Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sakhi Series : 81 ( Bhagat Sadhnaa ji )

Bhagat Sadhnaa ji  (Source :

SADHNAA, one of the fifteen saints and süfis whose hymns are incorporated in the Guru Granth Sâhib, was a qasãi or butcher by profession who, by his piety and devotion, had gained spiritual distinction.

A hymn by Sadhna has been included in the Guru Granth Sahib. It is said that Sadhna used Salgram (a form of stone idol) as a weight to weigh the meat he sold. One day an enlightened mendicant ('sadhu') passed by, and he scolded Sadhna for what he did. Sadhna repented and renounced his home and left for the forests. It is also said that on his way to the forests, a woman met him She felt so charmed by Sadhna that she wanted to possess him. However, Sadhna remained indifferent to all her actions. She thought that perhaps the presence of her husband is the hindrance and Sadhna does not take the initiative because of his fear. So the woman took no time in murdering her husband, thereby clearing the way for Sadhna. However, while committing this crime, she failed to read correctly the mental state of Sadhna who was then on the point of acquiring mystical unity with the Lord. Therefore, whatever she did, she failed to charm Sadhna. At last when she found defeat staring in her face, she alleged that Sadhna had killed her husband. Consequently, the poor Sadhna had his hands chopped off as a punishment for the crime he never committed.

God has always protected his devotees and there are extant evidences to prove this contention: for example, He saved Bhagat Prehlad, helped Namdev and saved the honour of Daropadi, similarly, Sadhna also prayed to God

Nothing am I, no pride is mine; nothing is mine,
On this occasion save the honour of Sadhna, the Servant.
Guru Granth Sahib, pg 858

'The Lord listened to his prayer and accepted it. God through His graceful benevolence made his hands healthy once again. This gesture of grace by God flowed in Sadhna's mana (mind), the river of devotion to God.

The only hymn of Sadhna ji wherein he prays God to save his honour and which finds inclusion in the Guru Granth Sahib (Pg 858) would read as under;

For love of a king's daughter a man disguised himself as Vishnu
Of this man, lust-seeker, self-seeker, You saved the honour. (1)
Enlightener of the world! what merit is yours if our
retribution of deeds leave us not?
Why seek shelter with the tiger if a jackal is to grip us? (1-Pause)
The Chatrik (cuckoo) for lack of a drop suffers.
If after its life is gone, even the ocean be found,
what good? (2)
Tired, without poise is my life-
How may I delay supplicating Thee?
If after drowning comes the boat,
who will then ride it?
Nothing am I, no pride is mine; nothing is mine.
On this occasion save the honour of Sadhna,
The servant.

  • Bhagat Sadhana, Guru Granth Sahib, pg 858 

The whole Shabad conveys this message that the prayer made by a devotee in the court of his Lord should be saturated with devotion and submission otherwise it is just a formality which one observes and we all know fully well that unless the prayer is done from the core of heart with utmost devotion and dedication, it is not accepted in the court of Lord God.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sakhi Series : 80 ( Bhagat Kabir Ji )

Bhagat Kabeer Ji:
Bhagat Kabeer Ji was a revolutionary saint who emphasized the equality and fraternity of all mankind. He would recite His (Gods) name eternally and worshiped God and none else. Kabeer Ji considered himself neither a Muslim nor a Hindu. He says,

"I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end."


Due to all this he met with opposition from Pandits and Maulvis alike who in turn complained to the King - Sultan Sikandar Lodi.   The king told him to accept Islam and sing only in the praise of Allah but Kabeer Ji refused and thus was punished in various ways ..


They threw Kabeer ji infront of an elephant to be crushed as explained by Kabeer ji below ...

"They tied my arms, bundled me up, and threw me before an elephant.

The elephant driver struck him on the head, and infuriated him.

But the elephant ran away, trumpeting,

"I am a sacrifice to this image of the Lord."||1||

O my Lord and Master, You are my strength.

The Qazi shouted at the driver to drive the elephant on. ||1||Pause||

He yelled out, ""O driver, I shall cut you into pieces.

Hit him, and drive him on!""

But the elephant did not move; instead, he began to meditate.

The Lord God abides within his mind. ||2||"

What sin has this Saint committed,

that you have made him into a bundle and thrown him before the elephant?

Lifting up the bundle, the elephant bows down before it.

The Qazi could not understand it; he was blind. (in ego) ||3||

- Guru Granth Sahib, Ang:870



Then, He was tied up with the chains by the order of the king. The king's men brought Kabeer near the bank of the river Ganges. There was not a single person with Kabeer but God. Kabeer Ji says,


"The mother Ganges is deep and profound.

Tied up in chains, they took Kabeer there. ||1||

My mind was not shaken; why should my body be afraid?

My consciousness remained immersed in the Lotus Feet of the Lord. ||1||Pause||"


The king's men threw Kabeer's body tied up with chain's in the river Ganges to drown. Kabeer Ji describes this situation as follow,


"The waves of the Ganges broke the chains and Kabeer was seated on a deer skin. Says Kabeer, I have no friend or companion, on the water, and on the land, the Lord is my Savior"  - Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1162


But God raised Kabeer Ji from the water to protect His devotee.


Watching all this, the king was amazed and full of embarrassment. The King begged Kabeer Ji for an apology.


Such are the ways of God who always saves His saints.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sakhi Series : 79 ( Bhagat Sain and the King )

Bhagat Sain :


Namdev, Kabir, Trilochan, Sadhna, Sain-all are saved.

Saith Ravidas ; Listen ! devotees of God!

All within the Lord's power lies.   - Guru Granth Sahib ji, pg 1106


After Bhagat Kabir ji, who enjoyed great name and fame, another person from the so-called low castes to rise to spiritual heights was Bhagat Sain, a Naaie (barber) by profession. He used to remain absorbed in Divine Name at night and visit early morning to the royal palace to massage the king's body so as to cure it of various physical maladies.


One day he had some guests (Sangat) and he remained occupied all the night in Kirtan and singing of Divine eulogy. Thus in serving the saints and the Sangat he did not realize what time it was and missed his duty at the palace to serve the king. Realizing the intensity of his love for the saints and the Sangat, God Himself adopted Sain's form and went over to the palace and served the king. Consequently, the malady of the king was cured. On the other hand Bhagat Sain, after he got free from his guests, went to the king with utter humility so as to seek forgiveness for his absence. The king saw from afar Sain approaching, and calling him to his presence the king removed his cloak and put it on him as a token of his pleasure. He further told Sain that the way he massaged him this morning had really captivated him. All his ailments have vanished.


Bhagat Sain realized exactly what had happened and thanked God. In this way God Himself intervened to prove the greatness of his devotee.


His devotees, tasks has the Lord Himself undertaken to fulfil;

These Himself has the Lord come to accomplish    

- Guru Granth Sahib ji, pg 783


When the king heard from Sain's own lips the account of his absence, he thought very highly of the spiritual greatness of the saint. He was so impressed that he, along with his family, became disciples of Bhagat Sain.


s ain naaee buthak aareeaa ouhu ghar ghar s uniaa ||

Sain, the barber, the village drudge, became famous in each and every house.


h iradhae vasiaa p aarabreham bhagathaa mehi gan iaa ||3||

The Supreme Lord God dwelled in his heart, and he was counted among the devotees. ||3||



The Gurus also felt it proper that a person's status should not be determined from one's profession or from the family in which he was born. Rather his deeds should determine his status in society. Any profession is pious if it is marked by honesty and righteousness.



Referring to the incident related above, Bhai Gurdas says.


Learning of the name earned by Kabir,

Another Sikh, who came on the scene was Sain, the barber.

He performed loving devotion at night

and went to the king's court in the morn.

Once many saint-guests came

and Kirtan went on all the night.

He could not leave his saint guests,

and thus tailed to do duty at the king's.

Lord Himself took Sain's form

and entertained the king.

After bidding farewell to all his guests,

Sain reached the king with diffidence.

The king called him from afar,

and summoning near bestowed robes.

You have captivated me,

said the king and numberless people heard this.

Lord Himself bestows honour on His devotees.

- Bhai Gurdas ji




Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sakhi Series : 78 ( MOHENA - SOHENA ) [ PART II ]

From Kalgidhar Chamatkar by Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh ji

Punjabi to English Translation by Bimal Inderjit Singh


Mohena and her husband Sohena ji reached Anandpur Sahib with only their meager belongings. They were an educated, artistic and cultured couple and under different circumstances they would have been honorably received in Guru ji's 'darbar'.  But they knew this could not be. They had come with the burning desire to serve Guruji with all their love and devotion, and to receive His forgiveness.

With this in mind, they met the chief gardener, Kesra Singh, who looked after Guruji's estate.  They loved plants and had sufficient experience through working in their own gardens. Kesra Singh was impressed with their knowledge and after a few days trial he engaged them as his assistants and allotted a small hut for them to live in.   Their artistry soon brought about a change in the gardens.  One day Guru ji was taking a stroll and happened to see the flowerbeds which were in Mohena and Sohena's care.  He looked very pleased and congratulated Kesra Singh.

Kesra Singh respectfully bowed his head and with folded hands, said, "Maharaj ji, this is not my work but that of the new 'mali' and his wife. They work diligently and seem to have the power to coax the plants to grow and flower better than ever. They are a very unusual couple."

At these words, Guru ji's expression changed.  His eyes became somber and he looked heavenwards. Then lowering his eyes he said softly. "He will not give you his 'darshan'!" and turning, He went back.
Later in the day, Kesra Singh met Sohenaji and related the whole incident adding, "Guruji has especially asked that you must not see Him nor be seen by Him.  But you can continue to work, if you like."

This incident convinced them further that Guruji was truly omniscient and knew of the suffering they had caused to his beloved Sikh.  But they were grateful that they had been given permission to continue working for Him.
Humbly and respectfully Sohenaji said, "We are here to serve and not to demand.  We shall be happy to obey each and every command of the Master which you convey to us.  But we don't know if we can kill the yearning for Guruji's 'darshan' from our hearts," and his voice choked with emotion.

Kesra Singh was deeply moved by the simple sincerity and the pain behind these words.  Reassuring them to carry on with their tasks he returned to his work.
And thus, a new way of life, a new form of worship started for Mohena and Sohenaji.  A life of untold wealth and luxury was exchanged for one of simple living and service, and adoration of a living god but without the joy of having the beloveds 'darshan'. Yet they were content and grateful.

Guru Gobind Singh ji's wife, Mata Jito ji was a pious and devoted lady. She used to wake up in the early hours of the morning to say her prayers and to meditate. When Guru ji used to leave for the 'darbar' where Sikhs from far and wide congregated, she would touch His feet and place a garland of fresh flowers around His neck. It was Kesra Singh's duty to bring these flowers every morning.

One day, Mata ji stopped Kesra Singh and said, "The flowers you brought yesterday were beautiful.  Sri Kalgidhar ji was very pleased."
    Kesra Singh   : "Ammi ji, those flowers were not grown by me, but by a poor couple who have started working here recently.  Sadly they are not allowed to have Guru ji's 'darshan'."
    Ammi ji  : "Why"?
    Kesra Singh   : "It is Guru ji's wish."
    Ammi ji  : "Then why do you bring me flowers grown by them?"

    Kesra Singh   : "Ammi ji, Guru ji has given them permission to work, but not to come into His presence."
Ammi ji thought for a moment and said, "Guru ji must be deeply fond of them. Some wrong is being set right."  That evening when Guru ji returned, Mata Jito ji asked Him about Mohena and Sohena.
Guru ji said, "A young and devoted Sikh spoke these words for them in great distress:  'He will not give you His darshan.'

"If a Guru punishes, His Sikhs can plead and obtain forgiveness for the wrong –doer, but when a Sikh makes such a pronouncement, the Guru cannot overturn it  - this is an eternal truth.  Mohena, Sohena are dear to me but I am bound by the dying words of my Sikh. Had he been alive, he could have taken his words back.
Now, they must work out their salvation.  When they are spiritually awake and have got rid of the fear of death they will be free of these fateful words."

    Ammi ji  : "Will it be all right if I meet them and try to help them?"
    Guru ji   : "That would be a great kindness indeed, and it will make me happy.
Our Father has said :
Jan Nanak Dhoorh Mangaiy Tis Gursikh Ki
Jo Aap Japaiy  Awreh Nam Japawaiy

 (says Guru Nanak ji - He wants to touch the dust of the feet of that Sikh who, not only  recites the Lords name himself, but also encourages others to do the same).
 "To enlighten someone and fill his dead spirit with new life, is dear to the heart of Waheguru ji.  A person becomes alive only when his inner being comes alive to Waheguru ji's presence :
So Jeevaih Jis Man Vasiya Soy   Nanak Avar Na Jivas Koy
 (Only he has lived in whose heart lives the Lord, says Guru Nanak ji, the others have not truly lived).
  Hor Mirtak Hai Sansar     (The rest of the world is like the dead).

"Those who are in tune with the Lord, are like the lower strings of the sitar, which vibrate when the larger ones are played upon. Their spirits have become one with the Creator.  Hence their every word and action resonates to His will. That is why the Sikh's words are eternal."
     Ammi ji  : "Maharaj ji, it is your nature to be loving and to forgive the faults of us humans.  You have given us the gift of spiritual life.  I do not ask you to break your vow, but if it pleases you, guide me so I can help this couple to regain your grace."

     Guru ji  : "Jit0 ji, may Waheguru ji grant you the strength to relieve their suffering."
Mata Jito ji began to call Mohena to the house and sometimes, when she went for a stroll in the garden, she would stop by her hut and spend some time with her.  She became very fond of Mohena.  With her gentle words and kindly presence, Mata ji brought about a marked change in her personality.

Slowly, Mohena and her husband began to experience the joy and peace which comes from single-minded devotion.  "Waheguru! Waheguru!" was constantly on their lips and in their hearts. They stopped thinking of themselves as cursed beings, burning with self-recrimination.  They began to feel the surge of a new life, a new and deeper contentment than they had ever known before.

The desire for Guru ji's 'darshan' was keener than ever.  However there was no accompanying feeling of depression, but a slow spreading of hope, of conviction almost, that all would be well.  Their tears were now caused by " Shukrana" (thankfulness) and their beings were steeped in gratitude for Ammi ji's blessed presence.
Time passed and gradually Mohena and Sohena began to understand that there is only one Creator whose creation stretches along both banks of the river of Death.  It is according to His will that a person stays on this side or that.  Death is not painful, neither is it final destruction nor eternal parting. They realized that for people who are immersed in 'SIMRAN', there is no separation – not from their Creator, nor from His creation.  They began to lose the fear of Death and to appreciate the beauty and joy of Waheguru ji's gift of life.

Their spirits were up-lifted and as a result, they saw only the splendor of Waheguru ji's creation, and thought of Him as a loving Father, (PITA), Mother (MATA), Friend (BANDHAP), Brother (BHRATA); a Protector and Saviour(RAKHA), whose presence destroyed doubt and fearfulness.

One day, a wandering 'fakir' (sadhu) came into the garden and after walking about, stopped at Mohena's door, and called out: "Malan, Aulakh! A 'fakir' has come to your door.  Make some offering!"
Mohena quickly went in and brought some millet flour from the bin, and offered it to the fakir.  He gave her a disdainful look and began to sing, and as he sang, he shook the rod he carried in his hand.  He chanted that he was a special minion of the Lord and could work miracles, but if he was displeased he could be as vengeful as the black cobra.  She should not try and get rid of him with excuses but give him what he asked for.  In return he would shower them with his blessings.  He did not want money – he was not a beggar - he was Roda Jalali !
Mohena watched his antics nervously, as he rolled his red-rimmed eyes and his bald pate shone in the sun's rays.  When he stopped, she folded her hands and said, "Swamy, be merciful in what you ask.  We are not the owners, but poor servants.  Whatever is ours is yours."

Roda  : "O Malan, what is this that you are keeping hidden under this glass casing?  Ah, ha! Such beautiful flowers and in this season!  I like them.  I like them all and I shall have them."
Mohena was dumb-struck.  A tremor shook her body, and she slumped to the ground in a dead faint. The Roda waited awhile but when the Malan did not move, he left the garden singing and dancing the way he had come.

A short while later Sohenaji came home and was shocked to see Mohena lying on the ground.  He sprinkled some water on her face and when she revived, he asked, "Dear, what happened?"
Mohena told the whole story in a strained voice, "These flowers, which are being grown especially on Ammi ji's instructions for Sri Guru ji's Gurpurab…, a 'fakir' came… he …he frightened me with his singing and dancing. He would not take the flour I offered.  He gave one look at the flowers and said he wanted them, otherwise he would curse us. I didn't know what to do. Once earlier we had refused someone's request…. and now when this holy man asked for the flowers I was afraid to say no, but… but how could I give them to him? They belong to Ammi ji. The fear that what we were doing for her was going to be destroyed ---I couldn't bear it!  I thought that I had died but now I see that I am still alive and this problem is still in front of us."

Sohenaji was extremely worried at this turn of events.  He had put his knowledge of horticulture to good use and created a glass house in one corner of the garden, so that the 'Motia' (Jasmine flower) and other unseasonal flowers could grow in a warm and protected environment.  As a result, all the bushes were laden with buds.
Now, this situation had arisen and they could not see a way out of their dilemma.  Mohena could sense that this Roda Jalali was a different type of person, but he was God's man and it would be unforgivable to refuse him. The whole night was spent in discussion.  With the first light of dawn, the Roda re-appeared, dancing and singing the same song.

Sohenaji addressed him politely but firmly, "O Holy one, this garden and everything in it belong to the Master.  We are only the servants and have no right to give away anything without His permission.   Please meet the head 'mali' Kesra Singh and ask him for whatever you want.  But please forgive us, for our duty is only to grow these plants, not to pluck them."

Roda Jalali began to jump indignantly and to shout threats that he would take the flowers anyway and present them to Guruji himself.
Sohenaji  : "Fakir ji, I beg you, take anything you like from my home – it is all yours.  But the Master's properly is His, and only He can decide what to do with it."
Roda Jalaji was furious by this time.  Scowling darkly, he flung a curse at them, "May you be destroyed and nothing of yours survive!"  And he walked off in a huff.
Sohena and Mohena looked relieved, "He has blessed us!  We don't want anything of ours to survive," they thought.  With light hearts they sat down to sing 'Kirtan'. The incident had wasted a lot of time and created a break with 'Simran'.  But as they went about their daily chores, their spirits revived and they began to feel more at peace.

Early next morning after completing their prayers, they came out of their room and were horrified at the sight which met their eyes.  The specially erected glass-house lay shattered, and not a single flower remained on the stems. The marigold plants had been viciously torn and a few flowers and leaves now hung, forlorn and limp.
Mohena and Sohena stood as if turned to stone.  Like sharp needles the thought pierced their hearts – "What will we tell Ammi ji?  We could not do even this one small service for her, when she has given us so much love and support!  Cursed sleep!  Why didn't we stay awake and keep watch?"
They could not bear the over-whelming feelings of shame and regret.  In that moment they felt as if their hearts had broken and they fell to the ground; two lifeless figures lying among the ruined plants.

 Guru ji was sitting in the 'darbar'.  From far and near people had come – intellectuals, poets, writers and "Sadhus" of various faiths.  Everyone enjoyed the soothing 'Kirtan', and at its completion, they moved forward to greet Guru ji and offer Him gifts.
One 'fakir' came and placed a basket full of beautiful fresh flowers near Guru ji's feet.  Usually this man came bare-headed but today he wore a tall hat.
Guru ji looked at him and asked, "O holy one, who are you?"
Fakir  : "I am Roda Jalali, Sache Patshah!"
Guru ji : "Jalali?  If you are truly Jalali (powerful) then why haven't you brought a more substantial gift?"

Fakir : "As a broken pot cannot hold water, so a beggar cannot hold wealth, and without wealth one's hands are always empty."
Guru ji : "Then you should have come with empty hands for they are becoming to a 'fakir'".
Fakir : "True, but it is also against tradition to go empty-handed to meet a 'Maha Purakh'." (a great man)
Guru ji  : "What meaning has tradition for a person who has nothing?"
Fakir  : "Call it the whim of a 'fakir'."
Guru ji  : "Whim or style?"
Guru ji signaled to a Sikh sitting near Roda Jalali.  The man reached up and knocked off the hat from Roda's head.  Along with the hat a handful of gold and silver coins fell tinkling to the ground.  Everyone began to laugh and the Roda's face became ashen.
Guru ji  : "Roda Jalali!  Are you Roda with the 'Jalal' of divinity or of wealth? And why did you remove these beautiful flowers from their stems?"

The Roda was speechless.
Guru ji : "These flowers were nurtured with such love and devotion!  With whose permission did you pluck them?" Roda bowed his head and remained quiet.
Guru ji : "Ah! These blooms do not emit fragrance, but an oppressive air of fear and sadness; their very beauty marred by pain!  Whose is this fear and whose is the pain?"
Guru ji closed His eyes.  After a while two tears rolled down His cheeks.  Frowning slightly, He looked towards Roda.
Guru ji  : "O Rodiya! It is not flowers which you have destroyed but two hearts which you have broken; two spirits you have devastated!"
And Guru ji got up and began to walk quickly.  His steps moved faster and faster and soon He was running, saying, "My children! My beloved children! I am coming."

The 'Sangat' was astonished and intrigued and began to follow Guru ji.  One of the Sikhs, realizing instinctively that the basket of flowers had something to do with the incident, picked it up and hastened after them.

Meanwhile, Guru ji had rushed through the garden and reached the farthest corner.  He came to the flower-beds which had been so lovingly nurtured and now, so ruthlessly torn apart!   Mata Jito ji too had arrived and was shocked at the scene which confronted her eyes.  But before she could help the two people lying there, Guru ji sat down on the damp ground and with great tenderness placed the heads of the couple in His lap.  He caressed their foreheads, murmuring gently, "Awake, my children, awake!"   But their eyes did not open.

What strange twist of Nature was this?  These two, who had been banished from the Lord's presence by the words of a dying man, and for whom it had become their sole wish in life to receive forgiveness and the Lord's 'darshan', are lying here, unseeing, while the Lord's chosen one is beseeching them to open their eyes.
Mata ji began to massage Mohena's hands, urging her to wake up. The congregation of people stood all around, looking on in wonderment as another facet of Guru ji's personality was revealed.

Kesra Singh now stepped forward and offered a mug of water to Guru ji, who sprinkled some of it on Mohena and Sohena's faces and let a few drops trickle into their mouths.  Within minutes Mohena and Sohena's eyes flickered open, and as understanding dawned, their faces became radiant with happiness. They tried to get up so as to prostrate themselves at Guru ji's feet, but the effort was too much, and their eyes closed again.  Then Mata ji said, "Children, be strong and open your eyes."

Guru ji's loving caresses on their back and His smiling face, caused a magical vitality to flow through their limbs, and they sat up, looking at Guru ji with adoring eyes.  Gradually Sohena and Mohena became aware of their surroundings, and that Guru ji was sitting on the muddy ground.  They could not bear this and with moist eyes and folded hands Sohena spoke in a choked voice, "Please forgive us.  We are sinners and do not deserve…."
Guru ji smiled understandingly.  He got up and with Mata ji by His side, went inside the hut, while the rest of the 'Sangat' sat down on the ground outside.

Sohena and Mohena quickly offered seats to Guru ji and Mata ji but could not think what else to offer them.  Nothing had prepared them for this joyous moment and they were still in a daze.  Mata ji could understand their confusion.  She smiled at Mohena and nodded towards the 'Saroda'.  At once Mohena brought it down and after running her fingers over the strings, began to sing a 'Shabad':
"Jo Teri Sarnai Har Jiyo Tin Tu Rakhan Joag,
Tudh Jevad Main Awar Na Soojhay    Na Ko Howa Na Hoag"
( Prabhati Mahala 1)

It was a moment of pure joy for Mohena and Sohena. Their faces radiated contentment and peace.  After a while Guru ji got up and blessing them once again He left.  Mata ji gave the basket of flowers to them, telling them gently, to present it to Guru ji themselves on the following day.

'Gurpurab' day dawned, and a joyous air filled the town of Anandpur Sahib. Throngs of people came to the 'darbar' to have Guru ji's 'darshan' and to offer their gifts.
 Mohena and Sohena made exquisite garlands from the flowers and with light hearts and soaring spirits, they approached Guru ji and placed their offerings at His feet.
 Guru ji smiled and made them sit near Him.  He told the congregation about their sacrifice and devotion. Then turning towards them, He said, "Tell me if you have any special wish."
 Sohenaji said humbly, "Patshah, all our wishes have been fulfilled. But we have one request if it pleases you."
 Guru ji nodded and Sohena continued," Patshah, Roda Jalali has been locked up. We are all full of weaknesses and faults, and need your guidance to show us the right path.  Please forgive Roda and bless him also."
 At these words, Guru ji cast a loving glance at them and sent for Roda to be brought before Him.  "You are a fakir, so your wrong actions are forgiven," He said, "But you must be strong and truly 'Jalali'.  May Waheguruji's blessings be with you and may you never forget His name."   Roda fell at Guru ji's feet, and, with Guru ji's hand on his head, he got up a changed man.

When the congregation learnt how Sohena and Mohena had given up a life of wealth and comfort, and worked as menials under Kesra Singh, to atone for their wrong action, their affection for the couple new no bounds.  Sohena and Mohena, hearts overflowing with gratitude and love for Guru ji, continued to live in Anandpur Saheb in a simple and frugal manner, serving Him and the 'sangat'.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sakhi Series : 78 ( MOHENA - SOHENA )


From From Kalgidhar Chamatkar by Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh ji

Punjabi to English Translation by Bimal Inderjit Singh ( <> )

The sky is over-cast and a slight drizzle has begun to fall. A tentative breeze shakes the bare branches of the trees. It is the height of winter season and very, very cold. Now the clouds and rain have added that extra chill to the air, making the people seek protection in the warmth of their homes.

In a quiet area of the town there is a beautiful garden, imaginatively laid out with shrubs, flowering plants and trees, and, in between, there are marble fountains and paved pathways. But all is still and the vegetation seems to wait with bated breath for that first touch of spring, to burst forth in all its colour and beauty.

In a far-off corner there is a simple mud hut. Its door is closed and a dim light glows at its single window. A tall and graceful lady walks up to the door and knocks on it with the handle of a 'kirpan' which she is holding in her hand. It is indeed, a strange sight to see this regal figure waiting at the door of this poor hovel. After a while the door opens and she goes in.

The interior of the hut is spotlessly clean; the walls have been white-washed and the floor is covered with handmade mats. The leaping flames of the fire burning brightly in a corner offer a warm welcome.
The young woman, who opened the door, greets the lady respectfully and after spreading a clean cloth on a stool offers it to her guest to sit on. She herself sits down on the floor near by and with loving entreaty in her voice says, "Ammi ji, my dearest mother, how wonderful you are! In spite of the cold and the rain you have taken the trouble to come. Why didn't you send for me?"

Ammi ji : "Because I had promised that I would come."
Mohena : "Yes, but it is so cold. You only had to send a message, and I, your humble servant, would have been too happy to obey."
Ammi ji : "You must not call yourself a servant. You are under my care, and as you know I too, am a seeker of the Almighty's grace."
Mohena : "My dear, dear mother! You are so good to me. I have some fresh goat's milk, honey and plain bread. Please say you will have some."
Ammi ji : "My child, I have already served Him the evening meal and eaten before coming. Now, you know what draws me here and for which I am waiting so eagerly."

Mohena bowed her head and going to a corner, took down the 'Sarod' which was hanging there. Quickly she tuned it and played a few notes of Raag Malhar, which soon changed to Raag Sarang. Ammi ji got up from the stool and sat down on the floor with her eyes closed. Mohena began to sing :

"Har bin kiyu rahiye dukh biyapay,
Jehwa saad na pheekee rus bin, bin prabh kaal santapay."

The sweetness of the singing and the beauty of the words cast a magic spell and time passed swiftly. Suddently, the distant clock-tower struck three. Ammi ji got up at once to leave, but at Mohena's pleading, stayed to have a hot cup of salted tea with some almonds and walnuts. As she reached the door, Mohena's eyes filled with tears, she became very pale and losing her balance she sat down abruptly. Ammi ji put her head in her lap and caressed her lovingly. But Mohena's tears would not stop.

Ammi ji : "Mohena, why do you cry? I have taken over your burden now. Everything will be fine. Persevere on the path which you are following with such faith and devotion", and reassuring her with these kind words Ammi ji departed.

Mohena got up and after washing her face went to the rear of the hut where some vegetables were growing. Picking some spinach leaves she put them in the pot for cooking and sat down to recite 'Rehras Saheb' (Gurbani recited daily after sunset).

Shortly afterwards the door opened and Mohena's husband, Sohenaji came in. He had been away for the past few days. After asking about her welfare, he had a wash and they sat down to talk.
Sohena : "Did you meet Ammi ji while I was away?"
Mohena : "Yes, twice. Once I had gone there and today she came and spent some time here."
Sohena : "We are so lucky! And she is so generous, taking care of poor creatures like us."
Mohena : "She doesn't like us to call ourselves such names. When I say I am your servant, she scolds me gently with these words, 'I have adopted you and taken you under my wing. Why do you call yourself a servant?' When I address her as 'Ammi ji' she looks happy, but if I try to praise her, frown lines appear on her serene forehead."
Sohena : "The Lord has been really good to the likes of us! We can feel the joy of His love in her hearts. But Mohena, have you seen any signs of a change in our situation?"
Mohena : "Not yet. When I asked her, Ammi ji said, 'It is not His wish!'"
Sohena : "Very well. But tell me, dear, you are not feeling too unhappy, are you?"
Mohena : "No, not in the way I used to - so lonely and lost. But yes, the eager desire to have 'darshan' and the pain of longing are still there."
Sohena : "I too feel the same. I didn't want to go away at all. If this job had not been for Ammi ji, I would have come back from half-way."
Mohena : "To live in obedience to His will, is the only way for us. May the Lord guide us so that we obey Him always, but the love and longing must not lessen. Let us bear the pain of this as happily and for as long as we can and leave the rest in the Lord's hands."
Sohena : "Yes, we must do what the Master says. He must remain dear to us; our love for Him ever increasing. Then.... may be.... one day ....."
Mohena : "Yes, my dear one, 'darshan' is a gift, a boon! Our actions have been lifeless because we are spiritually dead; like the efforts of a cripple to reach the mountain - top! Only the Lord's grace can make him reach there. Like a beggar, we can stretch our hands in supplication, for that is the limit of a beggar's action. We must not be impatient, nor must we become arrogantly demanding. We must believe that the Lord will hear our prayers one day, and so must remain ever hopeful.

"We have already seen the result of our rigid and egoistic rituals. Now we must follow Ammi ji's advice, and be thankful for the blessing of her care and interest. In spite of the cold and rain she kept her promise and came all the way to spend time with me, a person who is not worth the dust under her feet!"
Sohena ji was listening with his eyes closed. Now and then a tear rolled down his cheek. In a while Mohena too became quiet and both sat in deep contemplation. Time passed, the fire died down, the light in the earthen lamp began to flicker and the pot on the stove kept bubbling.

Just then there was a knock on the door. Mohena opened her eyes, which reflected the peace and happiness she had been experiencing. A servant stood outside the door and politely said, "Bibi ji, Ammi ji has sent a message that the flowers she had ordered for the morning have not arrived. She wants you to pick some fresh flowers, so that she can greet Mahraj ji in the morning with a fresh garland as is her routine."

A thrill of happiness coursed through their hearts. Quickly they went to the small plot where, by using great care and artifice they had managed to grow fresh flowers. The plants were covered with a thatch to protect them from the icy winds, and small vessels with burning wood had been kept at intervals in the flower-beds, to create the necessary warmth. Lifting the thatch from one side they began to pluck the golden - coloured 'Genda'(Marigolds) and as they filled a small basket with the fresh blossoms, their hearts sent a prayer of thankfulness to Ammi ji for giving them such a beautiful task to perform.

They handed the basket of flowers to the messenger with longing and envy in their hearts. For, soon, these very same flowers would feel the blessed touch of Guru ji, while they waited, out of sight, denied the joy of His darshan.

Who are Mohena and Sohena ji? Why are they living in such poverty? Why do they feel so much love and longing in their hearts? And who is Ammi ji, who showers so much affection on them?

The young couple belong to a wealthy and cultured family of Raipur. Mohena is a trained classical singer and plays the Sarod while her husband, Sohena ji is a poet, and also an expert veena player. They had been married for some time and lived happy and carefree lives. In due course their hearts had turned to spiritualism. They had met a Bairagi 'Sadhu' who had taught them the intricacies of idol worship and the art of meditation.

In spite of a house full of servants, they had made it a daily ritual to wake up early and after a bath, to go to the nearby well and bring fresh, clean water for bathing the idols with. While chanting 'mantras', they would make fresh garlands and perform 'Puja". Then they would play the 'Sarod' and the 'Veena' and sing 'Bhajans' with great fervour for long stretches of time.

One morning when they were returning with the water from the well, a young man ran up to them. His clothes were torn, his turban was loosened and he was bleeding profusely from a deep wound in his side. He fell down near them and gasped "Water, water!"

Seeing his condition, they paused for a moment, but then the thought that the clean water was for their gods and it would become impure if anyone drank from it, made them turn away. The young man kept crying out for water, but, rigid in their belief they walked away.

With his last breath the wounded man called out, "What kind of devotion is this that forsakes a needy person! He will not give you 'darshan'!"

Unheeding, they went off home, and began their daily ritual of prayers. But, today they found no peace in the mantras, no joy in singing the Lords praises. A great unease filled their hearts. Finally, they decided to go back and give the wounded man some water, in case he put a curse on them. But when they reached the well, the young man was dead and they could only look at his body with horror and dismay. They had come back to ease their restlessness, but now it increased manifolds.

Just then a group of people ran up and seeing the young man's body, said, "Yes, he is the one."
When they enquired about the man, they were told that he was a brave and devoted follower of the Guru of Anandpur Sahib. He lived in the jungles as a hermit but along with his rosary for his daily prayers, he used to carry a sword. Today, when he heard that a group of travellers was being attacked by some robbers, he rushed there and fought so valiantly that the robbers ran away without harming the group, but he, himself was grievously wounded. He had rushed off in search of water. They had looked all-over for him and had managed to find him only now and in this condition.

The couple seemed to hear the words "He will not give you his darshan," even louder and their eyes filled with tears. Bitterly they regretted their action, but it was too late!
"Nanak Samiyo Rum Gaiyo Ab Kyon Rovat Andh"
(says Nanak, when the moment has passed, what use is it to cry, you blind fool!).

Mohena and Sohena ji were in a strange, distracted mood after this incident. They could not concentrate on their daily prayers and meditation, nor did they get joy or peace from their music and singing. If they sat down to meditate, the words, "He will not give you darshan," would shake them out of their concentration. The echo of these words seemed to go everywhere with them.

They gave large sums of money in charity to feed the poor and needy, and tried various other ways to expiate this wrong but to no avail. The words were etched deeply in their conscience and would not let them rest.

One day, they heard that the Guru of Anandpur was coming to Raipur. From the stories told by people who knew and revered Him, they had begun to believe that He was a true saviour. They had also heard in detail about the young man who had fought off the robbers so daringly, and who was a true Sikh of the same Guru.

Slowly, a desire to have 'darshan' of Guru ji grew in their hearts. When they learnt that He had come to Raipur and blessed the Rani and her family, they too decided to go, but despite many attempts, they were unable to see Him. Finally, on the day He was to leave Raipur, they went to the outskirts of the town and waited on the main road by which He was to pass. To their chagrin they found that though the followers and the 'sangat' went by that route, Guru ji took a different path.

Though deeply disappointed, they were now firmly convinced that the words 'He will not give you his darshan' were eternal and Guru ji knew of the plight of His Sikh caused by their callous act.
They continued to hear tales of Guru ji's great compassion and love, His spiritual strength, from the people who narrated their wonderful experiences to them. They decided to go to Anandpur Sahib to offer their services and to beg forgiveness for their sin in any way they could.

The thought of the words: "He will not give you His darshan," however, made them hesitate. Guru ji had come to their city, blessed hundreds of people, yet they had not been able to see Him in spite of their best efforts.

What if they were rebuffed and turned away when they reached Anandpur Sahib?
After much thinking they came to the conclusion that if they wished to offer selfless service and beg forgiveness, then humility was essential and true humility could not be achieved with the assurance of wealth and status in the background.
So, they set about giving away all their worldly possessions to the poor and needy and, with a minimum of belongings, they set off for Anandpur Sahib.

To be Continued ...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sakhi Series : 77 ( What can you see ? )


(Source:   ) 

sathigur kee baanee sath sath kar jaanahu gurasikhahu har karathaa aap muhahu kadtaaeae || 
O GurSikhs, know that the Bani, the Word of the True Guru, is true, absolutely true. The Creator Lord Himself causes the Guru to chant it 

Guru Nanak Sahib jee was sitting in the gathering of the Sangat along with his sons, when he lifted one takka (a 2 paise coin) and held it in his hand. Guru jee asked Baba Siri Chand, his elder son, "What do you see lying in my hand?" Baba Siri Chand replied, "I see only a takka, which you had just lifted in front of the entire Sangat?" Guru jee then turned to his younger son, Baba Lakhmi Daas, to ask him the same question, which he got the same reply. 
Guru Nanak Sahib jee asked the Sangat members what they saw, which they humbly replied, "O Guru Gareeb Niwaaj (O Guru, Sanctury of the Helpless) due to our limited vision we can only say that there is one takka in your palm." When Guru jee asked Bhai Lehna jee, "O Dear Sikh! What do you see lying in my hand?" Bhai Lehna jee with utmost humility, tears rolling down his eyes and with folded hands said, " O Sachey Paatshaah (O True King!), with my little vision, I see all the wealth and happiness of this world (lok) and the next world (parlok) in your hands. I am unable to see beyond that". 

May Waheguru do kirpaa on us all that when we look at Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee, we don't just see ink, paper and the colourful decorated rumaalay (draperies). Instead, may we be blessed with the vision of seeing living, speaking and ever-present Jyot (Divine Light) of Guru Nanak Sahib jee manifest in full glory in the Partak Guru, Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee .

jis no paratheeth hovai th is kaa gaaviaa thhaae pavai so paavai dharageh maan ||

One who has faith - his singing is approved. He is honored in the Court of the Lord .


jo bin paratheethee kapattee koorr ee koorree akhee meettadhae oun kaa outhar jaaeigaa jhoot(h) gumaan ||3||

Those who lack faith may close their eyes, hypocritically pretending and faking devotion, but their false pretenses shall soon wear off. ||3||

- Guru Granth Sahib Ang 734


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sakhi Series : 76 ( Bhagat Beni Ji )


Source: Vaar 10 Pauri 14 Beni Vaaran Bhai Gurdas

( BENI, BHAGAT is one of the fifteen saints and sufis some of whose compositions have been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sãhib.)


Saint Beni, a gurmukh, used to sit in solitude and would enter a meditative trance. He would perform spiritual activities and in humbleness would never tell anyone. Reaching back home when asked, he would tell people that he had gone to the door of his king (the Supreme Lord).

When his wife asked for some household material he would avoid her and thus spend his time performing spiritual activities.

One day while concentrating on the Lord with single-minded devotion, a strange miracle happened.

To keep the glory of the devotee, God Himself in the form of King went to his house. In great joy, He consoled everyone and made available profuse money for expenditure.

From there He came to His devotee Beni and compassionately loved him. This way He arranges applause for His devotees.
Vaar 10 Pauri 14 Beni Vaaran Bhai Gurdas



sil poojas chakr ganae sa(n) || nis jaagas bhagath pravaesa(n) ||

You worship the stone idol, and paint ceremonial marks of Ganesha.

You remain awake throughout the night, pretending to worship God.


pag naachas chith akarama(n) || eae la(n)patt naach adhharama(n) ||3||

You dance, but your consciousness is filled with evil. You are lewd and depraved - this is such an unrighteous dance! ||3||


mrig aasan thulasee maalaa || kar oojal th ilak kapaalaa ||

You sit on a deer-skin, and chant on your mala. You put the sacred mark, the tilak, on your forehead.


ridhai koorr ka(n)t(h) rudhraakha(n) || rae la(n)patt k irasan abhaakha(n) ||4||

You wear the rosary beads of Shiva around your neck, but your heart is filled with falsehood. You are lewd and depraved - you do not chant God's Name. ||4||


jin aatham thath n cheenihaaa || sabh fokatt dhharam ab eeniaa ||

Whoever does not realize the essence of the soul all his religious actions are hollow and false.


kahu baenee guramukh dhhiaavai || b in sathigur baatt n paavai ||5||1||

Says Baynee, as Gurmukh, meditate. Without the True Guru, you shall not find the Way. ||5||1||

- Bhagat Baynee ji GGS Ang- 1351




Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sakhi Series : 75 ( BHAI MANI SINGH JI )


(Source : )

Bhai Mani Singh was the Head Granthi of Sri Darbaar Sahib, Amritsar. Mata Jeeto Ji (short for Ajeet Kaur, also known as Mata Sundri Ji), the wife of Guru Gobind Singh Ji requested Bhai Mani Singh to sort out the disputes amongst the different Sikh groups, which had formed, and unite the Sikh nation as one. Bhai Mani Singh Ji planned to use Bandi Chhor Divas, Diwali, as an opportunity to unite the Khalsa together at Sri Harimandar Sahib. 

Permission was sought from the Mughal authorities to allow the big gathering on Diwali. The Governor of Panjab, Zakhriya Khan accepted the plea in return of 5000 gold coins worth of tax. Bhai Mani Singh Ji accepted and sent letters out to the Sikhs across Panjab that all Sikhs will unite on Diwali day at Amritsar.

However, the Mughals were cunning and they planned to attack the Sikhs and kill all the young Sikh men when they gathered at Amritsar. With the blessings of Waheguru, an informant informed Bhai Mani Singh of the Mughal plans. Bhai Mani Singh Ji was angered at the betrayal of Zakhriya Khan. He resent letters out to the Sikhs across Panjab, telling them not to come to Amritsar on Diwali and that the gathering of the all the Khalsa has been cancelled.

Bhai Mani Singh Ji refused to pay the tax for Sikh gathering at Amritsar, which was supposed take place on Diwali day but was cancelled. On refusing to pay the 5000 gold coins worth of tax, Bhai Mani Singh Ji was arrested by the Mughal police force and brought to Lahore to the court of Zakhriya Khan. Bhai Mani Singh Ji greeted Zakhriya Khan with Guru Gobind Sing Ji's salutation, "Waheguru Jee Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Jee Ki Fateh (the Khalsa is Waheguru's, the victory is Waheguru's).

Listening, Zakhriya Khan became enraged and said, "Oh Mani Singh, open your eyes and see, you are that this moment not walking in the parkarmaa of Harimandar, where you shout these slogans! You are now in Lahore, in Zakhriya Khan's court, where the air says, "Allah is great, Allah is great", where do you get the nerve to say your Sikh slogans? Bhai Mani Singh said with might and power, "you haven't met a fox today, you have today met a lion of Guru Gobind Singh Ji!"

Zakhriya Khan contained his anger and said, "Oh old man, you are no longer young. If you convert into my religion, then I will convert the remainder of your life into happiness and pleasure. I will give you many wives, I will give you land and will give you a throne to sit on. Oh Mani Singh, what is the difference, before you read Gurbaani and now can you read the Qur'an. Before you used to say 'Waheguru', now you can say 'Allah is Great'. What is the difference in this?"

Bhai Mani Singh, who was an educated Sikh, said, "Oh Zakhriya Khan, remember, we have no anger or hatred with your religion. Our Bani says…


Fareeda be nevaajaa kutiyaa, eh naa bhallee reeth. Kabhee chal naa aayiaa panjey vakath maseeth…

Fareed: O faithless dog, this is not a good way of life. You never come to the Mosque for your five daily prayers

-          Guru Granth Sahib , Ang 1381

Aval Allah noor upaayiaa, kudhrath ke sabh bandhey. Eik noor the sabh jag upjiyia,a kaun bhalley ko mundhey…

First, Allah created the Light; then, by His Creative Power, He made all mortal beings. From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad?

-          Guru Granth Sahib , Ang 1349

"Oh Zakhriya Khan, remember, living our life as a Sikh is our good fortune and by gods grace we will breath our last breaths as Sikhs. You cannot force me to leave Sikhi" said Bhai Mani Singh Ji.

Zakhriya Khan replied to Bhai Mani Singh Ji, "Your talk is very big Mani Singh. Remember, I will give you that type of torture; I will decree that type of fatwaa, legal decree, that you will shake and tremble.

With a smile one his face, Bhai Mani Singh Ji answered back, "The land can shake, the sky can tremble, but a Sikh of Guru Nanak Ji cannot tremble or shake. Sikhi is that religion, whose fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji sat on a hot plate and faced tortures. It is that religion, that in order to uphold righteousness, countless preferred to give their lives but not their Dharma and didn't bow in front of the tyrants. Remember Zakhriya, I will die for my religion, but will not do what you say."

The next day, Zakhriya Khan called the Qazi. "Oh Qazi, from your book of Shari'a Law, I want you declare a fatwaa (legal judgement), such a fatwaa that the whole earth and sky will tremble," said Zakhriya Khan. The Qazi opened the Book of Shari'a and announced the fatwaa: "May this Kaafir (Infidel) be cut piece by piece, limb by limb."

While the executioner sharpened his blade, Bhai Mani Singh Ji sharpened his mind with Naam. He recited Japji sahib and on finishing reciting Gurbaani he roared a loud jaikaara, "Boley so nihaal! Sat sri Akaal!" With a glowing face with the power of Naam and Gurbaani, Bhai Mani Singh Ji shouted to the executioner, "Come on executioner, now me and you will talk." A wooden block was brought forward. Bhai Mani Singh came forward saying "Satnaam Waheguru" he put forward his right hand on the wooden block.

The executioner makes his mark on Bhai Mani Singh's fingers. Bhai Mani Singh Ji pulls away his hand. "Mani Singh, you got scared! Before you were talking so much, yet this is the first cut. You couldn't even handle the first cut, yet we are going to cut you limb by limb, your whole body," said Zakhriya Khan.

Bhai Mani Singh Ji replied back, "Oh executioner, what were your orders? You were ordered to cut me piece by piece. You have left all my fingers. Zakhriya Khan, ensure your servant doesn't disrespect your orders and I will not disrespect my Father, Guru Gobind Singh Ji Paatshaah's orders.

Piece by piece, Bhai Mani Singh Ji's body was cut to bits. Bhai Mani Singh Ji only recited Gurbaani, and it was what he had lived and breathed…


Purjaa purjaa katt marai, kabhooh naa chhaadai keyth…

He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle'

-          Guru Granth Sahib , Ang 1105

Saying 'Satnaam Waheguru' Bhai Mani Singh Ji's fingers, wrist, elbows, shoulder, toes and knees were all chopped on the wooden block. There was a pool of blood. The body lay severed into pieces. No arms, no legs.


Mera Sir Jaava Taa Jaava Par Meri Sikhi Sidq naa java…

If my head goes then so be it, but may I never give up my Sikh faith."

We salute Bhai Mani Singh Ji.