12/24/46 – 7/23/76
By Guru Meher Kaur Khalsa
“God takes His saints at His own choosing and His saints are not attached to coming and going. Just as a fish cannot live without water, a saint cannot live without God.” ~Siri Guru Granth Sahib
These are the words that are etched on a simple brass plaque hanging on the inner walls of Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Gurdwara in Española. Directly above is a black and white photo of a man serving prasad to the sangat. This man was SS Guru Meher Singh Khalsa.
I came to Española to meet my husband-to-be in December of 1973. He was remodeling a new building that was to become the Golden Temple Restaurant. Guru Meher Singh had originally come to New Mexico from Toronto, Canada to attend the Summer Solstice celebration in Española. However, when his talents as an architect became known, he was immediately employed to help with the Golden Temple restaurant remodeling in Santa Fe. This is where I first me him and where my destiny was to change and we were married in five days. In November of 1975, we gave birth to our son, Guru Darbar Singh.
His work in the community continued and he founded the Khalsa Construction Company. His work included designing the ashram’s new Health Food Store, remodeling living quarters on the ashram property and creating beautifully routed wooden signs for businesses in Santa Fe.
Siri Singh Sahib spoke with him the day before his death. He noticed that Guru Meher was cleaning the rifles for Khalsa Women’s Training Camp and asked him what he was doing. Guru Meher Singh responded that he was cleaning the rifles for his class and this would be his liberation. Siri Singh Sahib scolded him and told him not to speak that way. But subconsciously Guru Meher knew in his soul that this would be his destiny.
Building the Siri Singh Sahib’s Dome was another one of Guru Meher’s act of selfless service. He spent endless hours toiling to design and create this space for his spiritual teacher. On the wall by the door there is a ceramic tile that designates this building as Dhyan Nivas and by the gate is a similar ceramic tile that reads, “The Dome.” To the left of the front door is a glass case that holds the rifle that brought Guru Meher to his liberation.
Liberation is dying and leaving the planet with no connections to hold you back. A martyr is a liberated being that meets his destiny because his last act is in devotion to his creator. In serving Khalsa Women’s Training Camp he gave his last breath in instructing women to defend themselves. As he was instructing a woman in riflery, the bolt in the old English rifle gave way and the metal splinters severed the throat of this young English man of only 29 years. He died almost instantly.
Guru Meher used to tell me he was never going to be liberated because he enjoyed eating too much. He was really a very simple man and had no time to question his existence. He lived according to the Guru’s teachings, had a good sense of self and shared what he had with others. He was humble in the sense that he never questioned God’s will. The Siri Singh Sahib told me on the day of his death that God came down and plucked one of his most beautiful flowers. His life became an example because of his selfless acts, his gratitude for simple things and because he lived and died serving others. It was his joy in life. However, when things didn’t go exactly right, he had a light and playful sense about it. He would say it was just God’s funny sense of humor. When things were hard and trying he would just say, “there is no rest for the wicked.” He was admired by the community for serving without hesitation and always with a smile.