Baba Siri Chand

Baba Siri Chand ji was renowned during his time as a great Mystic - a figure of tremendous spiritual power and wisdom and a great Yogi in the most profound sense - as one who relies entirely upon the Infinite for his support. In his practical life, he combined intense meditation with hard work among the people, in contrast to the Indian tradition by which ascetics withdrew from society. While recent history has at best obscured Baba Siri Chand ji in the shadow of his father and Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji, and the subsequent Sikh Gurus, history itself speaks to his greatness. A survey conducted during the reign of the Emperor Jehangir found that Baba Siri Chand was the most influential saint in India as measured by his vast following. He was revered by people from all walks of life, including the Sikh Gurus, many of whom even offered one of their sons to serve him. Baba Siri Chand ji welcomed those from all religions, teaching that "God's tree" is large enough to give shelter to all. While his own life was a continuous miracle, he never called attention to himself. Rather, he and his followers, known as Udasis, spread the mission of his father in a nonsectarian, universalist way, through meditation on God's Holy Name, hard work, and service to those in need. They kept the spiritual flame of truth alive during centuries of oppression. It's an honor to provide this webpage to help reacquaint the world with Baba Siri Chand ji and the accomplishments of his 149 years on earth, his reverence for Guru Nanak, and devotion to his mission.


Baba Siri Chand's Spiritual Example
by Baba Virsa Singh


Gobind Sadan has held seminars on Baba Siri Chand to have scholars explore and discover the actual history of Baba Siri Chand Ji and his contribution to dharam. We wanted the intellectuals and the major research scholars to present clear proof of who Baba Siri Chand really was.

It is my faith that there is no difference between Baba Siri Chand and God. How can we understand Baba Siri Chand unless we have the faith to talk with him or see him? Without a spiritual background, how much of his essence can we capture? Baba Siri Chand was Brahmgiani - a God-realised enlightened being. How can we express gian or Brahm in a book?

While it is our goal to publish books and booklets on Babaji's life, it is far more important to practically demonstrate the effect of his teachings. Babaji was a highly respected scholar, but his trademark was the ability to put complex teachings forth in such simple terms that everyone could understand. At Gobind Sadan we try to live by his teachings: love God, meditate, work hard, help others, and preserve the sanctity of marriage.

Baba Siri Chand's Life in Brief

Baba Siri Chand was born in 1494 as the elder son of Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Guru. As a child, he was of contemplative nature, and he became the first person to whom Guru Nanak prescribed the life of an Udasi. In contrast to ascetics who leave the world in order to meditate, an Udasi is a renunciate who lives in the world, maintaining everyday life as well as practicing meditation.

Baba Siri Chand was a renunciate-self-denying, celibate, and dedicated to meditation-but he was also a farmer. His father asked him not to leave the world but to take responsibility for the community farm at Kartarpur while he, Guru Nanak, was away. When Guru Nanak returned from his travels, the whole village happily told him that they had learned from Baba Siri Chand how to combine hard work on the farm and meditation.

Baba Siri Chand had an extensive and dedicated following. When the Emperor Jehangir asked Mian Mir, his own darvesh (Muslim term for a powerful, truthful, God-intoxicated holy person), "Who is the greatest darvesh today?" Mian Mir replied, "At this time the elder son of Guru Nanak is the king of the darveshes."

Baba Siri Chand lived to the great age of 149, and his guidance was revered by the first six Sikh Gurus. Although his followers numbered in the millions, he encouraged them to be devotees of Guru Nanak rather than of himself. He never married but he took responsibility for raising his brother's son, Dharam Chand, and then arranged the boy's marriage.

When Baba Siri Chand left the visible world in 1643, he left with his body intact. He has existed for thousands of years and he is the same now. We cannot see him with our external eyes but he has not gone anywhere. He is proof of what is written by Guru Ram Das:
"Satguru mera sada sada, rut avay na ja~y Oh Abruisi Purath hai, sab me reha samay-My Guru is the Eternal One. He is for all times. He neither comes nor goes. He is the Eternal Lord Who pervades all of Creation." [1]


It is a source of great pride to any worldly father if his children follow his instructions. How happy Guru Nanak must have been with Baba Siri Chand as he fully adopted his father's emphasis on meditation on the Name of God. As Gurbani (the Gurus' recorded teachings) says, "Nanak kei ghar keval Nam-In Nanak's house there is only Nam." [2]

Baba Siri Chand continually sat in samadhi with the Name of God. He did so much taprsya (disciplined meditation) that a great bounty of God's gifts flowed through him. People of all religions from all over India flocked to him and became his followers because an ocean of God's blessings poured forth from his merciful gaze. They loved him and prayed to him not only out of respect for his father but also because of what he became by imbibing and practicing his father's teachings.

For his part, from his enlightened vision, Baba Siri Chand could see his father's greatness. He was always praising Guru Nanak and to welcome his father on his return from his travels, he wrote "Arta," a hymn revealing that Guru Nanak is master of the whole cosmos:

Let us sing the praises of Nanak, King of kings,
Emperor of both worlds.
The whole cosmos is His temple
Congregations sing sweet songs in His praise.
Millions of goddesses burn holy lamps in His honour
Millions of gods sing psalms in His praise.
Millions wash His lotus feet
The moon and sun illuminate Him with their radiance.
Masses of flowers are offering Him fragrance.
The True Master, the True Light, He is merciful to the poor.
The King of the Winds fans Him
While saints and sages meditate on His holiness.
He is universally accepted as the perfect Guru
The entire cosmos vibrates with his celestial song.
Bells ring out the tone -ONKAR-
Continuously illluminating the heavens.
He is one with God, Whose Name is Truth,
In Nanak's Name saints find their support.
Siri Chand, Nanak's son, declares,
"Nanak is unattainable, unfathomable, unshakeable, and pure."
Whoever sings Emperor Nanak's praises
Resides in heaven and achieves complete salvation.
Oh kind Master, protect those who seek your shelter
Oh Nanak! You are the saviour; we are just your children.

Baba Siri Chand bowed before Guru Nanak, thanking him, "It is through your blessings that I have begun to meditate." As Gurbani says, "Sas, sas simro Gobind - Repeat the Name of God with each breath." [3] By meditation on God's Name, negativity becomes erased from our mind and the bad karmas that encrust our mind from so many past lives are burned, allowing our good deeds to become strong.

Gurbani teaches that "the curtain which separates us from God is as thin as an insect's wing - Bhanbhiri ke pat pardo bin pekhe duraio"[4]. When we meditate, that curtain falls away and we begin to see God within ourself and also outside. How beautiful are the mountains rising majestically, how beautiful the flowers in their brilliant colors, how beautiful the trees, the lush crops which God has made! As Qur'an Sharif says, "Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, And made the Darkness and the Light. He it is Who created you from clay." [5]

People have erected large buildings for worshipping God, but there is also a place within ourselves to worship God. However, we have lost our way to this place. The weight and filth of our past actions has become so great that we are always on the defensive, always criticizing others, always getting angry with others. We don't have a chance to think clearly. We create divisions between rich and poor, establish boundaries between religions. By contrast, when our thoughts are with God, "Na koi bairi, nahin begana, sagal sang ham ko ban aee-We see no one as enemy, no one as stranger; we get along well with everyone." [6]

The Creator has created rules for the Creation, but did not make separate religions. Whenever God spoke, the message was the same. For example, it was revealed through the Prophet Mohammad that Allah is pure (Pakk) and Unique (la sharik). In Gurbani the same message is given: "Allah pakang pak hai, shak karo je duser hoe- God is Absolutely Pure, and have no doubt: There is nothing else like God."[7]

A religious place should be a school for the mind, so that we may attain God-realisation. There is no school where we can earn a degree by simply bowing at the gates. We must study and follow tht rules of that school. In God's school, we must do tapasya; we must concentrate. The purpose of tapasya is to focus our mind, to collect the energy of our scattered thoughts. Then we are blessed.

Now we bow at gurdwaras or temples but our mind remains scattered. We become frightened in the face of even the slightest problem. Why should difficulties affect us? Whatever God is doing is correct. Guru Gobind Singh said, "Namo kalah karta, namo shant roopay - God, You are the One Who creates conflict, and also the One Who spreads peace; I bow to You. Narno andhkaray namo tej tejay - You are Lord of darkness and also Lord of light." [8]  From his inner vision he saw God in each leaf, in darkness, in destruction, in light. He said, "Ke zahar zahoor hain, Ke hazar hazoor hain-You are ever manifest in all Your splendour, You are ever present in all Your glory." [9]  God is always present within us; we can speak to and listen to Him inside. He Himself speaks and listens.

There is truth hidden in each of us. To discover it, we must go in search of it by meditating. God is the Force which overcomes our weaknesses and develops our strengths. God never gets angry or makes us angry. "God is always beneficent, always merciful; God always overlooks our shortcomings - Sada bakhshind, sada meharbana aogan ko na chitarda" [10]. God asks only that we bring our love to Him and fill our bags with His Love.


Baba Siri Chand placed emphasis on work as well as on meditation. Since childhood, I have felt that work is just as important as meditation. We must work for food, clothing, a place to live, money to spend, but not only for ourselves. On Gobind Sadan's farms I work day and night for the benefit of the country, the betterment of the poor. otherwise, I have no reason to work so hard. God has given me plenty of food and water.

This thought is always in my mind: love God and thank God, but continue development, because our country is poor. Poverty will only be eradicated if we all begin to work and share with others from our earnings. To do so, we must love each other.

God is not with those who sit idle and create divisions between rich and poor, who set themselves up as gurus and live off the donations of others. As they say in English, "Idleness is the Devil's workshop." Only those who have no work of their own have time to criticize or think negatively of others; only those who have no other work have time to fight. I remain always busy and always pray to God, "Please don't let a thought enter my mind that does not please You." If we work hard, our muscles will remain strong; if we meditate our thoughts will be strong. If we combine work and meditation, as Guru Nanak taught, "Man jitai, jag jit - He who conquers his own mind conquers the world." [11]

To work for the benefit of the people, by God's grace I choose areas which are considered wastelands. I take the map and pray before God, "Please develop this area. You are the Most Powerful. You can do anything. By developing this weak and neglected area, You will be praised." I have seen since childhood that we are to ask God for something for the benefit of humanity and then work very hard for it. When many people come to our farms for free medicine, it makes me very happy. It gives me even greater pleasure to see so many people coming to eat the food that has been grown by God's blessings. As Hazrat Mohammad Sahib said, "The day a guest does not come to your house, perhaps God is not happy with you. The day that a guest comes, think that God is very happy."

Our sevadars grow food by our own efforts. We do not look for donations or put pressure on anybody. I want to remain free and I want the whole world to be free. Whatever we have is for all of you. I have never felt any difference between what is yours and what is mine. Whatever is here we will eat and when it is all gone we will sit together.

Guru Nanak and Baba Siri Chand never recommended taking charity or collecting offerings. Rather, they always emphasized, as Guru Nanak taught, "Ghal khae kkhh hathon de Nanak ratio pachhane se-Work honestly and help others: This is the true path to God." [12]

This is no theory. If we link our minds with God and our bodies with work, just see what can happen. The practical results have been demonstrated at our big farm on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, called "Shiv Sadan." That former wasteland was so marshy that in places we could travel only by boat. During the monsoon season when the Ganges flooded, the whole area lay under ten to twelve feet of water. But our sevadars, with their own hands and hard work, brought dirt in, built a dike and brick roads, and developed the land into fields of lush crops. Now people can travel about by bicycle and bus service and electricity have come on those roads to benefit the poor. We offer a free medical clinic and a school.

Before we started developing Shiv Sadan, the neighboring people could not do anything. They were living like animals, having children - as soon as one could walk they would have another. Animals simply pass through this birth to the next; humans carry their past deeds with them into this birth, but they have the opportunity to progress.

Neither the government nor the villages gave us a penny for the development work at Shiv Sadan. But if we love God and make friends with God, God will help us. Our goal is to help satisfy the needs of those who cannot fully provide for themselves, to give them food, clothes, education and training, to teach them agriculture, to teach them meditation, to teach them how to love each other. It will take time, but the whole area will feel the improvement. Several hundreds of thousands of people have already eaten at Shiv Sadan. Our policy is that we will help any poor person who comes to us for any reason. If we do not have what they need, we will still help them. Shiv Sadan has made such an impact on everyone who has come to see it that they have wanted to help in any way possible.

I will continue to love God and work to serve the people. Whether someone curses me or praises me makes no difference, because I am following my goal. Even if breaks occur in the road, I will continue to walk in that direction with full faith in God. Why should we worry? We should only become worried when we have done something wrong. We should keep our minds attached to God, stand erect, and walk straight ahead on our path.

When you love the Creator, you share whatever you have with others. If you do not have enough to share, you work hard to create it. We are all brothers and sisters. Do not get drawn into discord between different religions and castes, between high and low. These distinctions are created by humans, not by God. Even animal - all types of animals, even tigers - used to gather where Baba Siri Chand sat. He had a great love for animals and he used to talk with them, for the same God created the tiger as created you. If we all have the same God for a Friend, then we are all friends.

Baba Siri Chand is always with us

When we share with you the food that we produced with our own hands, our own labor, you will all receive Baba Siri Chand's love. You may not be able to sense it in your body, but perhaps you will feel it in your soul. Baba Siri Chand's love always fills everyone who comes to him. He is the fountain of kindness.

Baba Siri Chand looked on everyone with the same love, the same blessings. He taught them to overlook people's caste, religion, and personality and always recognize the Omnipresent God in every person, as also in animals, in trees, in the earth. He never proclaimed any separate religion or separate principles. Rather, he stressed universal love of the One God Who pervades all of Creation, Whom we call by different names, worship in different ways, and meditate upon by different methods.

Baba Siri Chand is with us today, as are Hazrat Mohammad, Jesus, Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and the other messengers of God. We cannot see them because we have closed our internal eyes and just look with our external eyes.

Baba Siri Chand was beyond the thrall of birth and death. He proved what Guru Nanak said: "Gurmukh avai jae nisang -The one whose whole life is turned toward God can come and go as he pleases." [13]  At the age of 149 when Baba Siri Chand was sitting giving a discourse, he got up and said, "I am leaving now." Where did he go? Wherever he wanted. He walked away dressed just as he was, in his sandals. It is said that when he came to a rushing river, he stepped onto a rock and it carried him across, like a boat. It appeared to support him because God was in that rock. God is in everything, from ants to rocks to elephants.

Baba Siri Chand was Brahmgiani, one with the eternal light of God, one with that eternal Power of which all the scriptures have spoken. Even though he lived in the world, he remained beyond the world. As Guru Arjan Dev wrote, "Brahmgiani sada nirlep,jaise jal me kamal alep - A Brahmgiani is always unattached, as a lotus flower is detached from the mud." [14]

Baba Siri Chand is here eternally. Look inside yourself and you will see Brahm. May Baba Siri Chand forgive us and bless us with his merciful gaze so that we may meditate and practice his teachings.

Citations in Baba Virsa Singh's article:

  1. Guru Ramdas, Guru Granth Sahib p 759
  2. Guru Arjan Dev, GGS 1136.
  3. Guru Arjan Dev, GGS 295
  4. Guru Arjan Dev, GGS 624.
  5. Qur'an Sharif, Surah 6:1-2.
  6. Guru Arjan Dev, GGS 1299.
  7. Bhagat Kabir, GGS 727.
  8. Guru Gobind Singh, Jaap Sahib 186, 184.
  9. Guru Gobind Singh, Jaap Sahib 149
  10. Guru Arjan Dev, CGS 713, 1101
  11. Guru Nanak Dev, GGS 6
  12. Guru Nanak Dev, GGS 1245
  13. Guru Nanak Dev, GGS 932
  14. Guru Arjan Dev, GGS 272