aba Buddha Ji was a Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and became the first Granthi of Harmandir Sahib Ji. In this article, we will look at their life and the Seva (selfless service) that they did of the first six Guru Sahibs in 104 years of their life.
How They Got Their Name
Baba Buddha Ji was born on 6th October 1506 to Bhai Suggha and Mai Gauran who were Jatts. Their birth name was Bura Sandhu. When Bura Ji was a young boy, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited his village to do Parchaar (spread the message of Vaheguru). According to the book Sikhaan Di Bhagat Mala, by Bhai Mani Singh, who was a leading Sikh scholar at the time of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Bura Ji was grazing cattle when he saw Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bura Ji offered Guru Ji milk and did Ardaas (humble request) to be removed from the cycle of birth and death.
Bura Ji told Guru Ji about how Mughal soldiers came and ransacked their family’s fields, taking all the crops, regardless of whether it was ripe or not. At that moment, a young Bura Ji had realized that just as no villager could stop the Mughals from taking their crops, nobody could stop death. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was amazed by Bura Ji’s maturity. Guru Ji reflected Bura Ji’s wisdom by renaming him Bhai Buddha Ji, which means “old man.” Later, when Bhai Buddha Ji advanced and reached the highest states of Sikhi and became known as Baba Buddha Ji.
Baba Buddha Ji became a dedicated Sevak (selfless server) of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. After getting married in Batala, Bhai Buddha Ji continued to remain focused on Vaheguru and Guru Ji. He started spending more time in Kartarpur Sahib with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Ji built a strong connection with Bhai Buddha Ji and Guru Ji gave them the honor to apply the ceremonial tilak to pass on the Gurgaddi (guruship) to Guru Angad Dev Ji. Baba Buddha Ji continued to apply the ceremonial tilak in the Gurgaddi ceremonies of the next four Gurus until Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. Baba Buddha Ji dedicated himself to Seva of all the Gurus he interacted with. He learned Guru Angad Dev Ji’s Gurmukhi script and took on the Seva of teaching it to others. He helped Guru Amar Das Ji with the construction of Baoli Sahib at Goindwal, the first Sarovar. At the time of Guru Ram Das Ji and Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Baba Buddha Ji helped to look over the Seva of digging the Amrit Sarovar of Amritsar. The tree which he used to sit under while supervising the excavation of the Amrit Sarovar is still on the premises of Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. It is called Ber Baba Buddha Sahib.
Relationship with Guru Arjan Dev Ji
Guru Arjan Dev Ji was married to Mata Ganga Ji on June 19 1589, at the age of 26-years-old. Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Mata Ganga Ji did not have a child for a long time after their marriage. So, Guru Arjan Dev Ji told Mata Ganga Ji to go do Seva of a Gurmukh and get blessings for a child. Mata Ganga Ji went to Baba Buddha Ji. The first time, Baba Buddha Ji turned her away because Mata Ji went as a queen, went in a carriage, surrounded by servants, and wore the most beautiful clothes. The second time, Mata Ganga Ji went to visit Baba Buddha Ji barefoot. She prepared him a simple meal of Missi roti and onion along with butter and buttermilk.
Baba Buddha Ji took the onion and smashed it in half with his hand. He told Mata Ganga Ji that such a son would be born in her house that would crush evil the way Baba Buddha Ji crushed the onion. Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s only child, was born on June 19, 1590.
Separately, when the Adi Granth, the first compilation of Gurbani, was installed in Harmandir Sahib on 16th August 1604, Guru Arjan Dev Ji appointed Baba Buddha Ji to be the head Granthi. In this role, Baba Buddha Ji was responsible for reading and interpreting the Adi Granth. He was the first Granthi of Harmandir Sahib.
Relationship with Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji
After Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s Shaheedi (martyrdom), Baba Buddha Ji did the ceremonial tilak of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji taking on the Gurgaddi (guruship). At Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji’s request, Baba Buddha Ji gave them two swords of Miri (temporal authority) and Piri (spiritual authority). Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji built the Akal Takht, the highest court of Sikhi. Akal means timeless and Takhat means throne in Persian. Baba Buddha Ji was one of the two Gursikhs chosen by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji to assist them in designing and constructing the Akal Takht. Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji had a deep trust in Baba Buddha Ji. Guru Ji gave them the responsibility of teaching spiritual education and weaponry to their son, Tegh Mal Ji (who became the ninth Sikh Guru). Baba Buddha Ji attained Joti Jot (immersed in the eternal light) on 16th November 1631 and their head was in the lap of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji at their last breath. Guru Ji even participated in the funeral, giving a shoulder to the bier and performing ceremonial rites. According to Gurbilas Patshahi Chhevin (a historical text), Guru Hargobind Singh Ji presented Baba Buddha Ji’s son, Baba Bhana Ji, with a special turban. Today, Gurdwara Samadhan marks the spot of Baba Buddha Ji’s cremation. Baba Buddha Ji led a life of true dedication and connection to Vaheguru. He continues to be a role model for Seva (selfless service) and Simran (remembering Vaheguru).