Sri Damdama Sahib : Guru Gobind Singh Ji

After passing through many villages and showering bliss on largenumbers in every one of them, the Master moved on to Talwandi Sabo.

Dalla, a disciple of the Master was the most prominent of the inhabitantsof that place. He was obeyed by the people of his own village as wellas by those of the neighbourhood. At his call, they would lay aside theplough, take up the sword and the spear, and march under him to anyscene of battle or conflict to which he might desire to lead them. WhenDalla heard of the Master’s approach, he came with four hundred armedstalwarts to meet and welcome him to his village. A hundred rupeesand a noble steed in full equipment formed his humble offering to theMaster. When the party reached near the village, the Master ordered ahalt. It was the spot once sanctified by Guru Tegh Bahadur. The campwas set up. The Master’s tent was pitched on a little mound. He calledit the Damdama: the Breathing or Resting Place. Since then, it hasbecome a sacred place for the disciples who call it Damdama Sahib.

At Dalla’s suggestion, the rest of the paid soldiers were paid offand dismissed. Disciples came from far and near, in hundreds andthousands. There were the same Nam gatherings once again as atAnandpur. Verily, AnandpuT was reproduced once more at DamdamaSahib. One day, after the love gathering had come to a close, Dallaexpressed his great grief at the cruel and untimely deaths of the Master’sfour sons. ‘To my eternal regret.’ he added, ‘I never heard that you werein such a sorry strait. Ah, had I known in time, or had you rememberedme then, my soldiers, who are as big and brave as giants, would havegiven the Turks a good taste of their steel. The world would havemarvelled at their daring, and the dear Princes would not have perished.’

‘Don’t grieve, my friend,’ said the Master. ‘The Princes havereturned to their Eternal Home. They are not dead. As for your soldier,they have strong bodies, but thy lack faith as well as strength of heart.

They are wanting in the true martial spirit which the Immortal Draughthas produced in the Khalsa.

‘But Sire.’ replied Dalla, ‘bravery depends on the power of thearms. They have giant-like muscles. Each of them can over powerscores of the enemy. But pity it is that I had no chance to prove theirvalour. I cannot help feeling gloomy at the thought that they could notbe called in to save the precious lives of the dear Princes.’

The Master smiled and said, ‘What is past is beyond recall. Letus take care about the future, lest, when the time of need and trialshould come, we should be found unprepared.’

Further discussion was prevented by the arrival of Sangat fromLahore. One of the new comers offered the Master a musket of a newand improved design. The Master was pleased at the workmanship ofthe artisan. He then looked up to Dalla and said.’Well you just ordertwo of your brave soldiers to stand in a line about fifty yards apart,the first one standing near that tree over there. I want to test the rangeof the weapon.’

Dalla was startled at the strange request. His men were stunned.

One by one, they began to slip away. Those who still kept their seatssat with their eyes to the ground. Though Dalla could not discover anysense in sacrificing two brave men for the mere testing of a weapon,yet he wanted not only to obey the Master, but also to show him thathis giants were no cowards. So he said aloud, ‘Let two come out andbe a sacrifice unto the Master.’ There was no response. All the giants,the pride of Dalla, slipped away to their homes. Dalla sat with his headbent low in shame and vexation. The Master then said.’Let some onego and announce to those two Sikhs over there that one Sikh is neededto serve as a target for this new musket. Nothing more is to be said.’

As soon as the two Sikhs heard the announcement, they did notwait even to bind their turbans. They ran to the Master, trying, all thetime, to wrap the turbans round their head as well as they could. Eachclaimed a preferential treatment and pressed his claim to priority withsimple vigour and humble sincerity. At last the Master said, ‘It isdifficult to settle your dispute. So let both stand there in line.’

Then began a fresh struggle. Each of them wanted to stand nearerthe Master so as to receive the bullet before the other. ‘Steady please.’

said the Master, and they stood calm and quite with their eyes fixedon the Master’s radiant face. He took aim, slowly and deliberately, andpressed the trigger. The Sikhs did not swerve. The bullet had been firedover their heads. Dalla was amazed at their behaviour. He felt convincedthat his own soldiers would have deserted the Master at the first approachof danger. They were, he thought, no better than cowards. The thoughtplunged him in gloom. The Guru encouraged him and said, ‘Don’t giveway to despair. Your men, and you yourself, possess immense physicalstrength, no doubt, but, as I said already, you lack what is far moreimportant and powerful — a strong spirit to control and command thebody. Constant meditation on God and on the ideals of my Saint Soldiersmakes the mind and the heart firm and unshakable. Come, have adraught of the Nactar; become a member of the leonine Khalsa, andhave an experience of what true bravery means.

Dalla was not yet ready for Amrit. He kept mum. During the nighthe and his remaining soldiers ran away. In the morning gathering, notfinding him present, the Guru asked, “Where is Dalla?” A Muslimfaqir who was present in the gathering jokingly said, “There is noDalla or Nalla here. The Guru has been left alone.” The Gurureplied,”No,/a^j>, you are mistaken. The Guru is never alone; for Godis ever with him.”

After a short period of doubts and hesitations, Dalla took theAmrit, and from a mere soldier became a Saint soldier of the Guru andGod. His name was changed to Dall Singh. Thousands more werebaptized at this place. The Guru’s darbar was now as splendid as itused to be at Anandpur. The court poets and scholars, who had gatheredin the Lakhi Jungle, were with the Guru at Damdama Sahib. As thenews of the Master’s stay at that place spread abroad, learned Sikhsflocked round him in large numbers. Soon, the place became a centreof learning. The Guru called it the Kanshi or Benaras of the Sikhs. Hewould throw baptismal water among the bushes and declare that Sikhswould spring there from every shrub. At other times, he scattered pensin different directions, calling the place the Lakhan Sar: the Reservoirof Pens. He said that some day the place would become a seat ofscholarship and learning, and would be inhabited by learned and expertwriters.

While at Damdama Sahib the Guru celebrated Hola Mohalla in

the same grand manner as he had done at Anandpur. He was as jubilantas ever. Seeing him thus engaged, none could guess, or even believewhen told, that he had passed through so much suffering.

During the Master’s stay at Damdama Sahib, twice did orderscome from Sarhind requiring Dall Singh to surrender the Master to theMuhammadan authorities. On both occasions, he returned a defiantreply. ‘I will not,’ said he, ‘let even a hair on the Master’s body beharmed as long as I live. If you come with your armies, we shall retireinto the neighbouring jungles, and your armies will, if they dare pursueus, perish for want of food and water.’

At this time, Mata Sundri and Mata Sahib Kaur, mother of theKhalsa, along with Bhai Mani Singh, came from Delhi to join theMaster. After abeisance and greetings, Mata Sundri said, ‘where are myFour, Master ? Where T Her voice was choked; her eyes were brimfulwith tears. The whole congregation was deeply affected. Except theMaster’s no eye was dry, and no heart was beating its normal beat.

The Guru closed his eyes in divine meditation for a while, and then,in a calm, sweet voice, sang a song of the Master. A certain peace andcomposure descended imperceptibly on the throbbing hearts. Mata’seyes, too, were now closed; her face assumed a calmer look. The Masterfinished his song and sat absorbed in divine meditation. The mothersaw her Four, dressed all in light, residing in the regions above. Manyothers, too, had a glimpse of the heavenly sight. Then spoke theMaster, “Thy Four are not dead; they live and play in the lap of theEternal Father:

‘In thy lap and mine lies the whole people, the Khalsa here;Yes, thy Four have been sacrified for the sake of these millions of our sons.

What, then, if thy Four are gone ? There yet live, and shall live millions of ourdear, brave sone.’

Rama and Tiloka, 1 the two brothers who had, under great risks,performed the obsequies of the martyrs at Chamkaur, came to see theMaster at Damdama Sahib. They brought cartloads of grain and othermaterial. At the Master’s bidding, they narrated how they had put onthe appearance of madmen,and, thus disarming all suspicion, hadcollected and cremated the bodies of the martyrs. They also stated thatthey had found a large number of the martyrs bodies in one place ina half burnt condition. Near the pile lay the half burnt body of a Sikhlady. Apparently, she had tried to perform the sacred duty, but had beendetected and killed. The body of that heroine had also been crematedby the two brothers.

The Master was pleased with this service of theirs. They had alsohelped him at Anandpur with men and horses. So, he said, ‘Have youany desire to be fulfilled ? Name it.’ Rama replied that they had enoughof movable property, but had not yet accquire possession of anyland. ‘Cheer up,’ said the Master. ‘Nor land but territories, not possession1. These two Chaudharis were sons of Phul. The latter’s father had died when he(Phul) was yel a child. His uncle, Bhai Kala, took him to Guru Hargobind, whowas on a visit to that neighbourhood. On reaching the Guru’s presence, Phul beganto beat his belly. On the Guru’s asking why he was doing so, his uncle replied. ‘Thisorphan is hungry. He is asking for something to fill his belly with.’

The Guru saioVHe is very lucky. His descendants will be rulers. He will hmselfhave a good luck.’ This blessing was later repeated and confirmed by Guru Hari Rai.

but dominion and sway, will be yours. The time has come when thepromise of Guru Hari Rai and Guru Har gobind given to Phul, yourancestor, shall be fulfilled. Take the baptismal Nectar, become Khalsa,and prosperity will knock at your gates. They obeyed. Rama and Tilokabecame Ram Singh and Tilok Singh. The Chief of Patiala is a descendantof Ram Singh, and the Chiefs of Jind and Nabha are descendants ofTilok Singh.

It was at Damdama Sahib that the Guru blessed the Malwa land andsaid that time would come when instead of bajra, moth, akk, and reeds,the country would produce wheat, grams, mangoes, and pomegranates, inabundance, and canals of water would flow there. All know that the prophecyhas been fulfilled. Those who feel inclined to regard this prophecy as a mereinvention of chroniclers should note that the words were said in Samvat1761. Bhai Santokh Singh, who has recorded them in Suraj Prakash diedin Samvat 1900 B.k. The canals were constructed in the Malwa in Samvat1932 B.K. So, we must believe either that Bhai Santokh Singh merelyrecorded a prophecy made by the Guru, or that he himself was able tolook into the future, and ascribed to the Guru what he felt was going tohappen about forty years thereafter.

The Guru stayed at Talwandi Sabo, re-named Damdama Sahib,

for nearly nine months and a half. While there, he dictated from memorythe whole of Guru Granth Sahib and gave it the final form whichbecame fixed for all time. The work of writing was done by Bhai ManiSingh. This work of re-editing consisted of completing the Nitnem ordaily prayers by the addition of four hymns under Sopurkh, expungingsome pieces which had come to be added somehow at the end of somecopies, amending spellings here and there, etc.

This famous volume of the holy Granth was lost in February 1762A.D. at the time of the Wadda Ghallughara: the Second Great Holocaustin Sikh history. But, luckily, several copies thereof had been preparedprior to that tragic occurrence. 1

1 . Another instance of lack of proper knowledge and amplitude of jealous sentimentsis furnished by Latif in his description of this act of the Guru. On pages 271-72he writes: — It was the intention of [Guru] Govind Singh to modify the code of[Guru] Nanak as laid down in the Adi Granth and with that object he sent his ownmen to the Sodhis of Kartarpur to bring him the Adi Granth signed by Guru Arjun,which was, at that time, in their custody ; but as the Sodhis were averse to thereligious belief of (Guru) Gobind Singh, and did not acknowledge him as theirGuru, they declined to lend the book to [Guru] Gobind [Singh], making the remarkthat, if the Guru, who styled himself the true king, had the genius of law giver, hewould do well to make a Granth of his own. He occupied himself in composingAfter a stay of nearly nine months and a half at Damdama Sahib,the Guru decided to continue his journey southwards. Dall Singh andother devoted disciples of his begged him to give up the idea of furthertravels and stay among them. They submitted that there was, at thetime, little or no danger to his person ; for, after the battle of Muktsar,the Governor of Sarhind had ceased to molest him. Moreover, he wasin the midest of his devoted Saint soldiers, who would readily protecthim with their lives, if need be ; and he was in a part of the countrywhich was not easily accessible to the Imperial armies. All this wasrepresented to him by the disciples in support of their prayers. But hewas not eager to save his life or to live in ease and^omfort. The taskassigned to him by the Father had to be accomplished. For theaccomplishment thereof he felt an urge to proceed southwards andmake new love conquests. Hence he decided to proceed onwards.

the new Cranth in his retreat at Damdama, and finished it there on Sunday, 8th ofBhadon Samvat 1753 (1696A.D.). It was named by him the Daswan Padshash kaGranth

Guru Gobind Singh never thought of modifying the code of Guru Nanak. Therewas neither need nor occasion for it. What he wanted was to re-edit it and toincorporate into the Sacred Book the hymns composed by Guru Tegh Bahadur. Thecustodians of the original volume of the Adi Granth Sahib refused to part with theirtreasure, not because they were averse to the religion of Guru Gobind Singh, forhis religious teachings were the same as those of Guru Nanak, but because theydid not wish to let go out of their hands a book which had procured them position,honour, and wealth, among the Sikhs. They feared that they might never get it back.

It was the Adi Granth mat was dictated here by the Guru. This volume wascalled the ‘Damdama Sahib Wali Bir’. The Daswan Padshah ka Granth was notcomposed by the Guru but was compiled by his Sikhs, like Bhai Mani Singh, afterhis death, when all the available translations and original compositions of the Guruwere put together for the first time.

Another point in Latif’s account deserves special notice, for it exposes theshallowness of his knowledge of history. He says that the Guru composed his ‘newGranth in his retreat at Damdama, and finished it there in Samvat 1753’. By a littleexertion of the mind and memory, Latif could have discovered that in 1753 theGuru was living in peace at Anandpur. The Khalsa was created there in 1756 Bk.

Anandpur had to be evacuated in 1761 Bk., and the battle of Mukstar was foughtin 1762. It was some time after even that the Guru arrived al Damdama.