Saint Puran Singh


Professor Puran Singh (Punjabi: ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਪੂਰਨ ਸਿੰਘ) (1881–1931) was a Punjabi poet, scientist and mystic. Born in Pothohaar, now in Pakistan, in an Ahluwalia family, he is acclaimed as one of the founders of modern Punjabi poetry. He passed his matriculation examination at the Mission High School Rawalpindi in 1897 and, after obtaining a scholarship for the years 1900 to 1903, obtained a degree in Industrial Chemistry from Tokyo University in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Though a born Sikh he became a Buddhist Bhikshu and a sanyasi under influence of Ukakura a Japanese Buddhist monk and Swamy Ramtirath respectively before he finally got settled as a Sikh mystic when he came under influence of Bhai Vir Singh during a Sikh Educational Conference meeting at Sialkot in 1912.

Prof Puran Singh
ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਪੂਰਨ ਸਿੰਘ
Professor Puran Singh.jpg
Born 17 February 1881
Village Salhad,Distt. Abottabad in Pothohar of W. Punjab
Died 31 March 1931 (aged 50)
Occupation Scientist,mystic,poet
Language English,Punjabi,Persian, Hindi, German
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Punjabi
Education University Degree
Alma mater Tokyo University,Japan
Period 1900-1931
Notable works “ENGLISH”:Sisters of The Spinning Wheel(1921)
Unstrung Beads(1923)
the Spirit of Oriental Poetry(1926)
The Book of Ten Masters
The Spirit Born People
Swami Rama
“PUNJABI”:Khulle Maidan,Khulle Ghund(1923),Khulle Lekh(1929),Khulle Asmani Rang(1927)
Spouse Maya Devi (5 March 1904)
Relatives Father Kartar Singh


As mystic

Four crucial events—his Japanese experience, his encounter with the American poet Walt Whitman, his discipleship of Svami Ram Tirath, and his meeting with the Sikh saint Bhai Vir Singh—left permanent marks on his impressionable mind. As a student in Japan, he had imbibed the ethos and aesthetics of a beautiful people. He had been wholly charmed by their ritual and ceremony, industry and integrity. The openness of their nature and the holiness of their heart’s responses made him forever a worshipper of life’s largeness and generosities. He was greatly influenced by the romantic aestheticism of Okakura Kakuzo, Japanese artist and scholar. Walt Whitman, the American poet, had left a deep impression on his poetics and practice as on his world view. It was in Japan that he came under the spell of Ram Tirath, who regarded Puran Singh as an echo or image of his own self. The power of this spell was so strong that Puran Singh turned a monk. Although he eventually graduated to Sikhism, this was much too profound an experience to be entirely washed out of his consciousness: he subsumed it in the dialectics of his Guru’s creed. The meeting with Bhai Vir Singh in 1912 at Sialkot proved the final turn of a spinning soul in search of certitude: it was after this meeting that he regained his lost faith in Sikhism. Perhaps he had strayed to return with greater vigour and conviction; his bursting creative energy had now found its focus and metier.

As Scientist

Puran Singh started the distillation of essential oils in Lahore in association with Ishar Das and Rai Bahadur Shiv Nath. He prepared thymol, and fennel and lemon oils. Owing to deceitful dealings on the part of his partners, he threw up the business and, in a fit of temper, demolished the kilns and migrated to Dehra Dun . he stayed there,for some time with a disciple of Svami Ram Tirath. soon he came back in Lahore in December 1904 and joined Diamond v.j.Hindu Technical Institute as Principal.He restarted his monthly Thundering Dawn from Lahore. His contacts with revolutionaries, Har Dayal and Khudadad, also go back to these days. He resigned the Principalship in November 1906 to establish at Doivala (Dehra Dun) a factory for soapmaking but soon sold it off to a minister of Tihri to join in April 1907 as a Forest chemist at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, from where he sought retirement in 1918. He had stints in the princely states of Patiala and Gwalior. At Gwalior (1919–23) he turned the scorching desert into a fragrant oasis of rosha grass and eucalyptus, interspersed with fruit trees. He gave up his appointment at Gwalior to join Sir Sundar Singh Majithia’s sugar factory at Surayya (1923–24) where he discovered a special method for purifying sugar without mixing it with charred bones. In 1926, he moved over to Chakk 73, near Nankana Sahih, where he got a plot of land on lease from the Punjab Government to grow rosha grass on a commercial scale. In 1928, his plantation suffered a healer loss owing to floods. Yet he rejoiced that he had been able to salvage the manuscripts of his books. He took his losses in a philosophical spirit and wrote a poem expressing relief at the devastation of his property which had rid him of many of his worries.

A Poet and a literary Person

Puran Singh’s achievements in both science and literature fields are equally significant. He spent a great deal of his time on his scientific experiments and gave his time freely to visitors, monks and revolutionaries, who thronged his hospitable home from different parts. He was a lover of nature and beauty, and wrote beautiful and tender poetry both in English and Punjabi. Aad an example from Khulle Asmani Rang his Punjabi verse is given

ਜਿੱਥੇ ਸੁਹੱਪਣ ਸੋਹਣੀ ਪਰਤ ਹੈ ਵਿਛਦੀ,
ਬਸ ਇਕ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਦਿਲ ਖਿੱਚਵਾਂ,
ਇਕ ਰਾਗ ਜਿਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਰੱਬ ਰੂਪ
ਰੰਗ ਪਿਘਲ-ਪਿਘਲ ਰੂਪ ਅਨੂਪ
ਹੋਰ-ਹੋਰ ਸੱਜਦਾ,
ਜਿੱਥੇ ਸੁਹੱਪਣ ਆਪਾ ਵਾਰ, ਸਦਕੇ ਹੋ-ਹੋ
ਬਿਹਬਲਤਾ ਅਨੰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਉੱਠੀ ਕਦੀ

Another example from “Khulle Maidaan” in Punjabi verse on JAWAAN PUNJAB

Ih beparwah Punjab de
Maut noo makhaulan karan
maran theen nahin dared
piaar naal ih karan gulamee
jaan koh aapnee vaar dinde
par tain naa mannan kise dee
khalo jaan dangaan modhe te khalaar ke
mannan bas aapnee javaanee de zor noo
aakharkhaand, albele,dhur theen satguraan de
azaad keete ih bande
Punjab naa hindoo naa musalmaan
Punjab saraa jeendaa guraan de naan te

In 1930, he fell ill with tuberculosis and had to leave this world during stay at Dehra Dun where he died on 31 March 1931.


He composed three volumes of Punjabi poetry: Khule Maidan (‘Free Meadows’) in 1923, Khule Ghund (‘Free Veils’) 1923 and Khule Asmani Rang (‘Boundless Blue Colours of the Sky’) in 1926.[3] His poetry was composed in free verse and explored the experience of villagers, peasants and the poor. Among his famous works in English are The Sisters of the Spinning Wheel (1921), Unstrung Beads (1923), The Spirit of Onental Poetry (1926); in Punjabi, Khulhe Maidan, Khulhe Ghund (1923), Khulhe Lekh (1929), and Khulhe Asmani Rang ( 1927) . Seven Baskets of Prose Poems.
Among his prose writing published works are The Book of Ten Masters,The Spirit Born People,Swami Rama in English and Khulle Lekh (1929)in Punjabi and Kanya Daan te hor Lekh in Hindi..

Besides what has seen the light of the day, some work of greater magnitude and most likely of a maturer and more comprehensive level of experience still remains unpublished. Of this unpublished work the two most considerable are Spirit of the Sikh, that is of the nature of a voluminous series of moments of spiritual vision growing out of the teachings of Guru Nanak and his holy successors, and Prakasina, a novel, which as the author says in the sub-title, is the story of a Buddhist Princess. Both these came in manuscript form to the Punjabi University, which has a project of salvaging whatever of the creative effort of the genius of the Punjab falls within the scope of its several Departments establishment towards this end.


  • Anecdotes from Sikh History (1908)
  • Sisters of the Spinning Wheel (1921)
  • An Afternoon with Self (1922)
  • At His Feet (1922)
  • Khulhe Maidan (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਮੈਦਾਨ [Free Meadows], 1923)
  • Khulhe Ghund (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਘੁੰਡ [Free Veils], 1923)
  • Unstrung Beads (1923)
  • Bride of the Sky (1924)
  • The Story of Swami Rama Tirtha (1924)
  • Nargas: Songs of a Sikh (Translations of Bhai Vir Singh’s poems) (1924)
  • The Book of Ten Masters (1926)
  • Khulhe Asmani Rang (ਖੁਲ੍ਹੇ ਅਸਮਾਨੀ ਰੰਗ [Boundless Blue Colours of the Sky], 1926)
  • The Spirit of Oriental Poetry (1926)
  • Spirit Born People (1928)
  • Seven Baskets Of Prose Poems (1928)
  • Khulhe Lekh (ਖੁਲ੍ਹੇ ਲੇਖ [Straight Compositions], 1929)
  • Khalse Da Adarsh (ਖ਼ਾਲਸੇ ਦਾ ਆਦਰਸ਼ [Standards of the Khalse])
  • Sikhi Di Atma (ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦੀ ਆਤਮਾ [Spirit and Psyche of Sikhi])
  • Gur Shabad Vismad Bodh (ਗੁਰ-ਸ਼ਬਦ ਵਿਸਮਾਦ-ਬੋਧ)
  • Jagdian Jotan (ਜਗਦੀਆਂ ਜੋਤਾਂ [Awakened and Luminous Light])
  • Chup Preet Da Shaihanshaah Biopaare (ਚੁਪ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਦਾ ਸ਼ਹਿਨਸ਼ਾਹ ਬਿਉਪਾਰੀ)
  • Abchali Jot (ਅਬਚਲ ਜੋਤ)
  • Jin ke Chole Ratre (ਜਿਨ ਕੇ ਚੋਲੇ ਰੱਤੜੇ)
  • Charan Chhuh
  • Kanyadan te Hor Lekh
  • Karna Khirya Vich Punjab
  • Das Guru Darshan (ਦਸ ਗੁਰ ਦਰਸ਼ਨ [The Ten Masters])
  • Laudhe Pehar Da Atam Chintan
  • Naulakha Haar Ate Hor Kahanian
  • Sikhi da prena sabot walt Whitman
  • Zindagi de Rahaan ‘Te


  • Guru Gobind Singh Reflections and Offerings (1967)
  • Prakasina, a Buddhist princess (1980)
  • The Temple Tulips (1980)
  • The Spirit of the Sikh, Part 1 (1981)
  • The Spirit of the Sikh, Part 2 (1981)
  • On Paths of Life (An Autobiography) (1982)
  • Walt Whitman and the Sikh Inspiration (1982)