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Shri 108 Sant Garib Dass Ji
1982-1994 Sant Garib Dass Ji was born in the year 1925 in a village called Jalbhe which is in Jalandhar district. His father was Shri Nanak Chand and mother was Shrimati Har Kaur Ji. When he was only six months old his father expired. After this tragic incident his mother took care of the little child. He was the youngest of five brothers.
He used to visit Dera Sachkhand Ballan occasionally. The teaching and ideology of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji impressed him greatly. So he started coming to the Dera more often. Within a short period he won the heart of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji.
Shri Kartar Chand took the 13 year old Garib Dass Ji to Ludhiana for helping him in the business of silk weaving. There he received a letter from Sant Sarwan Dass Ji asking him to come to the Dera immediately for some urgent work. Without wasting any time he reached the Dera. There he was instructed to remain in the Dera from that point onwards. He followed the instructions of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji politely and humbly. One day Sant Sarwan Dass Ji told him, “Garib Dass, detach yourself from the materialistic world and serve the Almighty God.” “Har ke naam bin jhuthe sakal pasare”. Garib Dass Ji very obediently prostrated at the feet of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji and vowed to devote his whole life to the service of Almighty God and Humanity. Apart from delving into the fathoms of Gurbani, he learned to prepare Ayurvedic medicines and treated many patients who came to the Dera with various ailments. The young boy had now grown in wisdom and stature under the patronage of Sant Sarwan Dass Ji and in the company of Sant Hari Dass Ji. Therefore Swami Sarwan Dass Ji used to entrust him with many jobs of responsibility. It is a well known fact that the birth place of Sri Guru Ravidass Ji at Seer Goverdhanpur, Varanasi was traced thanks to Swami Sarwan Dass Ji. He deputed Sant Hari Dass Ji to lay the foundation stone of the temple to be constructed there. But it was Sant Garib Dass Ji, who was entrusted with the responsibility to develop and complete the construction of the temple. He used to lead a team of sewadars (stewards) to Varanasi for this purpose. Construction of the temple was completed by him in the most difficult weather conditions & challenging circumstances.
When Sant Garib Dass Ji became the Gaddi-Nashin (spiritual leader) of Dera Sachkhand Bal on 7th February, 1982 he wanted to construct a hospital in the memory of his Guru, for giving medical aid to poor people. A milestone in the history of the Dera Sachkhand Bal was created on 22nd October, 1982 when Sant Garib Dass Ji laid the foundation stone for Sant Sarwan Dass Charitable Hospital at village Dheypur-Koopur, Adda Kathar. This hospital made a humble beginning with it’s inauguration on 1st January, 1984. Today it is a 150 bed hospital providing quality service in eight specialties at very nominal rates to the people who cannot afford costly medical aid. For those people who cannot meet even the nominal rates, the expenditure is met by Dera Sachkhand Bal. Additionally all expenditure of a capital nature such as machinery or building extensions is met by the Dera.
He was a great Saint who also understood the importance of having a newspaper, which would serve the cause of the community. So he started a weekly named ‘Begumpura Shehar’, thus giving a voice to the poor people.
During his lifetime the Sachkhand temple, Sant Hari Dass Bhavan, Langer Hall and major portion of Yatri Niwas at the Dera were built.
He laid the foundation stone of Sant Sarwan Dass Teaching Block in the I.T.I (Industrial Training Institute) at Phagwara and got a spacious hall built there. He has also constructed many ‘Guru-Ghars’ (temples) in various cities in India and abroad.
During his lifetime, he wanted to see the Janam Asthan Mandir at Varanasi in full glow. He got “Swarn Kalash” (gold minarets) installed at the Mandir in the presence of Babu Kashi Ram Ji (President of the Bahujan Samaj Party). He paid a historic visit to the mandir along with a number of Dera followers from 16th June to 23rd June 1994 as if he had a premonition that he will be leaving this world very soon.
In the memory of Shri 108 Sant Garib Dass Ji Maharaj, every year on the 23rd of July, in Dera Sachkhand Ballan a big Sant Samelan (Saint Conference) is celebrated at Dera Shri 108 Sant Sarwan Dass Ji Ballan, Distt. Jalandhar, Punjab India.