Pujya Shree Bhagat Hansraj ji Maharaj
Clad in spotless white Kameej-and-Pyjama, a waistcoat & a creamy shawl on shoulders, thin and lean in body, smart in gait, soft-yet-firm in speech, straight in walk and talk, Pujya Pitaji(Revered Father) was the cynosure of all eyes.
People in general and devotees in particular, loved him, adored him, nay spread their eyes at his holy feet. Men, women and children thronged him wherever he went. An agriculturist by profession, Pitaji led a very simple life. He advocated that one should lead a life of simplicity, dignity and self-respect.
Pujya Pitaji often said, ‘He is extremely grateful to Pujya Prem Ji Maharaj and Pujya Shakuntala Maa Ji for the love & respect given to him by them in their lifetime.’
He further says , ‘It is the power of “RAM” Naam and “Guru-Kripa” (Glory of the Master) which attracts thousands of people to him .Whatever benefits they receive and whatever they see in him is the Glory of “RAM” Naam and of Swamiji Maharaj.’
The true disciple of Swami Satyanandji, the founder of Sri Ram Sharnam Gohana and the beloved Pujya Pitaji(Revered Father) of the masses, Bhagat Hans Raj was born on October 2, 1916 in an affluent family at Chinyot in Distrcit Jhang ( now in Pakistan).
His father, Sh. Gopal Dass Vij & mother Smt.Lakshmi Devi were of religious bent of mind. He had three brothers and three sisters. It was a prosperous family. He was just eight years old when he lost his father. His mother was deeply devoted to the Divine and she started living in Haridwar in total dedication to God.
In this way, he was brought up by his grandfather, Lala Barkatshah who led a very princely and opulent life, he had an extensive business and the young Hans learnt the basics of business from his grandfather.
Guru Kripa on Young Hans
The young Hans had a very simple and pious mind. He yearned for the Divine and the spiritual journey ahead. He had a deep impact of Gurbani (teachings of the Sikh Gurus). Pitaji came in contact with Swami Satyanand Ji Maharaj through his close relative Sh. Ramkrishan who was a disciple of Swami Satyanand Ji Maharaj. Pitaji had heard a lot about Swami Ji’s magnetic personality and was very keen on meeting him.
In the year 1934, when Pitaji was 18 years old, Swami Ji chanced to visit Chakk-Jhumra. As soon as Pita ji heard about his arrival he rushed to the Arya Samaj Mandir where Swami Ji was holding Satsang. The Great Master Swamiji Satyanandji, spotted him (Young Hans) during the satsang. After the satsang, Swamiji Maharaj asked his disciple Sh. Ramkrishan to bring young Hans to him. The young Hans was smitten by Swamiji’s divine smile and compassion He immediately took Deeksha from Swamiji and surrendered himself to the will of his Master. Swamiji further told him to make selfless service an integral part of his life and asked him to remember that service rendered with humility leads to spiritual exaltation.
Pujya Pitaji received the love of a Master and that of a Father from Swamiji. Within a short span of time, he became a very near and dear disciple. Swamiji had full faith & trust in him and showered abundantly his love and guidance on Pitaji. The young Hans made spiritual achievements by leaps and bounds. He never looked back. Swamiji groomed him for Ram Daan and bestowed upon him his choicest blessings.
Married Family Life
The young Hans became a great fan of Swamiji. He gave his days and nights to Simran. He wanted to run away from home and wanted to become an ascetic (Sanyasi). He together with his friend planned to run away from home and become a monk. Swamiji came to know about this plan. He told about the plan to Sh. Kundan Lal, the young Hans’s elder brother. He chided the young Hans. He told him that renunciation is no gateway to God.
In the meantime, relatives had started pouring in for young Hans’s wedding. Swamiji told that the householder’s life was good enough to realize God through Truth, Service and Ram Naam. The young Hans was married to Kaushalya Devi of Katyal family. Both became ardent spiritual partners. Maa Kaushalya came to be called “Beeji” by the devotees. They were blessed with a promising son named Krishan in 1946.
Ram Sewak Sangh
Swami Satyanandji held the first Sadhana Satsang at Haridwar in December, 1936. During the period Swamiji handpicked five disciples to form Ram Sewak Sangh in order to spread faith in Ram. They took an undertaking to spread the holy name “Ram”. This brief but solemn ceremony was held on the banks of the holy river Ganga, above Bhim Goda at a place known as Sapt Sarover.
Pujya Pitaji (Sh. Hans Raj) was one of these five beloved disciples while the other four were Sh. Vaishnav Dass, Sh. Ram Krishan, Swami Ramanand and Swami Raja Ram. Pujya Pitaji took this life vow very seriously and vigorously. Swamiji admired this fact in his letter dated 4/9/57 to Bhagat Hans Raj Ji. Swamiji was both a Guru and a father. He (Swamiji) was highly pleased and in his letter dated 27/8/1959 from Dehradun, the Maharaj lovingly addressed him as : “Shri Bhagat Ji Maharaj”.
Pains of Partition & the Exodus
Came 1947, Partition of India took place. Sh. Hans Raj was 31, He held on to Chakk Jhumra. But the Muslim attack on the village compelled the Vij family to move away from the ancestral village to Amritsar, Nawanshahar and Panipat. Finding no suitable work in Panipat, family shifted to Gohana in 1950.
Partition years were very difficult for the family. The family braved the economic challenge and other hardships with a stoical mind. Pitaji often advises his disciples:”Even if one has to live on peanuts, one must put up a bold face before others.”
His zeal for Ram Simram and the faith in his Guru never flagged. He used to go to attend Swamiji’s discourses to far-flung places and he enthusiactically participated in “Sewa”. His consort fully cooperated through thick and thin.
Trials and tribulations are the tools by which the great men are tested. The struggle in his life actually acted as a catalyst. Today, Pitaji heads a great Organization of Sri Ram Sharnam with its headquarters at Gohana.
Exit from Mortal Frame
Pujya Pitaji on September 4th, 2014, left his mortal frame, while chanting “Ram- Ram”, at Shree Ram Sharnam Gohana. Pujya Krishanji and Pujya Rekhaji were by his side during his last moments.
Shree Swami Satyanandji Maharaj, in his lifetime delegated the responsibility of spreading “Ram-Nam” and auhtority of bestowing Deeksha to Pujya Hansraj ji Maharaj (Pujya Pitaji).
Follwing the footsteps of his Master, Pujha Pitaji, on the auspicious occasion of Vyas Purnima, in the year 2000, passed on the responsibility and duty of the spread of Ram-Naam to Pujya Smt. Rekha Ji and Pujya Sh. Krishan Ji, the disciple of Swami Satyanandji Maharaj. And on 31st December, 2000, he gave both Pujya Krishanji and Pujya Rekhaji the authority of Vishivat bestowing Deeksha.