Baru Sahib, the land of meditation (tapobhoomi), is the realization of the vision of Sant Attar Singh Ji, Mastuane Wale (1866-1927). In the early twentieth century, he envisaged a place in the Himalayas to equip young men and women with spiritual and modern scientific education to spread the message of universal brotherhood throughout the world.
Baru Sahib, spread over 400 acres and located in a remote corner of Himachal Pradesh, India, is ensconced a midst the sylvan surroundings of the Himalayas. This holy place, where several saints, sages and rishis were believed to have performed penance from time immemorial, has also been hallowed by the visit of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. Rightly so, Baru Sahib is called ‘The Valley of Divine Peace’.
Baru Sahib was revealed to mankind by his devout disciple Sant Teja Singh (1877-1965) with the help of Bhai Iqbal Singh and Bhai Khem Singh in 1956. In order to fulfil the vision of his mentor Sant Attar Singh ji, Sant Teja Singh directed Bhai Iqbal Singh and Bhai Khem Singh to search, locate and reveal to mankind the hitherto hidden sacred site. He told them that the sacred site was located in the lower Himalayas somewhere near the town of Nahan in Himachal Pradesh.
About 60 km from Solan in Himachal Pradesh, there was a village called Baru spread over 400 acres owned by one Thakur Joginder Singh. It was densely forested with several springs. Under a huge walnut tree near a spring, sadhus used to come and meditate from time to time. Thakur Joginder Singh would welcome them and offer them food.
One day, a holy man came and sat under the walnut tree and was soon lost in deep meditation (samadhi). When he opened his eyes, Thakur Joginder Singh offered him food as usual. But the holy man looked at him and said, “Joginder Singh, you will not stay here for long. This is Guru Nanak’s land. From the time of ‘satyuga’, saints and sages have performed penance here. Even Guru Gobind Singh Ji visited this place and blessed it.
A time shall come when Guru Nanak’s followers would gather here, meditate on the Divine Name, recite the Gurbani and spread the Divine Message throughout the world.” Thinking that the holy man had uttered a curse, Thakur Joginder Singh took the food away in anger. When his anger melted away after some time, he returned to the spot with the food only to find that the holy man had disappeared.
Meanwhile, in the heart of Sant Teja Singh there arose a keen desire to discover the sacred site. Around the same time, Thakur Joginder Singh had fallen out with his village people and decided to sell off his estate. News of this development reached Sant Teja Singh and he promptly sent a message to Bhai Iqbal Singh informing him about it. Bhai Iqbal Singh set off on foot for Baru. On reaching Baru, he saw that the village had all the features as prophesied by Sant Teja Singh.
Baba Iqbal Singh sent a communication to Sant Teja Singh saying Baru looked exactly the place he had envisioned for setting up a spiritual centre. Without visiting the place or negotiating the price, Sant Teja Singh bought the entire 400 acres of Baru in 1956.
In 1959, 82 years old Sant Teja Singh accompanied by about 20 devotees reached Baru Sahib. He set up a camp, built a mud-hut and performed the first Akhand Path (nonstop reading of Guru Granth Sahib). He then performed the poignant Ardas and spoke to his disciples addressing their concerns about the lack of facilities at Baru Sahib, “Just as a tiny banyan seed grows into a huge tree, this place will develop into a great centre of spiritual and high quality scientific education. In due course, all those whose hearts are filled with the love for Guru Nanak and who have toiled hard to accumulate spiritual riches for long will be drawn to this place.”