News & Updates

May 17, 2018


Sri Guru Amardas Ji – A detailed biography of Guru Amardas Ji posted.


October 23, 2017


Jats and Sikh Militarization - Refutes the assertion that Sikh militarization was due to influx of Jats in the Sikh fold. 


Check Past Updates

Find Us On...

Find Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on FacebookFind Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on Twitter

Apendix I - Twenty Two Manjis

1. Bhai Paro Julka: He belonged to Dalla, a village near Sultanpur. Originally he was a devotee of Guru Angad Dev1 and often came to Khadur Sahib for his holy darshan. When Guru Amar Das ascended the gurgaddi, he served him with the same ardour of love and devotion. He started visiting him right from the time he settled down and set up his durbar at Goindwal. His devotion to the Guru was so intense that he made it a habit to come to see him every other day. No hindrance, howsoever formidable, could come in his way and deflect him from his firm resolve. Even high floods in the intervening river Beas produced no deterrent effect on him. Without a moment's fear or hesitation he would plunge his mare into the swirling waters of the river and cross over to the other side, both when he went to Goindwal and returned therefrom. Guru Amar Das was so deeply impressed with his dedication and selfless service that he conferred upon him the title of 'Parmahans,'2 a figurative expression for a perfect man. On the days he remained at his native place Dalla, he not only attended to his household duties but also held congregations of local Sikhs. His contribution to the improvement of Sikh organisation was remarkable. He was the first man to moot the idea of holding at Goindwal an annual gathering of all Sikhs in order to bring them closer together3. As a result of this, a momentous decision was taken to celebrate the Baisaklhi day (Bisowa Divas) every year. He also played an important role in the construction of the baoli at Goindwal and the organisation of manjis. His greatness may be judged from the fact that the third Guru offered to appoint him as his successor. He however declined it and in all humility implored the Guru to let him remain his servant. "I like gursikhi (discipleship), Guruship only suits the Satguru. Saying this he fell at the feet of the Guru and said, 'Satgur! Have mercy. Let me remain a Sikh"4. Macauliffe, on the basis of Suraj Prakash, gives a different version. He takes the offer of guruship in the ironical5 sense. Explaining the background to the offer, he narrates the story of a south Indian shopkeeper named Girdhari. He was very fortunate as far as wealth, property and relations were concerned but he had no children.

When he came to Goindwal, he asked for the Guru's blessing. In reply the Guru told him to be contented with God's Will. When he was leaving in a state of disappointment Bhai Paro blessed him saying that "If he had faith he would have five children." The shopkeeper went home and bad five sons in five years. When he came to the Guru for thanksgiving, he informed him, on being asked, that Bbai Paro had given him the blessing on behalf of the Guru. The Guru did not approve of this and ironically offered guruship to Bhai Paro.

When the end came near, Bhai Paro gave away all his wealth in charity.6 A special share was set apart for the Guru, which comprised a mare, some clothes and some money. On receiving the news of his death, Guru Amar Das immediately sent his son Mohri to offer condolences. Mohri stayed there overnight and returned the following day with the articles earmarked for the Guru. The Guru on his turn passed them over to Bhai Jetha, his son-in-law, with these words: 7

'O Jetha, I bestow them on thee. Thou alone ridest this mare; and fruitfully employest the wealth of Parmahans. Wonderful, wonderful was Paro the Gursikh, Whose future lies in perfect good fortune.'

2. Bhai Lallu: He is also referred to as Lallu Budhwar8 i.e., Lallu the wise man. He too hailed from village Dalla. He was a banker's son and possessed lots of wealth. Quite early in his life he fell under the spell of Bhai Paro and accompanied him on one of his visits to Goindwal. He had a deeply religious bent of mind. When he met the Guru, he was all love and devotion for him. On seeing him in this state of mind, the Guru unwittingly uttered these words9 : 'tzar rangan Lallu rangia gaya' (Lallu is dyed in the dye of God). Hearing this, Lallu's face actually turned red and instantly he placed his head at the Guru's feet. The Guru put his hand on his forehead and blessed him saying,10 'Lallu, my darling, has become a ruby.' Thereafter, he was an entirely changed man. He made it a regular practice to visit Goindwal on the first day of every month. While returning home, he would always take along with him one or two Sikhs. These he would return on the occasion of his next monthly visit, and then take one or two others to accompany him. In this manner he maintained a continuous connection with the Guru. He enjoyed great reputation for humility and generosity and never hesitated to make use of his wealth for public welfare. "His mind, body, and wealth were all employed in conferring benefits upon others. He fed and attended to the poor and the needy, fanned the Guru (when in Goindwal) and distributed food to the Sikhs."11

Macauliffe gives12 a graphic account of Bhai Lallu's death. When Bhai Paro died, Lallu felt utterly disconsolate and wanted to lay down his life. As God would have it, he actually breathed his last a few days later. Before he expired, he gave definite instructions about the manner in which his large property was to be disposed of.

3. Bhai Sawan Mal: He was a nephew of Guru Amar Das, who was commissioned to go to the Rajput hill state of Haripur to procure timber for buildings at Goindwal. His mission was a complete success. The Raja of Haripur was so deeply impressed with his sterling qualities of character and personality that he not only supplied the requisite timber free of cost but also accompanied him along with his family to Goindwal. After the departure of the Raja, Sawan Mal was instructed to go back to the hills and carry on missionary work as before. He devoted his whole life to this work.13 For further details in this respect the reader is referred back to Chapter 5 of this book.

4. Bhai Sachan Sach : He hailed from a place near Shaikhupura (now in Pakistan). He left his home and joined the Guru's camp at Goindwal where he took upon himself the onerous responsibility of fetching firewood daily for the Guru's langar. His entire clothing consisted of a single blanket. He did not talk much but often uttered the words Sachan Sach meaning 'truth is truth.' On account of this, people gave him the nick name of 'Sachan Sach.' His real name is not known. At one time while he was out in the forest on his usual firewood mission, he had a terrible clash with an insane woman. The lady was later cured of her malady and married to him under the instructions of the Guru. After that, he was asked to go home with his wife and disseminate the teachings of Sikhism. For further details in this connection the reader is referred back to Chapter 5 of this work.

5. Bhai Bheekha : He belonged to a Bhat family of Sultanpur14 Bhadson near Ladwa. The Bhats belonged to the Sarsut branch of Brahmins who thought themselves to be descendants of Kaushash Rishi of ancient times. Tradition has it that originally they resided on the bank of the river Saraswati which before its disappearance used to flow in the vicinity of Kurukshetra. Those who lived in the trans-Saraswati region were called 'Gaur' as against the residents of the cis-Saraswati area, who acquired the appellation of 'Sarsuti.' As the latter took to the bardic profession, they came to have a lower ranking in the Brahmin community.

The most important of the ancestral places of the Bhat families, extant even now, are Karsindhu and Talauda (both in Jind Tehsil) and Sultanpur Bhad son near Ladwa. Some of these families have moved further ahead and settled in U.P. and Central Provinces, whereas some others are still residing in the neighbourhood of Jagadhri and Sabaranpur. All these families have in their possession records of great historical value called Bhat Vahis, containing detailed genealogical lists of their clientele. For instance, a Bhat Vahi in the custody of a Bhat family of Karsindhu provides us much-valued information about the family tree of the Bhats who came in close contact with the Sikh Gurus. This tree starts with Bhagirath.15

Ninth in descent from him was Bhat Rayya who lived at Sultanpur Bhadson. Bhat Rayya had six sons, namely, Bheekha, Sekha, Tokha, Gokha, Chokha and Toda. Bheekha, the eldest among the sons of Rayya, has been mentioned by Bhai Gurdas among the devoted Sikhs of Guru Amar Das. Bheeka had a strong urge for bhakti (spiritual devotion) and retired from the world in order to realize the Creator.16 Wherever he heard of any saints, he hastened to meet them for a long time he remained in a state of pupilage under a Brahmin but he failed to obtain any peace of mind. Ultimately he decided to wait on Guru Amar Das at Goindwal. He fell under his spell and placed his head at his feet. He felt as if what he had so long been searching for, had at last been attained. Subsequently17 he put down his mystical experiences in the form of two swayyas. Both of these swayyas were later incorporated in Adi Granth18 by Guru Arjun Dev. Their English translation is given below:19

By the Guru's divine knowledge and meditation man's soul is blended with God. He who with single mind fixeth his attention on God, sl1all know Him who is the truest of the true. His mind shall not fly or wander who restraineth his lust and wrath. He who hath done good works in this age shall know God. If a Guru be found he willingly and cheerfully granteth a sight of Him.20

I have continued searching for a saint and seen many holy men, sanyasis, ascetics and sweet-voiced pandits. I have roamed for a year but none of them bath satisfied me. I heard what they had to say, but I was not pleased with their conduct. What shall I say of the merits of those who renouncing God's name attach themselves to Mammon? God hath caused me to meet the Guru; as Thou, O God, keepest me, so I abide.

Having found the true Guru, Bheekh a returned to his native town and resided there. Keeping the Guru's image in his heart he applied himself to constant meditation and contemplation. Like Bheekha his sons Mathra, Jalap and Kirat were also devotees of the Sikh Gurus and their writings are found incorporated in Adi Granth. Some of his nephews, such as Salh and Bhalh (sons of Sekha), Balh (son of Tokha), Harbans (son of Gokha), and Kalshar and Gayand (sons of Chokha) too fell under the spell of Bheekha and emotionally attached themselves to the Sikh Gurus.

These Bhats were not merely poets but also warriors. Some of them fell martyrs fighting heroically in the battles of Guru Hargobind. Mathra, son of Bheekha , was killed while fighting in the battle of Rohilla (1621 A.D.). The battle of Amritsar (1634 A.D.) claimed the lives of Kirat, son of Bheekha, and Balu, son of Mula Bhat. At Marhaj (later in 1634 A.D.) in Malwa, Sukha Bhat, son of Mandan, village Khairpur, district Muzzafargarh died a martyr. In 1635 A.D. at the battle of Kartarpur were killed, among others, Fateh Chand and Ami Chand, sons of Dharma, grandson of Bhoja Bhat of Ladwa. Guru Hargobind left Kartarpur for Kiratpur immediately after the battle of Kartarpur. On the way at Phagwara the Sikhs were overtaken by the pursuing enemy troops. In course of the fighting that ensued, Dasa and Sohela, sons of Balu Bhat, and grandsons of Mula Bhat, were killed.21

6. Bhai Manak Chand : He belonged to a Pathriya Khatri family of village Vairowal and was married to a niece of Guru Amar Das. Tradition goes that his father Hari Chand was a Sikh of Guru Nanak. He had met Guru Nanak during his (Guru's) visit to Thatha. The Guru being pleased had said to him, "A gem (manak) shall be strung on thy necklace." Within a year Manak Chand was born. The child had a religious bent of mind from his very early days. He created a deep impression upon the Guru's mind with his courage and devotion during the excavation of the baoli. However, what impressed the Guru most was the fearlessness with which he drove a peg into the hard rock preventing the flow of water into the baoli. A great risk was involved in it and nobody was willing to take up the gauntlet. At last Manak Chand, a young man with a sprouting beard, volunteered to undertake the job. He was successful. When the peg was extracted, a rushing stream of water immediately issued forth from the hole and overflowed the baoli in a few minutes. Manak Chand, though on his guard, was upturned and drowned. When his body rose to the surface, it was taken out and restored to life.22 Blessing him, the Guru called him Manak Jeewara (Manak the Restored) in remembrance of the new lease of life bestowed on him by God.

Thereafter, Manak Chand was granted a manji and commissioned to spread the teachings of the Guru. Mai Das, another devoted Sikh, was asked to accompany him and work under his guidance. The descendants of Manak Chand Jeewara are still found at Vairowal, the place to which he belonged.23

7. Bhai Mai Das: He was a bairagi and a most devout worshipper of Lord Krishna. He was extremely punctilious in eating and would only take what he had cooked with his own hands. Once he made a visit to Goindwal in order to seek the Guru's help in obtaining the holy sight of Lord Krishna. Before he could be admitted into the Guru's presence, he was required to eat from the Guru's kitchen. A strict Vaishnavite as he was, he refused to do so and went back without meeting the Guru. Thereafter, a great struggle started in his mind. On one side was his regret that he had come away without seeing the Guru and on the other his obligation to adhere strictly to his Vaishnavite principles. Many months passed in this state of mental conflict. Then he decided to go to Dwarka to seek light and achieve the object of his heart. When he reached near the place, a strange incident happened which prompted him to make another journey to Goindwal to see Guru Amar Das.

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning forced him to spend a night in the hollow of a tree in a neighbouring forest. That happened to be his fast day, being the eleventh day of the lunar month. Next morning he was terribly hungry but there was nothing around with which he could gratify his hunger. In utter helplessness he offered prayers to Lord Krishna for assistance. Somehow it so happened that he soon got a plate of rice and dal. On his declining it as impure food because it had been cooked in water, a plate of sweets appeared as miraculously as the earlier one had come. He was greatly pleased. Thinking that the favour had been granted by Lord Krishna, he instantly set out in search of him. When he had exhausted himself, a voice was heard saying,24 'Thou hast not taken food from Amar Das's kitchen, and hast not beheld him; therefore shalt thou not obtain perfection. If thou desire to do so, then first behold Amar Das.' Sarup Das has given a different account of what the voice25 said:

"O Mai Das, you are my devotee, emotionally attached to me, and a great ascetic. Where there is love, principle is unthinkable. Where there is principle there love is not. You had a doubt at the Guru's place. You kept the principle but disregarded love. Go there and have sight of him. I tell you truly. Here you will never have the desired sight (darshan). This is my honest opinion."

This account is more significant as it clearly points to the issues involved in Mai Das's mental struggle. Mai Das tarried there no longer and hastened his steps to Goindwal. Now he had no hesitation in eating from the Guru's kitchen. After that when he went to see the Guru, the sight dazzled him. His long-standing yearning for Lord Krishna was fulfilled when to his great surprise he found the same image reflected in Guru Amar Das.26 At the very first meeting he supplicated to be made the Guru's servant so that he might ever behold him. The Guru replied,27 "Abide with me for eight days, keep the company of my saints, and I will then point out to thee thy spiritual guide."

It was around this time that the drowning incident of Manak Chand occurred. Mai Das was deeply impressed with the spirit of utter devotion shown by Manak Chand. When the period of eight days was over, the Guru appointed the same Manak Chand as the spiritual guide of Mai Das and told him to work under his instructions. Afterwards Mai Das returned to his village and started missionary work to promote the cause of Sikhism. From there he made it a point to visit Goindwal every year.

8. Bhai Gangu Shah: He is also known as Gang Shah, Gang Das or Gango. He was a Bassi Khatri residing at Garhshankar. Once a very rich man, he became bankrupt because of heavy losses in trade. Sad at heart, he came to Goindwal to see the Guru of whose fame he had heard. After taking food in the Guru's kitchen, he went to make his obeisance before the Guru. He was only able to offer as much molasses as would weigh a pice. The Guru was struck by the offering. Taking it in his hand, he inquired what distressed his heart. Gangu Shah narrated his tale of woe. The Guru blessed him by saying,28 'Go to Delhi and open a bank there, serve and treat respectfully the saints who visit thee, and thou shalt obtain wealth from the Creator.' He adopted the Guru's suggestion and set up a banking house in Delhi. Gradually, public confidence in him was restored and he was able to draw cheques (hundis) for large amounts on his correspondents.29 In this way he became a rich man again. Around this time a poor man approached the Guru for financial assistance for the marriage of his daughter. He was given a letter asking Gangu to give him fifty rupees. Gangu ignored the Guru's letter completely and refused to give him anything. The poor man returned to Goindwal and informed the Guru of what had become of his letter. Whereupon the Guru is said to have observed,30 'Worldly love and pride destroy love and confidence. Under their influence man turneth away from his Guru, and consequently suffereth great hardship.' It so happened that soon afterwards the tide of trade turned and Gangu again became bankrupt. He was now sincerely repentent and proceeded to Goindwal to make amends for his past misconduct. That was the time when the baoli was under excavation. He preferred to participate in the work by way of penance. Like other people working there, he toiled hard regardless of personal comfort or family considerations. Being ashamed of his insincere behaviour in the past he could not muster courage to face the Guru. However, continuous selfless labour in an atmosphere of constant singing of holy hymns elevated his soul and he gained the peace of mind which had eluded him even during the peak of his prosperity. The Guru had no doubt recognised him on his arrival but had deliberately ignored him with a view to observing his behaviour. He went through the test successfully with the result that one day the Guru called him into his presence. He fell at his feet and begged his forgiveness. He also implored him to keep him always attached to his feet as his servant. The Guru was pleased to see the transformation in him and not only pardoned him for his past errors but also granted him a white dress as a mark of his good will. Then he said,31"O Gang Shah, now go home. Cherish the True Name in your heart and cause the congregation to do the same." Gangu Shah's shrine is situated at a village called Dau, near Kharar, in the Rupar district.

9. Bhai Matho Murari: Murari's original name was Prem. He belonged to village Khai now in the district of Lahore. He lost his father, mother, brothers and near relations when he was just a small child, so that there was no one left to look after him. Thus abandoned, he fell a victim to leprosy. Soon his fingers and toes dropped off. His body melted away, blood trickled from it, and flies by settling on it, completed his misery. Somebody taking pity on him, tied an earthen pot to his neck for generous people to put morsels of food into it for his maintenance. He was unable to walk and had to crawl from one place to another. But in spite of all this misery his spirits were high and he went about singing bhajans (holy songs). On hearing about the spiritual greatness of Guru Amar Das he determined to proceed to Goindwal and seek his blessings. It was no easy task for him, but his firm resolve surmounted all difficulties. When he reached Goindwal, ate from the Guru's kitchen and saw men and women beaming with faith and happiness, rendering voluntary social service and singing gurbani devotedly, he got the feeling as if he had regained the body he had lost. He expressed himself in a song32 which he spontaneously composed on the occasion and sang with great devotion:

I have now found my waist-cloth (body), I have now found my waist-cloth.

Listening to him, people collected around him and gave him money and food out of pity for his miserable condition. He implored the Sikhs to tell him how he could see the Guru. They replied that whenever the Guru of his own accord sent for lepers, he might join them. For a long time he could not be admitted into the Guru's presence. He got dismayed but refused to leave the place; rather he determined to stay on and even die there, if it came to that. All the time, however, he was immersed in devotion to the Guru and sang hymns. In ecstasy he would sometimes weep and sometimes laugh. His case was at last reported to the Guru who sent for him immediately. The holy sight of the Guru and his words of cheer transformed him completely. The tradition has it that through his faith he soon recovered33 from his dangerous malady and turned out a handsome young man. It was a sight worth beholding. The Guru gave him a new name, Murari, one of the epithets of Lord Krishna.

Deeply beholden to the Guru, Murari became a paragon of Sikh virtues and devoted himself completely to the cause of Sikhism. After keeping him under observation for a few months and feeling satisfied with his conduct, the Guru decided to grant him a manji. But before that he thought it necessary to get him married. One day in public audience the Guru asked:34 "Is there any Sikh of mine who will give his daughter in marriage to Murari?" A man called Siha,35 Uppal Khatri by caste, stood up and volunteered to do so. Thinking that his wife would oppose the idea, he cleverly sent her for service in the Guru's kitchen and himself with his daughter proceeded to the Guru's place. Soon after, the ceremony of marriage was performed. When Siha's wife came to know about it, she went to lodge a protest against it with the Guru. She said: "Why has my daughter been married to such an obscure person? His father, his mother and his family are of no account." The Guru replied,36 "Murari who has been wedded to your daughter is my Sikh, my son. Your daughter's name is Matho while his name is Murari. They will be known in the world as Matho Murari and will fulfil people's desires." Thereafter, the couple was instructed to go home and work for the spread of Sikhism.

10. Bhai Kheda Soeri : He was a Punjabi Brahmin37 who was such a devout worshipper of the goddess Durga that he was ever singing her praises. He had a large following in the area and visited Jawalamukhi twice a year to offer his obeisance to the sacred flame symbolizing Durga. Once when he was passing through Goindwal, he thought of meeting Guru Amar Das. He was asked to eat from the Guru's kitchen before he could be admitted into the Guru's presence. A strict Brahmin as he was, he declined to do so. He could only eat food which he had cooked himself within a purified square. Therefore, he gave up his idea of meeting the Guru and resumed his journey. But a serious conflict was created in his mind. He had hardly covered a distance of two kos (about two and a half miles) when hedecided to return to Goindwal. Tradition has it that he had a. vision in which the goddess Durga appeared to him in a terrible form. Greatly panicked he showered praises on her and enquired,38 'O Mother, whither art thou going at this time ?' The Mother of the World (Jagmata) told him, 'I have come for the Satguru’s service. Kheda, listen, he is God incarnate who has appeared in the form of a saint for the salvation of the world. Devoid of faith you have come away without seeing him. That is why I have appeared in a terrible form.' This incident decided his mental struggle and he immediately retraced his steps to fulfill his desire of beholding the Guru. He had now no hesitation in eating from the Guru's kitchen. After that when he met the Guru and fell at his feet, he again had a vision of the eight-armed (asthbhuj) Goddess, which finally convinced him of the Guru's greatness. The Guru blessed him and instructed him in the secrets of true religion. Kheda spent a long time there and served the Guru with great devotion. When he was fully soaked in the message of Sikhism, the Guru sent him back to his native place enjoining upon him to work for the Sikh mission. Macautiffe writes,39 "Kheda afterwards materially contributed to the spread of the Sikh gospel."

11. Bhai Beni Pandit: The place he hailed from is not known. But he was a very learned Pandit and could expound the Vedas, Shastras and Puranas with confidence and ability. He had also committed to memory many old texts.'40 His personal collection of books weighed nine loads.41 He was in the habit of getting into polemical debates with other learned pandits whenever and wherever they were found. Those who were defeated by him were deprived of all their books. Gloating over his victories he strutted in arrogance like a turkey cock. In course of his travels through the country he reached Goindwal with a view to having a disputation with Guru Amar Das as well. After receiving him respectfully the Guru inquired of him as to the cause of his visit. He replied:42 "Thy Sikhs read not the twilight prayers or the gayatri. They perform not pilgrimages, penances, or the religious duties of the Hindus; how shall they be saved?" The Guru replied,43 'Those things sufficed for the first three ages of the world, but in this fourth age they are useless. At present it is the Name alone that can confer salvation. Devotion is the means of salvation, and it is best performed under the Guru's guidance. Without devotion all ritual is in vain. Take a lamp in thy hand and walk not in darkness. Seed can only germinate at the proper season. Renounce false: pride, and perform such devotion as may absorb thy mind in God's love.'

The following hymn of Guru Amar Das is believed to contain"44 the substance of his talk with the learned Pandit:

Is man a householder or an anchoret?

Is man without caste and ever immortal?

Is man fickle or without love for the world?

Whence hath pride attached to man?

O Pandit, reflect on man.

Why read so much and bear further burden?

The Creator attached Mammon and worldly love to man

And according to this law created the world.

By the Guru's favour understand this, O brother, and ever abide under God's protection.

He is a pandit who divesteth himself of the load of three qualities, And daily uttereth the One Name.

Such a pandit receiveth the instruction of the True Guru and offereth his life unto him.

The pandit whoever abideth apart and unmoved,

shall be acceptable in God's court.

To all he preacheth that there is only the one God.

All that he beholdeth he recogniseth as the one God.

Him whom he favoureth he blendeth with God, And rendereth ever happy in this world and the next.

Saith Nanak, what can one do and how?

He to whom God is merciful shall be saved;

He shall each day sing God's praises, And not be again deafened with the Shastras and the Vedas45.

The Guru's words awakened him from his obscurantism and with folded hands he spoke:46 "Great King, I have become a Pandit by reading, but until now I have not understood what real knowledge meant. I have been so blinded by pilgrimages, penance, and reading the Shastras, and so absorbed in idol worship and pride, that I have possessed no real devotion. Now that I have entered thy asylum instruct me and save me." The Guru was pleased to hear him speaking like this and initiated him into Sikhism. Afterwards when he was found adequately fitted for the job, he was commissioned to go to his native place and devote himself to the dissemination of the Guru's message.

12. Bhai Handal47: A Jat by caste, he belonged to village Jandiala, now called Guru ka Jandiala. He was a devout Sikh of Guru Amar Das.48 Having no family encumbrances, he came to Goindwal and became engrossed in the Guru's work. He did not talk much and went about his activities keeping his mind ever attuned to the remembrance of the one God and the Guru. He conducted himself in great detachment and took little notice of what happened around him or what people said about him. The job closest to his heart was the sieving of wheat flour for the Guru's kitchen. One day when the Guru returned from the river side after taking his bath, he made a surprise visit to the kitchen. It was an odd hour for anybody to be found working there. Therefore when he saw Handal busily engaged on work, a feeling of admiration arose in his mind for him.

For Handal it was a unique opportunity. He stepped backward and fell at the Guru's feet. His Jove and devotion moved the Guru deeply who lifted his head and blessed him saying49 "Your labour has proved fruitful. You have achieved perfection and no fetters bind you now." On this occasion he also bestowed on him his personal towel as a mark of his favour. Afterwards Randal was sent back to his village Jandiala with the injunction that he should work for the spread of the true Name (satnam).50

13. Bhai Prema: A Sikh named Prema lived at Talwandi, a village about seven kos from Goindwal. He was lame from the time of his birth and could only walk with the aid of a wooden crutch. He was a great devotee of Guru Amar Das and every day walked the distance between his village and Goindwal with a pitcher of curd on his head for the Guru. Such was the fervor of his faith that neither storm nor rain could deflect him from his firm determination. One day when the road was full of mud on account of rain, the village Chaudhuri played a trick upon him and took away his crutch saying,51 "Listen to me. Thou takest curd every day to the Guru but he has not cured your leg. Then why takest the trouble of going and coming?" The Sikh replied,52 "My Satguru is the master of his will. He acts as he wishes. He is mighty and merciful. Don't prevent me. I wish to reach there immediately." Thereupon the Chaudhuri returned his support and he hastened to the Guru. While making the offering he told the Guru the whole story how he had been delayed by the mischievous pranks of the Chaudhuri. The Guru took pity on him and directed him to see Shah Hussain living on the bank of the river Beas. This Muhammadan saint was known for not allowing anyone to· approach him. But in the case of Prema he made an exception. However, when Prema explained to him the purpose of his visit, the fakir suddenly got hold of his stick and attempted to strike him for intruding on his privacy. To save himself from the attack Prema took to flight forgetting in his haste to take his crutch with him. To his delight and surprise his lame leg functioned just as his other leg. He thought that a great miracle had happened and out of a deep sense of gratitude went to the fakir again to thank him. But the fakir declined to take any credit for this happening and attributed it entirely to Guru Amar Das's favour.53 Then the Sikh went to the Guru and placed his head at his feet. Afterwards, he was granted a manji and instructed to work as a missionary for the faith.

14. Bhai Allahyar: Different views have been expressed about who he was. Macauliffe on the basis of Suraj Prakash54 says that he was a merchant of Delhi who had returned from Arabia through Kabul with five hundred horses. According to Sarup Das55 he was some Nawab hailing from Delhi, who was riding an elephant and was accompanied by a military contingent. Macauliffe gives his name as Allahyar but Sarup Das makes no ·such reference. When the Muslim dignitary arrived at the Beas, he found it in spate. Finding it difficult to cross over, he decided to wait. Meanwhile, Bhai Paro Parmahans of Dalla came riding his famous mare. Without a moment's hesitation be took a plunge into the flooded waters of the river and crossed over to the other side. On the way back from Goindwal on the same day or the next, he again accomplished the same feat of courage. The Nawab was dazzled by his daring and in all humility approached him and complimented him on his great performance. Bhai Paro replied that there was nothing wonderful in his crossing a swollen river. The True Guru to whom be went every other day caused thousands of people to swim across the still more dangerous ocean of the world (bhavsagar). This created a keen desire in the Nawab's mind to behold such a great being and he begged Paro to take him along with him. The request was accepted. When Paro came next time, he asked the Nawab to sit behind him on the mare and taking a plunge into the flooded waters crossed over to the other side. The holy sight of the Guru, his divine words and the Sikhs' devotion to him made a profound impact upon the Nawab's mind. In his ardent enthusiasm he desired to have a bit of the holy man's leavings. The Guru understood his feelings and offered him the dish from which he had eaten. The Guru's attention was then attracted to his name, and he said, "It is difficult to become a friend (yar) of God (Allah). But I will make God thy Master and thee His servant." These words awakened him as if from a long slumber and he instantly decided to serve the Guru for good. Soon afterwards, he sent a message to his son relinquishing all his official responsibilities.56 In the words of Sarup Das, the message he sent home was to the effect:57 "You take over the Emperor's service and think of me no more." Allahyar then accompanied Bhai Paro to his village Dalla and settled down there. Afterwards, he was granted missionary duties by the Guru. Hindus and Muslims accepted and reverenced him under the name of Allah Shah 58 as a man of God.

15-16. Phirya and Katara : It is not known which part of the country they actually hailed from. Macauliffe suggests that they belonged to the neighbourhood of Delhi but Sarup Das simply says that theirs was a land dominated by jogis of the Gorakhnath order, distinguished by ear-rings. Both Phirya and Katara were devout Sikhs of Guru Amar Das. They resided at Goindwal for a long time and performed assiduous service for the Guru. The Guru, being much pleased, one day said to them59, "You have obtained full knowledge of my religion, and you may now return to your own country to preach there the True Name and lead souls to salvation." They replied with folded hands;60 "The inhabitants of our country are followers of jogis who wear earrings. The jogis deceive them by incantations and spells, and consequently the people know nothing of devotion, the Guru's hymns, or divine knowledge. They worship cemeteries and cremation grounds, are averse from true religion and none but the true Guru can save them." On hearing this, the Guru told them to set about their work having full faith in him. He said,61 "Preach the True Name (satnam) among all, work for the Guru's path (gurmukh panth) without any fear." Phirya and Katara again represented: "Such is the power of the jogis that simple men like us may not withstand them. Without the special power of the Guru how can the True Name be proclaimed among such persons? The Guru answered,62" Take my word for it. Whatever you will say will prevail. Wherever you appear, all incantations will disappear. Wherever monasteries are in ·existence, the jogis be removed from them without any fear. On seeing you all of them will take to their heels. Your sight will awaken people from the sleep of ignorance. Let there be not any jogis' influence. Set up dharamsalas (Sikh temples) and have in them divine music and meditation. If you act thus, the world will worship you."

Having received these injunctions and the Guru's blessings, Phirya and Katara returned to their own country. On arriving there they proceeded to a jogis' monastery. As soon as the jogis saw them, they got panicky and ran away like deer on the outbreak of a forest fire. The monastery was immediately destroyed and foundation was laid down of a Sikh dharamsala. Their self-confidence and show of strength impressed the people of the area, who recognising their superiority rallied round them. Some people tried to create disturbance but on hearing Phirya and Katara sing the Guru's hymns, their hard hearts so melted that they decided to enter into the fold of Sikhism. Gradually, the name and fame of the Sikh preachers spread far and wide. Several other jogis' monasteries were converted into Sikh temples. With the passage of time more and more people came under their spell and accepted the path shown by the Sikh Gurus.63

17-22. Sadharan, Khana Chhura, Dipa, Mallu, Kedara and Mahesha: About all these men our knowledge is very scanty. Sadharan came from Bakala and rendered assiduous service when the baoli was under construction. 64 Pleased with his devotional attachment, the Guru enjoined upon him to return to his place and preach the Guru's message there. Khana Chhura, Dipa, Mallu and Kedara belonged to the Sikh congregation of village Dalla.65 They were all prominent devotees of the Guru who worked zealously for the propagation of the true Name. Mahesha was a Khatri merchant from Sultanpur.66 He sought the Guru's protection and permission to sit at his feet. His emotional attachment to the Guru and his selfless service in the Guru's cause raised him in the estimation of the Sikhs. Even when he lost all his wealth, his faith in the Guru remained unshaken. Later, his circumstances again changed and he regained some of his old prosperity. But despite all this, his mind remained ever attuned to the Guru's' lotus feet.'


1. Bhai Vir Singh, Ashtgur Chamatkar, pp. 158-159. Sarup Das Bhalla does not refer to this point as such but drops a significant hint that when he first came to Goindwal for the holy sight of Guru Amar Das he was already a Sikh and knew Gurbani. See Mehma Prakash, p. 119.

This lends support to Bhai Vir Singh's view.

2. Sarup Das Bhalla, op. cit., p. 119.

3. ibid., p. 132; Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 79.

4. Sarup Das Bhalla, op. cit., p. 256.

5. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 80.

6. Sarup Da , op . cit., p. 257.

7. ibid., p. 258.

8. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 121.

9. ibid., p. 123

10. ibid.

11. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 81.

12. This is, however, not supported by Sarup Das or Bhai Vir Singh. Both of them make no reference to his death.

13. Dr B.S. Dil writes on p. 60 of his work on Guru Amar Das that he had the occasion to meet the present Mahant on the gaddi of Bhai Sawan Mal at Batala. This shows that the manjl of Bhai Sawan Mal became hereditary after his death ·

14. Sarup Da s merely gives the name of the place Sultanpur. This has led some people to confuse it with Sultanpur near Kapurthala. This is incorrect. The place under reference here is near Ladwa.

15. The Sikh Review of January 1976, Dr Fauja Singh (art), Bhat Vahis as a source for the lue of Guru Tegb Bahadur, pp. 75-76.

16. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 128; Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 85.

17. Sarup Das and Macauliffe both state that he uttered these lines extempore on the s pot. But this seems rather unlikely.

18. Adi Granth, 1395.

19. Macauliffe, op. cit., p. 86.

20. Professor Sahib Singh has explained the first Swayya differently. We give below his view: "The Guru (Guru Amar Das) is knowledge and wisdom incarnate. He has blended his soul with God. Being absorbed in Truth, he ought to be regarded as Truth incarnate. With a single mind he is attuned to Him. He has conquered lust and wrath. His mind is not led astray. He dwells in the land of God. He has attained wisdom through compliance with His orders. In the Kaljug he is the Creator Himself. He alone knows it who has worked this miracle. Bheekha says that he has found the Guru who has willingly and cheerfully granted a sight of Him. See Swayye Sri Mukhbak Mahalia 5 and Bhattan de Swayye, 170-171.

21. The Sikh Review of January 1976-Dr Fauja Singh (art): Bhat Vahis as a source for the life of Guru Tegh Bahadur, pp. 76-77.

22. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 96; Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 172. In both of these sources it is mentioned that Manak Chand was dead and was brought back to life miraculously.

23. Dr B.S. Dil, op. cit., p. 60.

24. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 94. This may really be the voice of his own conscience, the result of the long-drawn-out struggle waged in his mind ever since be had turned his back upon Goindwal.

25. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 166.

26. ibid., p. 167.

27. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 95; Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 168.

28. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 115.

29. Sarup Das mentions the case of a big Mughal merchant who came to him for a hundi for an amount of one lakh gold mohurs. See p. 178.

30. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 115; Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 180. This is the nature of wealth: 'He who gains it loses his head.

31. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 182. This clearly indicates the granting of manji to him by the Guru. It is mentioned on p. 177 (footnote) of Mehma Prakash that Gangu Shah did missionary work in the territory of Sirmaur (Nahan).

32. Macauliffe, op. cit., VoL II, p. 131; Sarup Das, op cit., p. 212.

33. Sarup Das (p. 213) writes that under the Guru's instructions he was first given a wash with water used in the Guru's bath and then wrapped up from head to foot with a cloth of majith (fast red) colour. Thus covered all over, he was brought to the Guru. When the Guru personally removed the covering cloth, he was found to have been completely recovered from his disease. Also see Macauliffe, op. cit., p. 132.

34. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 214.

35. Macauliffe has given the name Sinha, which is wrong. Op. cit., Vol. II, p. 132.

36. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 216.

37. It is believed that he originally belonged to a place near Khem Karan. When Khem Karan was founded by Rai Khem Karan in the beginning of 17th century, he shifted and made it his headquarters for missionary work. There used to be a memorial to this at Khem Karan but it was destroyed during Pakistan's attack on Khem Karan in 1965.

38. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 219. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 133, on the basis of Suraj Prakash gives a slightly different version of the dialogue. Kheda said, 'O Durga, Protect me! What offence have I committed ' She replied, 'Guru Naoak was born to save the world, Guru Amar Das in his image is now on the throne. Turning away from rum thou art leaving Goindwal. On this account I have appeared unto thee. Now go and see the Guru.' I have preferred Sarup Das's version as it is the older of the two and also the more natural.

39. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 134.

40. Sarup Das (p. 227) mentions among them four Vedas, eighteen Puranas and six Shastras.

41. Forty-five Kacha maunds. See Sarup Das, op. cit., p, 227. ft. 3.

42. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 134; Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 228.

43. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 134. The version of Sarup Das (pp. 228-229), though the same in substance, is much stronger in tone. For instance note the following: 'You have a lamp in your hand but grope in darkness . Without the dharma of Kaljug, devotion and salvation is not feasible, even if thou performest hundreds and thousands of rituals. Without devotion all performances are hollow. 'Listen, 0 Pandit, proud of your knowledge, rituals are like the dice of the chess. Pilgrimages and penances are not the dharma of Kaljug. You have acquired knowledge but are engrossed in error.'

44. Sarup Das, Santokh Singh and Macauliffe are all of the view that the hymn was composed on this occasion.

45. Adi Granth, 1261, Rag Malar, Mahalla 3.

The English translation of the hymn has been taken from Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 135.

46. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 229.

47. ibid., pp. 223-226.

48. Dr B.S. Dil (op cit., p. 59) gives Randal's date of birth as 1630 Bikrami (1573 A D.) and says that since he was born only one year before the death of Guru Amar Das, it is incorrect to include him among the prominent Sikhs of the third Guru. Bhai Kanh Singh Nabha also mentions the year 1630 B. (1573 A.D.) as Randal's birth year but at the same time regards him as one of the devout Sikhs of Guru Amar Das. This shows that the Sikh tradition accepts him as a Sikh of the third Guru. In view of this and the clear-cut evidence on this point of Sarup Das Bhalla, there is no escape from the fact of his having served Guru Amar Das with devotion. The date of birth popularly accepted is obviously incorrect as we usually see in the case of great men risen from obscurity. It was not Handal but his successor Bidhi Chand who sided the Mughal authority against the Sikhs and thereby created a strong prejudice in the minds of the Sikhs against the Niranjanias as the followers of Handal came to be called. This may probably explain the exclusion of Handal By Bhai Santokh Singh from the list or devout Sikhs of the third Guru.

49. Sarup Das, op cit., p. 224.

50. ibid., p. 226.

51. ibid., p. 245.

52. ibid.

53. All Sikh Gurus were opposed to miracle-working. All the same, Sikh chroniclers have attributed many miracles to them. This is one of those examples. According to Sarup Das (pp. 246-47) "Hundreds and thousands of people like me are his servants. Always have faith in the Satguru." Shah Hussain after seeing the miracle said to Prema, "The bountiful Guru Amar Das helped you. The Master himself has done all this but has given me the odium. You go and fall at his feet, and also offer my homage.''

54. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p, 77.

55. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 120.

56. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 121.

57. ibid.

58. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. IT, p. 78.

59. ibid., Vol II, p. 139.

60. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 232.

61. Ibid., p. 233.

62. Sarup Das, op. cit., p. 233; Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p . 140.

63. Sarup Das, op. cit. p. 235; Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 140.

64. ibid., p. 196.

65. Ibid., p. 126; Bhai Vir Singh, op. cit., pp. 162, 164.

66. Macauliffe, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 67; Bhai Vir Singh, op. cit., pp. 159-160.