Friday, November 30, 2007

Shaheed Baba Gurbaksh Singh Jee

1st December marks the day when Baba Gurbaksh Singh jee gave an amazing Shaheedi defending Siree Darbaar Sahib in Amritsar in 1764. Baba jee's martyrdom is an inspiration for all of us and shows how a Gursikh fights in the battlefield. Baba jee's heroic sacrifice inspired many Shaheeds after him. Shaheedaa'n Nu Lakh Lakh Parnaam!


A SHORT GLIMPSE AT THE SHAHEEDI OF BABA GURBAKSH SINGH JEE
Taken from translation of Rattan Singh Bhagoo's 'Pracheen Panth Parkaash' by Tapoban.org Sevadaars


Childhood
Baba jee was of village Leel near Siree Amritsar. His Father was Bhai Dasaundha Singh jee and mother Mata Lachmee Kaur jee. Baba jee's parents served Satguru Gobind Singh jee and Baba jee received amrit at the age of 11, due to the inspiration of Bhai Mani Singh jee. He spent time with Baba Deep Singh jee and Bhai Mani Singh jee and became a very good scholar and warrior.


Character
Baba Gurbaksh Singh was always dressed in blue baaNaa and kept a very strong Rehit (discipline). He would awake at Amrit-vela (early hours before sunrise) and do ishnaan (bathe). Then, while reciting Gurbaani, Baba jee would tie his tall dastaar. Baba jee loved Sarbloh (pure iron) and would adorn his body and dastaar with iron Shastars (weapons) and armour. Every Amrit-vela Baba jee sat in the divaan at Siree Akaal Takhat Sahib. Rich or poor, he greeted all people with the same respect. He had absolutely no worldly aspirations or greed. Whenever there was a battle, Baba jee would be in the forefront carrying the the Nishaan Sahib (Sikh flag) and advancing to the forward to the beat of the nagaara (war drum).


Abdali's Oppression and the Khalsa Scatters
The Khalsa had scattered to the jungle and mountain areas when the Afghan invader, Ahmed Shah Abdali, brought his army through Panjab in 1765. It was Abdali's 10th invasion. At Amritsar, the Sarbat Khalsa (the collective gathering of all the Khalsa) gathered one day and after the night divaan, decided to abandon Amritsar and leave together as a group for Malwa (south Panjab).


Baba Jee Offers His Shaheedee
After the decision had been made, Baba Gurbaksh Singh rose and addressed the Singhs. Baba jee asked whether there is any Sikh who is devoted to Naam and has strong Rehit that is willing to sacrifice themselves and spill their blood for the Chardi Kalaa of the Panth. The Singhs replied, "Baba jee, is there any Singh better for this than you? There is no one with more kamaeee (spiritual wealth). No one else has the power to abandon their body and go to Dargah (Court of the Lord) like you do. No one else's request will be more acceptable to Waheguru than yours." Baba jee listened to these words and then bowed his head and agreed to the request.


Baba jee Prepares His Wedding Party
Baba jee then called out, "I want to be Shaheed! If there is any other Gurmukh who wishes to come with me to Dargah, then let them also come. When there is a marriage, the groom goes with his Sarbaalha (best man) and with a large baraat (marriage party). I am going to marry the bride of Death. Are there Singhs who would be my Sarbaalhas?"Hearing Baba jee's call, many Singhs rose and stood with Baba jee to become the "Sarbalhas" and the others joined saying they would be the "Baraat" (marriage party).


The Singhs Prepare for The "Wedding"
Hearing of the advance of Abdali from Lahore, some people left Amritsar. Only about 30 Singhs now remained who were all Chardee Kalaa Naam Abhyaasee (repeaters of the Divine-Name) Gursikhs. They prepared for their death like a groom prepares for his wedding. They all had new cholas (dresses) sewn. Some decided to sew blue, and others wore white and others saffron. After bathing in the holy Sarovar (pool of nectar), along with the other 30 Sikhs, Baba jee offered Karah Parshaad at Siree Harmandir Sahib and did Ardaas: "Satguru jee may our Sikhi last with our Kesh (hair) intact until our last breath." After taking Hukam (edict) from Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee and reciting "Ghoriaa'n" (a prayer abot marriage), the Sikhs stated that they were going to wed death. They returned to Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib to listen to keertan of marriage hymns and await the enemy. In this way, the entire night passed in listening to keertan. At day break, the enemy had arrived.


The Afghans Arrive & The Battle Begins
The Nishaan Sahibs were furling and the beat of nagaaraas was echoing. The Singhs were like grooms anxious to marry a beautiful wife and seeing the time come closer, becoming more and more excited. The Singhs were surrounded on all four sides and the Afghans began to close in. Baba jee called out to all the Singhs, "Singhs! Step forward and embrace martyrdom! If we step forward, our honour remains intact, if we step back, they will say we are retreating! Do not look for assistance anymore, just go forward! Now go forward and give your heads!" Hearing Baba jee's cry, the Singhs all charged forward. They fell upon the Afghans like a lion on deer.


The Afghans Fall Back & Reinforcements
Wherever the Singhs stood their ground against the Afghans, they eventually fell. Afghan reinforcements also arrived. Not one Singh stepped back. Some Afghans even began to run away. Many Singhs standing with Baba jee fell to the rain of bullets. Baba jee then took out his heavy Tegha (double-edged sword) and ran towards the enemy. He swung his Tegha with such force that it cut through the armour of the Afghans. The Afghans continued to fall back and began to wonder whether these few Singhs would cause their defeat. They could not bear the brunt of the Singhs' sword blows. They fell back and began to fire bullets and arrows.


Baba Jee's Shaheedee
Baba jee's body was pierced by many bullets and arrows and his wounds could not be counted. But neither did the Singhs accept defeat nor would they acknowledge any pain. Although tired and weak from loss of blood, Baba jee was careful that no one would say he retreated. Baba jee called to the remaining Singhs, "Singhs! Do not shame the BaaNaa we wear! May our Shaheedees be perfect and may we fall in the battlefield!" By this time, even more Afghan reinforcements arrived. The new Afghans surrounded the wounded Baba jee and pierced him with their long spears. Baba jee fell to his knees. Not willing to accept anything but martyrdom, Baba jee then again raised his khanda and called to the Afghans, "Come! Try to take my head!" Again the enemy surround him and fighting on his knees, Baba jee was beheaded and attained martyrdom. Baba jee's vow was completed.


The Aftermath
Night fell and the Afghans were in shock after seeing such a bloody battle. They set up camp near the Bhangi fort and fell into a deep sleep. The few Singhs that had remained hidden in the area attacked the camp at night. The remaining Afghans could not sleep in peace and at day break, they quickly fled from the area. The same night, a few other Singhs came to the scene of the battle. They saw the headless bodies of the Singhs and many many Afghans. The Singhs gathered all the bodies are cremated them together behind Siree Akaal Takhat Sahib. Degh was distributed and the Singhs celebrated as though a great wedding had taken place. The Shaheed Ganj of Baba Gurbaksh Singh still stands at that place. Baba jee's Shaheedee was glorious and indeed, the Afghan power did begin to fall after this point. Within a few years, the Sikhs began to rule Punjab and the Sikh Kingdoms were established.


Lesson Learnt:
It is a misconception that we the Khalsa today are weak. We still have the same basic ingredients that our precessors had - Gurbani and Amrit of the double-edged sword. What we lack are Simran and Rehat. A nation that forgets it's history is like a dying tree. The Blood of Martyrs is fertiliser to this tree of the Khalsa, and even reading about them is invigorating. We need to share our history - to be inspired and inspire others.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

fateh,

that sakhi is incorrect, when reading taksals ithaas, taksal states it happened differently at the end, i think i would rather beleif katha by a sant jee than this sakhi, good efforts by tapoban and bhai sahib to distort the facts. thank you

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Anyonmous jee - I'm unaware of any Kathaa stating another version of the Saakhi relating to Baba Gurbaksh Singh jee. If you have any audio links or where to read the other Saakhi then it would be great if you can share this.

The story that is posted is what I came across on the Internet. Daas didn't write it - just made it slightly shorter because the original was longer. There's no intention to distort the facts. Sorry you feel that way. May Guru Sahib bless us all.

"Too Samrath Vaddaa Meri Math Thoree Raam."

Guru Raakhaa.

Inderpreet Singh said...

Dear Anonymous ji,
How can a sakhi be incorrect. It may inaccurate, it may be inplausible, but not incorrect. I think regardless of the facts, the lessons learnt (ie. the sikhia of the sakhi) is more important.

Manvir Singh ji - good job. BTW, I would recommend you get the latest edition of Panth Parkash of Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu (edited by Balwant Singh Dhillon) - that is written in Gurmukhi/Panjabi). Also, just recently Panjabi University published the English translation of Panth Parkash...must have!!

Carhdi Kala!

"sakhi nihang bhujangi gurbakhash singh shahid ji ki

dohra: gurbakhash singh nihang ki sakhi suno sujan. pai shahidi un bhali ammritsar asthan..

coupai: huto bhujangi au bad jangi. nil basatr rakh rahi rahat cangi.
.....
"

From Sri Guru Panth Parkash by Sardar Rattan Singh Bhangu.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

When you say, "good efforts by tapoban and bhai sahib to distort the facts.", it confuses me incredibly.

Is this story trying to make Baba jee look bad in some way? Did it belittle his shahidi in some way?

This Sakhi is the same one that is in Panth Parkash and Giani Gian Singh's works. What source is your alternative story based on?

It really saddens me to see some people so venomous for no reason at all. Is a Sikh supposed to be sweet or venomous like a snake? Should we expect bitter comments from a Sikh? Ask yourself these questions and ask yourself where exactly you're speaking from and if it's right.

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Inderpreet Singh jee - Thanks for the info. I have a copy of Rattan Singh Bhagoo's 'Sri Gur Panth Prakaash' which has English Translation by Kulwant Singh. It's been published by Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh. A very good book! It has gurmukhi and romanised text on one page and the other page has English translation.

The book has 2 volumes. When I ordered it, volume 2 had not yet been published. Hopefully it should be out soon. If anyone is interested in buying it then you can order it through Singh Brothers Amritsar website: www.SinghBrothers.com


Guru Raakhaa

Anonymous said...

In 1765 when Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked India for the 10th time, Baba ji was the Jathedar of both Damdami Taksal and Sri Akal Takhat Sahib(Sikh Temporal Throne). After bathing in the holy Sarover (pool of nectar), along with 30 other Sikhs from his battalion, Baba ji offered Karah parsad at Sri Harmandir Sahib (Holiest Sikh Shrine) and at Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and then made the following ardas to Guru Sahib ji: "Satguru ji may my Sikhi last with my kes (hair) intact." After taking Hukam (the command from Guru ji) from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and reciting "Ghoriaa(n)" (a prayer abot marriage), the Sikhs stated that they were going to wed death. The Afghan forces of Ahmed Shah Abdali attacked the Sikhs and a vicious war began. Das Hazari Khan and Baba ji were in battle, they simultaneously landed blows upon each other and they were both decapitated.

Baba ji continued fighting without his head, seeing this the enemy were horrified and were quick to retreat. Baba ji continued killing off the tyrants and was relentless in his attacks, a Muslim Saint advised the Afghan army said that the only way to stop Baba ji, who wouldn't retreat, was to beg for forgiveness at the feet of the Sikhs Guru for all the atrocities they caused and promise not to come back again. "Forgive us our misdeeds and evil actions," their General begged. It was only then that Baba ji stopped and laid his body to rest.

Baba ji's cremation took place behind Sri Akal Takhat Sahib according to the rites of the death ceremony of Sikhi. Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj (behind Sri Akhal Takhat Sahib) commemorates Baba ji's Shaheedi. Baba ji is remembered as one of the great Shaheeds of the Panth and will forever be remembered as a true Saint-Soldier.

damdamitaksal.com

Mr. Singh said...

Forgive me if i'm wrong, but the damdami taksal says that abdali suffered an injury during this battle involving Baba Gurbaksh Singh Ji, when a brick from Sri Harmandir struck him on the nose. As a reult of this injury he ultimatley died. However i was always told that, that injury occured during the battle with Baba Deep Singh Ji.

Mr. Singh said...

Forgot to add what a great sakhi and a truly great shaheedi

amandeep said...

Iam proud to be a Sikh.wage guru ji ka Khalsa wage guru ji ki fthe