Special General Body Meeting - 2009

Sant Nirankari Mandal Special General Body Meeting – 2009

Ever since it was started in 1929, the Sant Nirankari Mission has been responding to needs of the fast changing circumstances with the ultimate objective to take the voice of truth, the divine light to every part of the world. Its organizational outfit - Sant Nirankari Mandal was registered with its Headquarters in Delhi in 1948. The Annual Nirankari Sant Samagams also commenced the same year. The preachers and other devout followers of the Mission utilized these Samagams to discuss the progress in the immediate past and seek the blessings and guidance from Satguru for future course of action.

This tradition has continued and the Mandal has been holding its General Body Meetings on the occasion of the Annual Samagam every year. Hitherto the General Body included all the Members of the Working Committee and Executive Committee, Central Sewa Dal Adhikaris, Zonal Incharges, Kshetriya Sanchalaks, Pramukhs, Mukhis, Gyan Pracharaks and Sanchalaks.

On July 17-18, 1965 Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji convened a Special General Body Meeting in Mussoorie which came to be known as the First Mussoorie Conference. The objective was to add momentum to the efforts to spread the Mission. The Conference proved very fruitful and its results were evident very soon. The organization functioned more efficiently and the missionary activities picked up considerable momentum. Through world-wide tours of Baba Ji and his missionaries, the message of the Mission spread all over. The campaign for human redemption and spiritual enlightenment hitherto confined to the boundaries of India, acquired global dimensions. A series of spiritual tours abroad were undertaken by Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji from 1967 to 1977 almost every year.

Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji convened the Second Mussoorie Conference on May 14, 15 and 16, 1973. About 500 delegates from India and abroad participated in it. The Conference turned out to be a watershed in the history of the Mission as it proposed a code of conduct for the missionaries. It was also decided at this conference that while we may not hate others on account of their diet-habits, we ourselves should abstain from all kinds of intoxicants. Another decision was to observe austerity in marriages and other social functions and not to show off dowry, etc.

This was followed by a conference of Pracharaks in Ludhiana (Punjab) in 1975. This added clarity to the decisions taken at the Second Mussoorie Conference and prepared the missionaries to take the message of the Mission to masses with greater zeal and sense of commitment.

As in the case of any other radical crusade for truth or a popular movement for spiritual enlightenment, social reforms and moral regeneration in the world, the Sant Nirankari Mission too had its share of opposition, false propaganda and violent wrath. The voice of Truth first raised by Baba Buta Singh Ji and Baba Avtar Singh Ji accompanied by their practical approach to it, had already left the orthodox elements puzzled and amazed. Now, the rapid growth and wide-spread acceptability of the Mission under the spiritual guidance of Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji upset the detractors to the level of desperation.

In order to keep the devotees steadfast in their faith and devotion and give them a better confidence to face the turmoil created by the orthodox elements, Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji set up the All-India Working Committtee with 51 members elected by the Sant Nirankari Mandal’s General Body. This gave the Mission a second forum besides the General Body Meetings to discuss policy matters and approve the budget grants for various departments of the Mandal.

Following the supreme sacrifice by Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji on April 24, 1980, Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, the present Head of the Mission had to take certain immediate and effective decisions so that the Mission could not only face the on-going chaos and the turmoil but carry on the voice of the Mission also. He declared that the Mission would abstain from all kinds of feelings of vengeance and continue to endeavour for truth, love and peace through spiritual awakening.

Initially, Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj toured the country and abroad extensively, met the devotees wherever they were and consoled and encouraged them to maintain their faith and devotion. In 1987, he convened a Special General Body Meeting in Delhi on March 5 and 6. It reviewed the decisions taken at Mussoorie and re-emphasized the areas that were considered relevant in the contemporary perspective. In addition, it was decided to organize blood donation camps at different places on the occasion of Manav Ekta Divas (April 24) every year as a gesture of selfless service to humanity and a humble acknowledgement of the supreme sacrifice of Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji and other saints for the noble cause of human welfare. Another important decision of this Conference was to set up a full-fledged department of Social Welfare and place it under the charge of a Member of the Executive Committee of the Sant Nirankari Mandal.

A similar Special General Body Meeting was held in Delhi on March 20 and 21, 1997. More than 2000 delegates participated. The Meeting reviewed the various decisions taken during the earlier conferences and considered improvements where they had become necessary. Interestingly, most of the decisions taken at Mussoorie in 1965 and 1973 as also in Delhi in 1987 were found to be relevant even to the present day needs. However, certain points did require to be explained or redefined so that no superstitions could make inroads into the Mission’s ideology and one’s life based thereon. The Meeting decided that more attention should be paid to rural areas in the matter of spiritual tours, opening new branches and building Satsang Bhawans. Another important decision taken was that the training of the new missionaries and orientation of the old may be encouraged as an oraganised effort.

The next Special General Body Meeting was held in Delhi on March 28-29, 2002. It once again reviewed the decisions taken earlier and emphasized the need to implement the relevant ones. This time, all the decisions were published in the form of a book and made available not only to the Members of the General Body of the Sant Nirankari Mandal, but other interested devotees also. While the role of each functionary was laid down more precisely, the devotees in general were also encouraged to participate in promoting the Mission. Special emphasis was laid on the need for discipline, co-ordination and co-operation at all levels. A spirit of collectivity was emphasized as compared to individuality, particularly in the matter of written word.

In spite of all the efforts mentioned above, it was being felt that with the passage of time, some organizational changes had become imperative. The Mission must take advantage of the talent of its youth, strengthen its second line and introduce professionalism. Need was also felt to decentralize certain functions and to re-infuse and strengthen the spirit of motivation, dedication and discipline. Moreover, the Mission must find some suitable substitute for the All-India Working Committee dissolved in November, 2008.

In view of all this, Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj convened still another Special General Body Meeting on April 17-18, 2009 in Delhi. More than 2300 Members from all over the country participated in the Meeting.

In his inaugural address, His Holiness Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj recalled the history of the Mission right from the days of Baba Buta Singh Ji and the various milestones covered by the Founder and his successors Shahenshah Baba Avtar Singh Ji and Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji. He also highlighted their approach to the propagation of the Mission’s message and the organizational support they received in Prachar activities. He emphasized that while the set up was changed from time to time, the saints who were given various responsibilities worked with utmost spirit of faith, devotion and dedication. Hence, the vast expansion of the Mission in all directions.

Baba Ji also pointed out certain areas that required more attention at different levels in today’s context. He desired that every devotee may welcome any change that is the need of the time. If someone’s age factor or some other reasons create any hindrance in their performance, they should feel happy to give a chance to the younger generation. Even in the normal course, Heads of various departments and other saints assigned with different responsibilities may always have a second line. This will not only help them in their day-to-day work but also add quality from professional point of view. Baba Ji assured the devotees that the Mission would like to see each and every follower being respected and cared for.

The inaugural session was followed by open discussion on various subjects. The participants gave their suggestions while His Holiness blessed them with his benign guidance. Certain points that remained unanswered, may be considered later.

On Prachar, Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj said that our objective remains unchanged i.e., to take this voice of truth, love, peace, brotherhood and human unity to every nook and corner of the world. No doubt, efforts have been made in the past by saints, Gurus and prophets, the darkness of ignorance still persists widely. Humanity is split in the name of religion, caste, culture and region and the clouds of violence and terrorism can be seen cast over across the globe. The Mission’s message has, therefore, all the more relevance today. Baba Ji, however, desired that Administration must keep pace with the requirements of Prachar and demonstrate adequate sense of adjustment or elasticity in its approach.

Baba Ji agreed that there is need for training for preachers as well as administrators at different levels. The preachers must be equipped with all the basic information about the Mission’s ideology. They should not only study our own literature, particularly Avtar Bani, but also try to know as much about various religions as possible. More attention should be paid to the regions like North Eastern States and Southern parts of the country so that we have a balanced approach for the entire country.

His Holiness stated that Samagams offer a great opportunity to take the Mission’s message to masses. The regional Samagams and other big programs may, therefore, be followed up both in public by organizing Satsang programs and in the media. Similarly, we may have special programs like seminars for the elite groups of society. Our educated youth may be encouraged to participate in these programmes and make presentations by using the latest technology. Posters, banners and hoardings etc. may, however, carry Satguru’s photographs only; no other person’s photograph may appear with Satguru.

Baba Ji advised devotees to avoid expressing their devotion by dancing in regular Satsang programmes. There should, however, be no objection if the occasion permits and the gathering is limited.

Our Satsang Bhawans, Baba Ji said, have their own sanctity, which must be maintained, particularly during social functions like marriage ceremonies. Langar (community kitchen) can be arranged once a week or once a month. The saints who wish to serve Langar, may pool their offerings for this purpose, serve simple food and feel blessed.

On Social Welfare, His Holiness reiterated that our activities are not aimed at spreading the spiritual message of the Mission. They are all in the spirit of our duty towards the society. We may, therefore, expand our Social Welfare activities, particularly the low-budget ones.

As regards, social reforms, Baba Ji reiterated that we should practice austerity. Caste may have no role in our life. Similarly, certain devotees here and there who may still be using intoxicants, must abstain from the same. Adult education classes may be planned and organized by Zonal Incharges in their areas.

This Special General Body Meeting approved certain fundamental changes in the Mandal’s constitution with the blessings of His Holiness, of course. Accordingly, a nine-member Central Advisory Board was constituted with all its Members nominated by His Holiness. The tenure of all the Members will ordinarily be three years w.e.f. May 1, 2009.

Besides, a decision was taken to get a new society registered to provide a better planning and organization to the Mission’s charitable activities.

Certain changes were made by His Holiness in the Executive Committee also. Rev. Harbans Lal Arora, Mukhya Sanchalak, Sewa Dal and Rev. RS Kapoor have been inducted in the Executive Committee as its new Members. The new assignments of the various members have been shown separately in the News Section of this Website.

Similarly, some changes were introduced in the Sant Nirankari Sewa Dal. The same have also been shown in the News Section.

A decision was also taken to set up certain subject-specific regional committees to reduce the workload on Headquarters and provide a better support to the Branches.

- Kirpa Sagar Member In-charge Computer and Internet