In Memorian: Bhagat Harbag Singh Ji

The saga of a sage's journey through the Tenth Door

27th May: After commemorating Devi Sarla’s passing away, Maharaj Ji went to Village Jassar at the Shodshi (a ceremony done on the 16th day after the body dies) of the long time devotee in this tradition, Bhagat Harbagh Singh Ji, who left his body at the ripe age of 104 years. This is what Maharaj Ji said on the occasion:

We all are sitting in the sanctuary of Guru Granth Sahib Ji today to celebrate the memory of Bhagat Harbagh Singh Ji. When 30 years earlier, Bhag Singh Ji (Harbhag Ji’s brother) had left his body, then too, this being was here. And now again, in last ceremony held to honour the memory of Harbhag Singh Ji, this being is given the chance to be present.

This is an opportunity to share some salient points – not stories and fables, but the science about death. About Bhag Singh Ji,Mastan Singh Ji (the family of Harbhag Singh Ji), Kambli Wale used to say, are the seeds of Satyuga. We will talk about the culmination of the life journey of Harbhag Singh Ji, for death hides in itself the essence of whole life.

There are two paths by which the body is left behind: the paths of Dakshinayan and Uttarayan. The former is the path of darkness, travelling on which one must go through heaven/hell and then return back to earth to complete one’s study here, do one’s karma, such that the heart is purified and one ultimately gets established in God. This is the more common path.

However, one who leaves the body by Uttarayan Marg need not return back in this body because he has learnt all that there was to be learnt. He has completed his study.  Harbhag Singh Ji was the traveler of Uttarayana path.

The home in which this jiva lives i.e. this human body has ten doors: the nine sense organs and the “tenth door” which is hidden. The one who leaves this body through one of the nine organs has to return to the mortal body, journeying through heaven and hell. But he who leaves the body through the tenth door does not return. Yes, if he ever returns that is under God’s command and to fulfill a specific purpose in larger good, rather than to meet one’s own selfish ends. Harbhag Singh Ji belonged to this second category.

Now, these truths can be understood not only by taking recourse to shastras, but through one’s own experience also. When he left his body, many people were present near Harbhag Singh Ji. The things that they narrate from those last moments help us to confirm that indeed he left his body through after opening the tenth door. People near him tell us that as he was leaving his entire body was went on becoming cold, except for the region near the head which kept on becoming warmer and warmer. This is a clear sign that the prana ascended to the brain during the last moments. Furthermore, if the prana would have left through one of the sense organs, then there would have been some activity in them (often, sounds are heard in the throat; accumulated waste in the openings of the senses is also pushed out in many cases as the prana forces its way out from them).

This tenth door can be likened to the pineal body to use the modern parlance. From the nasopharynx there are many opening to the outside: the nose, the ears, the mouth etc. But there is yet another opening to; but in that only some rare beings enter – either in Samadhi or at the time of death. Whereas, paths to other sense organs are unobstructed, this tenth door is really hard. It is made up of bones. Again in modern parlance, the bones that make the base of the skull make constitute the block to the opening of the tenth door. Even Gurbani says,

ਬਜਰ ਕਪਾਟ ਨ ਖੁਲਨੀ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਖੁਲੀਜੈ ।।

The rigid door is not open; only through the Word of the Guru’s Shabad can it be opened.

In the outer world we witness the cycles of Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. The lengths of days go on increasing till July, when they begin to decrease and do so till December. The former is Uttarayana where light and heat increase and in the latter the duration of darkness increases. The basic fact stated in the shastras, and also in Gurbani is that whatever exists in the outer world, also exists within this body.

ਜੋ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਣ੍ਡੇ ਸੋਈ ਪਿਣ੍ਡੇ ਜੋ ਖੋਜੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਵੈ

The One who pervades the Universe also dwells in the body; whoever seeks Him, finds Him there.

Therefore, as in the outer world there ought to be a cycle of Uttarayana and Dakshinayana in the body too. And it is. The navel is the seat of the sun. In the Uttarayana path the heat and light of the inner sun goes on expanding throughout the body. The sun rises up to the brain. About this Gurbani says:

ਨਾਭਿ ਕਮਲ ਮਹਿ ਬੇਦੀ ਰਚਿ ਲੇ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਗਿਆਨ ਉਚਾਰਾ

Within the lotus of my navel, I have made my bridal pavilion, and I have spoken the wisdom of God.

ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਸੋ ਦੂਲਹੁ ਪਾਇਉ ਅਸ ਬਡਭਾਗ ਹਮਾਰਾ

I have obtained the Lord King as my Husband – such is my great good fortune.

In the language of practitioners, this implies, channeling the current of nada and mantra from the navel itself, or reciting the mantra from the navel – the seat of the inner sun. It is then that the wisdom of God is spoken forth, else it is said, ਰਾਮੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਜਗੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਰਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ

The entire world roams around, chanting, “Raam, Raam, Lord, Lord”, but the Lord cannot be obtained like this.

 Another fact that observers of Bhagat Ji’s last moments state is the following: during the course of leaving the body, as they were checking his pulse, there was a time, when they could feel the pulse in the right half of his body but not so in the left. This can be understood as follows.

In the Jabaaldarshan Upanishad the inner Uttarayana has been described thus:

When the sushumna is entered from the pingala and the ida goes on merging into it, then the consciousness rises into the brain – it is called Uttarayana. This is a little complicated and will need some elaboration.

Those who read the Gurbani are aware of ida, pingala and sushumna. When the prana flows in the pingala or the right nostril then the navel is more active and while in the ida or the left nostril the head is more active. In a healthy person these two keep on alternating after every hour.  And this goes on happening till the time our consciousness is active or entangled outside.

But in a yogi, or a practitioner as he practices japa, both his ida and pingala channels get activated equally. In that state the consciousness rises from the entire body and enters the tenth door. In such a state the breath also ceases to flow.

Now at the time of death too, the consciousness is necessarily forced inwards. In does not matter who one is, whether a practitioner or any lay person, the power of the Lord within or the Kundalini gets awakened (except for a yogi, this is not under ones control; none can say I will leave this body at this moment). When this power awakens, two states can arise: one of Uttarayana, another of Dakshinayana.

About Uttarayana, we have already discussed. In this, the power awakens and draws the entire consciousness within from the sense organs. It pierces the three knots in the navel, heart and the throat and enters the tenth door. They tell us, with Bhagat Ji, first the navel was to the outside then it got sucked inwards.

In a common man the entire process is opposite. The power is awakened in him too but his samskaras are such that his eyes, ears, mouth etc. are still drawn to the outside world. In such a condition the consciousness cannot rise high at the time of dying. In such a person, the left channel (ida) will be more active. The power having arisen and touched the tenth-door (but not having opened it) will descend and leave through one or the other sense organ. In the same Jabaaldarshan Upanishad, the path of Dakshinayan is defined in this very manner.

Ascent into Uttarayana is possible only for those in whom this outward attraction has ceased. The eyes, seeing the outer forms, are satisfied from them and desire noting more to see. And similarly for the other objects of taste, touch, smell etc. Such was the case with Bhagat Harbhag Singh Ji.

We remember, once in Haridwar when Bhagat Ji had forgotten his spectacles back home; we asked him if he had any trouble walking etc. He said, it was fine for he was not habituated to seeing far anyways. Such was his state even then. Even with opened eyes, his mind was inclined to see only within. There was not much to be seen outside. His mind and prana had reversed their flow from the sense organs backwards.

There is another instance from Bhagat Ji’s life which shows how he was different from the ordinary folks who keep one blaming one or the other person for their predicament. He used to wake up quite early 2:30-3.00 A.M. Once it so happened, that he woke up and went outside the house. In the darkness of the early hours of dawn he slipped, and broke his bone. Now what did he do? He just remained sitting there and kept meditating. No one in the house knew something had happened. Others used to wake up a little late. There were still a few hours before they would wake up and hence Bhagat Ji simply kept sitting there and meditating.

When the day broke and other members of the family woke up, they saw Bhagat Ji sitting outside. They asked what had happened. He said he was unable to walk. It seemed he had broken his bone. They impressed upon him that he should have called out to them. But he did not feel the need. They would wake up after some time in any case and then attend him. He did not feel like disturbing them. Instead, he was doing what he always did in the morning.

Only such people leave their bodies through the tenth door. Living in the world, attending its works, and more so doing them with full zeal and enthusiasm, but without reacting to anything good or bad. There is no dearth of action, but there is zero reaction to pleasure-pain, victory-defeat etc. There are so many instances from Bhagat Ji’s life, but there is not so much time to narrate them. Furthermore, we would like to cover a few other points too.

People have asked that we are commemorating his passing away a little too late, on the 16th day after death. This is a little too late than customary. Well there is a reason to this.   Usually, this ceremony is held on the 11th day after death, but we are celebrating it on the 16th. To clarify this, we allude again to Gurbani:

ਸਸਿ ਘਰਿ ਸੂਰੁ ਵਸੈ ਮਿਟੈ ਅਂਧਿਆਰਾ

When the sun dwells in the house of the moon, the darkness is dispelled.

 This is again a hint towards the path of Uttarayana. The sun rises and sets through 12 zodiac signs; and the moon waxes and wanes through 15. But those in whom the sun has established in the house of the moon, in whom these two currents have been equalized and harmonized, such a one transcends the world i.e. he enter the 16th realm. For them this ceremony is held on the 16th day after passing away.

For others who could not journey the complete realm, it is celebrated on the 11th day. For this is the minimum territory, it is hoped and prayed that every being has covered.

In the last, we remember again the allusion of Shri Kambli Wale to Harbhag Singh and family that they are the seeds of Satyuga. This means that this seed is still present in their descendents. He has left behind huge treasures. External treasures go on decreasing with time as they get divided pup amongst the progeny. They also lead to conflict. But the true treasure that Harbhag Singh Ji has left in the hearts of his descendents, whether girls or boys, can only increase, if all of them water that seed with service and meditation. This would be the true celebration of Bhagat Ji’s memory. Having said so, we end now.

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!