This month marks the 500th JANAM DIWAS (Birth Day) of one of Sikhi's gems - BABA BUDDHA JEE, who was fortunate enough to be blessed with the seva (service) of serving the first 6 Guru Sahibs (from Guru Nanak Sahib jee to Guru Hargobind Sahib jee). The life of Buddha jee is a ROLE MODEL and INSPIRATION for all Sikhs. In tribute to Baba Buddha jee a short summary of Baba jee's life is below:
A SHORT GLIMPSE AT THE LIFE OF BABA BUDDHA JEE
Baba Buddha jee was the great Gursikh who had the pleasure of serving under Guru Nanak Sahib jee and the five succeeding Gurus. The Guru Sahibs gave Baba Buddha jee great respect and honour. He was born on 21 October 1506 at the village of Katthu Nangal, 18 km northeast of Amritsar. His name was originally ‘BOORAA” and was the only son of Bhai Suggha jee and Mata Gauran jee.
As a small boy, one day Baba jee was grazing cattle outside the village when Guru Nanak Sahib jee happened to pass by. BooRaa went up to Guru Sahib and did Matha Tekh (bowed), offering a bowl of milk for Guru jee. He prayed: "O Sustainer of the poor! I am fortunate to have had a sight of you today. RELEASE ME now from the cycle of BIRTH and DEATH.”
Guru Sahib replied: "You are only a CHILD yet. But you talk so WISELY." Baba jee said, "Some Mughal soldiers set up camp by our village, and they destroyed all our crops. The RIPE as well as UNRIPE crop were both cut down. It made me think, that just as the soldiers do not look at the crop's age or growth before destroying it, similarly when death comes it does not consider the AGE or YEARS of a person before it comes and takes them away."
Hearing this Guru Nanak Sahib jee said, "You are NOT a child; you possess the WISDOM of an OLD MAN." From that day, BooRaa, came to be known as Bhai Buddha jee. ‘BUDDHA’ in Panjabi meaning a WISE OLD MAN.
Role in Passing Guruship
At the time of giving Guruship to the Second Nanak, Guru Nanak Sahib jee gave Baba Buddha jee with the responsibility of being the MASTER OF CEREMONY. This tradition continued up till the SIXTH NANAK. Baba Buddha jee who lived up to a very old age continued to serve the Gurus with complete dedication and remained an exemplary Sikh role model. Through living and earning the Guru's Teachings Baba jee earned respect amongst all the Sangat (congregation) and Guru Sahib.
Baba jee devoted himself passionately to tasks such as the digging of the BAOLI (well) at GOINDVAL SAHIB under the instructions of Guru Amar Daas Sahib jee and the excavation of the SAROVAR (pool) at AMRITSAR under Guru Raam Daas Sahib jee and Guru Arjan Dev Sahib jee. The beR (tree) under which Baba jee used to sit supervise the excavation of the Amritsar pool still stands in the precincts of the Sri Harmandar Sahib. Baba Buddha jee was giving responsibility of training and teaching Guru Arjan Dev Sahib jee’s son and was installed as the FIRST GRANTHI (Scriptural Attendant) of Sri Darbaar Sahib, Amritsar. Baba Buddha jee showed that SIMRAN (devotional meditation on Vaheguru) and SEVA (selfless service) go hand in hand and that no is too great or small or to serve the Guru.
Building Akaal Takht
Following the Shaheedi (martyrdom) of the Fifth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib jee built SRI AKAAL TAKHT SAHIB (the Throne of the Immortal). This was a declaration that Sikhs are sovereign nation. The WHOLE COMMUNITY built Sri Darbaar Sahib, however THREE PEOPLE built Sri Akaal Takht Sahib. The three were – Guru Hargobind Sahib jee, Baba Buddha jee and Bhai Gurdaas jee. This was indicative that those who represent Sikhs and Sikhi should have a SET CRITERIA and CHARACTER.
Guru Hargobind Sahib jee was detained in the GWALIOR FORT on the orders of Jahangeer. Baba Buddha Jee, being a Saint and an Warrior of Truth, led the Sikh Sangat to the Gwalior and expressed PROTEST and their love for the Guru by going around the Fort and SINGING GURBAANI. Some historians trace the tradition of ‘PARBAAT PHEREE’ (singing hymns around villages) from this.
Baba jee passed his last days in SIMRAN (meditation) and BHAGTI (devotional worship) at RAAMDAAS, a village founded by his son, Bhai Bhana, where the family had moved. As the end came, on 16 November 1631, Guru Hargobind Sahib jee was at his bedside. Guru Sahib himself carried out the last rites of Baba jee.