Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!
December 5 marks the 150th birth anniversary of Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957), and we commemorate “The Sixth River of Panjab.” In his versatile and prolific creative life, Bhai Vir Singh was a mystic, poet, novelist, essayist, exegete, historian, editor, publisher, and journalist. He drew inspiration from diverse classical and contemporary languages to publish pivotal editions of old Sikh texts. Bhai Vir Singh’s literary innovations were fundamentally connected to Sikhi’s significant concerns. He became a leading figure in the Singh Sabha Movement – the Sikh renaissance in the late 19th – early 20th century.
As “The Sixth River,” Bhai Vir Singh’s poetic heart currents run steady across Sikh history to the present to offer us wisdom and beauty.
Bhai Vir Singh writes, “The entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib moves ahead constantly. It is a continuous melody of the Formless Form: containing prayer, longing, sublime fear, knowledge, a sense of service, devotion, and love so deep, stirring diverse waves of piety. Yes, it is continuous music, a continuous poetic joy, a continuous light, a continuous ecstasy, continuous bliss, and full attunement.
“This is the heart of Guru Nanak, his and that of the other Masters. This is divine knowledge. This is the divine Sound and divine Melody, the light of divine knowledge sent from above. Guru’s heart is free of self with utmost purity, spreading light in such a way that Gurbani’s mirror is framed in the heart. Yes, it is the Divine knowledge, Guru’s Heart, and thus Guru’s Own Form.”
The pure love that Bhai Vir Singh describes speaks directly to the Light within us – a continuity within all that is so ubiquitously conveyed in the Guru Granth Sahib.
In times of change and struggle, it is easy for us to be taken away from the steadiest part of us and instead replicate the tumultuous temperament of the day.
Bhai Vir Singh reminds us that the limitless strength expressed in Gurbani – and framed in the heart – is a bountiful source of continuous melodic bliss. This wellspring is always full, and the language of love is always accessible amidst the turbulence of the world today.
Are we ready to be taken by this powerful current of love?
May we commemorate “The Sixth River of Panjab” by following in his stream!
May the Wisdom-Guru guide 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.
Bhai Vir Singh’s poem “Rana Surat Singh” unveils the mysteries of mystical love via 14,270 lines of verse in thirty-five cantos. The poem artistically presents a passionate vision of a world beyond the divisions of time and space.