Chet Ram was born in a poor family in 1948 in a small village Banauh near Solan in Himachal Pradesh. The family earned its living from a petty land holding. Chet Ram could not study much because of the bad company of village lads. He took to alcohol and other drugs at a tender age of seventeen and became an addict of wine, opium, heroin, cocaine, tobacco and. The list is endless. He enjoyed the inhuman path and was happy with and longed for the worldly pleasures.
When he turned 20, Chet Ram was lucky to get an employment with the Government of Himachal Pradesh as a peon to the Director in the Directorate of Agriculture, Shimla. While attending to the Director, Chet Ram came across a cross section of officers, who used to visit the Directorate. One such officer was Iqbal Singh, who was then posted at Sirmore.
Iqbal Singh was a saintly man with a highly religious background and bent of mind. At an early age of 22, Iqbal Singh came into contact with Sant Teja Singh, who was carrying forward the mission of Guru Nanak as per the instructions of his mentor Sant Attar Singh Mastuane Wale. Iqbal Singh was devoted to the service of humanity but didn’t have a clear perception. His meeting with Sant Teja Singh gave him a proper direction. On Sant Ji’s instruction, he joined the Department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh at Sirmore with an ‘aim’ in mind.
Chet Ram found Iqbal Singh to be actually treading the path of spiritual bliss and Universal Brotherhood as propagated by Guru Nanak. Each time he met Iqbal Singh, his fondness for the man grew. He now wished to be more and more in Iqbal Singh’s company. Chet Ram also observed that people like him, who were fond of Iqbal Singh, respectfully addressed him as Baba Ji or Giani Ji.
Chet Ram’s prayers were answered and destiny brought him closer to Baba Ji. As luck would have it, Baba Ji got transferred to Shimla as Joint Director, Agriculture in the year 1977. Chet Ram’s happiness needed no bounds. He immediately applied for an internal transfer from the office of the Director to that of the Joint Director. Soon his request was accepted. Chet Ram was so glad to be with Baba Ji that he not only served him in the office but also took to his household chores. He used to cook for Baba Ji and the Sangat, which used to frequent him. Chet Ram always felt as if he was in the company of the Lord. He found that his lifestyle had changed drastically. He was habitual of taking alcohol and drugs, but he found that despite Baba Ji’s awareness of it, he never questioned him about this. Although Baba Ji used to preach Gurbani and Gurmat to him, yet he never told him to give up any of his bad habits.
A pious company speaks for itself and its wonders are to be seen by everyone. This is exactly what happened with Chet Ram also. Baba Ji’s moral-based lessons led him to give up alcohol and all sorts of drugs.
Another striking feature that Chet Ram noticed was that Baba Ji always bathed with cold water immediately after midnight and then started his day by meditating on the Divine Name. This motivated him to such an extent that he started bathing with cold water and continues to do so even in winters.
Chet Ram now expressed his desire of learning Gurbani from Baba Ji in order to perform Nitnem (daily prayers) himself. Baba Ji blessed him with a Gurbani Gutka in Hindi language so that he could understand it. Chet Ram started learning Gurbani from Baba Ji. He felt extremely satisfied by offering Nitnem. After sometime, when he felt affluent of reciting shabads from the Hindi Gutka, Chet Ram now desired to learn Gurmukhi so that he could come closer to Waheguru by reciting his prayers in the original form and Baba Ji willingly obliged to be his proud teacher.
Chet Ram was now enjoying his life in pious company of Baba Ji, who was fully dedicated to serve humanity and promote Universal Brotherhood, as directed by Sant Teja Singh as per the preachings of Gurbani. He used to cook and serve the Sangat at Baba Ji’s home as well as in office. And when someone from amongst the guests would offer him some gift in cash or kind, he would politely refrain from accepting, saying that it would not go with him to the eternal home.
While living with Baba Ji, Chet Ram noticed that Baba Ji would neither take tea, coffee, nor any other beverage, except a special type of tea, prepared from herbs. He anxiously enquired about the reason for the same and Baba Ji explained that the beverages like tea and coffee contain toxins, like nicotine, which cause gradual but sure damage to the human body and disturb our mental faculties. Chet Ram decided then and there that he would also stop taking harmful beverages. His family followed him in due course.
One fine day, Baba Ji informed his dedicated assistant of his rather longish tour and offered to participate. Chet Ram grabbed the opportunity and set off on an all-India tour. After covering the Northern and Western parts of the country, they reached Kerala down South. One morning, after finishing the routine chores, Chet Ram demanded Baba Ji to make some mustard oil available to him so that he could grease his skin. Baba Ji smiled and replied, “Why do you need artificial oils, lotions or creams at all? Look at my skin. I don’t even use soap for my bath, nor do I ever apply any sort of ointment on my skin.” Baba Ji then scratched the skin of his forearm and showed Chet Ram that not even a single dry scratch was visible. Thus, Chet Ram learned about the natural moisture present within our skin and also that cosmetic products are actually harmful for the skin. Since then, Chet Ram has never used any cosmetic lotion.
Meanwhile, Chet Ram got married and was soon blessed with a daughter. Sometime later, a son was born. Everyone except Chet Ram was overjoyed to receive the ‘heir of the family’. Chet Ram accepted the new born as God’s Will. But destiny had something else in store for the poor fellow. Only after fifteen days after his birth, the hope of the family – the son – passed away. Mourning spread its horrible shadows all around. Everyone in the family except Chet Ram, was struck with grief to lose the only ‘heir of the family’. Chet Ram, once again, accepted the death of his son as God’s Will. He firmly confided with Baba Ji, “The Almighty blessed me with a son. I accepted him as God’s gift. But now, He has taken it back from me. Why should I be sad now? I’ve learnt it from Gurbani that whatever happens, is all for the best.” Baba Ji was amazed but satisfied to see Chet Ram’s spiritual progress and patience in accepting the Lord’s ways.
His family, neighbours and friends from his village wanted him to rush to his native village immediately from his office so that they could celebrate his retirement. He replied that he would not return home without seeking the blessings of Baba Ji, who had retired much earlier and is now at Baru Sahib, running several projects for the welfare of humanity and rendering yeoman’s service towards Universal Brotherhood. He also told his relatives and well-wishers that instead of spending his hard-earned savings on their worldly pleasures of drinking and dancing, he would rather offer it to Baba Ji for serving mankind.
Chet Ram visited Baru Sahib along with his wife. He informed Baba Ji that all his daughters are happily married and well- settled. He is now a grandfather of five children. He also thanked Baba Ji for guiding him to a healthy life, as even now at the age of sixty, he was feeling as young as he was twenty years ago.
When an ordinary man like Chet Ram can transform his life in a pious company, then perhaps anyone can change himself for the sake of health and spiritual bliss Baba Ji was pleased to hear all this from his one-time dedicated lieutenant. Knowing Chet Ram’s financial condition and his loyalty to the Almighty, Baba Ji offered him free education for all his grandchildren in Akal Academy. Chet Ram politely refused and said that he would not take advantage of Baba Ji’s close proximity and goodwill gesture. Not only this, Chet Ram also gave a sum of rupees ten thousand as his contribution towards the ongoing projects at Baru Sahib.
While departing, Chet Ram offered his services to Baba Ji. He said that he would settle all his pending responsibilities and return to Baru Sahib with his wife and perform Sewa (selfless service) for his entire life. When an ordinary man like Chet Ram can transform his life into a pious company, then perhaps anyone can reform himself for the sake of health and spiritual bliss.