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Sikh History

Bhai Manjh Ji

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In the time of Guru Arjan Dev jee, there was a powerful and rich man by the name of Teeratha. Teeratha was a follower of the Muslim sect of Sakhee Sarvar(who use to worship Pirkhana [tomb]) . He was the local leader of this sect and had hundreds of followers who all respected him. Teeratha would regularly lead the members of this sect on a pilgrimage to the main Sakhee Sarvar shrine (now in Pakistan).

Once he saw a large number of turbaned people, who were doing service with great zeal. He noted that they were reciting some Shabad (hymns), along with doing sewa (service), in a very melodious tone. When he went further, he saw the Langer (food) being cooked and served to everybody irrespective of any distinction. The devotion and enthusiasm of the people impressed Bhai Manjh, who felt a pull of love strings in his heart. He felt instant peace, solace and equipoise on listening to the divine hymns being sung there. The holy congregation was in the presence of the Guru Sahib himself. The congregation enjoyed all this with great emotional bliss. When the evening session ended, some of the people, who had come for the first time, sat down to have a dialogue and listen to Guru Sahib’s sermons.

Bhai Manjh also sat down and after a while introduced himself and begged Guruji for Naam-Dhan. Guru jee explained to him that “Being a Sikh is no easy thing. The path is finer than a hair and sharper than the khanda. The primary principle of Sikhee is humility”. After Teeratha’s repeated request Guru Arjan Dev jee accepted his request and initiated him into Sikhee and gave him Naam.

Teeratha took leave of his followers and decided to stay with the Guru for some time. The Sikhs knew that Teeratha was from the Manjh clan and began to call him Bhai Manjh.

Bhai Manjh began to take the seva of bringing woods for the langar, cleaning the dishes, serving the visiting sangat and any other seva he could find. The Guru too heard of Bhai Manjh’s sevaa and one day called Bhai Manjh to come see him.

Bhai Manjh ji appeared before the Guru and bowed. Guru Arjan asked, “Bhai Manjh, where do you eat?” Bhai Manjh replied, ” Satguru, I eat from your langar. ”

Guru Arjan jee then said, “well then, what you do is nothing but wage-labour isn’t it?”

The sangat was stunned. They knew Bhai Manjh had sacrificed his entire wealth and prestige to become a Sikh and now did more seva than anyone else in the Darbaar. How could Guru jee have humiliated him like this in front of everyone? After all, the Langar was open to everyone, why would Guru jee say such a thing ?

Bhai Manjh was once a powerful and proud aristocrat with hundreds of followers. He now hung his head and then said, “Satguru, you are wise. Please give me the wisdom to understand and accept your Hukam.”

Bhai Manjh now decided to no longer eat in the langar. He decided to collect two bundles of wood from now on and he would give one to the langar and sell the other to earn his living and use it to purchase his food. Bhai Manjh’s daughter asked her father why the Guru was so merciless to him. Bhai Manjh immediately replied, “No no! The Guru is merciful. He is testing our faith. We can not fail.”

Bhai Manjh would rise early and begin to collect wood for seva and also to sell. After giving the first bundle and selling the second, he would return to the Darbaar and do seva all day. He would put all his extra money into the Golak.

Once, due to inclement weather, Manjh ji couldn’t see the road clearly and fell down in a shallow unused well. Fortunately, the well was not very deep and there was not much water in it. Bhai Manjh stood up in the well and kept the bundle of firewood on his head so that the dry firewood might not get wet and can still be used for the Langar. When Bhai Manhj ji did not return with the woods for the langar, everybody started looking for him and found him in the well.

On hearing that Bhai Manhj ji had fallen in the well, Guru rushed to the well with necessary equipment. When the ropes were lowered, Bhai Manjh requested the Guru to draw out the fuel wood first, as he considered dry wood more essential than himself. It was done, and when Bhai Manjh was drawn out, the Guru embraced him in his wet clothes blessing him.

The stories of one’s ancestors make the children good children. They accept what is pleasing to the Will of the True Guru, and act accordingly. ( Guru Granth Sahib Ji – 951)

and said “Bhai Manjh! You have passed the test of Sikhi (Sikh way of life) very well, your sevaa has borne fruit. Ask for anything you want.”

Bhai Manjh replied, “Guru jee, bless me that I may always be content and May my consciousness remain at your feet and may I never forget the meditation of your Naam.”

Guru Arjan heard these words and then said,

“Manjh Piara Guru Noo Guru Piara Manjh Manjh Guru ka bohitha, jag langhan-hara

Guru loves Bhai Manjh, Manjh loves the Guru. Whosoever keeps his company shall be redeemed.”

Guru Sahib meant that those who are as devoted and do service to the Sikhi the way Bhai Manjh has done and lead the life as laid down by Gurbani, (they) will be liberated from ego and vanity. As vanity is the root cause of sufferings and miseries in this world, by being relieved from ego and vanity, the person will receive all the pleasures and grace from God.

Baba Nanak Shah Faquir; Hindu Da Guru, Musalman Da Peer

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Guru Nanak Dev ji, knowing that his time to depart from earth was approaching, appointed Angad Dev ji(formely bhai Lehna ji) his successor. On September 2, 1539 (2 Asu, 1596 Asu vadi 5) Guru Nanak placed five Paise before Bhai Lehna and bowed to him in token of his succession to the Guruship. He placed the umbrella of Spiritual Sovereignty over Bhai Lehna’s head.

“Jot uha jugat sai seih kaya feir paltiai.”

(Ramkali ki Var- Rai Balwand, p-966)

‘Divine Light is the same

The Way and Mode are the same

The Master has merely changed the body.’

(Translation of the above)

When Guruship was passed on to Guru Angad, sangat/people realized that Guru Nanak was soon to depart bodily from the world (As a Divine Light and Spirit, the Guru is always present). The Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims came from all over to have holy glimpse of Guru Nanak.

Guru’s Muslim devotees wanted to bury Guruji after his death. whereas the Hindu followers desired to cremate Gurujis body. When Guruji was asked for his decision, he replied,

“Let the Hindus place flowers on my right and the Muslims on my left.

Those whose flowers are found fresh in the morning, may have the disposal rights of my body.”

The Guru drew a sheet over him. When the sheet was removed next morning, there was nothing, but the flowers on both sides were afresh. The light blended with Light and the spirit went back and merged with the Master Spirit.

The Hindus and the Muslims removed their respective flowers and cut the sheet into two. The former cremated the sheet and the latter buried it.

‘Baba Nanak Shah Faquir; Hindu Da Guru, Musalman Da Peer’

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji died  in Kartarpur, at the age of 70.


Sajjan Thagg – Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji

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Sajjan means a nice person, a friend, a helper. There was a man with this name living in Tulamba (now in Pakistan). He was known as a good man in his area. He had constructed an inn for travelers to rest for the night.

Whenever a traveler would forget anything in the inn, Sajjan kept it as his own. Slowly he developed the bad habit of stealing valuables of the travelers when they were sleeping at night. After some time, this bad habit made him a wicked man. He even killed people staying at his inn if he wanted to take away the travelers’ belongings. A “sajjan” because of his bad habits thus became a “thug.” The people, therefore, called him “Sajjan Thug.”

On one of their journeys Guru Nanak Dev ji and Bhai Mardana ji stayed at Sajjan Thug’s Inn for the night. In the evening When Sajjan Thug was to rob the visitors( Guru ji),

Guru Nanak Dev ji started singing a shabad while Bhai Mardana played on the rebab. The shabad explained that if a person is bad at heart, an outward show of good acts means nothing. God knows our mind and no one can bluff Him . The true friends (sajjan) are actually the good deeds of a man. These good deeds help the man not only here in this world but also after death in the next life. By evil acts man makes his mind dirty, because of which he not only suffers here in this world, but also his soul remains dirty even after death.

Sajjan Thug had been listening to this shabad attentively. As the shabad went into his ears, his mind started “seeing” the truth. He realized he was an evil man. He was taking away the belongings of innocent travelers and doin harm to whom he was supposed to provide comfort and service.

Sajjan Thug went to the Guru, folded his hands and confessed before the Guru that he was Sajjan only by name. Actually, by his deeds he was a Thug. Sajjan Thug sincerely repented and promised to lead a holy life in the future.

The Guru was pleased by the change of his heart and he was very kind to Sajjan Thug. Sajjan was advised to distribute all the ill-got money to the needy and start his life afresh as an honest man. He sincerely practiced as the Guru advised him. He started helping the visitors and making their stay comfortable by whatever he could do for them.

Thus, a Sajjan by name, became a Sajjan by his deeds as well, after meeting Guru Nanak.

“Rehet Aavar Kuch Aavar Kamavat, Man Nahi Preet Mukho Gand Lavat” – Sukhmai Sahib

source : www.sikhs.nl

Power of Ardaas – Guru Gobind Singh Ji

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Once in the Darbaar of Guru Gobind Singh Jee, a Sikh called Laal Singh came with a shield. He had spent a lot of time constructing this shield which was almost impossible to penetrate. It was not only strong but was also very light. Everyone in the darbaar praised the dhaal (shield) and Guru Sahib too expressed his happiness at the dhaal.

Bhai Laal Singh was a very good Sikh but when so many people praised his dhaal, he developed haume (ego) and declared in the sangat that no bullet can penetrate his shield. He said this very egoistically. As soon as he said this Guru Sahib told him that he would test Laal Singh’s dhaal the next day. Bhai Laal Singh still did not realize his mistake and accepted the challenge saying that no bullet could penetrate his shield.As he came out of the darbaar of Guru Sahib, he realized that he had committed a blunder. He said to himself that Guru Sahib is a known warrior and on top of that he is Satguru. What could stop him from penetrating his shield? He greatly regretted his mistake and came to his lodging area greatly depressed. Although, he realized his mistake of challenging the sangat, he still wanted Guru Sahib to keep his honour and not let anyone break his shield.

He consulted his friends who were gursikhs as well and asked them what to do. They told him that Guru Sahib could no doubt penetrate his shield. They suggested to him that the only way for him to save his honour was to perform Ardaas in front of Guru Sahib. Bhai Laal Singh prepared “Degh”(Karaah Parshaad) and along with other Gursikhs did Ardaas before Waheguru to save his honour. Bhai Laal Singh did not sleep all night and kept doing paath all night. The next day Bhai Laal Singh arrived in the darbaar of Guru Kalgidhar Paatshaah but he arrived very humbly. After the bhog of Kirtan, Guru Sahib asked Bhai Laal Singh to get ready as he was going to test his dhaal. Bhai Laal Singh did not accept the challenge as he had done the previous day but responded very humbly to Guru Sahib.Guru Sahib asked Bhai Aalam Singh to test the dhal first. Bhai Laal Singh stood there with the dhaal, constantly doing naam and paath. Bhai Aalam Singh tried three times but the bullet missed the dhaal and did not hit it.

Then Guru Sahib smilingly took over the gun and took aim at the dhaal. Guru Sahib just stood there but did not fire. After few moments he called off his aim and asked Bhai Laal Singh what he had been doing all night. Bhai Laal Singh fell at the lotus feet of Guru Sahib and told him everything. Guru Sahib, blessed Bhai Laal Singh and declared that indeed, no one could penetrate the dhaal as Vaheguru himself and all Gurus were present to protect the dhaal. Guru Sahib told Bhai Laal Singh to never talk in haume again.


  • So great is our Guru. Guru Sahib himself accepted the defeat by not penetrating the dhaal but protected the honour of his Sikh. Why should we leave such great Guru and get indulged in maaiya? Aseen kurbaan kyoon nahi ho jaande apne Guru uppar?
  • It is a good idea to prepare degh with full maryada and perform ardaas for our difficult kaarajs. Nothing is impossible if we do ardaas with full faith.
  • Never talk egoistically in Sangat.

Guru does not consider our shortcomings and weaknesses when we do Ardaas. He ignores our shortcomings and accepts Ardaas that is done with faith.

“Vasde raho Ujad Jao” – Guru Nanak Dev Ji

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During one of his Udasis Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj along with Bhai Mardana ji visited a village where the people were very mean and did not paid any attention to spiritual values or honesty in their lives.

Upon leaving the village after some days he rose his hand up and blessed the villagers and said – “Vasde raho”(May u prosper). Next day Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj along with Bhai Mardana ji reached another village. In this village contrary to the people of the previous village the residents were very kind, honest and spiritual minded. They respected and paid utmost respect to Guru Nanak Dev ji. Guru ji spent some days there very comfortably and then bid farewell to village.

While leaving, on outskirts of village Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj rose his hand up again said, “Ujad Jao” ( May you get displaced).On hearing this Bhai Mardana ji was taken by surprise. He asked the Guru why he did so. The Guru’s response was simple :

These people are good people with great values, and if they leave the village and go to different parts of the world whereverthey go they will spread these values among the local population. More people will get influenced and become good and ethical ( by doing their sangat). The world will change for the better. Whereas people from the first village had no values and thus must live there only because these are not the values that need to be spread.

“Sat sangati kaisee jaaneeyai. Jithai eko naam vakhaaneeyai” (SGGS 72)

How is the Society of the saintly souls to be known? There, only God’s Name is chanted

Meeting with Ascetics – Guru Nanak Dev Ji

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Sidhi Sadhus are a sect of ascetics. They generally live on high mountains. They believe that salvation can be sought by torturing the body.

Guru Nanak Dev was a constant traveller. After covering far flung areas in the plains of India he went to important places in the Himalayan hills. While travelling in the hills, the Guru met a group of ascetics led by Gorakh Nath. They were in the first instance surprised to see the Guru at an altitude of 6000 meters. They wanted to humble him in a debate on philosophy of life. This they could not do ( i.e. they failed). Guru Nanak had better arguments. Some of the questions and answers from the discussions that took place are as follows…

Nanak: What is the use of wandering around? Purity comes only through Truth.

Sidhas : “Who are you? What is your name? What is your way? What is your goal? Where is your seat? Where do you live, boy? Where did you come from, and where are you going?

Nanak: He (God) dwells deep within the nucleus of each and every heart. This is my seat and my home. I walk in harmony with the Will of the True Guru. I came from the Celestial Lord God; I go wherever He orders me to go. I am Nanak, forever under the Command of His Will.

Sidhas: The world-ocean is treacherous and impassable; how can one cross over?

Nanak: As does the lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water, with one’s consciousness focused on the Word of the Shabad, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean. O Nanak, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord and enshrine the one Lord in your heart.

Sidhas: “Where did we come from? Where are we going? Where will we be absorbed?

Nanak: By His Command we come, and by His Command we go; by His Command, we merge in absorption. Through the Word of the Shabad, the state of dignity is attained. We emerge from Truth, and merge into Truth again. The pure being merges into the One True Lord.

Sidhas: “What can you tell us about the beginning? In what home did the absolute dwell then? Nanak: We can only express a sense of wonder about the beginning. The absolute abided endlessly deep within Himself then.

Sidhas: Who is your guru? Whose disciple are you?

Nanak: The Shabad (Word) is the Guru, upon whom I lovingly focus my consciousness; I am the ‘chaylaa’, the disciple (of Shabad-Guru). O Nanak, throughout the ages, the Lord of the World is my Guru.

Sidhas: What is that meditation, which leads the mind to be absorbed in itself?” ||45||

Nanak: Eradicating egotism and individualism from within, and erasing duality, the mortal becomes one with God.

Sidhas : “What is that wisdom, by which one remains steady and stable? What food brings satisfaction?”

Nanak: Drinking in the Ambrosial Nectar (Nectar of Shabad – Word), the soul settles in peace. Hunger for the True Lord shall consume your pain, and through the True Lord, you shall be satisfied.

Ultimately they decided to impress him by the power of their miracles. They gave the Guru an empty bowl and asked him to fill it with water from the nearby tank. The Guru went there but came back empty-handed. He was not distracted by diamonds and pearls which were lying there.

The Guru said: “Sorry! There is no water there.” They were ashamed to hear the Guru say: “I had gone there looking for water. I had nothing to do with diamonds”. They became his disciples.

The conversation is also present in Sri Guru Granth Sahib as Sidh Gosht.

Sewa – Guru Arjan Dev Ji

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It was during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Jee. Sangat was coming from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Amritsar for darshan of Gurujee. They met a Sikh and his wife on their way. This Sikh did a lot of sewa of the sangat. He massaged their legs, waved fan over them as they rested, brought water for them, everything. The next day they proceeded with this Sikh to Amritsar. As they reached Darbar Sahib, the jathedar of that Kabul sangat asked a few boys to take care of the shoes of everyone. None of the boys was ready to do it, as they all were very much eager to be the first ones to have darshan of Gurujee. At last this Sikh came forward and said I shall do it.

The sangat went inside and waited for 30-45 minutes, but Gurujee didn’t show up. Then the jathedar went ahead and asked Baba Buddha Jee where Gurujee was.

Babajee : Gurujee has gone to see the sangat coming from Kabul.

Jathedar : But we are the sangat from Kabul!

Babajee : Didn’t you meet Gurujee?

Jathedar : No Babajee, we didn’t. But we met a Sikh and his wife and they did a lot of sewa. Babajee : Where is that Sikh now?

Jathedar : We left him to look after the shoes of the sangat.

Babajee, followed by the jathedar, followed by the entire sangat went outside to look for that Sikh. They saw him cleaning all the shoes with his own chola.

It was none other than Guru Arjan Dev Jee Himself

Baba Buddha Jee went forward and took away the pair of shoes Gurujee was cleaning. Babajee said “Why are you doing this?”. The entire sangat was now in tears. Gurujee smiled and said “Babajee, I haven’t seen Guru Nanak Dev Jee, but you have. Take a look again at this pair of shoes”. Babajee took a good look at the pair of shoes, and since he had been with Guru Nanak Dev Jee, he immediately recognized that it was Guru Nanak Dev Jee’s pair of shoes.

Moral of the sakhi : When doing sewa at the Gurdwara, do it with this thought in mind that who knows who is visiting the Gurdwara today! Who knows which Gurmukh soul has come today! If you are cleaning a small kid’s shoes, have in mind that it could belong to one of the Sahibzaade. If you are cleaning a bibi’s shoes, have in mind that it could belong to Bibi Bhani. If you are cleaning a bhai ji’s shoes, have in mind that it could belong to Bhai Bailo.

Is Sikhism a blend of Islam and Hinduism or a sect of Hinduism?

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It is only due to a shared geographic culture that some ideas or methods of these different religions may seem similar. Sikhism is in fact a unique revealed religion. It is not derived from any other religion. It is not a blend of any two or three religions. Guru Nanak started a new faith.
The uniqueness of the Sikh faith is immediately apparent if you understand the main philosophies and practices of the Sikhs. In fact Sikhism questions, challenges and rejects many of the practices of Hinduism and Islam. For example, according to Sikh teachings, all people are created equal regardless of gender, status, geographic location, and religion affiliation. Sikhs strive to achieve a balance between spiritual life and temporal life.
Sikhism condemns empty rituals. Sikhs do not believe in pilgrimages, idolatry or reverence to pictures. Sikhs believe in practices such as daily prayer that instill understanding and discipline.