Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


Teja Singh, Sant
Religious Teacher and Preacher


Earlier name Naranjan Singh, was born on 14 May 1877 in a Mahita Khatri family ( father: Ralia Singh : mother Sada Kaur) at the village of Ballovah, in Gujranwala district of the Punjab (now in Pakistan). Teja Singh completed his schooling at Fazilka and then went to Lahore where he received his Master's degree in English literature in 1900 from Punjab University, studying at Government College. At Lahore he also took the Law degree. His first appointment was as headmaster of the Anglo-Sanskrit High School, Bhera. He was vice-principal of the Khalsa College at Arnritsar when he received the rites of initiation at the hands of Sant Atar Singh of Mastuana (1906), receiving the Name of Teja Singh. Sant Atar Singh sent him abroad, along with four other young Sikhs, for higher studies. In August 1906 Teja Singh joined the University College, London, but left it without completing the course to join the Teachers College, Columbia University, in the U.S.A., to train as a teacher. From Columbia, he transferred himself to Harvard when he got his A.M. in 1911. Along with his academic work, Teja Singh had continued preaching the gospel of Guru Nanak. To this end he had, when in London, established a Sikh Jatha , and when in the U.S.A., lectured extensively in that country as well as in Canada.

Returning to India, he settled down at Mastuana, the headquarters of Sant Atar Singh. Briefly he was at Bhasaur, not far from there, teaching at the Sikh women's college. He served as principal of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College from 1917-19. For a brief spell he also worked as principal of Teachers' College at Banaras Hindu University (1920-21). He was the founder-principal of Akal Degree College, Mastuana, an institution, aiming, as Sant Atar Singh had willed, at combining humanistic study with crafts and mechanics.

Sant Teja Singh attended, in 1910, the Congress of Free Christianity and Religious Progress at Berlin, set up by the Unitarian Church of Chicago. In 1956, he participated in the 8th Conference of Religion for World Peace held in Japan contributing a paper entitled, "The Way to Establish World Peace." His major publication was biography in Punjabi of Sant Atar Singh ( Languages Department, Patiala, 1970).

Sant Teja Singh died at the village of Chima on 3 July 1965.

Source: TheSikhEncyclopedia.Com

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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