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Gursikhi Jeevan of Baba Thakur Singh ji & other Taksal Gursikhs

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The Damdami Taksal is the travelling Sikh university, which was founded by our Father Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee to impart knowledge of Gurmat onto Sikhs. It has had an unbroken lineage of Jathedars who have led the Taksal throughout Sikh history.

The first and foremost function of the Taksal is to educate Sikhs, to teach them the correct pronounciations of Gurbani, to do Katha and Kirtan. This is done by getting students to undergo rigorous studies, meditations and seva, thus a wholesome Sikh lifestyle is developed and maintained.

The Taksal has always been a key strategic player in the activities of the Sikh Nation, with Baba Deep Singh & Baba Gurbaksh Singh (respectively 1st & 2nd Jathedars) both being martyred defending the sanctity of Sri Harimander Sahib, Amritsar, they were both beheaded yet still fought on until the Mughals had to run in fear.

The sixth Jatheder, Giani Bhai Sant Singh was the Head Granthi of Sri Harimander Sahib and a close aid of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. The famous Sikh Historian Bhai Santokh Singh (author of Suraj Parkash) was also a student of the Giani Bhai Sant Singh Jee. During the British Raj Sant Sundar Singh played a considerable role in the Gurdwara Reform Movement, by participating in the peaceful demonstrations.

Sant Gurbachan Singh did the complete katha of Sri Guru Granth Sahib many times and today we find that a lot of his students are Granthis at Sri Harimander Sahib and many of them held positions of esteem and were Jathedars of the Takhats. Sant Kartar Singh started the movement against the anti-Sikh Nirankari Movement and the whole Sikh world knows of what Sant Jarnail Singh did in the early 80’s.

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History

ABOUT DAMDAMI TAKSAL

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The tenth King Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji was at Sri Anandpur Sahib delivering His Sikhs to Sachkhand. A Gursikh who would complete his daily prayer of the Panj Granthi (a collection of prayers from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) with love and respect made a mistake. The Gursikh was made to realise that Gurbani is an ang (limb) of Guru Ji, and making a mistake while reciting Gurbani is like hurting Guru Ji. Following this Pyare Bhai Daya Singh, along with other respected Gursikhs requested the following to Guru Ji. "Oh keeper of the poor! Bless us with the understanding of Gurbani. Without an understanding we don't whether what we do is correct or incorrect."

Satguru Ji would never return the request of a Gursikh. After all the battles where He sacrificed all His family. Upon leaving Muktsar Sahib and arriving at Sabo ki Talwandi. Guru Ji gave the following command to his Gursikhs. "Go to Dhir Mal (he was the elder brother of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji and grandson to Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji) who is at Kartarpur Sahib.

The fifth King Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji who has compiled the Aad Granth has left room for the inclusion of the ninth Kings Bani. I will do that and bless you with the understanding of Gurbani." Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji along with 24 other Singhs were turned away by Dhir Mal with the following message. "If your Guru is the same roop (form) as the first and fifth Kings, then why doesn't he fashion Gurbani from memory?"

Guru Ji answered this taunt of Dhir Mal in the following way. The true King Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave a great honour to Guru ki Kanshi, Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib, Sabo ki Talwandi. Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh was the scribe as Guru Sahib Ji compiled Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from his sacred tongue. There were such great blessings that Jap(u) Ji Sahib, Rehraas Sahib and Kirtan Sohila were written on the first morning. On that evening the Gursikh Sangat listened to the meanings of the completed Gurbani. The understanding of the Gurbani that was written at amrit vela (ambrosial hours of the morning) would be explained in the evening to the 48 Singhs and the rest of the Gursikh Sangat. Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji with firm faith would complete the seva of providing the paper, pens and ink. In this way within 9 months and 9 days, on the full moon of Katak, Samat 1762, till until 1763 Bikrami 23 Savan, the understanding of Gurbani was taught. With the inclusion of the ninth Kings Bani, from Ik Oa(n)kaar to At(h)arah Das Bees, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was completed. A great benevolence was done to the world.

After seeing and listening to this limitless, powerful knowledge, the Gursikh Sangat as well the atheists were astonished. By listening to Guru Sahib Ji, the Gursikh Sangat were given the opportunity to rectify their lives. The 48 Singhs gained Brahm Gianta (the knowledge of God) and were liberated while living. The Singhs reached such spiritual states that they lost all care of the world. Seeing this Satguru Ji ordered Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji not to lose care, but to continue in selfless service teaching others what he had learnt. Guru Ji said that he would not forget a thing even if he were to get cut piece by piece. Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji was also given this command and was told that he wouldn't forget a thing even if his head were separated from his body.

Both Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji and Baba Deep Singh Ji stayed with Guru Sahib Ji (when They went to Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib) teaching the understanding of Gurbani to other Gursikhs. Just before Guru Ji ascended to Sachkhand He sent Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh JI to Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar, and Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji to Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib to continue teaching the understanding of Gurbani. Damdami Taksal has been operating under the leadership of Brahm Gianis until now, and will forever more.

Names of the 48 Singhs:

Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Giani Kaan Singh Ji

Giani Binod Singh Ji

Giani Gurbaksh Sinshad

Baba Deep Singh Ji (Damdami Taksal’s 2nd Jathedar)

Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Ji

Giani Dan Singh Ji

Bhai Param Singh Ji

Bhai Dharam Singh Ji

Bhai Shameer Singh Ji

Bhai Daya Singh Ji

Bhai Bhevan Singh Ji

Bhai Piara Singh Ji

Bhai Bir Singh Ji

Bhai Dheer Singh Ji

Bhai Sundar Singh Ji

Bhai Amar Singh Ji

Bhai Tara Singh Ji

Bhai Jagjeevan Singh Ji

Bhai Gopal Singh Ji

Bhai Dhian Singh Ji

Bhai Binshvar Singh Ji

Bhai Hargopal Singh Ji

Bhai Dhanna Singh Ji Kaviraj

Bhai Nand Singh Ji

Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Bhai Rai Singh Ji

Bhai Makhan Singh Ji

Bhai Madan Singh Ji

Bhai Dharam Singh Ji

Bhai Sujan Singh Ji

Bhai Jeevan Singh Ji

Bhai Akal Singh Ji

Bhai Pritpal Singh Ji

Bhai Dyal Singh Ji

Bhai Bakhtavar Singh Ji Sodhi

Bhai Deva Singh Ji

Bhai Meva Singh Ji

Bhai Dhian Singh Ji

Bhai Achal Singh Ji

Bhai Jai Singh Ji

Bhai Bishan Singh Ji

Bhai Bhag Singh Ji

Bhai Vasava Singh Ji

Bhai Ghanea Singh Ji

Bhai Ram Singh Ji

Bhai Trilok Singh Ji

Bhai Maliagar Singh Ji

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Sant Baba Thakur Singh ji

The Sikh nations respected religious personality,Baba Takhur Singh Jee was born in 1915,village Eechogill, Dist Lahore (Pakistan) to the respected Baba Bahadur Singh and Mata Prem Kaur Jee.

Both his parents were Amritdhari, who recited many prayers daily and had unshakeable faith in the guru .After the partition they came to India, where in village Sadaruala , near Makhu , Dist Ferozepur, they started to live. From birth Baba jee was forever meditating, merciful, peaceful hearted, imbued with spiritual energy and had unshakeable faith in the Guru. From a young age they would not waste their time playing or talking .When a little older, they started helping his mother and father in running the household, doing which he would forever attune his concentration to the one intoxicating Naam Simran. From childhood ,Baba Jee used to share his earnings/food/belongings with others as he saw Gods light in all ,and was always inspired to help others being engrossed in the seva and simran. Baba Jee’s mind forever longed to be in the precence and seva of a true Gursikh/Brahmgiani.

They learnt through others that Brahmgiani Sant Gurbachan Singh Jee Khalsa along with his Jatha were doing Sikhi Parcher- who are respected as great intellectuals and who have much blessings of Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee. Baba Jee left home and went to Bhindra in Dist Moga where Khalsa Jee resided, their Baba Jee took Amrit from Panj Pyare. Khalsa Jee recognised Baba Jee’s spiritual state and thus put him in charge of Langar, this seva was performed with much love and commitment, after 2 & half years seva Khalsa Jee accepted Baba Jee into the Jatha and taught him the knowledge of god.

Until Khalsa Jee went to sachkand, Baba Jee did seva of Garveye (close associate) for 22 years, Khalsa Jee being happy with this seva blessed Baba Jee with many gifts. They blessed him with a great spiritual state .They said ,’’A time will come , when you will perform the greatest seva of all . After Khalsa Jee went to sachkand, Baba Jee carried on seva of Langer and sangats, with Sant Giani Kartar Singh Jee Khalsa , and forever remained imbued in Naam Simran . Sant Giani Kartar Singh Jee had much respect for Baba Jee & would discuss decisions to be made with Baba Jee. This time was a critical period for Sikh’s as there were many efforts being made to silence the Sikh community, as a political and faith group. Sant Kartar Singh Jee Khalsa held 37 major processions which woke the sleeping Sikh masses to their identity. The government were trying to silence Sant Kartar Singh Jee Khalsa and were making plan’s to arrest him, Santh Jee said the follwing in response to this, ‘’If the government arrest me, then after me Baba Takhur Singh Jee will be responsible for Damdami Taksal. They can give the seva of leadership to whom they please.”

After Sant Kartar Singh Jee Khalsa Bhindra Vale ascended to Sachkand, Baba Jee appointed Sant Giani Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa the leader of Damdami Taksal, Sant Jee would always heed Baba Jee’s advice.

In July 1982 Sant Jarnail Singh Jee Khalsa began the Dharam Yudh Morcha to free the Sikh’s from oppression of the government and made Amritsar their permanent residence, and Baba Jee was given the seva to look after Gurdawara Gurdashan Parkash Mehta. In June 1984 the government attacked Sri Harmander Sahib and Sri Akhal Takhat Sahib martyred countless Singh’s and Singhnia. After the attack Sant Jee went underground, in the absence of Sant Jee the Damdami Taksal seva was given to Baba Jee by the Sangat, which they are performing to their best currently, he has guided the Damdami Taksal through testing and difficult times, and his wisdom has shined throughout.

Baba Jee has kept the Damdami Taksal Parcher countinuous, he attends many functions throughout the world. Thousands have been inspired through parcher organised by Baba Jee and have taken Amrit. He has fought cases for arrested Singh’s and has assisted those still in jail, in whatever manner possible, Shaheed’s families have been provided for and are still being supported.

He restarted the great tradition of Sarbat Khalsa and they performed the reconstruction of Sri Akhal Takhat Sahib with much physical fervour, many other Gurdwaras have been built and are being built/renovated.

Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj B-block was built in Sri Amritsar in memory of the Shaheeds of the encounter with Nakali Nirankaris of 1978. At Sri Anandpur Sahib on Kiratpur Sahib Road a Gurdwara was built to benefit visiting sangats. In memory of Sant Giani Gurbachan Singh Jee Khalsa a Khalsa academy & a hospital have been built at Mehta. Baba Jee is respected throughout the panth as a very spiritual/gifted leader and he is a shining example of a Khalsa. When they utter Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh peace is brought to the minds of thousands.

Baba Ji was a brahm giani of very few words, but did state several times that Sant Giani Jarnail Singh Ji was not shaheed and will return in due time to guide the Khalsa panth once more. Those fortunate to have met Baba Ji, will speak of the light of love shining from them and will know that they have had the darshan of one of the greatest Mahapurkhs of the Khalsa Panth.

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JATHEDAR

Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji & Bhai Mani Singh Ji

(Joint Jathedars)

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Baba ji was born in the village of Pahuvind district Amritsar, in the year 1682. Baba ji's fathers name was Bhagto ji and mothers name was Jioonee. From a young age Baba ji had practiced reciting Gurbani, singing Kirtan and doing sangat of fellow Gursikhs, morning and night. He regularly went horse riding and training, in Shastar Vidya (weapons training). He was a lovable and popular character, who conducted himself very well. The people in his locality treated him with great respect because of his religious nature.

After the battle of Muktsar Sahib in 1704, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji Maharaj reached Damdama Sahib-Sabo Ki Talwandi, here Guru ji compiled Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh ji scribing all that Guru Ji uttered. Baba Deep Singh ji carried out the seva of providing the paper, pens and ink, for this great task of preparing Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Baba ji did this seva with the utmost love and respect. When Guru ji went to Sri Hazoor Sahib, Baba ji went along with Maharaj. Baba ji was present in the Panj Pyare when Guru Sahib ji gave the Gurgadi (the Throne of the Sikh Guruship) to Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji at Sri Hazoor Sahib ji, Nanded. Along with Baba ji, Pyare Dharam Singh ji, Bhai Har Singh ji, Bhai Santokh Singh ji, and Bhai Gurbaksh Singh took part in this great seva, and completed the Ardas that passed the Gurgadi to our everlasting Master, Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Just before leaving the world Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji ordered Baba Deep Singh ji to go back to Damdama Sahib and continue the Taksal (school) that taught Gursikhs the correct meanings and pronunciations of Gurbani. All the Gurdware at Damdama Sahib were also put under the management of Baba ji by Guru ji. Here Baba ji prepared Gurbani Pothis/Anthologies and sent them to numerous Sikh shrines and thus made a massive effect on promoting/spreading the message of the Guru. Baba ji also assisted Baba Banda Singh ji Bahadar in all of his battles between 1708 and 1715.

In 1716 Baba ji prepared four more Saroops (editions) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. They were taken to the other four Takhats; Sri Akal Takhat Sahib Amritsar, Takhat Sri Harmandir ji Patna Sahib (Bihar), Takhat Sri Kesgarh Sahib Anandpur Sahib and Takhat Abichal Nagar Sach Khand Sri Hazoor Sahib Nanded (Maharashtar).

Baba Deep Singh ji was not only a great scholar in Gurmukhi (the language created by the Sikh Gurus), but also a great scholar of Arabic and Persian, he was the first writers of the Sikh Panth. Baba ji wrote a Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji in Arabic and sent it to the Middle East. This was a great service that was done by Baba ji for the Sikhs of these countries.

The Gursikhs of the Panth had and have great respect for the great scholar, philosopher and saint soldier Baba Deep Singh ji. The title of Nawab given to Bhai Sahib Kapoor Singh ji by Zakariaa Khan, out of respect was placed at the feet of Panj Pyare before it was taken up, Baba ji was present in these Panj Pyare. After Deewan Darbara Singh ji left the world for Sach Khand, two Jathe (battalions) in the form of Budha Dal and Tarna Dal were formed. Tarna Dal was made up of five sections each having a jathedar. Shaheed Baba Deep Singh ji, was appointed one of these five jathedars by the Sikhs. There were 2000 horse mounted Gursikhs in Baba ji's jatha. When Masr Rangar was disrespecting Sri Harmandir Sahib it was a Gursikh, Jathedar Budha Singh ji, from Baba ji's jatha that sent Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mehtab Singh to avenge the sacrilege that was occurring (Masr Rangr had turned Sri Harimandir Sahib into a party hall, with prostitutes). Bhai Sukha Singh and Bhai Mehtab Singh decapitated Masr Rangar and his head at the feet of Jathedar Budha Singh ji when they came back. Baba ji heard news of Jahan Khan continuing atrocities against the Sikhs and the sacred Sarover (nectar pool) of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Baba ji reached Taran Taaran Sahib and bathed in the holy Sarover along with a jatha of 500 Gursikhs, all wearing clothes in the sacred colour of saffron and ready for battle. After making Karah Parshad (an offering made to Guru ji, made using butter, sugar, flour, water and Gurbani) and making the following ardas: "Until Sri Harimandir Sahib is free from the tyrants, I will not become shaheed." Baba ji along with their jatha set off for Sri Amritsar Sahib.

Both armies met each other in battle, with the battleground becoming full of blood. Yakoob Khan and Baba ji met each other on the battlefield, Baba ji hit Yakoob Khan's head so hard that he collapsed right there and was killed instantly. Upon seeing this Pathan Jahan Khan confronted Baba ji, both their heads were cut off as they struck each simultaneously. A Gursikh called out, "Baba ji, you promised to place your head at the feet of Sri Guru Ram Das Sahib ji at Sri Harimandir Sahib." When Baba ji heard this he picked up his head in his left hand, took up his sword in his right and continued fighting. The tyrants were so astounded by this event that some started to run away, as they left the battlefield they told their fellow soldiers that the General of the Sikhs is fighting without his head.

While fighting Baba ji progressed to the parkarma (the outer circle) of Sri Harmandir Sahib, with the Sikhs shouting war cries. Baba ji placed his head at the feet of Guru Sahib ji and after completing an ardas left the world for Sach Khand.

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Damdami Taksal's 1st Jathedar

Dhan Dhan Baba Deep Singh Ji. There isn’t enough ink, or paper or pens to praises this beloved Sahibzada of Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj.

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Many people come into this world and vow to die for a cause. But Baba Ji’s jeevan was such that instead of vowing to die he had vowed to live until his mission was accomplished. Rather than writing Baba Ji's jeevani in this post, I will only focus on his shaheedi and the events which led up to it.

As news filtered through Punjab of the desecration of Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib, Sikh hearts began to cry tears of blood. The world stood quiet as this ghastly act took place. The Earth and the Sky readied themselves for the Khalsa’s swift response as time itself had stood witness to the fact that no matter how few Sikhs were left they would always pick up their arms to fight against tyranny.

The land of Punjab stood in a state of stillness as Baba Ji sat at Sri Damdama Sahib immersed in Naam Simran. Baba Deep Singh Ji finally got up and taking the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on his lips and carrying the Khanda of Guru Gobind Singh Ji in his hands came out of his tent.

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Suddenly a stir beginning from where Baba Ji was standing, and running like a wave along the line, it brought the Khalsa to its feet. A silence fell on everyone at once, for each felt that the momentous `now' had come to stand up to those who had dared to blemish the house of God.

This decision of Baba Deep Singh Ji was flashed from village to village in the Malwa belt. The fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters of the Khalsa Panth rose up in large numbers and answered this valiant call of Baba Ji by placing their services at his disposal.

The army of Akaal Purakh adorned themselves with his colours, and picked up his weapons, and sung his praises as they began to march towards their guru and his house.

When these beloved Sikhs of Guru Sahib reached Taran Taaran Sahib they bathed in the holy Sarover. Baba Deep Singh Ji then took the Khanda of Guru Gobind Singh Ji out from its scabbard and drew a line through the earth.

Baba Ji in a loud voice addressed the Ladlee Fauj of Guru Sahib as follows, “Whoever fears for their life, whoever has any attachment, whoever does not want to walk towards their guru with their head held in the palm of their hand can turn around and go back to their homes. Whoever has love for their guru and for sikhi should step forward and cross this line, but beloved Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh Ji once we cross this line there will be no turning back. There will be no rest and there will be no food or water or any of our loved ones. There is only death past this line. To liberate Sri Darbar Sahib every Sikh who steps over this line will have to give all their blood to this cause. We will make a river of blood which will drown these tyrants and wash them away from our land forever.”

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As soon as Baba Ji had finished all the Singhs began to run across the line. Baba Ji then led the sangat in an ardas to Guru Sahib. The Singhs asked Maharaj to bless this marriage of theirs and to prepare for them as they readied themselves to return to his kingdom. During this ardas Baba Ji made a vow that no matter how much blood he would spill, no matter how many times he would be cut, no matter how many arrows pierced his body, no matter how much pain he had to endure, he would not become shaheed until SachKhand Sri Darbar Sahib was liberated and its sanctity restored.

As the ardas concluded all the Singhs bellowed Jaikaray and began to sing, “Jo to praym khaylan ka chaao, sir dhar talee galee mayree aao.” (Those who wish to play the game of love, come to me with your head in your palm.)

“It maarag pair dhareejai, sir deejai kaan na keejai.” (If you wish your feet to travel this path, don't delay in accepting to give your head.)

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As Jaikarays thundered through Punjab, the world shook and the Afghan spies quickly sent reports to Jahan Khan that a blue and saffron wave of steel was pouring towards Amritsar. At once 20,000 Afghan troops were mobilised and dispatched towards Taran Taraan Sahib in an attempt to crush the brave hearts of Punjab.

As the Afghan army reached the village of Goharwal, they saw the blue and saffron uniforms of the Khalsa appearing amongst the trees. As they watched the approach of this wave the numbers began to increase, and the field of blue and saffron grew larger and larger until it seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see, and from the tops of the hills down to the edges of the stream gathered the Ladlee Fauj of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Nishaan Sahibs were furling and the beat of nagaaraas was echoing throughout the skies.

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Upon seeing the Afghan army the Singhs vied to go ahead of each other to drink the nectar of martyrdom. The Singhs charged forward and met the Afghan Forces in a fierce battle 5 miles away from Amritsar. They fell upon the Afghans like a lion on a deer, despite the fact that they were hopelessly outnumbered. The Khalsa fought with such potency that the Afghans slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before. Victory seemed at hand for the Khalsa but just then Afghan reinforcements arrived in their thousands.

The Afghan Army seeing reinforcements arrive began to launch several attacks on the bravest battalion of the Khalsa Army headed by Baba Deep Singh Ji, but these warrior lions of Guru Gobind Singh did not lose faith. Raising his Khanda Baba Deep Singh Ji’s thundering voice gave power to the battle cry Jaikara - "JO BOLE SO NIHAL", Every single Singh roared the response "SAT SRI AKAAL" . The Khalsa’s spirits rose, new life was injected into them with each jaekara. They faced the Afghans with rejuvenated spirits, just seeing the fire in the army of Akaal Purakh eyes was enough to send the Afghans running in all directions.

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United, like the waves in the ocean, by their deep blue battle-dress and turbans, they fought against all the odds and faced the rain of enemy bullets, stones, and arrows. Hacking their way through treacherous terrain, they hammered their way towards Amritsar.

Baba Deep Singh Ji’s body at this time had been pierced with hundreds of arrows and bullets but still he was marching forward at a relentless speed. His once blue chola was now completely red and soaked in his blood. It is said that Baba Deep Singh Ji’s movements as he single handily cut through the Afghan ranks reflected the Taandav dance of Shiva.

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Seeing his men falling to the floor one of the commanders of the Afghan army, Jamal Khan attacked Baba Deep Singh Ji with his sword. As Jamal Khan’s sword stuck, so did Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Khanda and in that split second both their heads were severed from their bodies. As Baba Ji’s head fell towards the Earth, a Singh shouted out, ‘Baba Ji you had vowed to drink the nectar of martyrdom only when Sri Darbar Sahib is liberated, there are still thousands of enemy soldiers.’

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Before Baba Ji’s head touched the floor his body knelt down and with his left hand he caught his head and held it in the palm of his hand. With his right hand he began to swing the Khanda of Guru Gobind Singh Ji with such force that those soldiers around him began to be chopped to pieces.

No longer could you see the body or the radiant face of this saint soldier, all that was visible in the battle field was a giant ball of steel which was leading the Khalsas push towards the house of Guru Ram Das Ji. Upon seeing this river of blood destroying anything which stood in its way, most of the soldiers in the Afghan army began to repent and fled away in terror. Those that remained on the battle field were decimated as the Khalsa storm approached Amritsar.

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When the battle was over Baba Deep Singh Ji and the few Singhs who were left stepped on the parkarma around Sachkhand Sri Darbar Sahib. Baba Ji did a final ardas to Maharaj before he placed his head at the feet of Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj.

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The Singhs who were with Baba Ji had all suffered mortal wounds but through the power of ardas and amrit they were able to fight on. After ensuring that the Kesri Nishan Sahib was hoisted above Sri Darbar Sahib these Singhs waited for Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji to come so that he could take them back home. Bhai Mahit Singh and Baba Naudh Singh are two other Singhs who also fought in this battle without heads.

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Today every second Baba Deep Singh Ji draws that same line through the world. Will you cross it and live to the standards of the Khalsa or will you continue to sit in silence as this beautiful path of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is set on fire by those enemies of humanity?

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

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JATHEDAR

Shaheed Baba Gurbaksh Singh Ji

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Bhai Dasaunda Singh and Mata Lachmi ji from the village Leel (near Khemkaran), District Amritsar, came to the live in the company of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib ji and the Sikh Sangats (Congregation). Guru ji commanded them both to take part in the Seva (selfless service) of the house of the Lord with love. Impressed with their selfless service, Guru ji granted their wish and blessed them with a son who would be a saint-soldier, Baba Gurbaksh Singh ji was born in 1688 AD.

At the age of 11, in the year 1699, Baba ji entered the path of Sikhi by taking Khande di Pahul (initiation ceremony of Sikhi, known as taking Amrit). Baba ji was15 years old, when both his parents passed away at Anandpur Sahib. Bhai Mani Singh ji and Baba Deep Singh ji taught Baba ji Gurmat Vidiya (Knowledge), he was also trained in Shastar Vidiya and became members of Baba Deep Singh ji's battalaion.

When Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib ji left Anandpur Sahib, He ordered Baba ji to stay there and continue Gurmat Parchar (preaching Sikhi) and manage the Gurdwaras. Upon the Shaheedi (Martyrdom) of Baba Deep Singh ji, Baba Gurbaksh Singh ji was appointed as the next Jathedar (Leader) of Damdami Taksal. Just like Baba Deep Singh ji, Baba ji produced Pothis and Gutke (anthologies) of Gurbani and sent them to places of need.

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.

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How A Singh Welcomes Shaheedee - Second Jathedhar of the Damdami Taksal

Taken From Pracheen Panth Parkaash by Rattan Singh Bhangoo

Translated by Admin www.tapoban.org 1 paragraph edited by myself

baba_gurbakhsh_sing.jpg

Introduction

Baba Gurbaksh Singh jee was a very well known and respected Singh, who had the honour of being martyred while defending Sree Darbaar Sahib.

Baba jee was of village Leel near Sree 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 Manee Singh jee. He spent time with Baba Deep Singh jee and Bhai Manee Singh jee and became a very good scholar and warrior.

About Baba Jee

Baba Gurbaksh Singh was always dressed in blue baaNaa and kept a very strong rehit. He would awake at amrit vela and do ishnaan. Then, while reciting baaNee, Baba jee would tie his dumalla. Baba jee loved Sarbloh. He would offer his respect to his sarbloh shastars i.e. kirpans, chakars, toRaas (metal cable tied around dastaar), kaRas, etc and then put them on. He would finally put on a mala of sarbloh around his neck and also many sarbloh kaRas and simarnaas. Baba jee's dastaar had many sarbloh toRaas tied into it. He would also wear a sarbloh armour.

Other features Panth Parkash mentions about the way Baba jee looked was that he wore a very long 1.5 yard kacherra and always kept a long stick with him.

Every amrit vela then, after dressing himself in his baaNaa, Baba jee sat in the divaan at Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib. It did not matter who came to meet him, whether a powerful Sardar or a lowly peasant, he greeted all people in the same way and with the same respect. He had absolutely no worldly aspirations or greed.

Whenever there was a battle, Baba jee would always go and confront the enemy. He would take the Nishaan Sahib himself and advance. With the beat of the nagara, Baba jee used to be in the forefront to confront the enemy.

Abdali's Oppression and the Khalsa Scatters

The Khalsa had scattered when Ahmed Shah Abdali brought his army through the Punjab. Some Singhs went to the mountains where they were looted by the mountain-people; others went and hid around the rivers where they were not only looted but also attacked by lions and other animals. Those Singhs who decided to stay in Majha and not retreat were turned over to the Afghans by traitors and informers. In Malwa, the Singhs also fared no better and had to go from house to house like beggars.

At Sree Amritsar, the Sarbat Khalsa gathered one day and after the night divaan, decided to abandon Sree Amritsar and leave together as a group for Malwa.

Baba Jee Offers His Shaheedee

After the decision had been made, Baba Gurbaksh Singh rose and addressed the Singhs. Baba jee said, "Is there any Singh in the Panth today, who would fight with the Afghans and sacrifice his head and then go to Dargah and with his sacrifice have Karta-Purakh listen to his request and ensure the Chardi Kala of the Panth? One who could do ardaas to Karta-Purakh and bring an end to these dark days? Is there any Singh who is so determined and is such a devotee of naam and one who is so strong in rehit? Is there anyone who will give his life for the rest of the Khalsa and with his sacrifice be able to wipe out the enemy?" [it is said that when the enemy kills a bhagat of Vahiguru, the bad karma of committing such an act results in the enemy also being wiped out. Baba jee was asking if there was such a bhagat in the Panth who could give such a sacrifice and destroy the Afghans].

The Singhs listened to Baba Gurbaksh Singh and replied, "Baba jee, is there any Singh better for this than you? There is no one with more kamaiee. No one else has the power to abandon their body and go to Dargah like you do. No one else's request will be more acceptable to Vahiguru 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. They said, "We were waiting for your call. With your permission we will be your Sarbaalhas."

Seeing these Singhs stand, many more Singhs also rose and said "then we all will come with you in the baraat!"

Baba jee then adressed all the Singhs and said, "Khalsa jee! You have all agreed to join my wedding party. We will give our heads in this Dharam Yudh and in this way we will be married. We will get Shaheedee and Guru Sahib will give us all Kingships. No, even bigger rewards than kingships. That Singh who gives his head in battle will be the King of Kings. "

The Singhs Prepare for The "Wedding"

By this time, Ahmed Shah Abdali had arrived in Lahore. He was preparing to go to Delhi when he heard about the gathering of the Khalsa at Sree Amritsar. He decided that on the way to Delhi, he would stop at Sree Amritsar and slaughter all the Sikhs.

Hearing of the advance of Abdali, some of the cowards who had remained at Sree Amritsar with Baba jee ran away. Baba jee also encouraged them to leave and said "Go! Leave now, otherwise we won't let you leave later!"

Only about 30 Singhs now remained. The remaining Singhs were all chardee kala naam abhyaasee Gursikhs. They prepared for their death like a groom prepares for his wedding. They all had new cholas sewn. Some decided to sew blue, and others wore white and others kesree. They gathered in front of Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib and eagerly awaited the enemy. They would stand on their toes to see if the enemy was yet visible on the horizon. They were discussing how they would give their Shaheedees and then in Dargah would stop the Afghan attacks forever.

The following day, the Singhs all rose at amrit vela. They began to prepare like it was their wedding day. They sprinkled themselves with attar and rose scents, and rubbed sandal past on their bodies. As they did this, they sang "GhoReeaa(n)" shabads from Sree Guru Granth Sahib. They then bathed in Sree Amritsar Sahib and then gathered at Sree Akaal Takhat.

Baba jee was looking very impressive in his new dress. He was wearing a blue chola over his new kacherra and was wearing a very tight dumalla, which was tied especially for battle. The dumalla had many chakars and kirpaans tied into it. The Singhs then gathered and offered obeisance to Sree Guru Granth Sahib. After reading 5 pauRees of Anand Sahib and doing ardaas, the Singhs distributed Degh and then as a group left for darshan of Sree Darbaar Sahib.

The group of Singhs was led by a Nishaan Sahib and nagaaras were beating. Baba jee asked the Singhs to sing shabads of happiness as this was their wedding day and the wedding party was now moving. Baba jee and the other Singhs also gave away all the money they had to the needy. They arrived at Sree Darbaar Sahib and did parkarma. Once inside, they showered Sree Guru Granth Sahib with flowers and then did Ardaas. Baba jee standing before Satguru Granth Sahib spoke the following words, "True Emperor, protector of the poor! Your Khalsa is going now to marry the bride of Death. We are going to battle the Dushts. Satguru jee! May our Sikhee and our kesh stay intact through our final breaths."

The Afghans in the meantime had began to move towards Sree Amritsar. They had prepared for a massive battle and brought a large army. They were wearing armour and metal helmets. They had decided to do battle in such a way that the Singhs would be killed but they themselves would incur minimal casualties. They had brought long weapons which could kill from a distance such as large guns.

Baba jee, after offering ardaas at Sree Darbaar Sahib, returned with the Singhs to Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib to listen to keertan and await the enemy. The keertanees began to recite keertan and the Singhs would ask that certain shabads they wanted to hear be sung. The GhoReeaa(n) shabads were again recited. 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 Singhs upon seeing the Afghan army came down from Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib. They bowed to their shastars (kirpaans, kataars and talwaars) and then grabbed them. Some Singhs grabbed very big sticks and others mounted horses. The Singhs vied to go ahead of each other and kept moving forward. They Singhs argued about who had the right to attain Shaheedee first. 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.

Some Singhs then ran forward and began the battle. The Singhs would sprint forward and began to embrace Shaheedee and complete their weddings with death. 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 Singhs were all eager to become Shaheed as quickly as possible. They had no hope for life.

Baba jee again called out, "Khalsa jee! Become Shaheed and cross this world-ocean! Let us go to the court of Satguru jee and ask that the Afghans never attack here again and that the Khalsa should rule! What is the delay now? Fall upon the enemy!"

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. Seeing this, Baba jee bellowed, "Don't let them go Khalsa jee! Stand and fight this Dharam Yudh!"

The Afghans did not understand what Baba jee was saying and were surprised to the see the Singhs run after them. They then trained their guns upon the Singhs. Many Singhs standing with Baba jee fell to the rain of bullets. Baba jee then took out his heavy Tegha and ran towards the enemy. He swung his Tegha with such force that it cut through the armour of the Afghans. Baba jee would aim for the face and neck where there was less armour. The Afghans all then began to cover their faces with their shields.

The Singhs seeing the cowardice of the Afghans threw aside their own shields and challenged, "look! We've thrown aside our shields, do you have the bravery to do the same? We'll take your blows without any shield, will you take ours?"

The Singhs continued to run forward and did not show any fear of death. They did not so much as look backwards. The Afghans continued to fall back and began to wonder why such a small group was not finishing and 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. Some cut through his skin and others broke bones. But neither did the Singhs accept defeat nor would they acknowledge any pain. Baba jee's body was pouring blood like a spring. But Baba jee kept moving forward. He was soaked in blood like he had just been playing Holi with colours. Eventually because of loss of blood, Baba jee became very weak. He could not walk anymore and became very tired. But with every ounce of strength in his being, he put on foot ahead of the other. He 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 with great effort used his khanda to cut off the spears and the Afghans again fell back. Baba jee would not look back but the enemy had surrounded him and knocked him to the ground from behind with a blow from a spear. Baba jee fell to his knees. Baba jee thought in his mind, "I cannot let go of my khanda. If I let it go, the enemy may consider me helpless and not attack. I will not be able to become Shaheed and my wish will not be fulfilled. If I do not take care of this moment, who knows if I ever get the opportunity for Shaheedee again?"

edited. . .taksals ithaas is different to what was stated here. . .as per katha by previous jathedars

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 though rose at night and attacked the camp. The Singhs stole horses and began to slaughter the exhausted Afghans. 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 to see what had happened. They saw the headless bodies of the Singhs and many many Afghans. The Singhs decided to make one big pyre and cremate all the bodies together. Behind Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib, a lot of wood was gathered and all the bodies were cremated together. 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. In today's dark period, where again the Sikhs are powerless and attacked from all sides, do we still have Shaheeds who can give their sacrifice and return power to the Khalsa?

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JATHEDAR

Giani Bhai Soorat Singh Ji

bhai_soorat_singh_ji.jpg

Bhai Soorat Singh ji was born in thee village of Chanyot, District Jhang (now in Pakistan). Giani ji's fathers name was Ram Chand, who was renamed Bhai Ram Singh ji when initiated into the Sikh nation upon taking Amrit. Bhai Ram Singh ji studied Gurbani from Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh ji and propagated the teachings of Sikhi throughout Jhang. The Rulers minister in the area disliked what Bhai Soorat Singh ji was doing, so along with his family he relocated to Amritsar.

Bhai Soorat Singh ji did spend some time in the sangat of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji and in fact accepted the boon of Amrit from Guru ji. Giani ji was taught about Gurmat by Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh ji and Shaheed Baba Gurbaksh Singh ji. They were highly regarded and respected for being a great scholars in Sikhi. Giani ji had great knowledge of the Farsi, Urdu and Hindi languages. Giani ji spent a lot of time at Amritsar teaching Gurbani Santhia (the correct pronunciations of Gurbani) and doing Katha (Gurbani discourse) daily for the sangat.

Giani ji wrote pothis of the katha they had heard from Bhai Mani Singh ji. They also wrote a sateek (translations into Punjabi) of the Vars of Bhai Gurdas ji. Giani ji were an ocean of knowledge, being a great scholar and a great Gursikh of our history.

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JATHEDAR

Bhai Gurdas Singh Ji

gurdas_singh_ji.jpg

Bhai Gurdas Singh ji was the eldest son of Giani Soorat Singh ji and were born in 1773. Like his father Bhai Sahib ji was a great scholar. Bhai Sahib ji became the Jathedar of Damdami Taksal after his father and continued the teaching of Gurbani Santhia and performing Katha at Sri Harmandir Sahib.

Bhai Sahib ji's son, Bhai Sher Singh became Shaheed fighting for the Khalsa Panth. Somebody asked them, "What is your emotional state after the Shaheedi of your son?" Bhai Sahib ji replied by quoting from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji:

jb lgu moh mgn sMig mwie ]

As long as he is intoxicated with attachment to Maya,

qb lgu Drmrwie dyie sjwie ]

the Righteous Judge - Dharam Raja shall punish him.

(Ang 278)

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