Unveiling of Shiv Sadan sign by renowned Indian statesman Dr. Karan Singh, who suggested the name since worship of Lord Shiva has been prominent in that area along the Ganges since ancient times.
Maharaj first had a very long dike built to protect the area from flooding. Then he had trees planted along the dike.
Under Maharaj’s inspiration, sevadars worked very hard carrying water by hand from the canal to water the trees by the dike.
Maharaj personally oversaw every detail of the farm. Here he is inspecting a newly built shelter.
He directed all development of the fields from previously barren lands.
This land had been marked as “wasteland” on the government maps.
Maharaj brought one area after another of wasteland under cultivation. This field was developed in the area called Tejpuri.
Maharaj walked up to 20 kilometres a day while making his rounds of Shiv Sadan. At first the only roads were cart tracks.
The local gypsies, known as Banjaras, soon developed great respect for him.
When he encountered poor local farmers, he respectfully stopped to discuss agricultural methods with them as a fellow farmer.
The few existing trees provided shade from which to check the land development.
Every day someone would offer a rose bud to Maharaj, which he tucked into his immaculate turban. There it stayed fresh throughout the day as he made his rounds of the farm.
Although he could have lived like a king, instead Maharaj was supremely happy in the fields.
From early morning until evening, he was in the fields, silently reciting Nam, which brought God’s great blessings to Shiv Sadan.
From dawn to sunset, he kept moving throughout the farm to check everything.
Even in the dark, he was there, our Light in the darkness.
He was always with the sevadars (volunteers), encouraging them in his own varied ways. Many times he distributed food to the sevadars with his own hands. This time it was delicious khir (rice pudding).
Maharaj was setting a model for spiritual development as the base for economic development. He built several places where Guru Granth Sahib (the universal scripture compiled by Sikh Gurus) was enshrined and revered. This “Darbar Sahib” was built in Tejpuri.
He also had a lovely 7-sided havan built in Tejpuri, where he did the first prayer.
Maharaj set an example of combining very hard work with meditation.
The great river Ganges flowed alongside Shiv Sadan. Maharaj often went there to pray and often sent his sevadars there to pray, read Jaap Sahib, wave Chaur Sahib, and make offerings to Mata Ganga. In return She graciously shifted Her course and brought hundreds of acres of land into Shiv Sadan.
Whenever we had the chance to watch the morning sun rise over Mata Ganga, we were in bliss.
The tombs of many Muslim pirs (holy people) had existed in the Shiv Sadan area but had been neglected and washed away by floods. Pir Sahib came to Maharaj in vision and requested him to rebuild his dargah. Maharaj built it according to the pir’s instructions, and that place became the most productive agricultural area of the entire farm.
Maharaj appreciating new trees and ripe fields near Pir Sahib’s dargah.
Sevadars love to visit Pir Sahib and clean his dargah, because the place is so full of love and blessings.
As he developed the farm, Maharaj was also tending to people’s spiritual development. But if they wanted to find him, they had to visit him in the fields.
Agricultural specialists, such as the renowned “Green Revolution” scientist Dr. Khem Singh Gill, came to Shiv Sadan to marvel over the extraordinary crops.
Wheat yields were record-breaking, in land that had previously been condemned as worthless.
Unimaginably, this excellent wheat was growing in the sand in a former riverbed.
Sugarcane grew extremely tall and thick. Maharaj had the visionary ability to communicate with the crops to learnwhat nutrients they were lacking or how they should be cultivated.
He also inspired sevadars to work extremely hard. These dedicated women came every day to weed Shiv Sadan’s sugarcane by hand in intense summer heat.
Rice also yielded record-breaking harvests.
Workers threshed rice by hand by whacking it over barrels. By Maharaj’s blessings, the workers had tremendous energy.
Maharaj also had great love for farm animals. He instructed the sevadars to bathe the cows and buffalos every day in a canal of the Ganges.
In contrast to the skinny cattle of local farmers, Maharaj’s animals were sleak and healthy.
His buffalos gave very sweet and rich milk.
He also kept some horses for local transportation and lavished loving care on them.
He provided health care for the people as well. Doctors who were his followers came from Delhi on weekends to attend people who came from up to 40 kilometres away, since there was no health care in that remote area.
Homeopathic doctors dispensed free medicines to the poor people, and they were cured of serious illnesses.
Maharaj Ji also provided education for the children in this simple rural school. Two boys in the front row are now IT professionals.
Sevadars lived simply in huts made of local materials. It took many people to raise the roofs.
Maharaj Ji himself designed the buildings, including this guest complex with large spans ingeniously crafted of local grasses without any internal support.
Everyone worked together, with no lines of caste or creed. Here men are pushing a tractor out of the river sand which was used in road-building.
Life at Shiv Sadan was so peaceful and satisfying that we felt we were living in a different world, materially simple but spiritually rich.