Sant Kirpal Singh was born on February 6, 1894 in a small village in what is now West Pakistan.
Kirpal means merciful or compassionate. Singh means lion. Lion of mercy.
In matters of spiritual development Master Kirpal was a child prodigy. He began meditating at the age of four. He liked solitude and introspection. He didn't enjoy playing like other children, but would often sit quietly for hours, with eyes closed, seeing the inner scenery and traversing spiritual regions.
From His earliest years Master Kirpal had an intuitive sense of correct moral behavior. He was a vegetarian from boyhood, although His family ate meat, and when He was five years old He told them that He would not eat meat because He didn't want to make a graveyard of His body. He refused to engage in petty squabbles or maintain family grudges.
As a child Master could see things happening in other places and foresee the future. While He was a student He told his mother to prepare for her death six months ahead of time. He asked her to engage in the sweet remembrance of the Lord. Seventeen days before her death He told her that she was to go shortly. It was not unusual for Him to foresee death in the family and help the people prepare for it.
He later said, "I had background, you see." In his twenties He prayed to God that this power be taken away so that He might lead a more natural life, and not be distracted with such things in His search for God.
Master's father was a devotee of Lord Shiva and like His father the young Kirpal would pass His nights meditating while standing in a pond to remain alert. In His youth Master practiced pranayaam (regulation of breathing). His devotion was rewarded with Shiva's vision, but this did not give Him the spiritual satisfaction He sought.
Master Kirpal was a voracious reader. He especially liked reading biographies and books on mysticism. He was an excellent student, first in His class, and while others studied to prepare for a career or to get into a university, the Master said He was acquiring knowledge for its own sake.
When He was seventeen Master went through an intense heart-searching for days on end to determine His course in life. He arrived at the firm decision, "God first, world second."
"I was so anxious to meet God, I used to weep from morning till night. Even while working in my office, tears would involuntarily flow from my eyes and my office papers were spoiled by tears. I could not sleep at night. I would ask, "O God, what is happening?" At home, my family could not understand what was happening - I had recently been transferred from the place of my parents and everyone thought the tears were due to this. What can other people know of the condition of one's heart? Once the enigma of the mystery of life enters the heart, a person knows no peace until it has been solved."
As a young man He helped to organize a service league to aid victims of the influenza epidemic of 1919, and after work He would visit hospitals to comfort and give assistance to people, many of whom He had never met. Master had a strong desire to study medicine, particularly homeopathy, but it was financially difficult for His family, so He went into government service, eventually rising to be Deputy Assistant Controller of Military Accounts. He retired after thirty-five years of service, with His supervisor announcing that he had to hire three men to take His place. Master Kirpal was extremely compassionate and loving in His dealings with others but with Himself He was very strict. His personal discipline was exacting and almost superhuman. Even His grade school notebooks show a daily study schedule broken down into specific timed segments from morning to late at night. He slept very little and meditated many hours nightly, even before meeting His master, Baba Sawan Singh. During His household years Master held a full time job, meditated a minimum of 5 to 6 hours a day, and spent much of His leisure time serving the sick and needy.
As a householder Master Kirpal had more than His share of worldly sorrows. Two of His three children died, (one was a 3 year old) as did His two older brothers. His mother died when He was a young man and His father had to be nursed back to health by the Master after a debilitating stroke.
In 1917 Master began seeing Hazur Baba Sawan Singh in His meditations. In 1924, at the age of thirty, Master Kirpal was initiated by Hazur.
The Master was a perfect disciple, surrendering Himself completely to Hazur in every respect.
On April 2, 1948 Hazur Sawan Singh left the earth plane. After Hazur's passing the Master went to a secluded place in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. He remained in solitude there for five months in almost continuous absorption in God. He would meditate for 16 to 18 hours a day. Finally, having attained total union with God, He received the order from within: "Go back into the world and bring my children back to me."
On December 2, 1948, the Beloved Master started His mission and began dispensing the gift of Naam initiation.
Sant Kirpal Singh's mission spanned 26 years. He initiated 120,000 people.
He completed three world tours, in 1955, 1963, and 1972. He also authored numerous books and articles covering every aspect of spirituality.
On August 21, 1974 at 6:55 pm the Beloved Master left His body for the last time.
The Master followed the principle of simplicity in all aspects of His life. His position in the Indian government afforded Him the ability to live luxuriously, but He always lived a very simple life, limiting His needs to the minimum and sharing His earnings with others. His food was simple and uncostly. His dress was simple, inexpensive, neat and clean. He wore Indian type trousers, a long shirt and an oversize long coat. He did not take to western dress, which was very unusual for Indians occupying high positions in the government under British Colonial rule.
Once a newspaper reporter came to interview Master at Sawan Ashram. After looking at the facilities, he commented to one man that Master Kirpal was living lavishly in a grand style. Master was informed of the reporter's comment and proceeded to show him the difference between appearance and reality. Master explained to him that the arrangements he saw were for the comfort and convenience of the visitors. Master himself lived in a simple cement room upstairs, where He slept on a rope bed. He continued to live in this room, even when old age made it difficult for Him to climb the stairs.
His speech was straight and heart to heart. His behavior was sympathetic, with no acting or posing.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Master Kirpal Singh was the radiation of love which emanated from Him and could be felt by one with even a little receptivity.
One of his oldest associates report the following: A leading initiate of Baba Sawan Singh once complained to Hazur that there was so much radiation in the satsang conducted by Kirpal Singh that people felt fascinated by Kirpal, and the complaining gentleman was worried that people would start being devoted to Kirpal instead of Hazur. Sawan Singh said, "What good is a satsang without radiation? The one who is linked with me, will link others also to His guru and not break them from Him. There is a lot of difference between the discourses of Kirpal Singh and that of others; He is immersed in the love of the guru, and on hearing His satsang, people feel linked to their guru. But on hearing the satsang of others who are not so immersed, they will attract people to them and break them from the guru."
The following is an initiate's account of being with Master Kirpal:
"Despite His often awe-inspiring presence and regal bearing, Kirpal had a fathomless depth of humility. When some devotees asked if they were being too much of a burden on Him He replied, "no, you are my solace." Sitting at His feet and looking into the eyes of Kirpal Singh was like gazing at ones dearest heart-companion, ones own deepest self, and into the soul of a being a million years old. The effect was at the same time spiritually uplifting as well as sobering."
Master Darshan Singh wrote, "There have been saints who hardly seemed to need to undertake an arduous quest. There have been others whose period of discipleship was brief or who lived far away physically from their mentors. There have been still others whose ministry was short or characterized by the development of some one aspect of Mastership. With Sant Kirpal Singh however all three phases - seeker, disciple, and Master- were well marked and well rounded. Though blessed with special gifts from His childhood, it was only at the age of thirty, after years of anguished searching, that He found His spiritual haven in Baba Sawan Singh of Beas. Having come to a Perfect Master, for almost a quarter of a century He served him - body, mind and soul - with a devotion and completeness of self-surrender that have few parallels in the annals of spirituality. With the passing of Baba Sawan Singh, He took up the spiritual mission entrusted to Him with an energy and unflagging determination which left those around Him astounded and amazed. What would we not give to be able to bear witness to the lives of the great spiritual founders such as the Buddha, Jesus Christ or the Prophet Mohammed! What a special blessing it is to witness the life of a Perfected Being, for to do so is to know of a truth that transcends human reasoning. Those who were privileged to come to the feet of Sant Kirpal Singh have shared in this unique blessing."