On November 16th, Kirpal Sagar celebrates its anniversary, this time shortly after Diwali, the festival of lights. It was on Diwali in 1973 when Sant Kirpal Singh came to Nawanshahr and visited the farm where the present Kirpal Sagar is. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr. Harbhajan Singh and Biji Surinder Kaur, His vision could be realised despite the many difficulties that were encountered during the years of construction. Despite the fact that in the beginning there was neither electricity nor running water available, let alone buildings, many facilities such as a hospital, school etc. were still built.
Celebrations like this let us look back with gratitude on a time when hard work was outweighed by the blessings it brought, and thankfully, on this occasion, we can also look back on the developments in the recent months that were possible, despite the unique challenges this year brought.
Due to the pandemic, there were travel restrictions, lockdowns with restrictions on freedom of assembly, etc. in India as well. Therefore, the commemoration days of Sant Kirpal Singh (August 21st) and Dr. Harbhajan Singh (September 25th) could only be celebrated on a small scale and unfortunately nobody from the West could participate. Also some of the Indian workers could not come due to regulations, such as the suspension of train service, making it difficult or even impossible for them to travel.
The schools all over India were closed until the end of October, including the boarding school in Kirpal Sagar. Now the lessons are slowly being resumed, starting with the upper classes (9th-12th grade) of the Kirpal Sagar Academy, which had successfully offered homeschooling via internet until then. In the KH Public School the upper classes are open again, but the B.Ed. College is currently closed.
Kirpal Sagar is like an oasis in a rural area, and so it was possible to protect it to a large extent by reducing shopping trips to the city to a minimum; the gatekeepers kept record who who went in and out. The hospital was able to continue its usual operations, of course under enforced hygiene conditions. In India, special corona stations were set up centrally in hospitals with large capacities, while the Kirpal Sagar Charitable Hospital continues to care for patients with other diseases, dialysis patients, etc., who urgently need help, especially since the government hospitals are working to capacity.
Organic farming continues to make good progress. Several hundred kilogrammes of guavas and lemons have been harvested and sold on the market. A small tractor was purchased to improve cultivation. In October, bee boxes were set up to pollinate the fruit trees and to produce organic honey. The teak trees planted in 2019 for timber production are now already six metres high.
In connection with agriculture, the Kirpal Sagar Academy is taking a further step as a school with a focus on environmental education and awareness: In the fields, an area of about one hectare will be reserved for the pupils. A few months ago, orange and mandarin trees were planted there. Further fruit trees, particularly varieties typical of northern India and once native to that region, are to be added. Cereals (wheat) as well as flowers and spice bushes grow between and under the trees.
In future, the students will be able to participate in the cultivation and care of Ayurvedic medical herbs and their processing. In this way, they acquire practical knowledge about horticulture and agriculture, which will benefit them and their families. Furthermore, they learn a lot about traditional and modern cultivation methods and varieties and help to preserve them. The knowledge and experience gained and learned through their own activities and experiences can be passed on to others and thus contribute to the development of the region.
After a heavy storm at the beginning of July, some repairs of greenhouses, roofs and the solar system in Kirpal Sagar had to be done, which have been successfully completed. The long break was also used to renovate the hostel of the Kirpal Sagar Academy from the inside and to carry out painting works on many other buildings in Kirpal Sagar.
Slowly some normality is returning: At the end of October, Kirpal Sagar could welcome the first students of the upper classes of the Academy. In advance all teachers, students and staff were corona-tested in cooperation with the Kirpal Sagar Hospital. All tests turned out negative and Kirpal Sagar can grant a “covid-free campus“.
The Academy started the new school year cheerfully with an open-air painting and cooking competition. On the occasion of Diwali, a member of parliament from Nawanshahr visited the old people’s home and presented the residents with clothes and other gifts.
Like every year at Diwali, workers and employees received gifts, and in the evening everyone sat down together in the holy atmosphere of the Sarovar, which was lovingly decorated with lights. On the morning of November 16th the anniversary of Kirpal Sagar was celebrated at 10 o’clock in the Sarovar.
“All Masters said, ‘O God, bless us to work for others’… Some people who are conscious say, ‘Master, give me some work to spend for.’ If He gives the work, He will also provide something to do it.
Now this Kirpal Sagar is going on and we all had this demand, so we are doing it. It is an international institution, and it belongs to all human beings. There is no reserved right of anybody, it is just like an open book. It will belong to everybody all the times.”
Dr. Harbhajan Singh
If you are interested in the history of Kirpal Sagar, you will find information and pictures of the beginnings here.