After cremating the martyrs of Muktsar, the Guru continued his onwardjourney. After passing through Sarain, Nautheha, Tahlian Fattu, Rupana,etc, he reached Chhatiana. In all places he liberated the people’s bodiesfrom chains of sins and evil, and their minds and heart from thralomof fear, desire, and passion ; and engendered in them a desire to closetheir ranks and lilberate their country from the tyrannical rule of theTurks.
It has been stated already that, in addition to his Saint soldiers, whoserved him for love, the Guru had engaged a large number of MalwaSikhs, mostly Brars, as paid soldiers. For some time it had not beenpossible to pay them regularly . They began to grumble and complain.
Again and again, they pressed him to clear their accounts and let themgo. He would ask them to wait. But they grew impatient. At Chhatianatheir impatience made them lose self control. They became ready to goto any length to get their dues settled. One day, as the Guru was aboutto move on, they held up his horse by the reins and refused to let himproceed until they were paid.’Wait a little longer.’said he.’No money is athand today ; but God will shortly send enough of it You know the risksthat I am in just now. Let us proceed to a safer place. You will have yourdues and more.
But those Malwa Sikhs had no regard for the risks that he was talkingof. So they said, ‘We have waited long enough. We refuse to wait a minutelonger. From here we will not move, nor will let you move, until thearrears are paid. If you need us further, promise to double our pay andwe shall be at your service as long as you like.”
The Master smiled and said, ‘Well, make your choice. Choosebetween me and the object of your greed. Will you have the Sikh faithor silver coins ?*
‘Sikhs we already are,’ replied the Malwa Sikhs and Brars. ‘TheSikh faith we already have. Give us silver. We desire nothing else.’
Just then, a Sikh arrived with a large load of gold and silver coins.
They were heaped on the earth at the Guru’s building. He then toldthe Brars to come, one by one, and get their arrears of pay. There werefive hundred cavalry men and nine hundred foot soldiers. They wereall paid at the agreed rate. When the Guru asked their leader, Dana, atwhat rate he should be paid, he begged the Guru to let him ever remainwith him as his Sikh. This reply pleased the Guru. ‘Well done.Dana,’
said he. ‘Thou hast preserved the foundation of the faith in the Malwa,.
as Mahan Singh and his companions did in the Majha. Now drink theNectar and become a Khalsa, the King’s own.’
Dana became Dana Singh. Most of the paid Malwa Brar soldierswere allowed to go. The money which was left over after paying offthe Brar soldiers was buried by the Guru at that place. He then movedon at his pleasure, baptizing his Sikhs, and lifting the people from themire of mundane fears and passions. After he had left, the Brars wantedto dig out the buried treasure, but in spite of their long and diligentsearch, they could not discover it. At that place there is a gurdwara:called Guptsar The Hidden Reservoir.
At Bhai Dana Singh’s loving invitation, the Master changed hiscourse towards the village of this faithful saint soldier. About sunsetthe party was passing through a beautiful green forest. The Master’seyes were slowly moving to right and left, resting, here and there, onthe superb display and natural grandeur which invitingly stretched asfar as, and beyond the horizon. His mind was calmly absorbed incontemplating the joy-inspiring scenery, and thence ascending to thefeet of the Great Master of Craft, its Creator and Sustainer. Suddenly,one of his companions said, ‘Master ! pardon my interruption. This isthe time of our evening songs and prayer.’
The Master stopped his horse, got down, and ordered all toassemble around him. Dana Singh went to his village and returned withfood, bedding and other necessary material. The Master was charmedby the natural scenery of the place, called it Lakhi Jungle, and decidedto stay there for some time.
Disciples from far and near come in their hundred and thousands tosee the long separated Master. The court poets and bards, who had scatteredon his leaving Anandpur, gathered again in the Lakhi Jungle. This reunionafter unspeakable vicissitudes and vexations years inspired unbounded joyin all hearts. Secret springs of poetry gushed forth in the bosoms of thepoets. Each vied with the others in praising the Master and the Lord above.
Verily, Anandpur was reproduced in all its joys and blessings in the LakhiJungle. The poems which these love gatherings inspired are very pathetic.
The Master’s extempore effusion stands above them all. It may berendered as under :
‘When they heard (he call of the Beloved Master, the buffaloes let drop thehalf chewn grass from their mouths, and lifted in hurry their half slaked lipsfrom the surface of water;
None lingered to wait for the others , each came running all alone; such was thestrange force of the unique fascination that overcame their hearts ;The period of separation was over and gone ; the Friend, the Master, metand caressed them; it was then that they felt comfort and relief; it was thenthat they thanked the Lord for this reunion
There were the same Nam gatherings in the Lakhi Jungle as theyused to be at Anandpur. The same joy inspiring and love breedingatmosphere as created here as it used to be there. Those who saw himhere, in the midst of his disciples, found it hard to believe that whatthey had heard of his sufferings and bereavements, could be evenpartially true. The radiance of his eyes was undimmed; the majesticglory of his countenance was undisturbed. He made numerous loveconquests here again. Many sceptics found all their questions and doubtsvanishing at the very sight of him. It was during his stay in the LakhiJungle that a Muhammadan faqir, Ibrahim by name, came to the Masteras a suppliant for Nectar. He was the first Muhammdan to be baptized.
By admitting him into the Brotherhood of the Khalsa, the Master showedto the people that his was a Proselytizing, and not an exclusive relgion,and that to him Hindus and Muslims were alike. Ibrahim became AjmerSingh. The Master and his disciples took food prepared at Ajmer Singh’splace. Orthodox Hindus were scandalized ; but a Khalsa was a Khalsa,whether before his birth into this family he was a Sayyid, Brahmin ora Charnar when the Master wanted to proceed further, Ajmer Singhprayed for permission to accompany him on his journeys and drinkdaily at the fountain of life which he found gushing from the Master’spresence. His wish was granted, and he remained with the Guru.