Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!
In the rich tapestry of 20th-century Sikh scholarship, one brilliant being shines beyond identity and geography—Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957). As we celebrate his birthday on December 5, we fondly recall the 'Poet of the Sikhs,’ also known as ‘the Sixth River of Panjab.’
Bhai Vir Singh wasn't just a product of his time; he became the heart and spirit of the Singh Sabha movement, stepping into the role of its chief spokesperson during a period of fervent religio-political awakening. Amidst the clash of ideologies and the influence of movements like Arya Samaj, he chose a different path— a spiritual journey to revitalize his community. His vision unfolded through novels, poems, and literary works, a testament to his deep belief that liberation lies in elevating the ideals of the Sikh faith.
Educated in a Christian Mission School, Bhai Vir Singh understood the transformative power of words. In 1892, he strategically established a printing press in Amritsar, countering missionary propaganda and amplifying the Singh Sabha message. The Khalsa Tract Society and the Khalsa Samachar extended his reach, fostering a new Sikh consciousness and instilling confidence within the community.
A literary maestro, Bhai Vir Singh, wrote captivating historical narratives through fiction. His extensive work, including novels, poems, religious histories, biographies, and tracts, is a testament to his literary brilliance. His novels aimed to educate Sikhs about their history and deepen their connection to their faith.
Delving into his poetry, we discover a connection with nature, transcending religious and geographical boundaries. His verses, often portraying the beauty of nature, resonate universally, challenging the notion of confining him to Sikhidentity. His love for nature goes beyond mere worship; it's a heartfelt acknowledgment of the divine presence in the world around him.
The metamorphosis in Bhai Vir Singh's writings becomes evident—a transformation from a stalwart crafting religious boundaries to a poet embracing sublime beauty with universal concerns. His journey culminates in 'Mere Sayian Jeo,' his final work published in July 1953. In its verses, Bhai Vir Singh transcends all boundaries, inviting readers to explore his profound introspection's spiritual and cosmic dimensions. As we honor his legacy, let's celebrate the warmth that radiates from his words, inviting us all into a shared appreciation of the beauty that unites us.
Watch Harinder Singh's tribute to Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh Ji on his 148th Birth Anniversary in collaboration with Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan
In this conversation, we are joined by scholar Dr. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, author, poet, and artist, Inni Kaur, and educator, Surinder Singh as they discuss the poetry, Gurbani, and the inspiration of Bhai Vir Singh.
Love does not emerge through dedicated practice or method. Remembrance is one form of love. Contemplating remembrance develops love. Contemplating virtues, contemplating Nam (Divine-Identification, ਨਾਮ), is also a form of love.