Saturday, 19 January 2008

Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed - Birthday

mrxu n mMdw lokw AwKIAY jy mir jwxY AYsw koie ]

maran n ma(n)dhaa lokaa aakheeai jae mar jaanai aisaa koe ||
Death would not be called bad, O people, if one knew how to truly die.

Baba Deep Singh Ji is one of the greatest examples of how a Saint Soldier should lead their lives. He epitomised every aspect of being a Saint Soldier, and today due to his actions and conduct he is rightly remembered as one of the most honoured martyrs in Sikh history. As a young kid i was recall seeing pictures adourning the walls in Gurdwaras in the UK of this great GurSikh who fought the enemy even with a severed head. Those images amazed me as a youngster, and i'm sure the youth of today still look upto heroes such as Baba Deep Singh Ji.

As the 20th January marks the Birthday of this great Sikh, i'd like to share some stories relating to the life of Baba Ji.

Birth and Early life of Baba Ji:

Baba Ji was born in Paahuwind, Amritsar, in the house of Bhai Bhagtu Ji and Mata jeeodee Ji. The date was Jan 20th 1682. It is said that his parents were blessed with a child after 12 years. In this time a Sikh saint had foretold them that they would have a very special child in their family, and they should name him Deep (One who gives light).

As Baba Ji was the only child he was showered with affection and devotion by his parents.

Baba Ji along with his parents went to visit Shri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji at Anadpur in 1694, when Baba Ji was 12 years old. They stayed for many days, and joined in with the sangat doing seva. They then approached Guru Ji to take his blessings and return home. Guru Ji requested to Baba Ji to stay at Anandpur with him, Baba Ji and his parents agreed for Baba Ji to stay. Baba Ji then spent his time in the service of Guru Ji.

Baba Ji was a keen and entusiastic student, he learnt Gurmukhi and Santhiyaa of Gurbaani from the revered Bhai Mani Singh Ji. In addition to Gurmukhi, Baba Ji also learnt several other languages. Aswell as the scholary aspect of Sikhi, Baba Ji was also trained in the martial arena, by Guru Ji himself. In this way Baba Ji became a very boloved Sikh of Guru Ji, and would even accompany Guru Ji on hunting expeditions. Baba Ji took amrit at the age of 18 from Guru Ji himself during the Vaisakhi of 1700.

Soon afterwards Guru Ji instructed Baba ji to return to his village. Very little has been written about what Baba Ji did during this time, some historians say that he got married.

About a year later a messenger arrived, and advised Baba Ji that Guru Ji had vacated the fort at Anandpur, and that his family had seperated during this time.

Baba Ji was disheartened by this news and immediatley set out to look for his beloved Guru Ji. Baba Ji finally met up with Guru Ji at Damdama Sahib in Talwandi, where Guru Ji narrated the bloody and horrific events of Chamkaur, and Sirhind (where the 4 Sahibzadey were martyred).

The Recitation Of Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

Whilst at Damdama Sahib, Guru Ji asked his followers (including Baba Deep Singh Ji) to visit Dhir Mal (the eldest son of Baba Gurditta Ji) at Kartarpur, and to obtain the copy of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Dhir Mal was hostile towards the Guru's house, as he was jealous that he was never appointed Guru. Dhir Mal suggested to Guru's followers that if their Guru was so great why couldn't he recite by heart the whole Granth Ji himself.

When Guru Ji heard Dhir Mal's response, he decided to recite the whole Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Damdama Sahib Ji. He recited whilst Bhai Mani Singh Ji, and Baba Deep Singh Ji amongst others completed the copies. The initial copy took just over 9 months to complete.

The following account has been taken from "16 days with Baba Maan Singh Ji":

A few months later, when Guru Gobind Singh jee finished dictating God’s Word to Bhai Mani Singh jee, he said lets have a continuous reading, or Akhand Paat. Guru jee said reading God’s Word in an Akhand Paat would purify the surroundings and everyone will once more be able to hear God’s Word. The Sikhs said they would listen with attention. 5 readers, or Granthis, were required, the ones that were chosen were of the highest spiritual state, they were knowers-of-God or Brahm-Gianees. Their names were: Bhai Mani Singh jee, Baba Deep Singh jee, Bhai Dharam Singh jee, Bhai Maan Singh jee and Bhai Kaan Singh jee. In addition to the 5 readers, 5 Khalsa were required to organise themselves so that there would always be someone in the prescence of Guru Granth Sahib jee in case of emergencies, or for security or any other duties. 5 more Khalsa were to ensure that the sacred pudding, or Karah Prashad, would be prepared and availble to the congregation at all times. Finally, 5 more Khalsa were responsible for cleaning the holy congregations’s hands and feet before they entered the royal court were the reading was taking place. Nowadays, we don’t even have 20 people at the ending ceremony, or the bhog! Nowadays, people say there is no need to keep a light burning alongside the Akhand paat, people say its against the Guru’s wisdom to keep a coconut and water alongside the Akhand Paat. But Khalsa jee, Guru Gobind Singh jee himself bowed to Guru Granth Sahib jee with a coconut and 5 pence! Khalsa jee, don’t believe what men with worldy wisodm say, only believe what Guru Granth Sahib jee says.

Guru Gobind Singh jee sat cross-legged in deep meditation for the whole of the continuous reading. Now you wont believe what happened next because our mentality is to criticise our Guru, but on the third day when the ending ceremony, or bhog, was about to begin there was an incredible amount of spiritual power in the royal court. The verses called Saloks of the ninth Guru were being read and Sikhs like Baba Deep Singh jee, Bhai Maan Singh jee and Bhai Kaan Singh jee who were sitting alongside Guru Gobind Singh jee began rising into the air as they meditated. Their spirits were leaving for God’s Realm of Truth, or Sach Khand. When Baba Deep Singh jee on the left of Guru Gobind Singh jee and Bhai Dharam Singh jee on the left began rising, Bhai Dharam Singh jee said “I don’t know what’s happening.” Baba Deep Singh jee replied, “God’s Word is taking us to God’s Realm of Truth, Sach Khand.” Guru Gobind Singh jee heard their voices and opening his eyes he grabbed their hands and pulled them back down. Guru jee said, “You are going to Sach Khand already, but you have great things to do in this world before you go.”

Baba Ji continued to make additional copies of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and also made one in Persian (which i am led to believe is in Baghdad). Guru Ji left Damdama Sahib for Nanded, and left Baba Ji in charge of Damdama Sahib Taksal. Baba Ji continued to serve the Panth with his Scholary work, and continued to produce Gutke for the congregation. Aswell as the spiritual aspect of Sikhi, Baba Ji ensured that the martial tradition of Sikhi were also taught at this Taksal.

Baba Ji had devoted his life to the Panth, and when the time came for him to answer the call of the Panth, he would be one of the foremost warriors in every battle. The same occurred in 1709 when along with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the Khalsa forces punished the tyrants of Sirhind and Sadhaura.

In 1733, Baba Ji was appointed the leader of one of the Jathas of Dal Khalsa by Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji. Later, in 1748,when the Dal Khalsa was reorganised into 12 misls, he was entrusted with the leadership of Shaheedan di Misl.

Battle Lines Drawn:

Ahmed Shah Abdali was returning to kabul after his 4th invasion of India in 1757. he was taking with him precious booty, and many men and women as slaves. Baba Deep Singh Ji and his Jatha came to know of this, and they devised a plan to free their fellow country men. Baba Ji and his men were able to rescue the prisoners and also retrieve the booty. The Singhs of Guru Gobind Singh Ji had acheieved what the Rajputs and Marathas had failed to do so. Even Abdali was shocked at the daring Sikhs. Because of the dare devil tactics of Baba Ji and his Jatha, and their noble acts of saving the honour of indian women, the captive women and children began to sing:

"Moreen Baba Kachh Walea Chhai Naheen Taan Ran gai Basre noon gai"

'O' brave Sikh wearing Kaccha, liberate the enslaved Women, otherwise they would be taken to Basra.

Abdali was livid at this act of the Sikhs, he was seething, and gave strcit orders to his son (Taimur) to finish off these infidels. Taimur followed his fathers orders to the hilt, and began demolishing the Gurudware of the Sikhs, as he knew the power of these Sikhs was in their Guru, which resided in the Gurudware. Taimur and his men filled the sarovars with debris and alcohol, and commited several acts of beadbi. Baba Ji came to hear of these acts inparticular the destruction of Shri Harmandir Sahib Ji, he announced to his Jatha and the Sangat that they would indeed celebrate Diwali at Amritsar this year.

Baba Ji offered his prayers in the form of ardas and made the vow that may his head fall at Shri Harmandi Sahib Ji.

isr jwey qW jwey myrw is~KI is~dk nw jwey

Sir Jaae ta jaae, mera sikhi sidhak na jaae

If my head is severed, then so be it, but may i never loose my Sikh way of life.

We must remember at this point that Baba Ji was at the age of 75, and yet he had the strength and vigour of a youg man. He set off towards Amritsar with a large number of sikhs, by the time they reached Taran Taaran, the number of Sikhs had reached 5,000. At this point Baba Ji, felt it was appropriate to draw a line and ask his men to only cross it if they are willing to sacrifice their lives, as there was no turning back from this point. Baba Ji recited the following shabad from Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

jau qau pRym Kylx kw cwau ] isru Dir qlI glI myrI Awau ]
iequ mwrig pYru DrIjY ]isru dIjY kwix n kIjY ]20]

If you desire to play this game of love with Me,then step onto My
Path with your head in hand.
When you place your feet on this Path,
give Me your head, and do not pay any attention to public opinion. ||20||

The Singhs were almost fighting eachother to cross the line, such was their devotion.
Upon hearing the news of the Singhs approaching, the governor of Lahore sent an army of 20,000 to face them. The two armies clashed near Gohalwarh on the 11th nov 1757. The singhs pushed the enemy force back, and reached the village of Chabba. At this point Attal Khan (Some historians mention Jamal Khan) entered the battle field, and engaged Baba Deep Singh. Both of them inflicted blows simultaneously and severed the others head. Baba Ji was initially grounded by the blow, however when a follower reminded him of his promise to offer his head at Darbar Sahib, Baba Ji somehow with Satguru's Kirpa was able to continue wielding his sword in one hand whilst holding his head in the other. The enemy soldiers started to run away after seeing this sight.

Baba Ji was then able to reach the parkarma of Harmandir Sahib and attain Martyrdom.

And thus one of the greatest heroes of Sikh History fulfilled his oath and also wrote his name in the annals of history. Many people find it hard to believe how a man can fight without a head, these people under estimate the power of amrit, and naam, but also the kirpa of Waheguru. Our mission or purpose in life is to become one with Waheguru, once this is achieved, then that enlightened soul can achieve anything. Some may say that there is no difference between such an enlightened GurSikh, the SatGuru, and God.

Dhan Baba Deep Singh Ji Shaheed

We Salute our Martyrs.

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