When Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji went to sacrifice himself for the freedom of the Hindu nation, and stand up for dharam, righteousness and justice of the whole humanity, Guru Ji also had three other Sikhs who stayed with him and were martyred in front of Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji’s own eyes.
One of these great men was called Bhai Mati Daas Ji. The Qazi, the Muslim priest, asked Bhai Mati Daas Ji:“Accept Islam and you will receive all the happiness’ and comforts of the world. We will give you riches, as many wives as you wish, and make you a courtier of the Mughal royal court.”
Bhai Mati Daas Ji replied: “And if I don’t accept Islam then what will I face?”
“Then you will be faced with death! You will be sawn alive”, said the Qazi.
Bhai Mati Daas said to the Qazi: “O Qazi I have tasted all of the world’s happiness’ and comforts. My family are well off, I have a wife, children and parents. I am healthy and experienced all the world has to offer me… However I have not tasted the teeth of your beloved saw! I would rather taste the teeth of the executioner’s saw than have all the comforts of the world.”
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the executioners to give him a taste of the saw’s teeth. The executioners placed the saw on top of Bhai Mati Daas’ head and sawed downwards up to the length of four fingers. Blood was pouring from his head. His hair was shining bright red. His face was smothered with the colour of blood.
“You have tasted the teeth of the saw. Now tell me if you wish to accept Islam and have all the comforts and riches of the world or face death”, asked the Qazi. Bhai Mati Das Ji replied, “I would rather face death and take on the teeth of the saw than be engulfed in the pain and misery which the comforts of the world bring."
ਸਿਰ ਜਾਵੇ ਤਾ ਜਾਵੇ, ਪਰ ਮੇਰੀ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸਿਦਕ ਨਾ ਜਾਵੇ ।
“If I have to die, so be it, but may my Sikh faith never go.”
The Qazi, the executioners and the rest of the crowds were shocked at Bhai Mati Daas’ decision. The executioners asked, “What is your last request?” Bhai Sahib said, “I don’t have one but two requests! Firstly may my body be facing Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji, I never wish to turn my back to my Beloved Guru. Secondly I request you to execute me slowly. I wish to recite ‘Jap Ji Sahib’. So do not saw my tongue off until I utter:
ਜਿਨੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇਆ ਗਏ ਮਸਕਤਿ ਘਾਲਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਉਜਲੇ ਕੇਤੀ ਛੁਟੀ ਨਾਲਿ ॥1॥
jinni naam dhiaayiaa, gaye masakhat ghaal; naanak te mukh ujley kehtee chhutee naal. 1.
"Those who have meditated on the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and departed after having worked by the sweat of their brows -O Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord, and many are saved along with them! .1."
(End Salokh (verse) of Japji Sahib, Ang 8, SGGS)
The executioners were moved by this. “People usually ask us to hurry up the execution, so that they feel as little pain possible. We have never been requested to kill somebody slowly.”
ਸਲੋਕੁ ॥ ਜਹ ਸਾਧੂ ਗੋਬਿਦ ਭਜਨੁ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਨੀਤ ॥
ਣਾ ਹਉ ਣਾ ਤੂੰ ਣਹ ਛੁਟਹਿ ਨਿਕਟਿ ਨ ਜਾਈਅਹੁ ਦੂਤ ॥1॥
shalokh. jeh saadhoo gobind bhajan, keertan naanak neet.
Naa hau Naa too(n) Neh chhutehi, nikatt na jaaeeahu doot. 1.
“Salokh: Where the Holy people constantly vibrate on the Kirtan of the Praises of the Lord of the Universe, O Nanak - the Righteous Judge (Recorder of Karma) says, "Do not approach that place, O Messenger of Death, or else neither you nor I shall escape [from God]!"”
(Ang 256, SGGS)
The saw was put on Bhai Mati Daas Ji’s head, and the sound and vibration of Japji Sahib began:
“ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥Bhai Mati Daas showed no sign of distress and continued to recite Japji Sahib. Eventually his body split into two pieces.
Ek Ounkaar, Sat-naam, Karta Purkh, Nir-bhau, Nir-vair, Akaal Moorat, Ajooni, Sai-bhun(g), Gur-prasaad…”
Bhai Mati Daas never gave up Sikhi or the support of Gurbani when challenged with death. Bhai Mati Daas didn’t merely utter Gurbani but, he lived Gurbani and put Guru Ji’s Divine words into action.
Now we are not faced with the choice of choosing between torturous deaths, conversion or keeping our Sikh faith.
Have we held on tight to the support of Japji Sahib?
Have we held on to the immortal spirit of Sikhi?
Have we held on to the Guru’s gift of fearlessness and love?
Where did they get their faith, conviction and power from? The answer is Naam, Gurbaani and Rehat. So, I would like to suggest to the readers that if you have missed the starting date of the forty day Japji Sahib reading in commemoration of the young Sahibzaadey, not to worry! We are not to get ‘trapped’ by numbers etc. Perhaps start reading Japji Sahib today or tomorrow and try feeling the Divine Words revealed by Guru Nanak Ji. Don’t do it for yourself, or for your parents (so that they can be proud of you etc). Do it to remember, honour and show appreciation to those who died for our today, for those who lived and breathed Sikhi, and for those who kept the Glory of Sikhi shining forever with their sacrifices.
‘Remember those who laid their lives for our tomorrow.’
BE INSPIRED AND INSPIRE OTHERS!
May Waheguru bless you.
Shaheedaa Nu Lakh Lakh Parnaam...
Dhan Bhai Mati Daas Ji (martryed by being sawn alive)
Dhan Bhai Dayala Ji (martyred by being boiled alive)
Dhan Bhai Sati Daas Ji (martyred by being burnt alive)
Dhan Sri Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji (martyred by being beheaded)
Dhan Guru, Dhan Guru Pyaare!!