Monday, June 19, 2017

Bhagat Dhanna Ji...

Bhagat Dhanna Ji

Guru Arjan Dev Ji admires Bhagat Dhanna Ji for his dedication towards the Lord. According to him, Bhagat Dhanna Ji was not initially a Gurmukh but when he met company of saints where only truth is discussed; where knowledge of only the one is given; he became a Gurmukh, "Guru-guided". He worshipped God and found God within his heart. He served God with innocence like a child as he was a very humble person.

Following are lines which Arjun Dev Ji has said about Bhagat Dhanna ji in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕੈ ਜਾਟਰੋ, ਉਠਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਮਿਲੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਸਾਈਆ, ਧੰਨਾ ਵਡ ਭਾਗਾ ॥4॥2॥
"Hearing this (the stories of how the other Bhagats met God through Naam), Dhanna, the Jaat (farmer), applied himself to devotional worship. The Lord of the Universe met him personally; Dhanna was so very blessed. ||4||2||"
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 488

ਨਾਮਾ ਜੈਦੇਉ ਕੰਬੀਰੁ ਤ੍ਰਿਲੋਚਨੁ ਅਉਜਾਤਿ ਰਵਿਦਾਸੁ ਚਮਿਆਰੁ ਚਮਈਆ ॥
ਜੋ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਾਧੂ ਜਨ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨਾ ਜਟੁ ਸੈਣੁ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਦਈਆ ॥7॥
"Naam Dayv, Jai Dayv, Kabeer, Trilochan and Ravi Daas the low-caste leather-worker, blessed Dhanna and Sain; all those who joined the humble Saadh Sangat, met the Merciful Lord. ||7||"

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 835

ਰੇ ਮਨ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਤ ਤਰਿਆ ॥ ਧੰਨਾ ਜਟੁ ਬਾਲਮੀਕੁ ਬਟਵਾਰਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਪਇਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
"O my mind, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and cross over. Dhanna the farmer, and Balmik the highway robber, became Gurmukh, and crossed over. ||1||Pause||"

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 995

ਧੰਨੈ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਬਾਲ ਬੁਧਿ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਲੋਚਨ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਭਈ ਸਿਧਿ ॥ ਬੇਣੀ ਕਉ ਗੁਰਿ ਕੀਓ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ ॥ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਤੂ ਭੀ ਹੋਹਿ ਦਾਸੁ ॥੫॥
"Dhanna served the Lord, with the innocence of a child. Meeting with the Guru, Trilochan attained the perfection of the Siddhas. The Guru blessed Baynee with His Divine Illumination. O my mind, you too must be the Lord`s slave. ||5||"

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1192

Sakhi of Bhagat Dhanna
Bhagat Dhanna Ji was a simple Indian farmer who worked hard on his farm all day tending his crops. He used to go past the house of a clever pundit (religious scholar) everyday on the way to his work on the farm.

Dhanna Ji used to listen to the pundit singing religions verses, as he carried out various ritualistic acts, which were beyond the understanding of this simple Jatt (farmer). He found these acts intriguing but never asked the religious man about any of the things that he had observed in the many years that he had gone past the pundit's house.

One day, Bhai Dhanna ji was passing the pundit's house and noticed that the religious man was feeding his Thakur - a stone idol. Bhai Dhanna ji was quite puzzled by what he was observing. On this occasion as he had some free time, so he went and asked the pundit. Dhanna Ji asked "pundit Ji, What are you doing?"

The pundit was very hungry and wanted to get this feeding over as soon as possible and really wasn't in a mood for Bhai Dhanna ji's simple inquiries. He replied, "Oh, nothing, I am just feeding my Thakur. Now if you will excuse me..."

Bhai Dhanna ji found that incredibly funny, "What is the use of feeding a stone?"

The pundit responded, "This is not a stone, it is God. It's Thakur!"

Bhagat Dhanna Ji said, "Really? What happens if you feed the Stone... I mean, what happens when you feed the Thakur?"

The pundit replied: "The Thakur gives you everything!! If you can please God, you will get everything. Now, I really must ask you to leave...I have a lot to do"

Bhai Dhanna ji liked this idea of giving a little food to this small God and getting back everything. So Bhai Dhanna ji asked the pundit if he could also have a Thakur.

At this time, the pundit's stomach was audibly complaining about lack of food. So he hastily picked up the nearest stone off the ground and said, "Here. First feed Thakur, then you eat. Understood! Goodbye." Saying that the pundit dived into the food left over by Thakur. "Lovely I really could not have waited any longer!"

Bhagat Dhanna Ji

Bhai Dhanna ji held the stone closely to his chest and hurried home. As soon as Bhai Dhanna ji got home, he first carefully and loving washed the stone. Having bathed the Thakur, Dhanna Ji then cooked the best meal he knew - Saag and Makkee di Roti - for dinner. He placed it in front of Thakur and said, "Here Thakur ji, please eat this food, I have made it lovingly for you. Afterwards, I want to discuss many things with you. I need a new cow for example, and a few other simple requests - but for now, please eat."

Saying that Bhai Dhanna ji sat in front of the Thakur and waited. And waited. And waited. After a while, Bhai Dhanna ji said, "Look Thakur, I really have no time for your play. Come and eat at once! I have many things to do."

After several hours, Bhai Dhanna ji thought perhaps Thakur ji was annoyed at him – May be he has done something wrong. So Bhai Dhanna ji tried to persuade the Thakur to forgive him: "Look here Thakur, I haven't eaten in a while. Now it is entirely possible that I have done something to annoy you but believe you me, we can discuss this much better after this Saag and Makkee dee Roti is in our stomachs." Still nothing happened. Slowly the night deepened. It was now pitch dark outside and the Thakur was showing no signs of eating the delicious food.

Bhai Dhanna ji was now getting angry and said, "Look Thakur, I have one nerve left and you are dancing on it. Either eat your food or I will....", Bhai Dhanna ji couldn't really think of anything else to say so he bust out in anger. Still nothing happened! The angry outburst had no effect on the Thakur.

Pretty soon, Danna ji could see light skies in the East and soon it was going to became daylight. Bhai Dhanna ji felt quite disoriented and confused. Sometimes Bhai Dhanna ji would curse the Thakur, sometimes Bhai Dhanna ji would hug the Thakur and sometimes Bhai Dhanna ji would start crying.

Two long and hungry nights and days passed in this manner. Dhanna ji tried every way to convince the Thakur to take the food. He tried with all the tricks that he knew, with all the love that he could muster, with all the pleadings that he knew, with all the anger – But nothing appeared to work. Dhanna Ji was a stubborn farmer but he was failing miserably here. However, his conviction had not faltered. He kept working on his begging and pleadings.

Then at amrit vela (early dawn) on the third day, when Dhanna ji was too weak to curse any more, Waheguru decided to intervene. To stop Dhanna ji from going mad, Waheguru gave Bhai Danna a vision in the form of a young man. It was the most beautiful body of a young man. Dhanna ji lost all his anger and just stared at the young man.

Speaking through the young man Waheguru said, "Dhanna ji, Sorry, I am late…" Dhanna ji interrupted and said, "I will warm up the food. Thakur Ji you must eat the food – You must also be very hungry" Dhanna Ji fed the young man and ate the remaining food himself after having stayed hungry for over 2 days.

After, eating the food, Dhanna Ji said to Waheguru, "As I said to you two days ago, I have a few things to discuss with you. First there is the work of the farm and then…"

Bhai Dhanna ji fell head over heels in love with the young man (through whom God spoke to him). He couldn't resist being with the young man. They spent the next few days literally arm in arm. Even at night, Bhai Dhanna ji would hold Waheguru 's hand and listen to Waheguru's songs - Waheguru sang a lot - and would drift off to sleep. A week later, the pundit was passing Bhai Dhanna ji's hut. Bhai Dhanna ji saw him and ran to him and said, "Oh, pundit ji, you are the most wonderful man. I can never thank you enough for giving me that marvellous Thakur..."

The pundit responded, "What you on about? Okay, Oh, yeah, sure, anytime. Look, I am in a hurry. I am going to the big pundit conference ..."

Bhai Dhanna ji: "But please come and drink some lassi (Milk Shake). Thakur ji makes the best lassi."

The pundit: "What now? What are you saying? Thakur makes something?"

Bhai Dhanna ji: "Oh yes! It's the best in the world. Just look at him, how handsome he is!"

Pundit ji looked and indeed he could see that someone was pushing the cows on the farm. And yet there was nobody to be seen.

Pundit ji: "Who is controlling the cows. Who is that?"

Bhai Dhanna ji: "Why, that is Thakur ji, of course. Can't you recognise him. Oh, you should hear him sing...It's out of this world!"

Pundit ji was quite intrigued by now. And kept repeatedly asking Bhai Dhanna ji about Thakur. After a while Bhai Dhanna ji realized that pundit could not see Thakur ji. Dhanna ji promised that he would talk to Thakur about this.

The pundit left. Bhai Dhanna ji went to Waheguru and said, "Thakur ji, how come pundit ji can't see you?"

Waheguru: "The pundit really doesn't want to see me. He is more interested in my maid – Maya and he is captivated in it entanglement. He has no real interest in me only in my creation"

Dhanna ji: "But I don't understand. Why can I see you and others cannot? How can one begin to see you?"

Waheguru: "One has to become pure. And in this age, Dhanna ji, the only way to become pure is by reciting Naam."

Dhanna ji: "Naam?"

Waheguru: "Naam is the magic of this age. Even a few minutes of Naam Simran will bring the magic that is needed to see me."

Dhanna ji: "But, I haven't recited Naam. How come I can see you?"

The young man, touched Bhai Dhanna ji 's forehead. Bhai Dhanna ji's surat went inside. Inside he saw that he, Bhai Dhanna ji, had done heavy tapasaya (devotional worship) for over many lifetimes. He had stood in water all night and in the hot sun all day. He had hung upside down for several lifetimes. He had been a celibate in one lifetime and a moni (ones who doesn't talk) in another. But he had progressed spiritually very little.

Then in his previous life, he had met an adept Guru who had given him Naam. And by doing Naam Simran for just one lifetime, Bhai Dhanna ji had become pure. Seeing Waheguru ji was the reward for his Naam from previous life.

Bhai Dhanna ji fell at the young man's feet and cried. Saying, "Please forgive this fool, I treated you as an equal..."

The young man ji picked him and held him close, singing songs of comfort, "Bhai Dhanna ji, now the time is right to leave. The way you see me now is the superficial way of meeting me. The real way is inside. Now you must start Naam Simran again and then I will meet you inside."

Saying that the young man vanished into thin air. Bhai Dhanna ji was enlightened now. He restarted his Naam Simran with each breath. Within days, Bhai Dhanna ji had parkash (sighting) of Waheguru ji within his mind and through this enlightenment; we today have the benefit of Dhanna Bani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

When we bow to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we are not just acknowledging the advice and lives of our ten Gurus but also the lives and Bani of 15 Sikh Bhagats.

God is within us all and pervades throughout his creation (there is universe beyond universe...Japji Sahib). So if we want vision of God then we need to meditate on His Name (he has innumerable names, as told to us by Guru Gobind Singh Ji). It is important to note that God DOES NOT take any form, but for our purpose he can give us a vision in any form. For example, Waheguru was inside the young man as much as he was inside bhai Dhanna but for Bhai Dhanna's experience, God spoke through the young man. Guru Granth Sahib Ji tells us that in Sach Khand, where the light of God dwells, blessed saints merge with God (as Guru Gobind Singh Ji did in his previous incarnation).

If you envision God as a radiant light which pervades throughout the universe, then if you are blessed this may be the vision you will see. An important concept in Sikhi is that God does not take form (Guru Granth Sahib and Dasam Granth), he is formless and pervades throught his creation.


The Bhakti movement in India was at its peak in the 14th and 15th centuries. Several men of God who belonged by birth to poor families and the so-called low castes earned spiritual heights and thus gained fame far and wide. Many more from such lower state of society emulated them in pursuit of the divine ideal. Dhanna ji was also one such devotee of God. Guru Arjan Dev Ji has said that Dhanna ji heard of the fame of Namdev ji, saw for himself the spiritual grandeur of Kabir ji, learnt of the uplifted spiritual and moral position of Ravidas ji and experienced Sain ji's mystical oneness with the Lord. All this inspired in Dhanna ji's heart a deep felt urge to realize God.

Bhagat Dhanna Ji was such a bhagat that he remained ever absorbed in God, even when he was physically occupied in various jobs abd earning his livelihood. It was this deep devotion of Dhanna ji that ultimately enabled him to have a glimpse of the Timeless Lord even in a stone. Dhanna ji was a simple-hearted ,and noble person, and he took the advice of a Brahmin to consider the stone, Lord Himself. He was asked by the Brahmin to offer the stone (or the Lord in the stone) sacramental food. When Dhanna found that the Lord was not accepting the food offered by him, he declared that he himself would not touch the food and remain on a fast as long as the Lord did not accept his offer. Bhai Gurdas has narrated (Varan, X.1 3) the entire episode in a beautiful verse.

He says:
ਬਾਮ੍ਹਣ ਪੂਜੈ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਧੰਨਾ ਗਊ ਚਰਾਵਣ ਆਵੈ॥
ਧੰਨੈ ਡਿਠਾ ਚਲਿਤੁ ਏਹੁ ਪੁਛੈ ਬਾਮ੍ਹਣੁ ਆਖਿ ਸੁਣਾਵੈ॥
ਠਾਕੁਰ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰੈ ਜੋ ਇਛੈ ਸੋਈ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ॥
ਧੰਨਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਜੋਦੜੀ ਮੈ ਭਿ ਦੇਹ ਇਕ ਜੇ ਤੁਧੁ ਭਾਵੈ॥
ਪਥਰੁ ਇਕ ਲਪੇਟਿ ਕਰਿ ਦੇ ਧੰਨੈ ਨੋ ਗੈਲ ਛੁਡਾਵੈ॥
ਠਾਕੁਰ ਨੋ ਨ੍ਹਾਵਾਲਿ ਕੈ ਛਾਹਿ ਰੋਟੀ ਲੈ ਭੋਗੁ ਚੜ੍ਹਾਵੈ॥
ਹਥਿ ਜੋੜਿ ਮਿੰਨਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਪੈਰੀਂ ਪੈ ਪੈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਮਨਾਵੈ॥
ਹਉਂ ਬੀ ਮੁਹੁ ਨ ਜੁਠਾਲਸਾਂ ਤੂ ਰੁਠਾ ਮੈਂ ਕਿਹੁ ਨ ਸੁਖਾਵੈ॥
ਗੋਸਾਈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਹੋਇ ਰੋਟੀ ਖਾਇ ਛਾਹਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਲਾਵੈ॥
ਭੋਲਾ ਭਾਉ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੁ ਮਿਲਾਵੈ ॥੧੩॥
"The Brahmin used to worship idols, and Dhanna went out to graze cows. When Dhanna saw this all, He put queries to Brahmin who said: "He who serves the Lord Gets fulfilled all desires of his heart;" Dhanna made supplication to him: "Give me one (Idol) if it pleases you." The Brahmin wrapped a stone in cloth, and gave it to Dhanna to get rid of him. Dhanna first bathed the stone,then offered food and butter-milk.He prayed with folded hands, and prostrated to persuade it accept the offer. “I will also not eat because how can I be happy if you are annoyed.” God appeared before the Dhanna, Accepted the offering he made. Innocent love of Dhanna, thus united him into the Lord."

A Shabad by Guru Arjan Dev Ji included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on Ang 487 narrates the same incident. The concluding two verses of this Shabad are as follows:
ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਸੁਨਿ ਕੈ ਜਾਟਰੋ, ਉਠਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਮਿਲੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਸਾਈਆ, ਧੰਨਾ ਵਡ ਭਾਗਾ ॥4॥2॥
"Hearing this (the stories of how the other Bhagats met God through Naam), Dhanna, the Jaat (farmer), applied himself to devotional worship. The Lord of the Universe met him personally; Dhanna was so very blessed. ||4||2||"
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 488
The determination and commitment of the innocent and pious Dhanna ji made even the Lord yield, and He had to take the form of Thakur, drink and eat what Dhanna had offered Him. Thus did Dhanna ji's unwavering determination win, and in consequence of this achievement he felt deeply committed to God. How easy it has been to win the pleasure of God with one's innocence and simple piety.

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