: “With the philosophy of Advaita. Vedanta, as it is often stated in the writing of Swami Ram, I confess I have only a faint and distant sympathy. Rightly or wrongly it seems to me an illegitimate short cut to the simplification of the problem of existence a solution which has overlooked certain persistent facts of human experience.” ; Vedanta had varied meanings in different epochs of India. In Upnishadic times it was a creed of the inntellectual classes. With Shankaracharya, it became the tapering tool of logic with the sharpest diamond point. With mediaeval saints, it was the cementing ground for the unification of hostile religions. With Vivekanand and Swami Ram, Vedanjta ;at the cost of its speculative aspect, acquired a practical role and was pressed into the service for the social resurgence. Puran Singh had his own doubts about the newly acquired sociological temper of Vedanta. At one place he says: “People who breathlessly run about with the fever of somehow or somewhere doing good are like stray boats at sea without their boatmen.” For all such social workers without proper understanding of the philosophical import, he says, somewhere, again “They run about seeking repose...but gather only running restlessness.” In 1912 Puran Singh was just 33 years of age. His genius was ripe. His language lost some of its turgidity and acquired a greater natural flow. As already pointed out there was a new dimension in his thinking. Like Goethe in his youth Puran Singh was of the view that “the beautiful is more than God, for it includes the good.” This was so much the case with him that whatever doctrines he adopted he added a new colouring from his aesthetic angle. Everything seemed to him a raw material for art. But now there was a further swing. Art in its turn became itself the raw material. He added a synthetic note to his expression, and this became the passion for the rest of his life. This suited his taste and temperament the most from which sprang more naturally his later poems. He was conscious of this change. The following quotations will provide the contextual reference : “All is one self, one soul, but inspiration is self-realization which is infinite and not feeble self-perfection and self-satisfaction on one dead level, in one miserable moment.” He is pointing out the distinctive character of his ‘Inspiration.’ Then he categorically says: “With our inspiration nothing is true, with inspiration all is true.” He affirmed this over and over though in different ways. He relegated art which used to be his primary pursuit to a secondary position with his assertion : “There is no religion nor art without his inspiration.” Elaborating his theme he argues : “It is when inspiration has left us that religion assumes the form of ethics, philanthropy, humanity, churches, mosques and temples, hospitals and orphanages, because inspiration needs no such cruthches...”Man needs no ropes around his neck, only animals need to be chained down. The dead and ethical codes of categorical imperatives are ropes for the animals because men always follow the supreme law of their own being.” In the above quotation he uses the word ‘categorical imperative.’ I may add that the allusion is to the Kantian philosophy, Kant’s thesis is that morality does not depend upon anything extraneous, but on the inner urge which he calls ‘categorical imperative.’ Morality thus declutched from Religion. Puran Singh is making out that this moral urge has no independent value. Marx has also said so, though in a different sense. For Marxists there are ultimately no values except economic values and morality to be adjudged on the gauge of economic utility. Puran Singh makes morality ancillary to inspiration, He becomes abstruse when he links inspiration with “Men” in mystic obscurities. Ernest Rhys complains in his introduction to Puran Singh’s Sisters of the Spanning Wheel: “Perhaps the only serious difficulty that will be felt by the Western reader in understanding Puran Singh’s book is tb.3 obscurity caused by the identification of the Guru, the earthly Master or teacher with the Almighty Father, the Guru who is above all. The same word is often used for both.” Puran Singh in his later writings wanted to clear this point but the more he explained the more nebulous he became. Puran Singh modified doctrinal Vedanta into living inspiration. It was difficult for him to work otherwise. The extreme sophistication of logic had reduced Vedanta to face a situation in which “Things are by virtue of what they are not and they owe their existence to this ‘Not being’ which is their origin.” A position like this would clog the inspirational side of his mind. Puran Singh had a scientific training. He accepted the position that ideas are true only when they can be verified and corroborated. But his inspirational side gave him the power to as similate ideas owing their origin to imagination. But there was always a concrete content to his fantasy, as opposed to the mental abstraction leading to the metaphysical void. Puran Singh’s quest was on a different footing. The famous English philosopher, Bradley (died 1922) had pronounced his dictum: “Truth is nor quite true.” This was the net result of the turning of the full beam of searchlight of philosophic inquiry. Puran Singh’s approach was not metaphysical, nor aesthetic although they were components in his thought complex. He came to a realization on which was based the original ‘existentialism’ of Kierkegaard, the keynote of which was: “Subjectivity is Truth.” Puran Singh gave the measure of ‘subjectivity’ a special name “Surta.” It is a Punjabi term used to mean consciousness. In the Guru Granth it is used in a variety of senses. Bhai Vir Singh in his writings used it as a measure to gauge inwardly the rise and fall of one’s inner spiritual sensibility. In Puran Singh it acquires the role of a dominant note. He can rise in his ‘inspiration’ and the scale of Surta becomes the measure of the level thereof. He says: “This strength of Surta is not like the strerrgth of muscles, or of steel, t is the strength of the poet’s imagination. It is intensity that burns and whose-light no darkness can him...And the greatest strength of the Surta, is not in itself but in its attunement with its spiritual atmosphere.” .. My own comprehension of the subject leads me to the conclusion that Surta is the integrated awareness in which the three components have merged their identity, namely : I. The instinctive subliminal perception. 2. The sensory-intellectual consciousness. 3. The super-sensuous mystical intuition. The man equipped with the insight of Surta, is more occupied with the harmony of the universe rarher than its unity. Shabda signifies the musical harmony into which the Surta gets easily absorbed. It is thus the aesthetic interest that begins to play on the chords of the sound and through its attunement opens the gateway to self-realization. It was Schelling who said ; “The mind does not attain or realize the Absolute either as intelligence or action but as the feeling of the beautiful in Nature and Art.” ‘Surta’ is thus not only a sensitive indicator but the very life rooted in nature. Puran Singh’s emphasis, however, was on the gauge of it. Even, if it is a built-in-calibre, it is life’s own ingrained sensibility, an automatic self-adjusting moral arbiter. And this is so by virtue of its intrinsic spiritual flexibility, Puran Singh says; “Rigidity of any kind tends to poison the Surta. Surta is life, and stereotyped routine or the rigidity of any opinions or principle, tends to petrify it. Even the codified morality of categorical imperatives is deadening. Therefore, a man of Surta, as I have referred to above, is like life, ‘Changeful, fluid, active.” Puran Singh remained throughout his life changeful, fluid and active. He has been accused of being not consistent. This judgement springs from the ordinary pedestrian notion of uprightness. To him the very act of living resolves and assimilates all contradiction. Like Walt Whitman he says : “Sitting in this supreme light and bliss, I contradict myself, this moment contradicts the next. I am an eternity at all diamond-points of space and time.” Yet there is no denying the fact that in his life there were maladjustments. There were numerous irritations. The laws of economics would not yield point to his intuitive computations. Nor was he made of ordinary solid earth. He was fashioned out of some mercurial clay which would readily change into mercury fulminate. About himself he says: “I always loved to be alive with passion of one kind or another. Always explosive and volcanic at time, when I swept everything before me.” Only those can objectively feel the meaning of these utterances who actually saw his dynamic being bursting into action. What a strain it would be to live with such a genius ! Mrs. Carlyle once remarked : “Let no woman, who loves the peace of soul, ever marry an author,” Puran Singh was more Carlylian than Carlyle in this respect. One of his books Seven Baskets of Prose Poems was dedicated by him to his wife. The way the consecration was made is significant. It reads : “To my companion of these flying days on this earth, Shrimati Maya Deviji, in grateful acknowledgement of the priceless love she offered me and soothed me in my troubles on the path by her daily self-crucifixion for me in the noble silence of her soul.” In 1928, Rosha Grass Farm, his great financial and industrial adventure, ran into trouble. As already stated, Puran Singh’s life from 1907 to 1919 was spent as a chemist attached to Forest College Dehra Dun. He did research in essential oils that led to the establishment of turpentine industry in India. He perfected the method of distilling camphor, by devising a specially adapted double surface condenser which is lying as a museum piece in the Forest Institute. He worked in collaboration with Pearson, the Economist, on the Rosha Grass Oil Industry to determine its chemical and economic data. Rosha oil was a minor forest produce. With all these successes he could not pull on in service. He had to give up his job in 1919. Thereafter, he served in many positions including his appointment as Chief Chemist of the Gwalior State. But nothing would last long. He had great ideas about Rosha Grass, which is an erratic forest plant growing wildly, in patches, scattered over unwieldly waste lands, the valuable aroma of which is often spoilt because of the mixture of certain inferior varieties. His aim was to tame and make it an agricultural proposition. He established a farm at Sheikhupura now in West Pakistan. He worked hard in growing the purest strain which was indeed a most difficult proposition. But there were other difficulties. By the year 1930 the farm had a debt burden of Rs. 1,60,000 in its capital investment account. In spite of increase in the oil yield to 2,200 Ibs, the general slump in the market did not make it pay its way. The Punjab Government was charging excessive taxes; irrigation at garden rates and proprietary tax as Mamla. Thi attitude of the officials was not helpful. They never realized thi intrinsic worth of the industry. Puran Singh made many representa tions but they bore no positive result. His experiment had establishei the scientific success of his ideas. Under an enlightened Governmen he would have reaped the harvest’of economic benefit. He felt frustrated. He had put in the last ounce of his strength and money and borrowings’ in the farm. The burden of the Government dues was choking! Jt was only his occupation with literature which provided the breath of ventilation. Some of his Punjabi books written on the Farm give the glimpses of the rural Punjab. His style in Punjabi verse and prose is original and denotes a departure from all established conventions. He created a new epoch. It was not a new approach. It was a new surge, a new wave, a high tidal flow that created fresh alluvium in the arid land. Most of his books in English were written in an earlier period. Though good many of them were published in England they failed to evoke enthusiastic response. The English public lacked the sensitivity to comprehend their real worth. They wanted a polish that Puran Singh lacked. Even the famous diamond ‘Koh-i-Noor’ could not be appreciated until it was cut. The real gem had to lose some of its intrinsic mass. Puran Singh would not submit to the process of carving out facets to acquire variegated glimmer. He was unique. He poetic thoughts had a savour of their own. His occupation was with nature but he was not a landscape painter of words. He did not attempt to anthropomorphize or perompt nature after the classical Indians or Greeks. This was also not a pantheism of the Persian style. All these elements were incarnated in his writing with a fervour of his own. The fluidity of his mind would run into polymorphic moulds. His susceptible attuning would lead to creative contacts, furnishing the glow of vivid imagination, and was certainly different from the abstraction of self-identification. His aristocracy was of the soul and not of the five senses. My intimate association with Puran Singh began in 1915. For a number of years we lived together in the same house in Dehra Dun. When he finally became ill it fell upon me to arrange for his treatment. There wer many difficulties. He was suffering from galloping Phrenitis. Besides, there was chronic diabetes and hereditary uric acid diathesis which had flared into acute nephritis. No medical man could devise a satisfactory diet. A food that would ameliorate the symptom of one disease would aggravate the condition of the other. There were not only the contradictions of his living but this disease also took up the complex of contradiction. He put up a brave fight but he was sinking fast. But still he was all sweetness and charm. One day he showed his anger. A friend had written baseeching him to seek the healing blessings of a particular saint. He was perturbed by it. He called me to say something. His voice was inaudible. I put my ears close to his lips. There was the quivering whisper. He said: “For the sake of this flesh I No, never.” He raised his voice and said again : “For this flesh. No, never !” He was exhausted. He fell into a swoon, from which he awoke after an hour. Within two days of this incident he expired on March 31, 1931, keeping his courage till the end. To hear him say while facing death “For the sake of this flesh ! No, never !” was an experience. It was a challange. It announced of his saying ‘O Death where is thy sting ? Grave where is thy victory ?’ Some Reviews of Puran Singh’s Books Sisters of the Spinning Wheel Rev. Dr. Jacks (editor of The Hibbert Journal) writers:—”Strange and wonderful book—as I got into the atmosphere, it began to glow with an inner reliance. It requires and rewards the meditative reading which is so rare.” “This volume of beautiful prose lyrics must find a large circle of readers....The Sisters of the Spinning Wheel keep singing eternally of the joys of love and life, trying to express through their lips all the beauty and romance of the land of the Five Rivers.” —Modern Review “Those readers familiar with the works of Tagore will appreciate this book, since it gives them a further insight into the delicate beauty and profound depths of Indian poetry.” —Education. “A remarkable example of religious fervour.” —Methodist Recorder “Eastern colour, imagery and passion, singularly strong, thoughtful, and nomparatively restrained.” —Christian World “Very lofty in sentiment, deep in feeling, clear in vision; and through them all runs the quality of beauty, the indispensable quality in poetry, and upon them is the stamp of individuality.”—The Sophist “His poems are based on the ‘Granth Sahib’ the Bible of Sikh religion founded by Nanak in the fifteenth century of our era.” —The Times. “The writings of Puran Singh, no less than ‘Guru Granth’ which are his perpetual inspiration, display remarkable resemblances to the spirit, and sometimes to the letter of the Gospels.” ——Saturday Review. “The attractive name of this book of Sikh poems recalls a vanishing custom which once drew all Punjabi maidens to sit over their work and sing their old time chants as they turned their wheel.” —— The Civil and Military Gazette. “The first book in English giving us and idea of the power and beauty of the Sikh poetry.” —Daily News. “Every thing good, it has been said, comes out of the East and science has not yet been able to determine whether the remark is a rudimentary survival of the Sun-worship of Primitive Man. However that may be, the present volume of poems by a Sikh saint and thinker, who in dissatisfied with ritual and idol worship, and goes on quest of his own for the right way to worship the pure spirit of God, cannot but find many interested and sympathetic readers in the West. It is brought in by a learned introduction, which explains how these eloquently mystical compositions in English free verse are flowers from a very old root, the sacred book, sometimes called the Sikh Bible—the Granth Sahib, the purport of which has already been laid open to readers of English in a scholarly English exposition. The poems are not seldom obscure, yet throughout attractive and interesting in the earnestness of their devotional feeling and the warmth of their oriental colouring.” —The Scotsman. “The Sisters of the Spinning Wheel, by Puran Singh (J.M. Dent and Sons, 6s,), is the first book of poems in English to give the public an idea of the power and beauty of the poetry of the Sikhs. There is a long and interesting introductory note by Grace and Ernest Rhys. These renderings, founded on the Granth Sahib or Sikh Bible, are full of sincerity, grace and fervour, to quote the writer of the foreword, and are redolent of the mystery of the East.” —The Western Mail, Cardiff. “These are songs and poems partly original, and partly translated or adapted from the Sikh Granth, the “Book” or Bible which the sucession of Gurus from Nanak has shaped into its present form. Compiled by Guru Arjun out of the songs of the preceding Gurus and of other singers like Kabir, with the additions of his own songs, the Granth Sahib itself was declared the Guru by the tenth and the last Guru; and so he appointed no human successor. The intensity of respect, amounting to worship with which the Guru is regarded by the Sikhs, the “disciples”—was thus in some degree transferred to the Book, which becomes an object of devotion. So Puran Singh can say in his preface. “Guru Granth, become flesh and blood, calls to us, his disciples, to come and touch him saying, Behold, I am made man !”. . . The glimpses of Punjab life which the original poems give have a charm of their own and the translations from the Granth will probably be of value to anyone who wishes to get a general impression of the religious impulse which inspired the Gurus and through them moulded so fine a race of men. —The Poineer “In this Mr. Puran Singh shows an exceptional command of lyrical English which he sets out in lines and paragraphs of singular charm of imagery and phraseology. Apart from the literary aspects of the book, perhaps its most profound significance is its indication of’hdw the fundamental Unitarian conception of India can express itself through the most strongly personal devotion to Historical spiritual leaders. To the Sikh poet, God and the Guru are one, yet his vision is clear enough to see that the One Divine personality may wear a multitude of masks, turned outwards towards the multitude of devotees. “Mr. Puran Singh’s contribution to Sikh Literature is very timely and we look for more poetical refreshment from the same mountain-born source.” Dr. James Cousins. “This volume of prose—poems recalls Walt Whitman, but a Whitman less rough-hewn and more prone to sudden spiritual ecstasies, a Whitman who sees no longer the things of this world but soars to pure transcendentalism. Of Eastern poets Rabindra Nath Tagore is the author’s inspiration, with an occasional dash of sublimated Omar. More impassioned than that druming sage Tagore, Mr. Puran Singh makes the division between Sacred and Profane Love, as difficult to make as Titian in his picture, that hears that title: ‘Love of Woman merges into Love of God.’ “The attractive name of this book of Sikh poems recalls a vanishing custom which once drew all Punjabi maidens to sit together in the Trinjan, or the village spinning hall to sit over their work and sing their old time chants as they turned their wheel.” —The Civil and Military Gazette. “This volume of beautiful prose lyrics must find a large circle of readers in India for more than one reason. A good part of the volume consists of translations of hymns and prayers relating to the Sikh faith, revealing the strength of a religion which has been one of the most powerful movements in India’s recent history. The book also embodies a number of fine love-lyrics and episodes peculiarly Indian in temperament and atmosphere and should make a profound appeal to the Indian heart. The Sisters of the Spinning Wheel keep singing eternally into the wider consciousness of religious faith. “The volume is interspersed with a number of attractive narrative episodes, all of which are strongly reminiscent of Indian legends and tradition current not only in the Punjab, but also in various other parts of the country . There is Sohni Mahiwal, the shephered girl, who wins the heart of the merchant prince of Bokhara who is “half-faint from the bewildering perfume sent forth by her youth-scented tresses”; there is the vision of Sassi still coming, seeking her Prince of love across the desertsands of the Punjab, dying athirst for love; there is “the village girl, simple and untaught, who has a secret hope to capture the lover and owner of her heart with nothing at all; she longs to have a home and a husband for whose pleasure she should toil and work; she longs to serve the children of her lord; she toils and sweets for the joys of the rain of his kisses on her lips and face behind the veil;” there is the gardener’s daughter, the beautiful flowers in whose basket are not for sale but for being offered to her ‘Heavenly Father...It is all a world of love and beauty on the creation of which the poet deserves high praise.” —The Modern Review. Unstrung Beads “A little volume of disconnected but beautiful and searching aphorisms by a poet of India. If it is true that we can understand a nation only as we understand its art, than such volumes as this should be welcomed as additional beams of light on a people greatly in the world’s limelight at the present time.” —The Spectator. “Unstrung Beads is an appropriate title for this volume of translations from the Punjab, for it is composed of a collection of aphorisms and poetic rhapsodies, each of which has a hue and glitter of its own and yet none of which bears any necessary relationship to the rest of the book. The author is clearly a disciple of Tagore, whom he reflects not only in his long flowing rhythms but in the mystical beauty of his thought; yet he is by no means merely an echo of his master, but writes with a clear and individual note that is authentic. The book as a whole is composed in that unmetrical cross between prose and poetry which is popular nowadays. The following, are typical passages : “Music is the mingling of our beings in the waters of the Infinite; like the waves of the sea, laughing as they dash into each other, weeping as they part” —Public Ledger. “It is best that you should send our your beads ustrung, it is for your readers to string them with a single thread of delight.” —Rabindranath Tagore. “Mr. Puran Singh is a Sikh, who has fallen under the spell of Rabindranath Tagore. He moves to the impulse of the poetic fire, but must express himself under the foreign medium of English. As he is by profession an analytical chemist, he has probably been educated wholly in English and must therefore distil his essences (to use the metaphor which Dr. Ernest Rhys employs in his graceful and laudatory introduction) redolent as they are with the perfume of the East, through a Western crucible Like a true Indian, Mr. Puran Singh soaks his poetry, rather his Unstrung Beads of rhythmical prose, in the odours of things divirie. ! ‘Dr. Ernest Rhys calls his sayings native and memorable. Here are some : “A single dewdrop fills up the empty bowl of a thirsty flower- What need has it qf .ministering rivers? “The selfishness of man assumes a thousand fascinating altruistic disguises to assert itself.” “Men looked up to, see God. but heard only a Voice.” “When the bee is wrapt in the garment of the lotus it does not buzz any more.” “I love to see the brush of the wind painting cloud-figures in the sky.” God and the universe, lover and friendship, beauty in nature and despair in man, these are the notes of this really and quite charming volume. The publishers have forgotten to mention its price. —”The Civil and Military Gaztte. “The poems in Unstrung Beads (Dent, 5s. net), by Puran, are more virile than those of Sir Rabindranath Togore, by whom he has to some extent been inspired. His pearls even if they have the luminosity of the open orient, yet reflect the spirit of the fighting, liberty loving Sikh, simple, loyal, brave; tender yet death-despising. Here is a little parcel of these pearls. (I) “Love is the paradise within us; but few find it.” (2) “The flower dies silently, the tiger makes much noise.” (3) “The only garment that truly fits me is my body.” (4) “The true philosopher studies himself, the false one everybody else.” (5) “Women are like birds shot unaware while flying in the sky.” (6) “We can get rid of everything by our laws save ourselves.” (7) “Man is insured, but the injury is always self-caused, and there is no cure for it save in himself”— Morning Post. “Unstrung Beads is an appropriate title for this volume of translations from the Punjab, for it is composed of a collection of aphorisms and poetic raphsodies, each of which has a hue and glitter of its own and yet none of which bears any necessary relationship to the rest of the ook. The author is clearly a disciple of Tagore, whom he reflects not only in his long flowing rhythms, but in the mystical beauty of his thought; yet he is by no means merely an echo of his master, but writes with a clear and individual note that is authentic. The book as a whole is composed in that unmetrical cross between prose and poetry which is popular now a days. The following are typical passages : Music is the mingling of our beings in the waters of the infinite; like the waves of the sea, laughing as they dash into each other, weeping as they part. Loneliness is akin to blindness; it shuts off light. I drop when alone, like a flower that slowly dries up, sighing for its sister flower that disappears without leaving a word to the other.” —Evening Post, New York “Dent and Sons publish Unstrung Beads by Puran Singh who is a pupil of Tagore. The subtitle, “Prose and Poetry from the Punjab” describes the contents, but I should say that the greater part of the letter press is poetical prose. Puran Singh is a characteristic and patriotic Punjabi, possessed with the importance of his land and people, but his real note is mystical and poetical thinking. One needs a little education to come to close quarters with the Indian poet, but his workings of this one in particular are fascinating even to the uninst-ructed. —Bulletin, Glasgow. The Spirit of Oriental Poetry “Itself prepossessingly Eastern in the spirit of large aspiration and in the symbolical expression which it gives to the inward meaning of poetry, this latest addition to Trubner’s Oriental Series takes a high flight in following the Bhaktas, the typical poets of the East whose Song of love is a kind of divine service. The writer’s remarks on the poetry of Japan, Persia, and modern India are enforced by many interesting translations. Speaking of Western singers, the apologist of the poets of the rising sun exclaims: “I suffocate in this literature,” while intreating his immediate theme he says : “I was bom in hymns, I was fed with the milk of hymns. I came drinking light and go out drinking light; to me learning of the worlds were of no use whatever.” -Scotsman, Edinburgh. “Mr. Puran Singh’s book suggests more vividly the impassable boundaries of different sorts of literature. Oriental poetry, as he sees it, is something different from ours. The poet of the East, the Bhakta, is bare like a child, playing in God’s sunshine, clothed in his own transcendent innocence, and filling his soul with the gladness of the honeybee. He is always wending towards the Shrine of the Beloved. He burns with an inextinguishable desire for the divine. We can gain refreshment and new inspiration from Oriental Poetry, but it is unlikely that we can ever understand it in the sense which its authors intended.” —Saturday Review, London. “As with the other books of this series, the author is a man possessing undoubted knowledge of his subject. And to that knowledge Puran Singh adds first, his own native thoughts, so frequently in harmony with the great ones of his own part of the world; second, an interesting commentary on the great poets of the West; third, a conviction that urges us to use his work in the light of a textbook; and fourth, a distinctly poetic manner of writing which gives another touch of beauty to his book. “For the most part, Puran Singh is concerned with that particular kind of Oriental Poetry known as Disciple Poetry. Not only does he devote one entire chapter to the understanding and appreciation of such poetry, but from cover to cover he’ is constantly reminding us of the truth of Disciple Poetry and again and again reverting to its power to “give life to the lifeless,” as compared with the feeble, transitory powers of all lesser poetry. But either in a relaxation of inconsistency or in the true spirit of a wealth of Oriental Poetry, he turns with a sign, a leap, and a brilliant splash into the pages of love-songs. It is in these pages, fervid with the intensity and the youthfulness of passion, that we find the most beautiful quotations in a simple reasoning that the poetry of passion is “only an abject lesson to teach us how to love the Teacher, the Master, the Buddha,” when the book is read and thoughts flock around us like ghosts from the closed pages, we are haunted by the silvery thread of passion rather than by the motionless idolatry of the disciple. “The Gita Gobind of Jaidev is translated by Puran Singh and incorporated in its entirety. This beautiful poem is the portrait of love in colors of a strange lyrical-self-felicity. Through the heart of a man-god and the soul of a woman, it speeds on to the grandeur that was their passion and the peace that was their love. For this one most beautiful translation alone, the book merits a place in every library that encompasses more than the meagre literature that English affords. “Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the book are the pages that are given over to a brief catalogue of our Western Poets. Puran Singh ‘suffocates’ in the literature of Shakespeare; Tennyson is ‘artistic, melodious, philosophical.’ ‘Burns is like the temple ministrel, his sound is Ho! Ho! the music of the soul.’ ‘Browning’s poetry is preoccupied with human psychology, he has a clairvoyant omniscience.’ ‘Wordsworth is more the preacher than the poet. ‘Milton is sublime.’ ‘The perfume of God is in William Blake, and he is a companion of the soul.’ ‘As for Carlyle, none among the Western writers has nis sublime purposefulness.’ Goethe is a singular flower of America.’ Edward Carpenter is ‘heavy with intellectual mysticism-’ Thoreau is a ‘breeze’ and Thomas a Kempis ‘the true discipel of the Bible.’ The book contains a number of Oriental poems, among them being a one-act drama by Bharatari Hari and several other Punjabi love, disciple and ministrel songs.” —Boston Evening Transcript (U.S.A.). “The book, though at times exasperating, is clearly the work, of a poetic mind devoted to its own conception of poetry.” —New Statesman London- “Mr. Puran Singh’s Spirit of Oriental Poetry (Trubner’s Oriental Series) is an unusual book of its kind and will be for its criticisms and its translations. About one-third of the book consists of translations of Indian dramatic poetry, much of which reminds the reader inevitably of the Song of Solomon, and will move him to admiration for the mastery of English possessed by Mr. Puran Singh a mastery shown equally in his prose. The Indian poet, who doubtless derives some of his inspiration from Persia, is intoxicated with the rapture of his contemplation of the glories of God, especially when manifested in the form of female beauty and devotion. Mr. Singh passes in review the great Shakespearean characters and then says : ‘I suffocate in this literature. Where, in this assembly is the Beloved, the Highest One, whose feet we may touch as Mary Magdalene touched the feet of Jesus ? How can the picture of life be complete without Him in person standing in the centre. Shakespeare’s imagination could not go beyond the lower spirit-world from which ghosts come to graveyards at night and fly away at the breaking of the dawn. This great dramatist was not able to pierce Reality beyond the surface movements of an age fettered by its own desires.’ He finds Dante and Goethe both nearer the Centre than Shakespeare. But perhaps Shakespeare is too big a subject for him : his criticisms of other Western poets, especially of Tennyson, are remarkably penetrating, and he touches the spot in his pronouncements on Rabindranath Tagore with an intelligence which is refreshing when one has read so much regarding that great man that is merely tinkling of laudatory cymbals. Mr. Puran Singh’s endeavour to swallow Japanese poetry because it is Asiatic is not very successful. How should it be when he depends entirely on two clever poseurs who write for foreign consumption ? His translation is undoubtedly the most valuable part of his work.” —Japan Chronicle, Kobe. “An Oriental scholar glances at the great poets of Europe and then looks deeply into the great poets of the Far East, past and present, testing all by the spirit of Jesus.” —International Book Review, New York, U.S.A. ‘The author of this book is a man of such lofty ideals that it may be difficult for the average to reach up to his heights. He is soaked in Deistic rapture. ‘What is the use of intellectual expansion ?’ he cries in the preface, ‘All knowledge is a curse, save only the knowledge of this Love (God) that inspires Life. That is the keynote of the book, an echo of Wordsworths’, ‘This world is too much with us.’ ‘’It is a book with a challenge to the West, a book wherein materialism is drowned in a sea of mystical consciousness, and the poet becomes the interpreter of Divinity: a book, nevertheless, that breathes the essence of universal religion. An Englishman, should hardly agree with Puran Singh’s estimate of Shakespeare, though there is a furtive homage in the lines I am ashamed at the revelations of my nature that Shakespeare makes.’ Burns finds a favour, “Dante, Shelley, Milton, Blake, Carlyle also. Walt Whitman, beloved of modern Orientals, is compared favourably with Tennyson, of the ‘palace atmosphere. One might also dispute the statement that Victor Hugo in Les Miserables expresses the spirit of Christianity more fully than either Shakespeare or Bunyan. Edward Carpenter does not satisfy the demands of Eastern poetry, but Thoreau and Thomas and Kempis gratify an innate spiritual craving. Japanese poetry is accorded warm admiration coupled with a questioning note as to the justification of Yone Noguchi’s rejection of its foundation in religion. “Puran Singh is faithful to the old singers Omar, Hafiz, and Shamas Tabriz. He does not wax so enthusiastic over the moderns. Tagore lacks the Saki of Omar and Hafiz—the spirit of the Upani-shads. And what could new Bengal give us in the place of Lord Gauranga? The rapturous chapter on Disciple Poetry is a setting of almost sensuous beauty studded with the reiterative jewel of the Nam. Here the curtain is lifted for a little space and we catch a glimpse of the true Sikh spirit, militant and tender, fierce and sweet. The shades of Nanak and Gobind walk beneath the mango tress. Devotion to God is the quintessence of Life. We pass on the poetry of passion which, in Punjabi lyrics, becomes the prerogative of woman. Woman is enshrined as Love. Man is the prophetic symbol of a god-form. The book increases in spontaneous matter as it reaches its end, a crescendo of dynamic worship. Sex is transmuted into a spiritual concentration and becomes the apex of a psychical pyramid. The author is carried away by his own intensity the poetry of Gita Gobind surpasses the limitations of the earth—the prologue of the Gita is a fervent Benedicit. Puran Singh said to me of one of his books: ‘When I wrote it I felt a stream of music flowing through me for weeks.’ In this volume he says: ‘I was born in hymns.’ The book is, indeed, rather a song of faith than a critical review of Oriental literature, but it carries one away on the wings of its spiritual emotion. And after all it is the scent of roses and not the smell of blood that lingers longest in the nostrils.’ —Gwendoline Goodwin “The book is representative in its character. It deals with the poetry of the West, with the poetry of Japan, with the poetry of Persia and with modern Indian poetry. From different regions of the Orient are gathered together several interesting specimens. Some of the translations are quoted from authors like Ananda Acharya, Yone Naguchir and Bhai Vir Singh. The other translations are made by the author. The specimens given in the book not only cover different regions, but also include different types of poetry. There are poems which throb with intense devotion to God, poems which reveal the beauty of love between man woman, poems which make human love a symbol of man’s desire for God and poems which proclaim the vanity of life. While some are poems of classical merit written by men of fine literary gifts, others are popular song which, sung in the market-place and by the wayside, express some of the deepest instincts of the human heart in simple and yet ringing words”. —The Guardian. ‘The highest poetry, however, is not content with the mere revelation of the infinite; it seeks to impart a vision of the Infinite Person Himself and to express the longing of the soul for the touch of His Feet. “Our idea of the poet,’ says the writer of this book, is that of a man who, by the mere opening of his eyes, can enable ours to see the Divine. Our highest poetry, therefore, is the birth of God on earth.’ It is an impassioned appreciation of oriental poetry, or rather, of some oriental poetry for, in Asia, as, elsewhere, not all poets have aspired to these mystic heights. Some like William Morris in the West, have been content to be the idle singers of an empty day. It is not with such as these however that our author concerns himself. For him, the supreme type of poetry is that of a Blake or a Shelley, a poetry through whose glittering web of many coloured words gleams the white light of Eternity. His book is no more academic literary history or dreary collector’s cabinet full of the words which once clothed the living passions of poets. Oriental poetry has too long been the prey of the uninspired translator, the quarry from which historians and folk lorists drew materials for short histories and ‘Golden Boughs.’ Poetry is a thing of life, not of death; a message for the present, not a relic of the past and it was high time that oriental poetry should emerge from the mausoleum in which, at least for European readers, it has too long lain, and should show itself in all its life-giving radiance as it lives in the hearts of its lovers.” —The Benares Hindu University Magazine “I am very grateful to you for your book The Spirit of Oriental Poetry, “and I shall read it with much interest in the confidence that it will help one to understand much of that spirit of Eastern poetry which is so elusive to the European.” —Sir Malcolm Halley Seven Baskets of Prose-Forms “Since there is no mention of a translator, it is to be assumed that English is the original language of these prose-poems. It is limpid and sensitive English. Musical without rhyme, or rhythm as Baudelaire said pros-poems should be. Here is a taste of its quality,: Hush, Let us be quiet, It is enough, Those that swell and thunder and cry, die great large deaths, Let us live here together clinging to the little roots of life, that are just sending their red soft shoots into us. As long as the sun streams its light on us through these leafy bowers, as long as moon on us showers so much, what need have we of those bulky deaths. To be just little, little pretty things, pretty and nameless, is it not beautiful ? Is it not true? These little soft pebbles are enough our gods, Let us bathe them every day quietly, Let us ring the bells that no one hears, And is it not a temple here ? Is it not God? “Puran Singh’s erotic symbolism and pantheistic aspirations move in a well-worn mystical path, and are content with a goal well on the higher side of those attained by the great mystics.” —The Englishman “Sikhism is, Miss Goodwin tells us, ‘a monotheistic religion derived from polytheism,’ and has ‘absorbed the purest essences of Hinduism and of Mohammedanism.’ As a poet, however, Puran Singh owes perhaps as much to Whitman as to the East. He writes, for example :— I lose the sense of my very being as does the infant just born to the new wonder of the earth and the star; I lie wherever they lay me, I experience a birth every moment; and the ecstasy of love is endless. As with so many Eastern mystics, his idealism, to our Western sense at least, too often runs to seed in undifferentiated sensationalism. Such lines as : My bliss is voiceless, It makes me sweety insane, or My eyes closed in a dreamy mist of delight. And I found myself in the arms of the Beautiful are typical of his dissolving ecstasy, ‘Thou hast to bind,’ he writes elsewhere, ‘in any case, a finite into the very infinite,’ but while his mysticism is inspiring, he fails as a poet because he cannot sufficiently bind the infinite into the finite.” —The Times “Eastern mysticism evades the unprepared Western mind, Puran Singh is the poet of the Punjab, and in reading his poems one moves and seems to share in the brightness of an inner sunlight.” —Austin Clarke The Book of the Ten Masters Mr. Puran Singh has already published several books written in the rhythmical prose manner of Dr. Rabindranath Tagore. His present volume contains translations from the Granth Sahib in the same mode; but its general purpose is to give a poetical description of the ten Sikh Gurus. It is often forgotten that Sikhism is at bottom a movement of religious reform and that its founder Guru Nanak was a mystic, pouring out his soul in rapt search for a personal God and proclaiming the great truths of the love of God and the brotherhood of man. It was a gsnuinaly sacramental reform, based on initiatory and fellowship rites, so much so that it has been claimed that Guru Nanak learned from Christianity. The youthful Nanak cried to his mother : My clothes are white and stainless, mother ! for I live in love of Him who has given me so much love. I am made to wear His Presence and His Bsauty, mother; He is my food and raiment. The thought of Him, mother is my covering of honour, His treasures contain everything, My clothes are eternal youth, I wear the perpetual spring. “Many and delightful are the legends of his life. He wandered endlessly over the country accompanied by his faithful rebab-player, Mardana. By personal charm, by his winsome presence, by his beautiful singing and delightful songs, by his jesting and brotherliness, he gathered together the first body of Sikhs or Learners. In Kalijuga (this dark age), they said : We realize the Divine, All the people are the people of God, Guru Nanak makes all the castes one caste of men. The rich and the poor combine in one brotherhood. From this founder of Humanity, a new race of love goes forth; Nanak bows down to his disciple, The Master and the disciple are one, He is the Father of his people, His song of Name is our life for ages, NANAK comes, the worlds are delighted. This happy spirit was not lost to the earth. It passed to the successor of Nanak, Guru Angad Nanak and from him to ryne successors of Nanak, Ramdas Nanak, fourth of the line, began to build the Golden Temple at Amritsar. It was Gobind Singh who founded the sacred Khalsa, and turned the mystic devotees into a lion-hearted warrior band. He too crowned the book—the Guru Granth—as the eternal Guru, embodying the spirit of the Ten. Everyone who wishes to learn the true spirit of Sikhism will do well to read and digest this charming book. It would be well too if the Khalsa were to recapture more of the spirit of the first Guru.” —Civil and Military Gazette IQBAL AND SINGH By Dr. James Cousins “By calling the two poets Indian though one is a Sikh by religion and the other a Mussalman, he said, I am giving a connection to the word Indian of a slightly different kind from that in which it is used. We have a habit occasionally of regarding India from the purely Hindu point of view and in a certain sense historically speaking, that may be justifiable but there is always growing up a larger, newer India and the Indian of to-day like the India of 2000 years ago is probably the most absorptive of organisms that we know in human history. India can take into herself things that will kill other nations and transmute them with her own physical and mental effect in the atmosphere of its tradition to be called Indian. “We find in Puran Singh’s books an effort to disclose to the world the substance of his faith and he does so in two ways. In certain of his poems he gives us his “Guru” through himself, in other words, he is both native and interpretative. He gives us his own conviction, his own response to the universe around him and he also gives us the traditional response of his faith to the teachings of the Gurus, chiefly of the first Guru, Nanak. His idea is itself a picture of the emotional-intellecual and has behind it a beautiful assumption with regard to the nature of things which we see in the lines on “The Bank Cuckoo,” it is the true mystic’s universal utterance of the longing for knowledge and not mere knowlege, but vivid living realisation of that larger thing that we feel to be stretching its arms towards us from everything in the universe. Again in his ‘To the Unknown God’ he says: “the husbandman— I hear his foot-falls in the garden of my heart; my life throbs in his lotus feet the eternal one; his turbans follow of love—he wears the crown of love, grown cotton and love, spun thread and love woven cloth. His crown is made of the rolling waves of the sea of light.’ When you get a writer whose genius gets down to the fundamental, when from those fundamentals he proceeds to formulate intellectually that which he has to say, his formulation it of the nature of a central concept; and since his central concept is universal, his intellectual formulation is similarly of a universal nature. I had the good fortune at Lahore to meet Mohamed Iqbal at the Railway Station, by what was to me not a compliment merely but a real touch of Indian courtesy on his part, in that he came to meet me even with but an enquiry from me about him. I was greatly interested and illuminated to come in contact with a living man. What struck me as exceedingly interesting was the fact that we were absolutely at one on fundamentals of philosophy and were both taking ancient Vedanta. Subsequently I went through the poetry of Iqbal and I was profoundly interested to find how every fraction of it is somehow or other saturated with the great vision that is to all Indian writers, all the Asian writers, the vision of the one life. That to me has been the greatest clue to the labyrinth of life. I traced that same intuitional assumption in these writers of to-day just as I did in the writers of the hoary past. They begin with the final assumptions and start with the central idea. Wordsworth in a couple of lines attains immortality but his couplets that came as the end of his vision are the common assumptions of every Indian young man. Iqbal’s personal utterances with regard to himself as a poet are no worth knowing : I have no need of the ear of today. I am the voice of the poet of to-morrow. My own age does not understand my deep meanings. My song is of another world than theirs. My song exceeds the range of the cord, yet I do not fear my lute will break. He knows that the more he throws himself open to the larger life and he goes on to emphasise this fine spiritual positivism which he has voiced as opposed to certain negativism in spirituality which Iqbal found in his own compeers. He asserts the opposite to that and wants us to swell out to the measure of the divine potentiality that is wrapped up within us.” —The New India. The Spirit Born People “The style of the writer is very poetic and consequently has a great appeal to those who are emotional in temperamant. There are beautiful ideas in this little book. We read for example, ‘Just as when sleep overpowers you, your own hands drop from you, such is the symptom of a true religious and spiritual consciousness. And again we read, ‘As a dog leaps towards the Master, so the whole of the diciple is gathered in a dumb feeling for him, the Guru.’ — The Kh’tilsa Review “The stories that you sent me for my perusal certamJy show the flash of genius. The incidents selected are almost without exception quaint and romantic. Your life as a wanderer must indeed have yielded you rich experience of human nature, and lam glad that you have within you the desire to share that experience with the world. I wish you every success and shall be glad to help you in every way.” —Saint Nihal Singh. Swami Ram Tirath “Truly, a remarkable book about a remarkable person by a remarkable disciple, devoted, yet fearless and independent, beautifully written and as beautifully presented to his readers. —C. R. S. “The author, himself a writer of mystic, poetic tendencies, is best fitted to expound the divine transcendentalism of the Swami, and interpret his ecstatic trances and spiritual self-intoxication. His critical exposition of the Swami’s personality and teachings, therefore, is valuable alike to the student of Indian religious and national renaissance and the seeker after the life of the spirit. According to the author one of the causes that led Swami Ram to seek the robe of a monk was his meeting with Swami Vivekananda at Lahore. It was Swami Ram who arranged all the lectures and his contact with the Lion of Vedanta should certainly have strengthened and set a flame his glowing spiritual ambitions. In this connection, Puran Singh makes an interesting and impartial comparative estimate of the two great personalities and their messages which is remarkable for the author’s insight into the spiritual make up of the two minds. He wirtes ; “It was the example of Swami Vivekananda that gave tongue to his (Swami Rama’s) dumb self-realization and then he went roaming in the Himalayas and he came down preaching the same practical Vedanta which Swami Vivekananda preached, but with an inspired madness divine, all his own, Swami Rama gave a fresh and still ampler interpretation of Vedanta on the lines chalked out by Swami Vivekananda. ‘Biography exists to satisfy a natural instinct in man—the commemorative instinct,’ writes Sir Sidney Lee. That is exactly the spiritl in which Mr. Puran Singh. the well-known Indian writer has entered upon this appreciation of Swami Rama Tirath. The Swami was a striking figure in his own generation and Mr. Puran Singh himself whose life was varied from that of a wandering monk to that of a brilliant man of letters, was among the many educated Indians who came within the sphere of his influence. “Mr. Puran Singh already won a high reputation for himself as a poet, as the author of Unstrung Beads and Sisters of the Spinning Wheel and he is exhibiting here praise—worthy talent in another direction—we only hope that the volume under consideration will not be its only embodiment. “This is a most admirable biography. It has followed the same line as the much bigger biography of Swami Vivekananda, that is to say, it introduces the reader by means of delicate personal touches to the heart of the great religious teachers.This is the most suitable method for the biography of a man like Ram Tirath, in whose life emotion played a very large part. Swami Ram Tirath had deep reverence for Nature. Thus, we are told that he would sit on the banks of Ganges and say that the three rivers, two of his eyes and one the eye of Heaven, came and mingled there at Tehri.—Auf Schritt and Tritt begemen wir Wundern, said a great German romanticist. This feeling of reverence for Nature developed in his life into a consciousness of identity with Nature. Thus he exclaimed. It is all my body, the rivers are my arteries, the mountains my bones. One result of this feeling of identity with Nature was that the ego-consciousness was completely wiped off. There is a beautiful saying of his which tells us that ‘man is God only if he drops his dotted T and washes it in the flowing Ganges.’ How far this pantheistic principle of identity is consistent with the maintenance of the dominance of the spirit, it would be out of place to discuss here. “Every lover of religious books will welcome this delightful biography by Mr. Puran Singh.’ —S K. Moitra PhD. “This is the story of a modern saint of India, written by his disciple. Swami Rama was not an ordinary recluse but a great teacher who taught science and philosophy in one of the educational institutions of India before he became a monk. He was a Vedantist and travelled all over the world, particularly in Japan and America where he preached the teachings of Hindu philosophy. He was a patriot and worked for the emancipation of the people of India from the evils of caste system. He was a social reformer who felt the great need of education of the people of India. To him neglecting the education of women, children and the labouring classes is like cutting down the very branches that are supporting us, nay, it is like striking a death-blow at the very foot of the tree of nationality. This book gives an account of his life and activities in various fields and countries and contains the teachings of this great man and some of his letters. This book has a distinct place in the history of religious and national awakening of India, as Swami Ram has left a tremendous influence among the younger generation of India-” —Tarak Nath Das Copy of A Letter To whomsoever it may concern I know Mr. Puran Singh since 1905 when he returned from Japan where he spent four years to learn the arts and industries in the country. He imbibed the culture of Japan and roamed as a pilgrim-poet in the country mixing with Buddhist priests and artists of Japan. His personal reminiscences of men and women, he met there, are very interesting. He knew, among others, the late Mr. Okakura, the famous author of the Ideals of the East and the Book of the Tea, Mr. Zenshiro Noguchi, Kinza Hirai, who represented Buddhism of Japan in the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago, 1891. Mr. Puran Singh is a poet and is the author of the Sisters of the Spinning Wheel, The Unstrung Beads, The Spirit of Oriental Poetry, The Book of the Ten Masters, The Seven Baskets of Prose Poems, Life of Swami Ram Tirath, and The Spirit of the Sikh. He is a writer of short stories and novels. Mr. Ernest Rhys in his introduction to S. Puran Singh’s book Unstrung Beads remarks : ‘He is more akin to the old Wandering Minstrels. He is an improvisator among the poets; writing and singing out of the abundance of his heart. If we look for his immediate inspirers we must turn first to the sacred poets and the saintly teachers among the Sikhs, the Gurus; and then to the influence of Rabindranath Tagore in India and Walt Whitman in America. Let us add; as final clues to the Indian Labyrinth of his thought, which leads us to his Golden Temple, three characteristic passages from a little red book of his, lately published by the Alijah Darbar Press at Gwalior : We are as old and as new as the opening flowers of this very hour, we have nothing to say, only that the Master has made us infinite by His Love... Our joy of the white blossoms of the infinite, light within us is the guide of our wandering feet’... The good people living beyond the door of death come to meet us like figures of the strange music of heaven. The imaginative touch in the last of these sayings of Puran Singh is in the true vein of the masters and the seers of his race, who believe in the direct image and the living word. When stirred, he glows with rare eloquence and we all know he drowns his audience in ecstatic realization of the ideal. He does not explain but awakens in the soul light which lies hid there. Mr. Rhys remarks in his introduction of the Spining Wheel about the quality of his poetry: ‘It was Rabindaranath Tagore who carried over into the English tongue with a new power and melody the first convincing strains of Bengali poetry. Puran Singh has fortunately something of the same gift, and his music too freely naturalises itself in the English medium and makes good its accent, and one soon becomes aware of its living charm. Later, the spirit of his poetry is seen to involve a rare sense of delight in devotion, and the closer thought one brings to bear upon it, the profounder its effect. All the evidence of a high spiritual ancesty are joined to the fine pageantry of the Eastern world that glows on every page.” The figured reality in this pageant caries us far, and uses vivid symbolism, to interpret the region of its imagination. The set symbol is the key to an ever widening world. The songs that open this fair region to us we may call parable, or picture, poems; and we shall find reading them, that their mode often recalls that of other parable makers. It was the method of many Eastern teachers;. nay was it not the method consecrated by Christ Himself ? Yet his purpose in his poetry, however trained upon concrete instances, is far from analytical. He takes a flower, a flame, a water-drop; but not to break its atoms. Rather he seeks to recreate it by the subtle alchemy of the imagination. In his earlier book he wrote of the precious ruby, “precious beyond value,” which to some appeared a mere common thing.” Yet the seers, the mystic jewellers, could say of it— This Enchanted Stone contains all God. Or again, he wrote of the Cup like the Grail, the pitcher of companionship,—the red clay pitcher with a shallow cup for its lid, set in bed of golden straw like a bird’s nest. I am sure the passionate, lyrical and inspired speeches of Mr. Puran Singh on such subjects as “The Spirit of Oriental Poetry,” “The Secret of Life in Asia,” “Some Eastern Poets,” “The Spirit of the Sikh,” “The Lives of the Ten Gurus of the Punjab,” “Religion and what it Means” would be like spraying strange and rare perfumes of the East wherever he might go. (Sd/-) SIR JOGINDER SINGH Minister for Agriculture, Punjab Author of “Nur Jahan”, “Kamla”, and “Nasrin” etc. ULTIMATE KNOWLEDGE Man started his life on this earth with an enquiry into the nature of the universe and himself. What? Whence? Whither? Why? and most of his knowledge has been analytical, giving himself detailed descriptions of things and gathering an infinity of facts and thinking away his life, burning away his intellectual substance like hay. All his knowledge of ages is but a muddled answer to his own “What?” His “Whence?” “Whither?” “Why?” are still the origin of his religions and fears, doubts and superstitions, his wonders and worships. And that is why no analytical knowledge can drive away the superstition of the human race. It is wonderful, however, that even charlatans inspire faith and even Satans have followers, because superstitions are fundamental, and man longs for some kind of immortality. If he turns his back on these questions and divests himself of these weird superstitions and religious forebodings, he falls headlong into the stupors of “the Known.” Be it in the incessant labour in which he kills himself to the utter fatigue and death of body or in research of the science in which he concentrates to the death and utter fatigue of soul, or whether he drinks himself to death or deabauches himself to a virtual suicide of his faculties, or makes himself blind in the tyranny of aggression over others’ freedom to pass his days in splendour of egoism, in the vain glitter of gold and gem, filling his days with blood and rapine and putting all else to sword; whether labourer, scientist, tyrant-conqueror or a mean malodourous, heavy sensualist; whether a small miserable man crawling on earth or “Superman” pointing his sword on the breast of others, all, all is but an argument of despair, for man has so far eternally failed to know his end with any certainty. What is the end of him, life or death? Who is before and after? Is it the flower that one; has blown, forever dies? Is it that we live beyond the grave, and all that has come to form, out of the Infinite, never dies again and this life is but the foreshadow of what is yet to come? Why are we so much for saving our life? When death is the end of everything, is not all we do an infinite meaninglessness? “The Unknowable” is beyond us, the Knowable, too, in its true and final beauty and fascination is yet unrevealed to us and is perhaps truly revealable only in its Unknowable portion or in other words, Unrevealable. So all we attempt to know of the “Knowable” is also a futility and all we do to win pleasure is a kind of pain, a fatuity, a passing vanity of our ignorance, even of the so-called Reality of the “Knowable.” No knowledge of the Know-able so far has made us capable of transcending ourselves and quitting of our old human body. We all, kings and scientists in their physical and mental grandeur and the poorest miserable wretches, wear the same skin- Even the animals, ye even the vegetables and the stones and rocks are bound in a similar wrapping. Thus man is trying to forget his questions—”Whence?” “Whither?”. “Why?”, but he, only succeeds in forgetting them in a drunken brawl, for all his pursuits of sense and intellect, in their power of stupefying him are of equal value in that respect. Knowledge, indeed, but to what end? Religion, too, is being divested of its myths and superstitions, but are the superstitions of facts, in any way less misery-producing? People are abstracting rules of conduct out of different religions or poetic pathos out of religious poetry. Stupified by intellect they think this is the entire meaning of religious prayer and superstitions. But religion is the movement of the eternal in the soul. No “Knowable” can hush those confused little murmurs of the human soul. In its superstitions is the transcendental grandeur that no poor rules of ethics can hold even for a day; there in its indistinct vision is the feeling for the eternal mystery and sacred secret of life which no human agency can ever exhaust or reduce to nothing. Even if man succeeds in creating life itself and can make as good a man of wood as the man made by the processes of nature, the mystery of the very “Isness of the All” will still defy him, and he himself, the Creator, shall escape the reason with which he shall construct even himself out of dead matter. He shall be his own First Cause defying analysis. If man could, by his magic-wand, raise a new sun in the East and throw up an extension of space and also crumple it up into such great masses of matter, God would be revealed, let us say, face to face but the mere seeing Him is not the knowledge of Him; being on terms of intimacy is no way of unravelling the mystery. There even then shall be religion and its myth and superstition and doubt though of another degree and quality. So whether the great questions end in questions or in solutions, the very questioner remains an eternal mystery, not only for this plane of existence but for all planes. The questions of the one plane are undoubtedly the answers in the next world, but mystery must needs prevail in the Nowhere also and in the No time, too, and the real question is always being answered, surely it is never answered. Hence the real nature of knowledge is more in the nature of feeling” than any true comprehension or a full understanding thereof. And also that the end of the quest of the Knowable is disgust, fatigue, desp’air,’ an ignorance-complex still more involved, old difficulties removed and still greater difficulties to be faced. While the unending end of the quest on the Unknowable ends in a vague, confused, feeling of some kinship with the mystery, some wonder of the secret of Him that made all this or is all this, in the personality of man imbued with the illusion of the eternal, in hope, in vitality that can conquer the darkness of life in which life is enwombed. True knowledge, therefore, pertains to the domain of Unknowable Reality and not to the spheres of what is Knowable by the application of the “transmuted,” “biologically converted food”—”intellect”—which is all the reason we men have. The misery of intellectual knowledge is the limits it sets to itself. It kills, dashing us against a stone wall. And in this subjectivity-realm, true knowledge of all is as felt not known, yet the felt is truly forever un-understood. The thought out, an experimentally proved, is certainly miserable inanity. The Vedas sny : “Three fourths of All that is unmanifested, unknowable; only one forth is manifested,” so small a fraction comes under view of the human senses. And thus it is just the infinitesimal fringe of that Reality, so inscrutable that our intellectual geniuses can grope about and about like the grasshopper that hops about on the green grass leaves, and imagine like miserable men the state of knowledge of man. The finality that the modern realist and scientist gives to his experimental knowledge is an utter shame, and when Bertrand Russell calls man a mere little parasite who so much as dares to opine on eternity, and when he condemns the ignorance of the so-called impertinences of the religion-mongers and religious fears, awes and superstitions, one can fling the same epithet at Russell about this strange, definite arrogance of his realism. Indeed, our ignorance and barefacedness, both in religion and science, is colossal. Out of all this if this little parasite of man develops in himself a feeling, he might be nearer knowledge than in his so called religious or scientific knowledge. “So great is the distress of man who cannot open his mouth with the flowers of the Spring to praise that great beauty,” says the Guru. Guru Nanak starts his Emancipation of Man by feeling, in feeling, through feeling. Man is not emancipated if his house is lighted by the electric arc, but when he lights the dark of his house with a tiny earthen oil lamp to welcome Him as a guest with the whole ardour of his soul. “I have thaught but a bare floor, And an earthen lamp to welcome My Beautiful, If he comes and graces me,” Man is not emancipated surrounded by all the knowledge that his sciences or religions can give him, but he is free when he embraces God as man and gathers the miserable in his heart and makes them happy and glad with the joy of being. Man is free in his soul, not in his knowledge of things as taught by religion or science. Man can be happy in himself not by his giving or taking pleasures but by the Art that goes out of him—emptying his soul into the sands. In sweet humanities are the windows ajar for him to fly out to the infinite rapture of freedom, the cages of religion might be of black iron and the cages of scientific knowledge of gold. But knowledge as given by both is his bondage, not freedom, It is loveful, wonderful. Ignorance generated by both that make for his real knowledge sits, like deep solace. The history of human struggle is a pathetic record of his miserable inability to gain the freedom of love and human fellowship by increasing his scientific knowledge of experience and experiment or by an exact defining of his religious creeds. The cultivation of your own innate humanities only, neither religion nor science, says the Guru, is the way to freedom that shall not be the share of the few among the multitudes, but of all. Man is not a single being, but multitudes. The Karma of multitudes is bis Karma, he is not an isolated individual, in this respect. He is the moral and mental complex. Karma is the sense of violation of the beauty of one’s memory and personality is admitted, but the effects are universal, not merely local. Analysis divides. Opinions, after all, foolish and passing and, on the whole, always so very untrue, are merely relative, the imagined realities of human thought and analysis are so false in the end, all divide. Tastes and temperaments differ, religious superstitions and sincerities and beliefs and dead creeds fashioned out of thoughts, sow discords and differences. There can be no peace for man as long as his life is founded on such analytical finalities or the knowledge gained by the reason which is visibly working merely on the surface of his mind. This rational knowledge of himself and things about him is surface-knowledge and an untrue one, it cannot but lead to a more complex ignorance of each other, more discord, and to a wholly shallow, uprooted life ending in more sensual pleasures leading to more and more misery of soul. The modern search into the working of subliminal mind will give clues of far greater significance to man for husbanding his own powers, than what so far the surface-mind has given by way of scientific-knowledge. Modern civilisation, with its body-pleasures, its worldly tendency, has proved beyond doubt that man taken out of grand old fables and myths and superstitions, comes nowhere near any truer knowledge of himself. If any-thing, with all his casual knowledge drawn through intellect, he is more ignorant. All this is sickness. The Guru says that true knowledge is when we feel for Him. Immersed in the sweetest, the most Beautiful Spirit of life, then we feel for each other, we help each other in common human sorrow and suffering. Sympathy is of the nature of true knowldge. Human sincerity, whose live heart is stupified by the bitterness of experience of the so-called facts of life of the sordid realism, and is thereby turned cold and calculating by the intellectual reasoning over life, is automatically changed quantitatively into hypocrisy. Who said every man is a scoundrel after forty? Sincerity, knowledge, love and sympathy all are one and fully and wholly comprehended in the word “Feeling.” The freshness of feeling, that Spring like flow of soul into a kind of poetic living, is the knowledge of Sikhism. The Guru condems the experience of prudery and unholy wisdom and experience that leaves thought beyond pleasant sensations of the Beautiful,, the world which as Guru Amardas declares, is the House of the Beautiful, the inertia of the Pharisees taking possessions of man, so repeatedly cooped up under the vault of his skull, like the chicken-brood crying under an upturned basket, and he also brushes away the religious superstitions that have actually led to so much more human misery, discord and difference. The Guru with his sword has cut off the heads of all religions to make true religion a living feeling. Without that divine sympathy all religions and arts are gross burdens. The beauty of superstition too, delights him, but.only that superstition is truth- reflecting which pours more sweetness into our simple humanities. And what does the Guru say ? “He is dead who has not the live feeling for Him, for Beauty of His Creation, so he however famous, however intellectually bright, however great in religious knowledge, however glowing in youth and flesh and shape of a man. Man without love is a corpse.” Here is the Guru a veritable man, who insists on the dignity of manhood, He thus starts a movement which is fundamentally based on the knowledge which is of the domain of feeling, rather than of the domain of so called religion or science, in as much as they are based on analytical knowledge of things. The law of love announced by the Guru denies the truth of the knowledge of things, of man and of God, as obtained by a drunken little reason of the surface-mind, by the mere blind Understanding that can partially consider just the Body of Creation, not its soul, whether this understanding of the body of creation may come of Experience- and Experimental or of religious superstition and beliefs. This knowledge is but a glorified ignorance, therefore it increases human misery. True knowledge belongs to the flash of inspiration of feeling, and so those who live in feeling live truth. The whole life of the knowers is a lie though they speak no lies, as they say. The infinite is exhausted by them, in their so called facts. And feeling cannot live in such exhausted all-spent ends. Facts indeed ! Sickness and sorrow must increase when man has thus become bankrupt in the inner wonder of the feeling for the infinite in himself and in everything. Man is disgusted with man as soon as his so-called rational knowledge has revealed to him his mutual miserable limits, while the true knowledge and truth ought to have shown the infinity of each to the other. Exact knowledge of each other is thus, when judged by its fruits, a worse superstition and a still worse ignorance. Friendship thus ends in enmities. Human relationships in human despair. The modern business man has to start with the formula, 1 am told, that all men are thieves till some one proves the contrary. Possibly also the political administrator ! Fie on such inhuman attitudes. It is worth while to be deceived a thousand times, than to be cheated of man out of our own selves. Sadness must prevail in a society such as this. Selfishness must dominate and lead to an utterly mechanical social life in which man must be reduced to miserable little screws in this huge ignoble machinery. Society of tigers ! Religious superstition in the hands of fools and fanatics, like all other things, led to inquisition and hanging of a few thousands of myrtyrs, but it did always lead in some limited spheres and ways to a social reconstruction in which there were depths and feeling however crude, a fellowship which has all the time the odour of the goodness of some living man; but the scientific knowledge of facts and analysis of everything about and about has taken the roots of a man out of woman and of woman out of man. The soul of a mother, too, is found out and analysed to be made of the same elements and every one is uprooted out of that feeling mysterious for the Infinite in every one. Where are the roots of man now ? All is machinery, man too- There is one law mechanical that pervades and man and woman are founded in the unity of a universal mechanical law and they are rooted no deeper than in their own bodies and blood, in their own little bellies. Food is every thing, money is all. Pleasure, however obtained, is all the soul. The rose that once blows forever dies. The wine cup is the only form of Reality. Philosophers like Carlyle have a truer ring in their voice than those who see that a little astronomy can cure human blindness. Religious superstition when fresh and alive resulted in better social construction and human fellowship than these superstitions of facts that like tyrants ride on the minds of the greatest thinkers of the present, shallow, “uprooted” race of man. Where is the old noble wife of man ? Where is her self-sacrifice, her noble love and service ? The Guru builds the Temple of God for man in the heart of man, and he starts in it the music of the personal beauty of man in the sweet harmony of which the coarse and vulgar noise of facts,and its auctioneer owner, the carping, reasoning intellect, must be hushed in infinite reverence to Truth. One is tired of all else after the first satiation but one is never tired of himself, and himself is ever sweet because of this feeling for the Infinite and eternal in the soul. The feeling for himself in himself is never exhausted, it is infinite in the sense of being unending ‘ and endless. Not the song that the bard sings to us, nor the art of the painter or sculptor but the song which beats in the human heart, and the art of the eye of man himself that paints the painting, and the consciousness that resculpts the sculpture, the knower of Beauty within, the lover of beauty more beautiful than the seen Beauty, is “the sweetest.” The whole of Sikh history is that great music of the human soul which rings with the holiness of “I am Thine, I am Thine” hymn of Guru Nanak. We do not know whom Guru Nanak so loved, and who is the Guru’s Beloved, but we know the Guru made the whole sky a salver and the stars little pearls embedded in the salver, the sun and the moon the oil lamps of the idol-worshippers and with it he worshipped his Beloved. It is to Him that sang “I am Thine ! I am Thine !” and went on weighing the whole world of matter and substance away. The Guru knows Him not we. “Winds and waters and fires sing Him,” says the Guru. The leaves of the Forest murmur to the Guru, His Name. We really do not know the Guru’s Beloved. But Guru Nanak appeals not to us as a preacher of Him, preaching one’s Beloved is not in the lyrical nature of the Guru. He reminds us of the sweetness of our own soul-hymn”! am Thine! I am Thine!” which resounds in our souls and without which in one form or another, in one particular fraction of it or another, life is impossible.“I am Thine!” is the soul-sound, and as such more fascinating than the soul itself. The harp reaches its full significance in the song infinite that-tremblingly issues from it. Human soul is in its song, in “I am Thine! I am Thine :” and in this mute song of love is its highest significance. We can realize the state of song in which the Guru lived when we find the little human child crying to his mother “I am Thine! I am Thine!” When a lover cries to a woman “I am Thine! I am Thine!” Some might exist like the “snakes breathing empty air” in the misery of selfish sensual self-aggrandisement of a miserable kind. Sick men might live like tigers, but no one can live in the simple beauty of life and the joy of being without singing in some way the Guru’s song; “I am Thine ! I am Thine !” Be it to God or to man, matters little. As the Guru’s teachings on Nam and Simrin define a sweet human attitude of soul in an infinite posture pf lyrical growth upward godward, so does his song of “1 am Thine ! I am Thine !” is a state of feeling-true knowledge-forever sweetening the human presence, forever making man truly sincere and noble and true tohis origin, self and soul. The man forever dedicated is without a vain breath and a vain step, living and vibrating with feeling, in it and for it. This is: Truth, says the Guru. Guru Gobind Singh is the climax of this song of Guru Nanak. His whole soul blazes up in a red song of life’s freedom and he is in prayer when a thousand shining edges of his sabres glisten in the sun. When the Guru calls to that kind of death, war itself is a song of “I am Thine! I am Thine!” in a higher and intenser pitch of feeling. Like Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh refined away all that was he and His, even all thought of spreading the thought of Guru Nanak to emancipate man. All was concentrated in the blazing song of “I am Thine I I am Thine!” Even the great song itself may rise or not in the poor breasts of His disciples that now have remained behind as scattered, persecuted, ignorant, coarse labouring fanatical people, but the earth shall rend, and suddenly like the Spring-bursts of flowers on the dark bones of winter-smitten trees, the Gum’s song of human Emancipation shall burst forth from every heart and the world shall know and sing the anthem—”I am Thine!! am Thine!” of the Great Guru Nanak. The higher the tops of human life of this earth toss up in air, the deeper shall the roots strike into the unknowable Infinite. And feeling, beautifull, sweet, lyrical, incessant, like a silver fountain bubbling with the joy of being, feeling sensitive in love, aye to very omniscience, senses fully awake, intensified, watchful, absolutely aesthetic for the personal beauty of the Infinite, Man full of such noble, immoveable, unalterable, feeling, cleansed of the sins of indifference, dullness, neglect, sensual poison and selfishness, a dove-like white trembling pure humanity of feeling shall be the Guru’s Humanity of the future, melting away, melting away for ever into the Infinite — the Guru’s Sat Sri Akal Nirankar. Being God or Brahma like the Hindus, or any defined or indefinable something like, leads to stupidity of soul, but saving a poor waif from an infamous ignomy like Jean Valjean saving Cosette as in Les Miserables of Victor Hugo and then not thinking of all children of man, but of his own Cosette for all his little life on this earth, is verily truer Christianity, truer emancipation through Nam, Simrin and the Song of “I am Thine! I am Thine!” of Guru Nanak, certainly a truer and nobler religion than that of rattling all one’s life in the grandiloquent but empty rhetoric of the scriptures of the whole human race, and concentrating on theoretical universalities and unities of the supposed Law of Love. Jean Valjean’s fanaticism for Cosette is of the Guru’s love. The flower rises out of every pore qf the body as the freedom of fragrance that is liberated like music out of the trembling harp. Man in his sweet, human selfishness is to bujst forth into the presence of great Love as beauty universal. Difficult’ is the path, but the inspiration of Love makes it a royal road. And there is a passage for love to the heart of all Creation. Bound to its own roots and glowing on its own bush, the man is to be universal in his radiations, common daily radiations of life and love, sweetness and sacrifice- The fountain bubbling in his heart, Streamlets of Nam churning their music through his soul, bliss cozing out of his pores, a delectable given personality like the Snow turbaned mountain, one who all fascinates this environment by the magnet concealed in his soul, such is the Sikh, the Disciple and the soul of the glorious Humanity that the Ten Gurus invoke in those Heavens high in their Song. P.O. Chak 73/19—Puran Singh (via Faranwala) 23/11/1919 PROSPECTUS OF The Voices of Winds & Waters OR The Interpretations TO BE PUBLISHED BY PURAN SINGH Editor—Prof. PRITAM SINGH, M.A. 39, Temple Road, LAHORE. A LIBRARY OF THE VOICES OF WINDS AND WATERS, OR THE INTERPRETATIONS : Just a joy-timed and love-tuned-self-expression of one person who might sometimes be as alone as a dead autumn leaf, at others a whole living universe in congregation. It may be just a leaflet or a book or a poem, mostly small and neatly bound books. * * * To be published by Puran Singh, author of “The Sisters of the Spinning Wheeel,” “The Book of the Ten Masters,” “The Spirit of Oriental Poetry/’ “Seven Baskets of Prose-Poems,” “Story ofSwami Rama,” “Unstrung Beads,” “The Spirit of the Sikh,” -(in press, to be published by Messrs Uttar Chand Kapur and Sons, Lahore)-”The Spirit-born People,” etc. * * * A collected edition and a selected edition of these works is also intended. In the present it is proposed to issue 10 Volumes, Royal Octavo size, pages about 300 each, neatly bound. A SPECIMEN OF WRITING VALUE OF VALUELESNESS I lie always with my lips in dust touched by the footprints of my Master. Even when I am in utmost neglect and suffering, He is loving me most. He is love. I am cast in the nature of a little dry wooden flute. The yonder phantoms of the long-tressed, moonfaced shepherd girls and those handsome shepherd boys take me up and pipe their sorrow and joy and Jove. I lie dead when they drop me. Evolution stops in me just as it had started in me as they bJew their breath over me. This is an apt metaphor of my deedlessness. Leaving me, I wonder why these wise men of the world begin to ponder on such wretched and paltry things as human character and conduct. Alas, on the utterly frail basis of the value of valuelessness, as of my life, they should think so hugely of those grand but dead mechanical things called virtue and vice, me and thee, give and take, rights and wrongs. I nestle dreamily in those far off mist-regions of creative emotion where a higher volition alone fashions the sweets voice of life, which is forever beyond the powers of elaborate plans of a matter-fettered Ego. Life flows from the higher to the lower. The noble act is of breathing life into the dead forms. And this act is always a grace. * * * It is strange my faults and merits, mp sins and virtues start into phantom existence under the maya as if of a magician’s wand, as “soon as the shepherds and shepherdesses suddenly become kind. I swear the breaths of may creators are eternally pure. All stocktaking of the Karma of a mere dead thing like me is some one’s cruel mental illusion. All creation is spirituality. Shapes rise out of nothing. We here-below in the dust are all but dreams of a super-consciousness. For all my past life, I have lived on others’ kindness and love as a little child lives. I have laid my head on this breast and on that breast. Mistaking me for a person as elevated, and as grown up and as alive as themselves, some of my kind ones have recently found, by too great a familiarity, almost immoral familiarity perhaps, in me fissures and cracks, and clefts and worst of all a person concealed in those ephemeral lines. They have dropped me down. Thrown down, I lie again as a dead reedpipe in the dust. A reminiscent gratefullness, however, like the sandal scent, sticks to my dry wood. I still lie unburnt by fires, undried by winds, perchance to be taken me rightly as a thing and I may yet catch a tune, articulate a sorrow and voice-weave a dream. I wistfully look back upward to those who anytime touched me so kindly, for their touch was as the Grace of Heaven. I have been all my life one with a begging bowl. I descend from the race of the drinkers of sunlight and the readers of the Book of the Green Cover. I swear I never sought God, I always longed for the Shepherd. * * * I have failed miserably in my endeaovour of intense desire to reach up to Him, I believed in no other Sadhana...Let Him find me now. I sink into my original utter worthlessness. Possibly even an intense dumb desire in the Religion of the Shepherd was an impertinence. Henceforth no desire whatever! It is blasphemous to say I love Him. It is still more blasphemous to endeavour to love Him. The shepherd alone is the very substance of Love: Love flows through His Breath into me. My religion is utter worthlessness, His Religion is love. A FORESHADOWING OF THE SPIRIT OF THE INTERPRETATIONS As free of petty concerns as the Peaks of the Himalayan Snows, we, as a voice of Nowhere, shall pierce the hearts of those who are tired of the falsa shows of life. If a mountain stream has but the freshness to give to the naked bathers gathered on its banks under the showers of sunlight, if a silver foot-path has to offer its narrow ribbon to any pair of feet to tread upon it, we shall offer ourselves freely to Nature’s inward impulse. And in our own solitude, we shall nourish the divine aristocracy of being. We shall be as unsubstantial, as useless, and as evanascent as the dream of a brief but intense Spring that so fires up the leaf-fettered buds. We shall be for the gathering of the infinite to boot, as we watch the passage of a little spark of life into every heart. * * * Not the dead pallour of the peace or restlessness of an unfulfilled life, but the dynamic diamond-sparkle of the spiritual, cleaving sword of Guru Gobind Singh shall be All-steel colour of our renunciation. Nothing reaches so near the soul of man or Nature as the Death-Point of His Gold-tipped Arrow. All friendships on this earth and in Heaven decay and die seeking Truth on the merest surfaces. All social relationships and its bland courtesies are barren wastes. Only His Sword sleeps nearest the Soul. Intense feeling is His Sword. Intensity of an undefined deep, divine feeling that works like lightning, the lambent Dagger-like intuition that knows Truth absolutely without experiments, that Great Spontaneous Character which works as the stars shine in an infinitely well-poised impusle adjusted to the Will of the Great Spirit of Nature and recks not of mere mental designs of the configuration and reconstruction of Man— these are the rare sparkles of his Azure liquid Scimitar that cuts the sky and arches overhead in such infinite Charm in that pearly Splendour of the black Night that few see. We will be mostly with Nature. We will worship the transparent innocence of the soft thefts of hearts by the elfin beauty of the midnight moon that wanders in the woods wearing the rustling leaves of the forests. We will touch the hands of a spiritual comrade in the touch of the cooling splashes of the crystal waters. We will kiss the very lips of God in the freshly youth-bathed lips of the first Rose of our New Spring. In distress and sorrow of Man, Nature shall come and ring in his ears those slow soft soothing symphonies which were once heard here under the Bodhi Tree and made the Prince of Sakyas the Buddha for all times. We will sing the Glcjry of the “Bridegroom” as did Jesus tell his wisdom-burdened disciples........... your poor shall always be with you but not I ......... shall we not hear again those; maddening cosmic melodies of life which Guru Nanak did send back up from earth to Heaven from Nankana! * * * We will drop from our hands the prudery of the complex worldly wisdom that makes idols and demolishes them. We will sweep away off our sight the blind follies of self-aggrandisement that work to build like ants the prison-houses for the soul. We will now take to the Open Road that leads to Nowhere. The world of man we renounce, the world of Man to live in. * * * Anything on which others will insist even up a waking of enemies, we will renounce it to them — be it God, religion, property, heaven and earth itself. Anything held so dear by others even upto a waking of jealousy we will renounce it to them — be it beauty, life, glory, art, Prophet’s Person, an Ideal or a Dream. Let others be; we can well afford to cease to be. We will be absolutely passive, ever waiting for the blowing of the Cool winds from where Shepherd lives. We can be happy with News of Him. These projected works called “Interpretations” will be inspirational of the soul of Nature. ...... ..”the woods, the very leaves of grass are the Para-Brahman-in-flower, behold!” Guru Arjan Dev. At good harvest time some feelings shall ooze through a small empty heart...... “full of as many faults as the sea is of drops”. ...... ..but it beats. * * * The “‘INTERPRETATION” will be an hairy free old mam with the wiae>drenched eyes and an ecstacy-intoxicated gait that must needs falter and fall, coming to every Home of Help on the Snowtops ‘as the wind bloweth from the sacred North with the scented breaths of the soul. If you ever think of such little useless things whose sole claim on you is their spontaneous innocence, the tearful eyes, the pretty appearance and not those useful large concerns in which men and women deceive each other and are all so furiously engaged in counting gold and silver in this strange centuries-old lunatic asylum of human society that knows not its own fetterment, then you might as well make up your mind to let the Interpretations start, naming Him who did lit this fire of voice in me. “Look to the blowing rose about us, Lo ! “Laughing, she says, into the world I blow; “At once the silken Tassel of my purse tear, “And its treasures on the garden throw.’’ THE PERSONAL UNIVERSE As simple and miraculous is how I came here, as simple and miraculous is how I shall go away from here. When I was born, other powers than what power was in my tiny arms were concerned about me, when I shall die my life still shall be beyond my power whatever they be. As I grew under the hypnotic conditions of a strangely self-deluded society, I lost my subliminal bearings of life. Though I was so proud of my development, I hardly realised that the self-hypnosis of society had cut my roots and I was pulled out of my Eternal. After thus eating of the forbidden fruit, I fell as is so graphically put by the Jews in their symbolic story of Adam. Whatever I turned out to bs in this interval between my birth and death—a scholar, a poet, a social reformer, a great man of any kind—was a disease, my development a diseased swelling, for no endeavours of mine under the Absolute Ignorance of the social self-hyponsis could put me back into my Eternity. As the Complex Infinite of the soil, air, light and time and space is to the living plant that sucks the Infinite to shape it into a flower and a fruit and a seed, so was my eternity to me pre-natally, and shall be for my postmortem existence if some one shall break the egg of superstition of this social hyponsis and shall flood my heart with the light of His Grace and shall strike the fetters off my feet and shall replant me into my eternity. What I am to be is not my outlook nor my concern. I am driven to be. I cannot be aught to be but the shape the cosmic powers, “those others” mother like lick me into. Both Art and Religion fail forthwith to replant me for self-hypnosis of centuries of that Adamic fall is too much, too much. But the very physical reduction of all, powers and pelfs and substances gathered by man to a vanishing unreality at the time of his death, serve to awaken him if some one breaks the egg of this superstition. And he gathers again the utter s^nse of dependence like the plant that grows on those “others” with a new momentum and comes forth like the new shoot of a tree with the same hidden energy stored up for a new uprush for life. Alas ! The Rose at its new birth finds its Red Blossom, but the Son of Man is led astray for aeons and aeons. This forgetfulness of his way to his own Red Blossom in various avocations dogs him like perrenial disease again in his other—these intervals between the two points of the inscrutable curve of life whose wave-length is for ever beyond our measurements. Again and again, the shoots on the Tree of Life—the igdrasal are thus scorched. No one attains to his or her blossom. Such energy is lost in readjusting the outer conditions of life made just mental|y real, while life gushes forth from within to with out, independent of all external conditions. The blasphemous self hypnosis of man starts false religions, falsa arts, falss philosophies, false kings, false relations, false knowledge and false schools to develop the life sparks that take their birth from the external, but they all end in extinguishing these lamps. Yes, the new souls die under the conditions of this false education. Guru Nanak says the social man is born dead in a false “I” and his duties and religions and knowledges are deeds of darkness in the same narrow little circle of the false “I”. In ASA DI WAR a whole hymn is devoted to this strange illusory self hypnosis, the MAY A—that seals the human life. All is dark. That solar ray is not yet born that can remove it. There is a sweet personality shaped in the universal beauty of the whole cosmos and hidden as its soul, beating as its heart, which new to newer is every day and every night, whose voice is music that creates all-life,—all souls that make the shapes of all clays radiant and beautiful, that makes the very flesh fascinating——; That Un-Namable which is named in the Name of a soul lost in Him without a trace left behind on the mirage-lit sands of this strange illusion of self hypnosis, in the name of that perfected man who has become ‘’as perfect as the father in heaven is perfect”, who is no more a man only of this plane of life but of many un-known planes, whose thouch is beatitude, whose one glance transmutes all baser metals into gold; That Cosmic Personality from whom starts the inner and shining universe of life and souls. This is it. His glancs is the true light of life that must burn in the temple of human heart day aai nig’it. Whjn the life spark thus starts as it was born or as it had died, burri-d again in the Mother—Soil, of eternity, the Guru leaves it alone. It is eternally free as is the life seed rounded in its own magic of creating another like itself. No more any outer laws for it but its own inner law of growth, which is one supreme operation in the cosmic Manifestations of Him the supremely beautiful ! The rank supersititions of the law of KARMA so framed by the sickened imagination of man, the illusions of the categorical imperatives of do’s and dont’s of a wretched and paltry penal code of the man-made moralities die for him. Thenceforward his growth, like the growth of a plant is in the hands of the whole Nature and her cosmic powers. GURU NANAK declares it is extremely miserable to fall out of those Beautiful Hands and to get to the sense of an enslaved ego responsibility instead. The whole of ASA Dl VAR demeans the poverty and slavery of the ego-circumscribed life and adores the life that has let itself rest into the Hands beautiful of those others who are nearer to me than myself. ••••••••••• But is the man yet developed enough to catch ths ray from the eye of Guru Nanak? Who can? surely those who are caught in the traditional hypnosis of the old myths of ecclesiastical Ignorance, the new superstitutions of the ego-cicumvented knowledge-of a knowledge intellectual of things trans-intellectual——, the fashion— — frivolities of a shallow rationalism and the idiotic trust on the finalities of one’s own machanical processes of thinking and reasoning, while surrounded by the mystery of this un-knowable great universe, and the impertinence of determining the ultimate truths concerning life and soul, can never rise up to that glorious height where GURU NANAK in unison with the whole universe be witched by its very wonder and amazement rejects all knowledge, dismisses all philosophies, cancels all laws and lives abondoning himself in absolute freedom into Those Hands that bring the soul here and those that take the soul from here. This resignation is the true freedom, this life is the only law, this conduct is faith. This breathing is poetry, this looking is art and this being is imortality. All else below thes; heights is tinsel and brass. THE NASCENT SPLRIT OF POESY Few allow us to enter their very souls. They are castle doors forbidding entrance. There are sublime formalities that break the tone of the soul before we can get to these so-called great fellows. It is only the true poet who imparts himself to us. He is a true and secret friend. Where no one is, he helps. “In the belly of Fire, He protects. Hearing His Name, the messengers of death drop their nooses and go away.” —Guru Grantha Things that are merely sungable are not necessarily true poetry, even inarticulate but musical sounds are sungable in most exquisite manners in the voice of a great musician. There is a rhythm which transcends rhymes and tunes. There is a metre which matches with the heartbeat : a true thought dissolves in our blood and the life begins to shimmer with nascent measures of a world-dance. Where do we go after hearing our music or poetry ? If we ever again go out of it, we have not yet met the true poet nor tasted at all the blessing of his poesy. What attracts us the lower mortals out of our rhymes is manifestly to us, of a greater musical lure than the evanascent excitements of intellectual pleasures we feel and just have them by way of glorious past-time. The perfection of the spirit of that great poesy lies in the omnipresent and everlasting climate of the angelic presence of the poet. He is our companion beyond death, nearer than our soul. He is the indweller. It is like finding an everlasting residence in an ineffable Paradise of New life, a New Religion, a New God—the Region of this soul-residence being transcendent and glorious beyond our little choices. “Once admitted there” says Guru Arjan Dev in Sukhmani, “man no more comes out from there.” Assuredly nothing outside that is much worth a renewal of our visit to it then. Poetry is, to us, thus the very God. They name God and soul and Love in vain, who live outside that Inner Region of living bliss. In fact what they call soul or God is an ever-evanascent spirit of Beauty that hovers over the Poet’s Universe of That Glorious Living we the Sikhs call the Glorious Naming. All metaphysical discussions are in vain, all theology is sickness, all analytical bandying of words and phrases about God are vain myths. Even Mohammed cannot impart to himself accurately in language or thought what he experiences in his soul, most of it is for ever unutterable even to himself. His God or Allah is surely a complex multiplicity of his own delectable soul-sensations myriads of which just glow for a while and are then foreever lost. He is gone, melted away lost in that what he, like a babe, calls in poor Arabic Allah. But to him, the sense of that abides forever about him. He is in awe of Him. But when his followers sitting by him in person take up his word— Allah—it immediately becomes a mere superstition, to some fortunate ones a beautiful though a false dream, and to the less lucky a rank ignorance. Those who really know such matters attach no importance to such appellations, they conceive Him as the Spirit of Poesy. Meeting with the poets, living in simple attunement with them, is for them, the experiencing of that Region. To them, God is a poetic life. It is a lyrical looking at the universe. They care not for words that are current and are corrupting the world. We, in the East, therefore pour our soul at the feet of the manifestation of this inspired Divine State in Man. Finding Him, nothing else remains to be found. When sick and sorry and broken, we return to Him te be made once again whole. He is our Healer, our Messiha. Christ of Nazereth was such a man. Unnecessary and uumiraculous altogether is the healing of our body and mind, truly miraculous and most essential is the healing of the Spirit of Man. The Spirit of Poesy embodied can heal us by the One soft touch. The poet dives deep into us. While merely touching us with his hand, or merely casting a benignant look at us, he has gone and healed our spirit. We meet him, may be offer the gloom and sorrow and suffering of ages, but it is worth it. The following rivers cannot keep their margins smooth, nor the sea-waves confine themselves to the contour of the smiles of a glower-laden girl of a gardener. There is terrible music in the storm that blows on the snowy regions of the Himalayas. There is a poem that the North winds sing blowing through the pine forests. There is a metre in the fall, ruin dissolution of all great things. Let us not talk of true poets and our miserable measures of dance and music in their majestic presence illumined by the sweep of the very infinite Glory through them. At midnight, once 1 slept on the roof of a kind man, only a day ago, only a night ago, as a mere way farer whom the kind man fed. It was a dirty sheet he gave me to cover myself from the bite of the mosquito. That was, however, his best sheet he gave me. I slept in it, tired as I was, thinking I am wrapped in a poverty-stricken kindness. By the way, we live in appreciations and not in over-fascti-dious sense of fineries and fopperies which belong to the rich, who live mostly on the plunder of poorer men. A poor man, wretched and dirt-clad, we know, we know, lying on a dung heap bnie at Peshawar, could reveal to us from his burning eyes the secrets of our inner heart. When the whole city was asleep, it seemed even the brick-buildings of Jarattwalla had slept. In that moonlit midnight silence, some one stole to my side. I saw not—Might be a beautiful Peri. I was awakened soft by her gentle caress. I felt it like the touch of Heaven. It was a very naughty cool breeze of the mid September o» the Punjab. I felt as if she pelted me tenderly with Damascan roses. She hurt me while her spirit was to love me. I felt the deliria of her presence stealing over me. There is that sacred privacy of some unknown companionship of the September breeze, in a moonlit midnight sport with her, I felt I had touched the disembodied nascent spirit of Poesy. I was mute with utter sweetness. Hsr love was fatal for mere senses. Her caress was informing. Her restlessness had in it the calm of the majestic Presence of a Universal Peace. I was made helpless by the intense affection of that radiant, moon-filled breeze that blowed from the friend who loves me. He must be sitting up in his bed there in the white mountains and thinking of me. No amorous dalliance with any the prettiest woman could ever be so serene, so cooling, so subjectively beautiful as this midnight sport on a roof at Jaranwala. It soothed my soul consciousness, it repaired my broken soul. Something like this of a mystic experience that I need most when thrown on myself in the absolute loneliness of my soul is vwhat we, in the East, know as poetry. The latter is not a fashion of a new rhyme, nor a formal drawing from smile. We do not desire to live according to set conventions of our own make. Let me say here, I feel sick when in a company which does not effuse me immediately with the broad intimacies and welcome me as a mother embraces her babe. Unless warmed by friendship, I suffociate in society. I always think that a line, a broken line can sustain me for years while the gilt-edged volumes even of a Shakespeare and a Kalidas are worthless reading. I feel when reading my Guru Grantha and singing the lines like an irresponsible boy under the sky, that a line, at times, comes, through rarely, with hands and feet and holds me by my hands, and it gazes into my eyes, it comes as a beautiful person leading me on. Something comes into me by that graceful meeting, I know not. The Beautiful Person takes me along to the Realm of Celestials, I know not. I feel satisfied. It seems I met Him, but I know not. But this nascent spirit of poesy becoming thus a person and filling me with his Presence Divine is what I hold the Ultimate and the only essential function of a true poet or a true artist. All art below this divine, vital, living effect is but an illusive misnomer. People have discussed the merits of Walt Whitman as a poet. Many have dismissed his claims as a poet of any great musical fineness. He does not stand, he cannot stand in rows of men who are less than the Disciples of the Master. He goes and stand with the saints of the early Christian Church, though he calls Christ a brother. Walt Whitman’s life rhymes with the Highest. His lines need not necessarily rhyme with those of Tennyson or a Swinburne to be called a poet by the cities of Architecture of mere words. His words are unhewn and uncouth, sitting in the window of his soul, he indulges in endless naming of mere things and what to Walt is a poem, is but a catalogue of the names of cities and things and races. The angle of vision makes all the difference. Walt Whitman responds to my spirit of receiving alms for the soul, yes even alms for the body. I am one with a golden begging bowl, I do not earn. I cannot earn, I do not believe in earning, not the daily bread, not even the Bread of soul. They may, I contradict modern spirit of man’s Law that has out-lawed beggars in the street, but I insist to live and beg from door to door. My friends are ashamed of me, my wife is ashamed of me, my childen do not like me agoing like this, but if the man driving in a coach refusel me bread, the sun-lit gates of Nature open and I enter those eternal cities of Light, where begging perhaps is the highest culmination of all True artistic and religious conduct of..man.. “There dwell The Powerful”, says my Guru Nanak, “and they sustain all who knock at their door”. Konck and it shall be opened unto you”. Do not know me as a man clad in silk and gold, I am in tattered rags. My clothes hang from my sleeves as the loose metres of Walt Whitman. I do not count upon my honour and self-respect, to me these are paltry details that concern petty minds who insult me here ? My brother, my lover, my benefactor. What does it matter ? As long as the red glow of my eye intoxicated by that nimble and voluptuous sport of the midnight breeze in the Regions of my soul is not affected, as long as my Godhead within is not sullied, as long as I am kept in good humour and in the warmth of perennial flow of divine feeling, I tell you I believe in wandering from door to door and begging my loaf not from common, matter-of-fact, prudent, worldly men and women, but from those beautiful Mother-women bejewelled with Divine grace, from those soul-lit figures, light and youthful, never mind if they give me no loaf, let it be a pouring of a draught of cold water from their brass vessel on to my cupped up palms. They smile at me, they give me flowers, they give me fruits, they give me kind glances, they give me the sight of themselves all that serves me and I move on. At times I remember an enchanting face of mystery for days, as once Mona Lisa charmed Leonardo da Vinci. I get a similar response of that Rare Street of Bejewelled Women in the East, from a line here and a line here and a line -’there of Walt Whitman and I therefore hold that the quality of his verse is essentially spiritual. It is a solvent of personality. It transcends body and mind and refuses to be weighed by our weights and measures of metres and rhymes and dances and tunes, these daily disgusting Jazzes, and waltzes calculated to excite some agility of soul in us. The other day it rained. It was night. I came out of the fog of night trees. The Lahore Mall stretched before me. The lights of street shone in a dream-like glimmer. Reflections floated on the wet mirror-like street and I stood absorbing the charm of it. Such are the poems and attitudes of Walt. He cannot take the street into any length of poetic lines. He says “Lo the illumined street with its fairy magic of a sensation floats in my poem.” At times I halt at the edge of a stream of visions flowing out of him and look at as I looked once at the Lahore Mall with all my clothes dripping and feeling the vital delight of a strange mystery hovering over it. At other, a line, just one line strikes me as a complete poem. Some times the titles of his poems, in themselves, are greater poems, than the lines below which are bound like a golden sheaf of ripened wheat. For example : “The voice of rain” “The sobbing of the bells” That Sun Peace” “When lilacs last in the Door yard bloomed”, “Proud music of the storm” To us in the Punjab, where every new bride, a while ago, used to wear a mirror in a sliver ring on her right thumb and where the Vedanta philosophy on the lips of every Punjab woman, makes of this seeking Universe a floating image in the mirror of Maya, Walt’s title “A Hand Mirror” excites us to a strange admiration : how like a Punjabi he has taken out the mirror out of a bride’s thumb and made it a symbol. Again, “As I sat alone by blue Ontario’s shore” reveals his soul by saying nothing more to us “Look Down Fair Moon”, “O Tar-faced Prairie Boy”, “Give me the splendid silent Sun”, “Beat drums beat”, “That shadow my likeness”, “I am he that aches with love”, “One hour to madness and joy”, “A woman waits for me”, “That music always round me”—What are these but complete poems ? To us the Sikhs whose creator Guru Nanak lived in the universal music, wholly immersed in it, can appreciate with an extraordinary richness the line “That Music always round me”. Great indeed is the God-intoxication of the spirit of the man Walt Whitman, who can suggest so much unwritten in the lines like these :- “How curious, how real Underfoot the Divine soul, overheal the sun, Splendour of ended day, floating and filling me, How prophetic, how resuming the Past. In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time, Looked up in perfect silence of the stars. The tongues of violins, (I think O tongues, ye tell this heart that cannot tell itself; This brooding yearing heart that cannot tell itself). My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will. The ship is anchored safe and sound its voyage closed and one. O Rising Stars, Perhaps the one I wait so much will rise, will rise with some of you. Others may praise what they like, But I, from the banks of running Missouri, praise nothing, in art, or aught else, Till it has well inhaled the atmosphere of this river, also the Western Prairie-scent And fully exudes it again. And do not the following sayings of Walt sit together under the open sky. on the bare turf, conversing with Epictetus and Ramakri-shan Parmhansa:- What am I, after all, but a child, pleased with the sound of my own name, repeating it over and over, I stand apart to hear, it never tires me; To you, your name also; Did you think there was nothing but two or three pronunciations in the sound of your name? I say the human shape and face is so great, it must never be ridiculed; I say for ornaments nothing outer can be allowed, And that anything is most beautiful without ornaments. I say man shall not hold property in man I say that the real and permanent grandeur of these states must be their Religion. Otherwise there is no real and permanent Grandeur. (Nor character, nor life worthy the name without religion) No land, no man, no woman without religion I say no man has ever yet been half devout enough, , None has ever yet adored a worshipper half enough, None has begun to think how divine he himself is and how certain the fortune is. It is a paintful thing to live a man or woman to excess— and yet it satisfies, it is great; But there is something else very great, it makes the whole coincide, It, magnificient. beyond materials, with continuous hands, sweeps and provides all. Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems. A child said “What is the grass ? fetching it to me with full hands, How could I answer the child ? I do not know what it is any more than he All truths wait in all things, They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it Logic and sermons never convince, The damp of the night and river deep’ned into my soul A swift wind, O space and lime now I see it is true, What I guessed at, What I guessed when I loafed on the grass, What I guessed while I lay alone in my bed, And again as I walked the beach under the palling stars of the morning. I understand the large hearts of heroes, The courage of present times and all times, I am the man, I suffered, I was there. O despair, here is my neck My God, you shall not go down, Hand your whole weight on me. Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life, I have said that the soul is not more than the body, And I have said that the body is not more than the soul. And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest, in his shroud, In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d by God’s Name. And nothing endures but personal qualities, I swear I see what is better than to tell the best, It is always to leave the best untold. The creation in billows of Godhood leaves me. And I perceive I have not really understood anything, nor a single object and that no man every can But not too certain that I am now with you And what spirit of soul-ful romanticism is there in the following : Twilight The soft voluptuous, opiate shades, The sun just gone, the eagerlight dispelled (I too will soon be gone, dispelled) A haze, Nirwana—rest and night, oblivion. The first Dandelion Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging, As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics had ever been, Forth from its sunny nook of sheltered grass, innocent, golden, calm as the dawn, The spring’s first Dandelion shows its trustful face. (Wonderfully close in spirit to this sentiment is “Farewell to my chrysenthemums” by Bhai Vir Singh) A clear midnight This is thy hour O soul, thy free flight with the worldless. Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep and the stars. It is not mere coincidence that Bhai Vir Singh has Sung exactly this longing in his “Separation from Stars” the last poem of his collections in “Nargas” published by “Dents” Offerings A thousand perfect men and women appear, Around each gathers a cluster of friends and gay children and youth, with offerings. To grace the bush I love, to sing with birds, A warble for joy of lilac time. GURU GOBIND SINGH (By Professor Puran Singh) They of India have not understood Him. Gandhi calls him a “misguided patriot”. Men of this world, who wish to comprehend Truth by their own intellectual measures, are forever incapable of understanding the true nature of Inspiration which is the life-breath of the really great. Whenever they approach such inscrutable personalities, they make but grotesque estimates. After centuries of intellectual advancement, they stand still exactly on the same spot, utterly incapable, In one age to them, Joan of Arc is but a witch and the end of the intellectual justice is to cast her in fire. Today the ghost of non-violence is let loose and Guru Gobind Singh is a “misguided patriot”. Christ says “Judge not”. Because we are not omniscient nor seers of all the three times—past, present and future—, it is imposible for us to judge truly even common fellow-men like ourselves, inspite of an intimate contact and even identity of our natures and motives. Much more difficult becomes our forming opinions about beings who have in their inner nature, transcended our plane of existence. The intellectuals who are great, who are famous these days at best, are but synthetic personalities, the mere laboratory-products of the systems of the schools of man-made, mind-born Ethics, and are but toy-replicas of the great, whose conduct is spontaneous, whose character is the radiation of the sun. They are the products of those mysterious cosmic processes which make the sun and the moon- For the dead toy-replicas of the great it becomes physically impossible to analyse the inner motives of the beings of immortal inspiration. All opinions expressed by such lower men about those who live, move and have their being in acceptance of the cosmic inspiration, are as false as the opinion of the clergy who declared Joan of Arc a witch and sentenced her to be burnt alive. *** *** *** Sword is the symbol of the creative processes of that mysterious incomprehensible Creator-Complex of Nature. Nature is not Creation they say, it is spontaneous evolution they say; it is not Being they say, it is Eternal Becoming they say; it is not spiritual they say, it is Material and Mechanical they say; it is all Electric Substance they say; it is not Soul they say; but only the insane doubt now that it is a Complex. No one view can define it accurately. Guru Gobind Singh sees the Flash of Sword in this dark Mystery-Complex. He sings his “Song of Sword” and by its cadence transmutes the miserable wretched people of the Punjab, not into temporal kings, a miracle, which even an ordinary worldly man of empire-carving ambitions like Sivaji, could perform in transmuting his mercenary soldiers into Peshwas, but into Phula Singh Akalies. Cut these disciples of Guru Gobind Singh as they did cut Bhai Mani Singh, instead of blood, the Nectar of inspiration flows from their veins. The name of the Eternal resounds in their bones and as they of the world sawed them asunder, only that glorious cadence (Sat Nam) was in response to the axe-strokes. His disciples rose all of a sudden from now here, as Supermen, who were, as the same time, like the clouds of the sky, raining as they were bidden to rain, and Striking down like the bolt of Heaven as they were bidden. Not protest but obedience was their creed. Their protest was one with the protest of the Divine Creator-Complex, called Hukam by Guru Nanak in Japji, and it shone in the Image of Sword seen by Guru Gobind Singh. ** ** ** The Khalsa came ready made from Him......that blue-wearing Superman, armed from head to foot wholly dedicated, ready to die for a nonce—— the historian says, as Minerva from Jupiter—— a highly explosive Personality, showering both Nectar and thunder, as the merest tool of the Cosmic-Complex. In human history there is no example of such transcendent inspiration, unless we go and see the personalities inbued with the Bushido spirit of Japan, as transmuted by the spirit of the great Tathagata. I have often said that Guru Gobind Singh created a spiritual Japan in the Punjab out of His spirit and he can be sympathetically understood only by the Bushido spirit of Japan as informed of Buddhism. Riding His Blue Horse, clad in the Robe of the whole starry Heaven, followed by His Five Horse Men. He goes riding by the doors of His lowly disciples still and as the horses strike the rocks, the sleeping ones awaken still and sing : O King of Purple eternity, who loves us, Who comes and lies with us at Night unknown to us, Comforting us in our distress, ‘ O Weaver of the Crest Jewel of all-Godliness,ll-Humanity, Come and meet us the peasants of the Punjab- O Glorious Guru Gobind Singh ! Come ride through our hearts, Come ride through our eyes, Guru Gobind Singh is the Indweller of Souls. He is a vision that vitalises the decaying finite centres of life with the touch of the Infinite. Name Him and you are transported. Name Him and you ride very death to His Door. Woe be for the day, who, surrendering their soul to the false brilliance of any intellect, the disciples of the Glorious Guru would turn their back on Him— Once before in history, they did so. The disciples left him at Anandpur. But they found no place to go to. Wives denied their husbands, mother their sons, sisters their brothers—for the Punjabi Sikh woman truly saw there is no life but with Him. What is the world without Him ? So they died. So they lived. Said Khan the Moghul General doubted. All have Intellects, not only the modern subtle-minded Hindu. Guru Gobind Singh came riding His Horse to him in his camp. Said Khan levelled his gun at Him. It missed the Guru. He was asked to try again. Said Khan put his head on the Guru’s feet. He was informed. The camp lay where it was. The armies of the Moghul still beseiged Anandpur. But said Khan went up to the hills singing Him, as a maiden, falling in love with her man, renounces all and sinks into the depths of life. But the Guru does not show Himself to those who have not entered the shrine of Acceptance, who have not understood Reverence, who have no wonder in their eyes, and who love not the spiritual Beauty which transmutes man into angles in an instant. Perfection is in His Glance. There is no standard in the East or in the West by which these intellectuals can form an idea of the inspiration of the Infinite. It was a stream that flowed to Him which He received within Himself. “I was,” said he, “reluctant to come here on this earth. But I came.” My soul is still engulfed in that current of Inspiration-Infinite. He came and he went. Only the trail of his Garment, still shines, the sound of the hoofs of His Steed is still audible. Wrapped in that shining Garment listening to that sound, we go daily where He is. This is the religion of His Disciples. Our eyes are red with the glory that He has shed on our paths. And we go on. His sword waves the lightning flashes in the cloudfilled sky, but it rains after the centuries of oppressing heat. Man is the Temple, Let this flame burn within there, As the Lamp of the Eternal, They are my Khalsa, In whose hearts burns this Inspiration Of the Infinite, day and night. The story undimmed, He is the pure.” An old sikh soldier and his nephew To Kamla Singh of Pothohar, of the village Toa, the great hero of the world’s history was his uncle. He had lived with him from his boyhood upward partaking of his paternal feasts of roasted Pothohar quails, patridges, pigeons and ghugis. He still loved those good old days and loved to recall the minutes details of the reminiscences of his boyhood. How his uncle rose early and he went with him lifting his fowlers not on his shoulders and trying to go along with him like a grown up man putting much enthusiasm into his steps and words. His uncle was thoroughly pleased with his companionship. And he remembered how very quietly with noiseless steps, his uncle used to cover one side of the field full of tall wheat with the net, and secure the net on to it by putting huge stones on its edges. And then from the opposite side started he and his uncle with a string thrown across the fields with one end and in his hand and the other in his uncle’s. And as they covertly came bending along and swinging the rope in their hands across the wheat plants, the quails, if any in the field, would move on, little knowing what awaited them beyond. The poor quails did not know if men were after them. They only tripped on. And when the net-edge of the field came, the quails either flew up or tried to walk across to the other wheat field. But no. There was a net covering the top and sides of that edge of the field and all were caught. Kamla Singh and his uncle used to close the net on them and at times as many as a dozen would be in the net. And it was Kamla Singh’s duty to put them in a temporised cage and take them home and he came putting a still greater dignity into his steps. His uncle was glad to see so much precocious soldier-like bearing in his little nephew. During the day, he would attend the village school. It had but two teachers and three classes, one an old tall, emaciated Sikh with his beard parted in the middle and tucked up like that of a soldier and another a robust, stout, young Mohamma-dan lad who loved like all non-Sikh youth of those days to keep pattas (half cut tresses), long tresses hanging around his neck—without which the human beauty had little charm for young boys. He was in his rising youth yet without beard and moustache. The old man was very greedy and accepted copper pice and half pice from the boys. And the younger Mohammadan boy-teacher had a knack of making China black ink and he manufactured it for all the boys who gladly paid for it. Both were Government servants, but they were paid Rs. 15/- and Rs. JO/- respectively. Such was the Government partonage to Primary Education then ! And not very much better now. While even an illiterate labourer did, in those days, earn more and was comparatively free, though without the dignity of the Government Service. Somehow they managed to keep their flesh and bones together. These two poor teachers had to send in such a lot of returns and also pay for the chicken and eggs and breakfast and dinner of the itinerent District Inspectors who came twice a year, that they were always greedy to receive gifts from the children’s parents. Kamla Singh was the witness of one such half yearly inspection. The District Inspector with an orderly came riding on a horse. And he rode straight to the school. The young Mohammadan teacher took the horse by the bridle out of flattering respect for the Inspector and began giving it turns, and the District Inspector began talking most insolently to the old Sikh head-teacher. The District Inspector was a squint-eyed Hindu wearing broad Pathan trousers, a Kulla and a pink-dyed turban like the Peshawar people and had as an even all a Sherwani of Lucknow type. A ferocious looking an hybrid sort of an animal of a man ! The school time was now over, there were no boys, only Kamla Singh stood to watch the fun or he had not done his lesson properly and was detained that day. Kamla Singh of course could not guess what passed between the two. As soon as the poor Mohammadan subordinate came near the Inspector, after having stabled his horse and his orderly too, the District Inspector began abusing him, for inefficiency. And as he quaked before him, he fell upon him with his shoe. Kamla Singh only heard the tup tup of the Pothohar shoe in the Inspector’s hand going round everywhere inspecting the fellow’s bones and flesh ! *** *** *** Kamla Singh was then a B.A.,B.T. of the Punjab University and held a post of Rs. 50/- as a teacher in a Khalsa High School in the Ferozpur District of the Punjab. He was fully twenty five years of age. And when he remembered his uncle’s feast of roasted quails, his mouth watered still. He had come home to spend his summer vacation with his uncle. The uncle was his whole Pothohar. He had no mother, father, nor sister nor wife. And his uncle was very glad that the nephew he had brought up had now entered life and gave such a good account of love and labour spent on him. His uncle then was old and infirm. Even his eyebrows were turning grey, but his face was still youthful and glowing, and there seemed strength sleeping in his arms as often. A typical Pothohar soldier, rough and ready with a lot of free-lancism and full of the praises of the Service of Angrez and the days spent in army, the days;of glory and heroic action. He had no pretensions to piety. He was the son of a Sikh soldier who had fought for Maharaja Ranjit Singh and had won many medals for his pluck and bravery. Like Kamla Singh’s uncle, the latter’s father too was very fond of good meat and wine. Failing Shikar, he used to hunt a lamb or a kid in his own courtyard and invite friends to a feast. It was known in Pothohar that Niranjan Singh can devour a whole roasted kid in a day and two bottles of wine in twenty four hours. If anything, his son Balram Singh went further. His reputation for his fondness of meat and wine was still greater. Even then in his old age, he ate two roasted chickens with his breakfast and two legs of mutton for his simple and rough lunch as he called it. For wesks he lay unconscious with the effect of heavy drinking. There was only one lady in the family, his mother, And she was always busy in cooking Chapati for th2 company that was frequently invited. Both Niranjan Singh and Kamla Singh’s uncle, Balram Singh, were fond of dressing and cooking meat of all kinds and no one could cook so well. They had their own recipes which gave a special flavour which no one else could bring on. Niranjan Singh, Balram Singh’s father, was a huge tall man with fiery eyes. He used to tuck up his long beard on to ears, which gave his face the resemblance of the face of a lion. A flat, terraced turban covered most of his forehead. Though he was no more, everyone still remembered his simple yet majestic bearing. As he used to issue out of his house in full Sikh Court dress, he impressed everyone—man and woman of Thoa, as one who would at any time lay down his life for their protection He had the respect paid to him of a true Sikh soldier in spite of his one fault of heavy drinking. Sardar Niranjan Singh never stopped to parley with people, nor uttered an impolite word. He spoke gently powerfully and affectionately with girls and boys of the village. Balram Singh his only child came to him towards the evening of his life. Like an old Sikh soldier, he spoiled his child by over fondness. He put his wine glass to his lips very early and he nourished him with his own hands with mutton soup. When he grew up Balram Singh had no taste for vegetables nor sweets, occasionally he loved to have pieces of cauli flower with his roasted meat. And like his father, he never missed his wine. As regards his education it was thoroughly neglected. The old soldier was of the opinion, after what he saw of the Primary schools, that education as given in Indian schools takes the marrow out of the bones of the boys, Education does make one sentimental and sensitive, and possibly a better thinker of things, and puts a little tenacity of arguing things from prenatal to posthumous existence of souls and the whereabouts of God, etc. He believed that education takes away the sheer animal strength out, which is so very essential as long as men do not turn angels in a night and no one disturbs the peace and prosperity of all the members of the society, as long as the law itself does not cease to take bribes and its, administrators do not go up to the level of supsrhumanity. Hence Balram Singh could only hardly get a smattering of Persian that was taought in the school. And later in life, as he mixed freely with English soldiers on account of his taking up, on and off, some kind of service with the military contractors, he picked up Tommy English. He had also gathered a fair amount of ego in life. At this stage, when he was about twenty five years of age his father died. And Balram Singh migrated for business to different cantonments. He knew how to handle the life of his father, he knew sword and lathi playing and looked every inch a Sikh soldier, tall like a pine, stout like an oak imbued with general straight-forward manliness of his race. He took delight in the life as it is and lived it without much of that fashionable trinket-finery of thoughts on religion and social ethic. He knew not what was Guru. He knew the Guru was his and he was his. He had a point in his consciousness, a little protrading point which like the head of a grass rose high tearing his skull and waving in the sun of the Guru’s presence. This every Sikh has, otherwise he has not yet understood himself. The whole material grossness of the Sikh’s life feeds that point, it is very subtle, invisible, pure feeling of his for the person of the Guru. It is this upward tendency that balances him up at an inner subjective elevation against the hostile grossness of a selfish world. And with this straight look at Heaven he can realize within himself the light of soul. The Sikh is like one scaling a hjgji mountain with his intention fixed on the summit and is still sca1ing though he might roll down a hundred times, because no sooner he rises, he struggles upward. This little struggle going within him, in spite of himself, effortlessly, invisibly, visibily is the kernal of higher life that the Guuu plants in every Sikh. The Sikh, alone sees it, watches it, waters it, it is a subjective feefing, it cannot be seen by anybody else nor even by himself generally. Balram Singh had some inkling of it. He was certainly a free lance, a soldier, an animal who lived fully in his senses. He lived not transcendentally at all, yet at times he thought of the Guru, loved to chant. His songs and again and again felt and felt deeply that in spite of the flesh so tenaciously clinging to his soul, he was the Guru’s soldier The Guru is God and he had sent him to this world. He will take care of him. After all, he had to go to Him, life is a mere passage to the Guru’s world. This feeling came to him seasonally like the spring of soul. Occasionally it came like an oasis in a burning desert, but it was not mere vain empty sentimentally or sick morbid fancy, but a reality, a truth as much as he himself was. A little root, a tender fibre, if it be living if it be real, grows slowly invisibly into a huge Banyan tree. Such is the unseen portion of a Sikh and Balram Singh was happily not deprived of it. And as he stood in his rising youth, fully dressed as a soldier, it seemed hi: could shoulder down a little hill in a mere fun. He was in demand, The cowardly Babu-Sikhs of Pothohar who took up supplies of English liqours to British armies, particularly at the time of Kabul war or later Kagan expedition, employed Balram Singh for taking shdter behind his stature in all emergencies. Balram Singh knew how to get out of difficulties. He wore all the medals of his father and it was enough for hi-m to go to the British military officer and say: “Sir! I am a soldier’s son, a soldier myself” And he would say somsthing in pigeon English and get a lot of business accomplished through their favour. Balram Singh knew why the British always respected a true soldier. And instinctively understood why they respected strength. The culture of a true soldier is based on his attitude of self sacrifice, he thought, a soldier is great because he is willing to die for the defence of his country and that of his country’s daughter and wife. This willingness to die at any time in his own conscious, unconscious; the realized, unrealised feeling of unity with the humanity living around in the country of his birth, is his passage to man and God. He is universal in his action in spite of the issues before him being small and narrow. The Soldier is the servant of God, some how his soul knows this, if not his mind. Much is forgiven to him for the complete physical surrender to man. The sailor captain of a ship is a soldier and is ever ready to go down with his ship. All honour to such ones. The sense of duty that one gets poured into him by compulsion is a stupid affair. The soldier too is born, and duty is a call heard within, and not a made up affair. Such were the crude throughts of Balram Singh, when he saw the respect with which the English soldier treated him. Truly, those who are led to self sacrifice like the animals to the slaughter hourse, after much religious and ethical appeal and all “rousing” to a sense of sacrifice, are essentially cowards up-holstered with some kind of moral ballast to run through a fusilade in the name of country’s defence. And truly, soldiers like Balram Singh carry in themselves an inner detonatory power to blow themselves up and run into a rain of bullets to death. Such men fling life up like a shuttle cock. The Sikh soldier has an invisible love for liberty. Balram Singh was a hero with all the noble emotion of his soldierly race. Balram Singh was kind tohumanity below him in the scale of life and he was defiant to arrogant humanity above him. Religion to him was his background and he laid his head on it to rest. It was his pillow, his bed, his sleep, his repose. He instinctively knew, that if snakes could coil round Shiva’s neck unvenomed, he be smeared with filth and dirt and dust of his gross material life as he lived, would be washed in the waters of the mother’s forgiveness that waits for him as a Sikh of the Guru in the yonder skies. He used to say, who knows even a drunkard, a prodigal son of the Guru could attain to His mercy. And perhaps a human prostitute attain to the liberation of his love. Ah ! wl.o knows ? All these were references to himself. II During this visit of Kamla Singh to Pothohar, Balram Singh proposed that his nephew should now marry and he would give in his will all his property to him. And he would love to see him married before he died. Kamla Singh: “Father ! The property in Thoa has no value now. People are deserting the old villages of peace and migrating to the cities of desire. Desire is consuming the self. Barbarism is replacing the old fragrant culture. Manners are changing, eyes of men are getting different. And everybody is in a hurry to crush others to enlarge his own estates. In such a country where the poor are being condemned and the rich worshipped for their gold in spite of their ignorance filth and faithlessness, father ! it is a sin to marry and add to the number of the poor slaves. In Rs. 50/- a month, how can I support my wife ? Father ! the poor men like myself and again slaves of the rich and the alien people, should not marry.” Balram Singh: “But why don’t you come and settle in this little estate and live a village life ? Give up your job and plough as I have been ploughing.” Kamla Singh: “This is quite a good suggestion, but even if I do so, do you think I can make more than Rs. 50/- ?” Balram Singh: “My good boy ! even if you make nothing, the fields I give you will give you enough wheat and maize for the year. You can have a buffalo, one or two cows a few sheep, and a poultry farm along with it. Put a little more light of knowledge and labour into it and you will make more.. ;Let me tell you I will be leaving you a sum of Rs. 5000/- and the whole of it 1 have earned, by ploughing deeper than other people. I have never asked debts and if I did for seed or purchase of bullocks, I paid it during the very next harvest.” Kamla Singh: “Father ! I am sick of the city life. It is so insanitary and congested that one has not enough air to breathe. If you feel so kind as to give me all that, I would come and settle on your farm. And when I am settled, I would see if I can afford to marry.” Balram Singh: “No. Marriage for a farmer is a necessity. The wife must labour along with the husband, without the joint labour of man and women, agriculture is not covetable. Kamla Singh: “Do you think father ! the modern wife would let one breathe if she is goaded, like that to work ?” Balram Singh: ‘I can’t propose to let you marry an educated or “half-learnt’” woman. She is more an ornament of an idle house than a worna.n, a wife, colabourer. Just as education has played havoc with the offspring of the farmers by degrading them into chicken hearted dandies, so it has unwomaned the good woman of Pothohar. You must marry a cu1tured but unlettered wornan, a noble woman who instinctively knows that life consists in bearing one’s own cross, as well as one’s own plough!! Labour, love and sufferings mingle in the cup of joy that is life and all must drink of it.” Kamla Singh: “Father ! You have never married in life and people think you a true soldier for your great vow of celibacy. No saint could live in that spotless purity. They say that is why you still chew the mutton bones with your teeth and can break parched grain under your jaws. I really wish to know all about your life.” Balram Singh: “To have lived a single life after what happened to me in my blind vehement passionate youth is no wonder. These pundits consider celibacy a great thing, it is what naturally follows certain events in life either a great grief or a great, concentration. And both are the outcome of strong animal strength. This strength of muscles intoxicates the very feelings and they can be hitched like a pair of oxen to any yoke by a strong man. The bookish ideas are mere descriptions and the fools take to following mere descriptions and they fail. They must. Descriptions of living men and their conduct can never be the substitutes for the latter. So you need not give me any credit for having lived a single life. “Purity” of character is born out of the “impurity of life’s experiences and it comes as a matter of course if you are a man, a strong man. All goodness that you see in me is due to one blind sin I committed and I still weep for it when I am alone. My boy ! Memory, I find is a great tyrant. My own self a still greater one. Death would be a wonderful blessing if it could blot out the memory of this poignant continuity of myself, or roughly speaking my memory. I wish if we could forget all else and know only the faint but luminous continuity of an upward rushing of soul through the clouds, singing the songs to its far off mate like a high soaring crane.” And here Balram Singh wept and sobbed like a child and said : “O Guru Father ! Make me a new man. I wish* to forget this sin-besmeared Balram Singh. I can not forgive myself for what I have done. The whole life has passed, the black hair have grown all grey and yet only these few days of sin, these intense blind days measure out this earth for me. Father ! what avails my repentence, with all sinks more and more, some keen-edged daggers stab me in the dark. The pain is renewed for me by repentence. What is repentence but committing the same deed over again ? Father ! One deed has fettered me, it seems for eternity. Compared with this self-loss of liberty, what is the physical crime for which men are punished on this earth. Father ! My God ! save me from this prison cell of the deed that threatens to bind me even beyond death.” And Balram Singh again cried bitterly. The old man sobbed like a child. So pathetic was it that Kamla Singh began weeping out of love for him and embraced his old uncle. Kamla Singh: “What was that event which made your life holy?” Balram Singh: I got into the employment of Sardar Inder Singh who had taken the supplies of English liquors to the Commisseriat Department in tho Kabul when General Roberts made his triumphal entry into Kabul. The old Inder Singh had induced me, gave a fortune to me to leave behind for my mother and gave me all authority. He treated me as if I were his own son. The excitement of mere going in war with Roberts made me forget eveything else. My mother was left behind but in my red hot enthusiasm for the war, I did not think much about her. I left her to her God. There was in fact no thought in my mind but march, march with the army. I had no wife and so there was no lingering sentiment that a widow would weep if 1 were killed in action. It mattered little to my youth-infatuated mind and my great muscular strength that heppended to me or what I did. By the courtesy of my English officer friend I got a temporary King’s Commission, a sort of honorary title. I thought my main duty was still with the liquor stores. And I loved to be with the soldiers. To find English soldiers saluting me as I passed was a whole gladness. I in turn saluted the English officers and this was a performance which pleased me. All the military glory of this camp life sent a thrill into my soul. The military pageant excited me. I cared not for life or death, my party, carried on the contractor’s work and I spent my time in the streets of the camps. I had horses, mules and a few tents all to myself. My tents were pitched in the rear. But I was always dissatisfied when 1 had to be left with the non-combatants. I took every opportunity to take part in front action. I went proudly with my rifle on the shoulder. And I was many times praised for my clever sniping when passing through the frontiers of the Punjab. On the day of triumphal entry into Kabul, there was general loot. The Indian and the English soldiers rushed into the city and went whichever way the excited running led them to rifle the honeycob of the Afghan houses of whatever they could lay their hands upon. There was no resistance whatsoever, there were mostly women and old men left in the houses. And the soldiers went in all directions, ransacking the treasures and all clamoured for gold and silvery and valuables, particularly jewellery And filling their pockets, and bags, the soldiers had their time, all were violent and wild that day. And the details of loot, murder and rape were hushed. No one but we knew what we did that day in Kabul ! I was lagging behind in a street, and quite alone. A place-like white house stood before me, its gates were flung open that lead to an open pebble-bestrewn courtyard. I went in, more out of curiosity than for any lust for loot. The central structure with its slender arms right and left held the courtyard like a large basket. It looked like a crown deserted by its wearer. There was seemingly no one in the house. The arms of the house were bare and robbed. I was over-powered by the mystery that still clung to the deserted house. The whole thing was uncanny. Silence was of death and ruin. And my heart fluttered as I stood in the courtyard all alone with fear. And with this strange fear, I entered that crown-shaped central house. There sat a stag-eyed Afghan girl looking vacantly on the pebbles of the courtyard apparently in extreme sorrow with her head resting on her elbow. She was quite alone. Seeing me she startled like a swan in a lake and stood about six feet high and her beauty looked draped with liquid treads of sorrow, a veritable princess of beauty in unknown distress ! Ah ! her eyes still haunt me. Her eyebrows that arched and met so gracefully in the centre hooked my very soul up to some heights of life I had not known till then. Her whole bliss-some figure seemed so grand as if the stars had come and entered into her tresses. It was a whole garden of Braids that lured me. Malik Jay Singh of Dera Khalsa (a biography in short of my maternal uncle) Dera Khalsa is a tiny village of about one hundred mud-houses mostly belonging to the Sikh farmers and petty traders, the mud houses providing an open terrace on their roofs when a few houses fall in groups on both sides of the narrow lane running through the whole village. Dera Khalsa has no roads about it for miles but for those that the feet of the inhabitants, or the hoof of the cows and horses and mules and similar other natural influences, such as the flow of rain water etc. had made for them. And from my infancy upward to my old age, the village has not changed, it is the same old Dera Khalsa. The mud walls of these houses absorb in an extraordinary manner the orders of ripe corn, and maize and wheat which are stored-in air-tight mud-walled vertical chambers with a circular aperture at the bottom hung up with a tight stop-cock made my putting together a lot of rags. It seems these walls serve as great purifiers of the inner air by diffusing gases through their porous surfaces. And there are other advantages such as the protection afforded to the dewllers from the extremes of summer and winter temperatures. There is a small hillock at the back of the village which is called Mahal or the Palace, possibly the ruin-heaps of some former palace, where the cow-herd boys find, now and then, the old coins. So far Indian archeaological department has neglected it, apparently for want of funds. To find old treasures one has to spend new treasures and this business too like all other business has its own risks. In short, the Mahal is, to the simple village people, just a hill ; and it is a beloved hill, for when the villagers go out to the cities of Jhelum and Rawalpindi; on their return, it is at the sight of the Mahal, from a distance of about three miles that they cry with joy— there is their beloved village, the Dera Khalsa. The expectant brides get on to the top and shading their eyes with their right hand, they strain them to recognize the riders that are seen far in the distant horizon coming towards the village. Standing on the top of the Mahal, now thickly overgrown with dwarfed acacias, one has the magnificent sight of a water tank on its left, a hollow basin about four furlongs long and about one furlong wide in which collects water in the rainy season, and the tankful lasts the village for a whole year for general purposes such as washing clothes, bathing themselves and their cattle and teaching their children the art of swimming etc. And on the edge of this tank, there is a grove of huge bunyan trees whose shades cover the whole length and breath of the tank, in whose-rippling surface, the red bunyan berries and green leaves fall and float for a while, then sink to the bottom. These shades provide a king of pleasant summer resort for the villagers, for under these Bunyans, there blows, for most of the year, a cool breeze touched by which they enjoy their midday siasta. In addition to this magnificent luxury of almost having the temperatures of an Indian hill station without the latter’s cost, the good deep wells of drinking water, there being on each a magnificient pipal tree standing as a guardian angel of the water below. One well is quite close to the village and the other, the old one about J”alf a mile away towards the hillside on an elevation, and it is reported that the water of the latter old well has many curative properties to take advantage of which Dera Khalsa, many a time, has the honour to entertain guests from far and near who come for water treatment for their different ailments. And towards the Southern extremity of the village which is situated on a kind of slope, flows the Kas. a little streamlet which in Sawan becomes full and turbulent, but throughout the year, it flows in its own volume of water that irrigates much of the land of Dera Khalsa that lies about it. The villagers dig temporary wells near this streamlet and irrigate their land by lifting water by means of a lever consisting of a long pole at one end of which is fastened a bucket with string and at the other end a heavy weight. The pole is drawn downward from its resting position by hand and the bucket allowed to fall into water, and as it gets filled, it is lifted up automatically by the excess of weight attached on the other end of the pole, when released by lifting off the pressure of the hand. And at two prominent places there are irrigation wells in which are fitted up the Persian wheels for lifting water. And around the cracking singsong music of the Persian wheels drawn by a pair of bullocks, the peop’e assemble for eating radish and carrots by washing them in the water falling from the redclay water-pots fastened to the wheel that goes down empty and comes up filled with water worked by a crude wooden rack and pinion arrangement. At about two miles down the course of this little streamlet, the people of Dera Khalsa have a great waterfall, this very streamlet falling down a high rock making a very beautiful deep-blue lake of water below in which there is a good deal of fishing. On the Hindu New Year’s day, and for the Baisakhi and other festive occasions, all those surrounding the water, gather at this lake and around the waterfall, called Kumbikyali. And there is all fun of a big fair, where they have sports, cock-fights and quail fights and a little betting on the latter. Thus the village of Dera Khalsa is country in itself,1 having many advantages of natural aspects all so inviting, made still further beautiful by irrigation wells having around them kitchen and fruit gardens which provide an oasis to the eye in an otherwise rugged country, torn by ravines and having the appearance of a piece of cheese nibbled by rats. The deep cool shades of Dera Khalsa bunyans and pipals in summer and curative waters of its wells and a little fishing place at the lake and waterfall of Kumbikyali give Dera Khalsa a distinction of Pothohar, the ravine torn country between the pass of Marghala towards Peshawar side and the river Jhelum on the Lahore side. The people of this side of Marghala pass are mostly small land holders who till their own soil and labour hard on the field and they live in comparative ease. The modern knowledge has not till today penetrated to Dera Khalsa, otherwise it would be a very simple thing for these enterprising people to harness the Kumbhikyali waterfall and get electricity to light their mud houses and run a little flour mill, for they have still to go a long way to get their wheat milled into flour. The elements of electrical engineering ought to be in this age a mattter of common country knowledge, but our alien government is too busy with devising methods to keep the people down and their ammunition of intellect is exhausted in trying to preserve in hypnotic atmosphere of Anglo-saxon superiority under which the people may just pass their days; they should neither die nor live, just exist. Otherwise Dera Khalsa could have electric light and fan. As regards their oil mills, they have their wooden presses and the oil men, and in that respect the village is quite self contained. They have their own blacksmith, carpenter, shoemaker and all. On the whole, the people, so far, have been quite well off and comparatively happy and lucky, as they have enough strength to oppose the usual official tyranny with a visible effect and the offiicial world just passes by Dera Khalsa doing its routine work causing not much vexation to the people. The village being entirely a Sikh village, as in the later days of the Sikh rule in the Punjab, this village was the head quarters of a Sikh Sardar who ruled the country around. There is a Sikh Dhara-mshala where all strangers and preachers could come and stay and enlighten the village people who gather every morn and eve to listen to the holy chanting of the Great Gurus’ hymns. In this village, in early fifties and sixties of the eighteenth century, the dominant personality that still ruled was that of the sons of the Malik family; and there was that in born supermacy of character in the family bef re which the whole Dera Khalsa melted into submission. There was that ringing thunder in the voice of the Maliks before which every one quailed with fear. Even today, the members of this family dominate over Dera Khalsa, and, to some extent, a certain portion of the city of Rawalpindi itself. If some one’s cattle trespassed into the lands of Maliks even | a mile away from the village, the housewife would get on the roof and send a thrilling command in her loud pitch, and, then and there, there would be consternation at that distance, even amongst the cattle and the cowherds would use their cudgels with restless anxiety to turn the straying cattle out of the Maliks’ lands ! Thus the Maliks’ habitual authority still persisted in the Malik character, and Dera Khalsa was always the Dera Khalsa of the Maliks. II Early when the British took the Punjab from the Sikhs and the country was yet unsettled, a prince amongst men, my maternal grand-father, Malik Jawala Singh was the leading figure at Dera Khalsa. He was about seven feet tall, slim, wiry figure that always carried a huge bamboo lathi in hand shot with iron rings on both ends of a size proportionate to his own figure, and as he passed he inspired awe in every one who saw him. His apparel was in the style of old Sikhs. A small white turban bound in stupa-form round his head, covering his long Sikh tresses, a pair of tight pyjamas that showed his calfs and hip bones in their original shape and size, and two broad sleeved Kurta of home spun, tied by means of round ribbons made of the same cloth, a thinner and larger one coming over the other usually a short one, was all the outfit. But his face glowed with the heroic fire of all the Sikh ancestry. His long white beard and his deep set black eyes, and a smiling profile, had all the mystic majesty and dignity of the characteristic Sikh form. In the transition time above referred to, when the reins of the Government of the country passed away from the Sikhs, the Maliks began doing brewing business and so did my grandfather. He, under that cloak of brewing business, swept a very great portion of the country with his authority, and every one submitted to him with a great deal of decorum and respect. He was the beloved Sardar, the “Dula Sardar cavalier” as they called him, who rode on his horse stamping the country with the thunder of his authority. But as Malik Jwala Singh grew old, the staff of his country-wide business began taking advantage of his goodness, particularly as my grand-father, in his old age, fell into the habit of drinking hard and taking opium twice a day. This was a usual symptom of being a Sardar, the Sikh Sardars were free lancers. They would give him a right royal welcome on all his depots, and then drug him with flattery and wine and opium, till, for days and days, he did’ not know where he was. Thus it went on. Only my grandmother saw that the situation was getting fast out of hands. She used to tell me, in my childhood, that gunny bags full of money were rolled in and out into her room, and no one had the time to count, just gunny bags were counted, for the Malik lay in his blissful ignorance of everything in his old age. When I saw my grandfather, it was too late; the business was all gone, there was no ready money in the family. But there was still the ancient bustle of great prosperity in and out of my grandfather’s doors. A large courtyard was full of a dozen of milch cows, and there were two dozens of plough bullocks; we had four or five dear, old sturdy Moslem tenants who would spill their blood in our service. My grandfather was now.reduced to looking after his Dera Khalsa lands and living the life of a simple farmer. He used to get up early when it was yet dark and got out for a long tramp, having taken his pill of opium, and then, as he came, he took large dishes of boiled maize to the cattle whom he loved to feed like his children. He was a great loving patriarch who was all forgiveness. He was never seen rebuking anyone. I a tiny boy would go and recline against his knee, and beg to him to give me too a morsel out of the cattle graze and inspite of my grandmother remonstrating against this he would give me a good feed and, with my mouth full of the cooked maize shared with my grandfather’s cattle, I would run into the lap of my grandmother who brought me up, as my mother being the Malik daughter and born and bred to a playing throng of sportive, rural, fawn-like girls of Dera Khalsa, could hardly find time from her play and joy of her playmates, even to give me a regular feed. But my grandmother was nourishing me up, and I never had the need of vexing my mother with my cries. Whenever she came home, she had my smiles and the quivering invitation of my two tiny arms uplifted to her for a lift in her lap, and for a kiss and for a bath in her joy that she had gathered from her roamings in the village gardens, collecting mulberries and apricots. My mother was a quiet young girl and she reeked over nothing. She lived in those days the life of perfect happiness, and she never thought that she was married and her home was different from the one wherein she was born. She was like a wild gazelle who still played in the forest, not knowing that her destiny was thence-forward to pass her days in the cage of her husband who had religiously bocome the owner of her freedom, her body and soul. But enough is the evil of the day thereof, and I am now right glad that my mother kept on her maiden life even after being married, as long as she could. I remember the Mohammadan servants for tenants of my grandfather, lifting me up in their laps and taking me around to one cow, then another, teaching me their names. And I would ins:st to be put on their backs, and I would rub my heals against their breasts or would pretend cry or they would not do as I wished. And as the black crows came, I would ask them to catch a crow for me, and they would run without success, and then giving me a stick, they would ask me to catch one. I would take the stick in hand and run after them on my tiny feet and the plump little legs but they would all fly. I would fall and cry. When suddenly the servants would come and turn my attention much too quickly away would laugh before 1 had the time to cry for having hurt myself. Many a time, 1 would go and dine with my Moslem servants, in spite of the remonstrances of my grandmother because She supported me in everything and kissed me for any mischief that I could manage to do. So I was a caste-breaker in my very infancy. And my Mohammadan servants loved me best for this natural catholicity they found in me. I only remember that 1 and my servants and the cattle were all children of the grandfather who did everything for us. We had plenty of wheat of milk, corn, butter and sugar and the family lived in the merry swing of joy in spite of its comparative poverty. It takes time for a complete run down of a great family, as the perfume sticks for a long time to the perfume flask. My grandmother was a born nurse, her religion was love and service. She was far famed all over the country. Amarti was her name and the people blessed her for her great generosity of temper, and for her spirit of affectionate service. But a while ago, she was a veritable c,ueen, there was, a river of gold and silver flowing at her feet; and she directed it whither she willed in the direction of the needy, of the poor, and towards the kinsmen of the family. She was kind and yet a great disciplinary, very stern at times, there was all the iron of life in her very voice. And if she raised her eye-brow, it was a signal for total surrender to her will on the part of every one else. No one dared let the cattle trespass into her fields, no one dared cheat her. Her voice from her roof controlled labour from a distance of about four furlongs. She laboured hard herself, cooked for the whole family of the masters, servants,cattle and children, she worked at her spinning wheel and got enough yarn in the year for our wear, bed-sheets, quilt-covers and bed matteresses; in the latter work she was helped by her four large-limbed, stalwart, tall, playful daughters. She went to supervise the sowings, the weeding, and she went to harvest her crops. She divided the yields among her tenants. She distributed sitting on her bar like a queen to the village blacksmith, carpenter, shoemaker, and they all called her Amarti Rani- She was the de facto manager of the little estate of my grandfather, consisting then only of about 200 acres of land, and her activity and watchfulness were infinite. Just as the people loved her for her princely-gifts to them, they equally.feared her authority. She was almost omniscent of men and things,; so clear and clairvoyant-like was her deep insight, or perhaps it was due to her acute concentration of mind on her work. At the middle of night, she would call out her servants, and with a stick in hand march forth to the fields, saying there were some thieves prowling about. Once she was sleeping at the hervest time in the open farm made in the fields, a thief came to take out of her wrists her silver bangles, when she quietly caught hold of him by the wrist he tried his utmost but he could not manage his escape. He fell at her feet and apologised saying he was her erring child and she let him go unhurt. Once in a similar scuffle, she broke her arm. So in those days, Amarti was a charming name. Having lost all her riches, she was still strong and gay, and depended more upon the working capacity of her own limbs than the illusions of hoarded wealth that flit pass us, as we say, like the shadows of the afternoon and the evening. She felt she had strength to create wealth, and helped by her daughters, she was not only wealth creative, but joy-creative of the family. The milk stream of prosperity that once flowed was ill evident in the joy of her own hard labour. And it was the spirit of active work that delighted her Mahammadan servants and they were her bond slaves. for they knew she appreciated work, honest hard work in the fields. She, at times, would begin using scythe wilh them, and make her daughters do the same, and make them bring home on their heads the loads of fodder for the cattle. The servants loved to work in this democracy of labour. A portion of the Malik family and the other families knitted together by ties of blood lived in Rawalpindi, another portion in Dhani, another in Takhtapari, a town-like thing in the then Pothohar. The visits of these kinsmen coming to Dera Khalsa from far and near to our house, would be occasions for an infinity of welcome to them and for an unprecedented hilarity all round. We will get on the roofs of the village, and look for hours recognising the riders on pack ponies and others walking along on foot. There comes my cousin, the tall Sikh Sardar riding on his blue mare. There comes the brother of my sisters. And for hours we stood clapping hands and glowing with a hundred expectations of sudden pleasures of our kinsmen pouring in and suffusing the whole house with their love. They all came like love-letters of God, and no one was happier than my grand mother to receive them and entertain them on the most lavish scale. They stayed for weeks and weeks and not a day passed any way less in joy than the last, as regards the warmth of her hospitality and the richness of her happiness, infact, the glow of life by the mingling of kinsmen with our mother’s love increased as the days passed in serving the guests. Her face would shed sparks of light when meeting her guests on a festive board. 1 saw her, in latter days, many times, feeding her grandchildren and guests. She would sit with her mouth open and her lips parted as they helped themselves, and she would close her mouth and press her lips as if she was enjoying every morsel they enjoyed. She was enconomical only to be more liberal in distributing well that she thus saved. She was the mother in the truest sense of the terms, and she \\as the hnppiest when children sat round her wasting, in their joy and for their joy, whatever she had. And she saved a good deal for these occasions in her own simple ways of managing things. She was never angry, if her son-in-law oppressed her daughters as it used to be particularly in those rude days, she kept quiet and treated them exactly as if nothing had happened. She had no complaints to make to anyone, nor she harboured any grievance against her own luck. Content, as the days passed serving others. She had seen too rapid change of fortune to be sorry over any unpleasant happenings of these lesser kind. If her daughters came and wept embe racing her and telling her how their cruel husbands treated them, she shed silent tears and wiped them, with the edge of her homespun veil. She was an ideal kind of wife too. It was her spirit of economy pervading the house, that she could, in days of that poverty, afford to provide whatever my grandfather required. By selling her stores, she gave enough money to him to have his opium and wine. She never rebuked him even once; though I know, she would shed tears at the downfall of a great Sikh due to bad habits of taking these intoxicants. But he was old now, and everything in the house, including her wholeself belonged to this former king amongst men, and how could she starve him of his food, so to say, for wine was like water to my grandfather and opium like bread ? In fact bread and water had become of secondary importance to him. Once in those days of poverty, he was employed at a brewery by one of his old servants on Rs. 20/- a month, and it was allowed him, being the old master of the new master of things, that he could dispense away with the necessity of a cup, and drink putting his palm-cups to the barreltap whenever he liked and as many times as he liked, and so he did often. But he got very ill being away from the kind nursing of my grandmother, and he was brought down to Dera Khalsa again, where my grandmother looked after him with an affection which he could get from no other. One could imagine what it was to manage the whole singing house, as if no adversity had come uponit; atod also to nurse the old man who knew not for weeks where he was, almost dead with his drink, and enfeebled and wretched and dirjy and helpless ! And she kept him, in his old age, still like a prince of her heart ! Malik Jawala Singh lived depending on Amarti the ideal wife, mother and nurse. My grandmother “had four daughters and only one son. Three daughters were already married, though for most of the year, they lived with their mother. Evidently because they failed to get the proper atmosphere for themselves to breathe in the cage-houses of their husbands. My uncle, Malik Jay Singh the third and only male issue was a spoiled child, and he was spoiled for good reasons because he was the only brother of so many sisters ! ! My grandmother who kept such a discipline, was kind to a fault to him. My grandfather would give sips of his wine cup to his son, even when he was a child, though only when he saw that my grandmother was nowhere near about. She would, however, get the report and have fight with the old man, but he was past all cure. So my uncle grew up as a boy who gave disappointment all round by his worthlessness and he was universally spoken of as a good-for-nothing kind of a nch man’s child. He was sent to the village school but there he would fight with the teachers, and being the son of Maiiks, it were the teachers who were worsted in the quarrel. In about fifteen years, he managed to read and write a little Punjabi and Urdu, and to keep accounts of some sorts. He was fond of fine clothes, and he would wear very light Pothohar shoes with gold threadwork on them and wear socks of rainbow colours. The socks of many fancy colours had just started coming to Pothohar markets, so he got the very pick of them for himself. He discarded the old fashioned wear and would dress himself in a Parsi coat of the best Manchester long cloth with mother of pearl buttons and a turban of the finest Manchester mulmul. He would have one silk handkerchief tied round his neck like a veritable dandy, and another in his pocket for wiping off the seat and dust of his face, and a third silk handkerchief was deposited in another pocket which was exclusively reserved for wiping his enbroidered shoe if by going a few steps any dust dared settle on it. Whenever he put on a new suit, he must have some kind of perfume. Such were the tastes of the young Malik who thought he had come to the world only for a choice of fine clothes and perfumes for himself. One thing was very good in him, that he, before dressing up, used to get into wrestling exercises with his Mohammandan servants and to learn Gatika and lathi play from them- He was fond of sports on the whole. He played Kodi, and soon became a famous player in Pothohar. In the fairs of Kambkhyali, Malik Jay Singh’s quails and cocks won the bet ting. In these matters, he was a champion. But, after he had bathed and dressed himself, he would consider it a sin to do any rough work or do any waling or “doing” of any sort which would spoil his clothes or shoes. He would keep himself scrupulously tidy and extremely-fashionable. His whole day business was to brush his clothes, wipe his shoes, wash his face with milk and cream and p;rfum2 himself. So that he may look like the fashionable lord of Dera Khalsa. No body disturbed him in his fancies and no one called him to work; and his mother gave him all he wanted. He was flattered and loved by his sisters; and servants were mighty afraid of him. So his studies went from bad to worse and sports from good to better every day. He had achieved distinction in many sports throughout Pothohar; a champion of many a contest. The family was getting gradually into pinches of poverty and so this young Malik must then take to some work to help his old father. For that purpose, he must go out of Dera Khalsa to seek an employment, or enter into some business, but his old father, would not endure his separation, and so the matters went on drifting, till it became impossible. The days came when the old man had to forego with tears this affectionate hugging of the son to his breast. It was very pathetic but it had to be done. Malik Jay Singh, when he was about twenty, left Dera Khalsa for Abbottabad, where he, at first, sought for service. But perfect dandy as he was, no master could endure his fastidious regard for his clothes and shoes that kept him off the work lest his clothes should be spoiled, and he would not put himself to any work with any show of deligence or zest. If the work did itself, well and good, otherwise Malik Jay Singh had no time to look after it with any extra exertion, for his suit would be ruined, if he sweated for it. He looked with scorn on those who seated in dust spoiling their clothes and besmearing their faces with dust. It made him sick. At last, Malik Jay Singh found a man, a sharper, a cloth-merchant of Abbottabad, who offered him a partnership in the business, which the young Malik readily accepted and joined immediately because to sit in a cloth-shop selling long clock and mulmul of Manchester was a work to his heart. But he was a Malik’s son, a prince and not a bania, while the other partner was a regular bania. The partnership deed that was drawn up was one-sided an unconscionable kind of document, in which all the losses were to fall on Malik’ heads and profits were to be divided half and half. But Malik Jay Singh, in his joy, had no time to read the document, he was in the devil of a haste to sign it, lest the offer should be withdrawn. In the feverish zeal of becoming a full-fledged merchant and sending some monetary help to his old mother at Dera Khalsa, the Malik cared two straws what the black letters in the agreement meant. Enough was the evil of the day thereof, he thought nothing like entering into business at any cost, at any risk, after all men must take risk. Under theses conditions, the young aesthete of Dera Khalsa settled at Abbotabad and looked askance on many a rising firms of his own kinsmen whom he disliked as none of them had been of any service to him, while a stranger of some unknown place like Gujarat in the Punjab should have befriended him like that, and given him such a princely start in life without his having to put in any capital of his own in the business, His airs became still more superior, and then out or in of his shop, the magnificence of his taste assumed greater proportions. III Malik Jay Singh had a roaring business, as any cloth business is bound to be, when one can manage to get goods on credit and sell them at a profit. But in this case whether the business was profitable or not, who cared to enquire ? Enough it was to see with joy, a stream of silver flowing into the shop everyday, and somehow it was not allowed to go out in its full volume, and both the partners began dancing at its sight and plunging into it and having good baths ! The aesthetic temperament of Malik Jay Singh was utilised by the other party to eat, drink and be merry as long as the money might last, without a thought for the morrow; and so it went on. Malik Jay Singh did occasionably send a few rupees to his old mother who thought his son was having a princely income at Abbotabad, while Malik Jay Singh and his partner were devouring recklessly, in pursuit of youthful pleasures, not only their ligitimate profits which were not small but also the capital of the people who supplied goods to their, these honourable Abbotabad customers, on credit and expecting periodical remittances on account. But the shop on account of the princely temperament of Malik Jay Singh who rained money on all who came to beg to him for help, was, to all appearances, a great success. Their daily sales exceeded any other shop and their profits in the eyes of people were growing enormous every day. Good reports of the stability and growth of the busidess of the firm reached the creditors living in far off cities like Rawalpindi and none of them minded if the remittances were fitful. The Dera Khalsa people, on the other hand, were now getting anxious to get a wife for the prince-son of the family; but to the poverty that had fallen on the family of late and owing to the bad reports about the moral character of Malik Jay Singh at Abbotabad, where he had become a reckless libertine, there were no visible prospects of receiving any kinsmen of theirs into and proposal for such an alliance. After some hard struggle, a relative of ours succeeded in securing a girl for Malik Jay Singh to the great delight of my old grand father and mother. The dates for the wedding were quickly fixed and Malik Jay Singh was called away from Abbotabad for the purpose. It was a great occasion and joy-lamps were lit by the whole Dera Khalsa as they all said : “God is Great who has afforded this day of joy to this prince amongst us, to Malik Jawala Singh and that Goddess Amarti in the old age of theirs !” The young Malik was married, but as soon as he brought the bride home from Rawalpindi, misfortune after mifortune betook the family. In a few days, most of the cattle that filled the courtyard with life died, as if it was due to ill-luck of the bride. So simultaneous all this happened that every body, thought so. And, in about a month’s time, the old grand man of Dera Khalsa breathed his last due to age and alcoholism and morphinism. Malik Jay Singh suffered these shocks bravely, but he was completely absorbed in the pleasure of the continuous company of his new wife. The life to the Malik was one unbroken joy of honeymoon. He idealized his wife by the infinity of his own passion, and found a new universe in her. To him, this ill-starred, but a very enviable lady of plain features arxd.,wheat-brown colour was everythnig.!..It was his religion, labour, love, life, all in one. To Malik Jay Singh, the whole world lived in her breath for him and with her he heeded not if it was night or day. It was the unbroken intoxication of joy, a kin to that of a conqueror, for him, The .world was an elysium and a paradise in her, and away from her, it was hell. And so he went on : His partner at Abbotabad was waiting for him to come back and look after the business. He sent messages after messages, but the young Malik sent no reply, and had actually had no leisure to send any reply. It was more than six months that he was away from there for his honey-moon. His relatives from Abbotabad wrote confidential diaries as to the dishonest methods his partner was adopting to ruin the business, but nothing could wake up Mlik Jay Singh, from his sleep of pleasure. He was mad with the insensate love for his wife. And his wife loved him so much as would not let him do anything but love her. Atlast, the news came, that his partner had taken away a lot of money and fled to a place where British law could lay no hold upon him, and according to the agreement, the whole burden must come crushing Malik Jay Singh. Much time was not given to Malik Jay Singh after this, for the creditors came and fell upon the old house like so many crows falling on a little sparrow. IV. Thus did Malik Jay Singh enter his married life, surrounded by a host of creditors and their constant demand and narassments. But his elastic and sportsman like nature stood him well, and he mustered up all his^courage and took it like guarding the wickets of the life cricket from the ball-throws of his opponents, with a bat in his hand hitting back every ball sent to him, and not even once being centred out in a whole life-struggle with these creditors, lasting in all for about thirty years. They came with decrees in their hands, confiscating, by periodic surprises, all the moveables they could lay their hands upon. The very first time that the new set of five Pair of bullocks which were purchased for tilling the land were marched off from the courtyard, the old Mohammad Khan, the servant of the family and a tenant began crying like a child. He came to mother with his eyes red with grief. O mother Amriti I “O mother Amriti” he cried,” my bullocks are being taken away !” The mother consoled him, saying “O son ! cry not, be a man. I have no tear in my eye, though I am but a woman. These are the various changing conditions of life with which we have to combat as men, and make our hearts of steel against hostile odds. Life is never a dish of cream and sugar, it is a battlefield and we live surrounded by infinite danger and risk. We should not lose heart, God and the Guru are geat, He will protect the family from harm. If you have lost bullocks, He will give more.” “Mother ! once such a rich family of ours is now reduced ! We peasants can combat with difficulties that come, but hard indeed it is for princes to pass through tribulation.” “Mohammad Khan ! You are mistaken. My children, both my daughters and my son have drunk my milk and none of them is a coward; when times come, they will fight, like the Sikhs of the Guru, with the tribulations of life. They are not rich of wealth now, but they are richer now of moral strength. When the cobra is in difficulty, it raises its hood. The young children of mine will gather all their inner strength and oppose all dangers with a courage the world has rarely seen.” “Mother Amarti ! I know your children ! See how young Malik has already changed. He has given away all his clothes and the clothes of his wife, and all the new ornaments he has already sent to the creditors. He has mortgaged most of the land and paid off some debts. But still more come and still more. The last strip of land that he has is your share and it is hardly enough, but he works hard and maintains the family. He has become from a Prince into a simple Khhaddar-clad peasant like us who sweats more than we do and who has the strength of us ten put together. We weep when we see him. And look how he treats his guests as if the family has lost nothing of its old opulence, “But mother! what use is putting so much in these ever-empty mouths, they come and go feasting on our family flesh as of old without reading inwardly our financial reduction. And what makes me sorry is that none of these kinsmen has been of any assistance whatsoever to my young master. “In fact, they secretly go against us, I have heard of all these wicked things done, and I am weary of the faithlessness of the world.” “Mohammad Khan ! You are very much mistaken. Bread comes from God, and we are mere distributors of it on the way-side inn-this mud house of our clan. He sends, we distribute it. Every one conies and gets his own share, as your blacksmiths and carpenters come for their respective share on the farmers barn. Who are we ? the puny mortals to assume the role of givers. Every house, every family is in the nature of God’s barn. How can we as mere servants expect any returns for His gifts given to others, the gifts which are not ours own but from God’s Great barn. The account of every one is direct with his God. My mother used to say : “Daughter give away, give away your all in the service of man, as long as you can give. The day is fast approaching in everyone’s life when the hand which could give would be motionless and the heart that could cheer up others will beat no more. Make your wants zero, but make the needs of others infinite and work as long as your limbs move together for them what they require. Ours is to labour, to serve, and it is not for us, slaves, the servants of the Guru to bring complaints to our lips. Those who complain are not of God, they have not known Him yet, they have no faith. Mohammad Khan ! You are a Moslem, you ought to know. These guests are not ours, they are Guru’s guests, and we are mere servants, whatever God sends us, we have to distribute it all and then live in the freedom of having nothing to ourselves. If we have no bread left, we will have the water of the village-wells to distribute and we still shall distribute, still,” said Mother Amarti. “Mother Amarti ! I am now old and I wished to see this house full, but the sorrow of this change makes me a broken-hearted old servant of yours.” “Mohammad Khan ! Don’t be sentimental, go and work and live as happily as before.” Mother Amarti still kept the house for her son as she did for her husband, causing, him but the least and indispensable worry. She made two ends meet by her trained sense of economy and Malik Jay Singh and his wife both lost in each other’s love, felt miserable only when the creditors came and that too occasionally. But the sword of Democes of the unpaid debts always .hung over the head of Malik Jay Singh and a lesser man than this strong man would have given way under the heavy weight, but harder the times, the more determined to struggle grew Malik Jay Singh. He always kept up his gathered courage. Once upon a time a rich neighbour of his collected about a hundred servants of his and put them in directing the current of Dera Khalsa Kas towards the low-lying lands of Malik Jay Singh ! Who would fight with him in the courts afterwards as Malik Jay Singh was then almost an insolvent ? It is in the nature of rich men to press thos-3 who can be pressed down without any danger to themselves, otherwise they are cowards on the very account of their being rich. Through that trick the neighbour thought he would easily recover about fifty acres of rich agriculturable soil for himself The news reached the young Malik in time, who took up his father’s lathi shot on both sides with iron ring and became almost bare with resolution wearing a little loin cloth in the fashion of a Punjabi Sikh peasant, and a small turban round his head, proceeded alone to the spot, and roared like a lion, abusing in his rough rural manner both the rich man and his labourers. He wished to know where the rich-man was who wanted to submerge his land for a Malik’s lathi was crying for his head. Had he met him that day, the rich man would hav been a dead’man. But he sulked away and concealed himself in a cave in a ravine near by. At one yell from Malik Jay Singh, all the hundred men came and salaamed him and bowed submission. For there was the universal respect of the local populace still due to him, and the great traditions of characteristic generosity of good will of this onee great family towards the poor folks of the country around was proverbial And then the courage of the young Malik was infinite, and the fear of death was absent from his brave nature. At times, the decree holders behave very unreasonably, perhaps all over the world, but we say only in India. Once my mother, (Malik Jay Singh’s sister) was living with him, and she had provided two cows for herself and had managed to get two pairs of bullocks for ploughing the ancestral land of which only a portion was left, and that too was low lying land on the edges of Kas reserved for the mother as it was not possible for the creditors to attack her share and it was this land which the rich neighbour had wished to submerge in water as mentioned above, the last straw on which the faily was dependent. The rest of the estate too was mortgaged partly to this very rich neighbour who was also a distant kinsman of the family, and partly to another relative at Rewalpindi, and these two men between themselves had paid off the major portion of the debt and thus relieved the family of the debt and also of the best of the family property. And these two kinsman troubled the family for thirty years, almost continuously, not only by decrees, and official tyranny, but by a regular social combination of hatred aginst the family. The little mud house with one stall for cattle and a big courtyard in addition to a few acres were left to the mother and she still gathered everybody under her shelter. As our cattle, though some of them were lent to our uncle, were retired in the old ancestral courtyard, suddenly, the creditors came with the red turbaned peons of the District Court and before anybody would realise, they were driving cattle across the Kas on the Rawalpindi side, having attached them. This was the second occasion when my uncle felt wounded, and he ran with his lathi after the minions, and having shown them a bit of his courage and his lathi pay, he drove them away and drove our cattle back home. On this, was started a criminal case by the rich man in the Kahuta Tahsil, and Malik .lay Singh was hand-cuffed and marched on to the District Jail because it was so easy for people who had money to bribe the Tahsildars and get any poor man sent to Jail on a trumped-up charge. It was the alliance of these little local officials with these rich men who fed them well, that made the rich men supreme over the poor folks. But thanks to the good crops ‘and general prosperity, the evil of this combined oppression was not wide spread in this part of the country My mother and I ran to Rawalpindi and what a great delight was in store for us, that my uncle was just brought back from Jail on a security bond by a kind hearted kinsman of ours who in his early life was indebted in some way to our family, and my uncle did not have to enter Jail at all ! I ran into my uncle’s embrace and I asked hini how he was released ! He related to me : “As I was being marched in handcuffs, I saw a Mohammadan Faqir, a man of miracles, and I requested the police to let me pay my homage to him. which they did. And as 1, with his handcuffs on began, he blessed me...”Go son ! thy handcuffs will drop as soon as you reach Rawalpindi.” And so it did happen, “saying this, he smiled and embraced me. He loved me intensely from my infancy and I loved none so much as I loved my uncle, though like my grandfather, he, many a time, out of affection, gave a little sip out of his wine cup to me too. This too was after all not s > bad, as mere piety which touches life at a faint tangent and keeps itself fully divorced from it, is a miserable thing. I am glad now that I tasted wine even in my boyhood and I never had much, liking for it at all any time ! Thus, the rich neighbour of Dera Khalsa gave him much trouble, tough, always, like a coward, keeping himself in the background. After this open act of hostility, his demands for the unpaid debts became still more vexatious. But my uncle kept his mind calm and many a time told me that they were mere flies, but nothing could touch the strength of his life, which was his hidden treasure. “After all” he said, “my boy ! man gets wealth not knowing that it is inner strength which creates the joy out of it all, living well. Look, we eat better than these people, we can digest our food, and sleep well; and how miserable our foes feel on account of their, constant anxiety to harm us in some indirect way. Malik Jay Singh has been, a great devotee of both the Hindu and Moslem faqirs and he himself a well beloved character of the mystics of the sorrounding hills. Malik Jay Singh, till today unto his ripe old age, had a life of suffering. He lost his eldest child in 1902 due to a sort of spinal tuberculosis and his wife followed four years later. But not a wrinkle of sorrow came on the calm and radiant face of this strong man, as if he understood life and had some insight into the mystery of death itself. When plague attacked Dera Khalsa for the first time every one was then mortally afraid of plague, and the people went leaving their dying relatives as dead, but Malik Jay Singh, in that ancestral home, stuck fast to his post of duty, and served his mother like her dear child as he was she while lay ill with plague. No one came to help him, he was alone by his mother’s death bed. And no one would come to help Malik Jay Singh for cremating the last remains of his noble mother. All relatives were scattered at great distances all over the country. What could he do alone ? The brave man put her remains in a white sheet and lifted her on his back and he went all by himself and cremated her by flowing waters of Dera Khalsa Kas. Ere this, he had served his wife with all the life long devotion of his heart, for he knew she was passing away. He could build no other monument to her name, but the monument, in her life time, of his own loving service and she died full of love for her husband who nursed her with the love of a devotee. But Mailk Jay Singh has stood all this wonderfuly bearing all kinds of winds and weathers and he lives quitely as a poor farmer at Dera Khalsa in his own old ancestral mud-house, unafraid of calamities, that may beat against his breast. He almost says : “I stand as long as I breathe without confessing defeat.” Like the tears of his mother, his tears too fall silently in his own solitary prayer, and those too but occasionally like dew drops. His face has still its habitual calm, its redness of moral health, even when all his hair are now grey and he meets everyone with his old open, whole hearted smiles of deep affection and his embrace has the vitality of youth in it. It imparts warmth of life, atleast I have felt it so many times. By the way, it may be remarked here, though the remark is coincidentlly based on folklore superstitions that since the death of his beloved wife, all financial troubles were over for him in a very short time. He himself after the death of his wife, used to say good humouredly that, after all, his wife had locked his fortunes away to get his attention exclusively to herself. His lands were automatically released from the mortgage of the richman, for he had reaped the stipulated number of harvests already, and other kinsman creditor, failing for so many years, to get anything out of Malik Jay Singh, but dust of worry of attaching no property and getting all the bad name for it, gave up his claims, and released the mortgage of his own free will. Thus, he got back his 200 ancestral acres, but unfortunately the family had been reduced one by one by this time, all the sisters except one were dead, the wife, mother, and the eldest son had gon ! His youngest son worked for him and raised a splendid fruit garden for him but the tree-grower left before the fruit came up. His second son being a medical graduate and havining married a wife from a city had to part from his father to practice medicine. But the chief reason of separation of the second son from his father and the neglect of ancestral acres by this youngman was his difference with his father over a small unhappy-looking event. He naturally resented very strongly the action of his father who, in his old age, had allowed a low-caste woman with half a dozen children to come and live with them under the same roof. The son could not naturally stand this as it was indeed very awkward to live together under those conditions. In my opinion, it was a splendid idea of his, to get an old lady as his companion in order to pass the evening of his life, while living all so lonely on his ancestral acres ! And what should be put to the old man’s credit has been debted against him by every body, because the pious men are hopjlessly out of touch with life. Malik Jay Singh never in his life did placate himself for winning reputation beyond what people thought of him, and he sever cared as to what the people thought of him, nor did he ever conceal his faults to win a cheap fame for the so called piety in which he never entertained any belief. He believed in life and loved it. He was a genuine man who got in under his roof a low-caste woman with all her encumberances when he felt the need for the company of a woman, and he did it when the woman agreed on her own terms of bringing all her children with her. It was she who cooked and swept the house; and her children too did little service on the farm whatever they could do. And Malik Jay Singh was devoted to her, against all the loss of his reputation with the s$rne old passion which fired his bosom in youth. He gave her the choicest bed in the house and him self passed his night on a broken one as a bird of passage deeply sad too ;as he must be. It was a splendid institution he had set up for himself in that village in his old age and in it, he had found a few hitherto unrelated persons to feel kindness for and make new relatives of. This great fault of his was the symptom to me of his very great almost heroic character- Malkit Jay Singh still worked on his farm and in the garden planted by his son, and felt happy when touching the soil of his ancestral acres. In his heart of hearts, he worked for no body now, but to keep himself up, he had no other cure for his deep and lofty sorrow but work. And I know that some of the mystics he served in his life, might be helping him from within, to kep him fairly happy. The last time I met him I saw he had become old and thin firm, his hair grey, but I saw the same old smile on his face and the same naughty twinkle of youth in his eyes, which he had when his quails and cocks won the mock fights at the Kubkhyali fair, His great ancestral vitality and his spirit of a true sportsman, it seemed still mocked destiny that had been so unfavourable to him. Only his God and his muscles had been in his favour. Malik Jay Singh, no one shall ever deny, had been all his life a soldier who in his defeat was still victorious, for he never lost faith in God and in himself. He never compalined, nor he felt angry with the hand of death that removed so many pieces out of his self-body as if he knew of her ancient friendship too well to feel faithless. Though quite old and gaunt he still believed in life and enjoyed it too in his own way. —0— Bofore this writing could see the light of the day, Malik Jay Singh has also gone where those before him had gone. Last time, I met him, he was only a faint reflection of himself. Life sows, life reaps the harvest of roses.