n this article of the Barah Maha series, we will delve into the message that Guru Arjan Dev Ji shares with us for the month of Maagh.

Composed by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, The Barah Maha Baani takes us on a journey throughout the year, allowing us to focus on a different aspect of spirituality each month. 

Historical Perspective - The Shaheedi of the 40 Mukte

In the month of Maagh, the Khalsa Panth remembers the Shaheedi of the 40 Sikhs who gave their lives fighting in the Battle of Muktsar for Guru Gobind Singh Ji. After the Battle of Chamkaur, Guru Sahib Ji traveled and reached a place called Khidraana, where the Mughals heard that Guru Sahib Ji was still alive. They launched troops in search of Guru Sahib Ji.

Meanwhile, the 40 Sikhs came to this barren land and set up tents at the hilltop. Seeing the outnumbered battle, where a handful of Sikhs had to fight against an army of thousands, the Sikhs wrote a Bedava (letter of resignation) to Guru Ji, stating that they were leaving and were no longer Guru Sahib Ji's Sikhs, and Guru Sahib Ji were no longer their Guru.

Maai Bhaago Ji motivated the Sikhs to withdraw the Bedaava, and they returned to Khidraana. As everyone attained Shaheedi, Bhai Maha Singh Ji was still breathing his last breath. Guru Sahib Ji was pleased to see the bravery with which the 40 Sikhs fought. They took Bhai Maha Singh Ji’s head in their lap and asked if he desired anything. Bhai Maha Singh Ji requested Guru Ji to tear the Bedaava in front of his eyes before he breathed his last. Guru Sahib Ji tore the Bedaava, and the 40 Sikhs attained liberation. Guru Sahib Ji also stated that the Panth would come together to remember the Shaheedi of the 40 Sikhs in the month of Maagh at Sri Muktsar Sahib every year.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s Message 

ਮਾਘਿ ਮਜਨੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਾਧੂਆ ਧੂੜੀ ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥

In the month of Maagh, let your cleansing bath be the dust of the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in Baarah Maha, inspires us to spend the month of Maagh in the sanctuary of the Saadh Sangat and in the company of Gursikhs. Guru Sahib Ji encourages us to engage in Vichaar (contemplation of Gurbani), Keertan, and singing Vaheguru’s praises while learning from Gursikhs.

ਗੁਰਸਿਖਾਂ ਕੀ ਹਰਿ ਧੂੜਿ ਦੇਹਿ ਹਮ ਪਾਪੀ ਭੀ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਂਹਿ ॥

O Lord, please bless me with the dust of the feet of the Guru's Sikhs. I am a sinner - please save me.

Looking back at history highlights the significance of Jodeyan Di Sewa. When the Sangat from Kabul traveled to Amritsar for Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Darshan, they found the Guru's Takht empty, as Guru Sahib Ji were personally engaged in taking care of the Sangat's Jode. When Baba Buddha Ji asked, "Maharaj, why are you tending to the Sangat's shoes?" Guru Sahib Ji responded that they perceive Guru Nanak's essence in the footwear of the Sangat. This exemplifies the profound faith the Sangat holds while performing Jodeyan Di Sewa. Considering that the shoes we are cleaning might belong to a Saint or Gurmukh, this Seva could lead to liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Doing Simran and Listening to the Guru

ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਸੁਣਿ ਸਭਨਾ ਨੋ ਕਰਿ ਦਾਨੁ ॥

Meditate and listen to the Name of the Lord, and give it to everyone.

Next, Guru Sahib Ji encourages us to meditate on Vaheguru’s name. The initial stage of Simran involves reciting Vaheguru’s name aloud and attentively listening to it. Through consistent daily practice, the divine sound permeates our heart, bringing about a transformative shift in our being.

ਜਨਮ ਕਰਮ ਮਲੁ ਉਤਰੈ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਜਾਇ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥

In this way, the filth of lifetimes of karma shall be removed, and egotistical pride shall vanish from your mind.

ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਨ ਮੋਹੀਐ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਲੋਭੁ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥

Sexual desire and anger shall not seduce you, and the dog of greed shall depart.

Guru Sahib Ji emphasizes that serving the Sangat and chanting Vaheguru Ji’s name alleviates the burden of past Karma and negative actions. Our mental ailments of pride and ego gradually dissipate, while lust and anger lose their grip, freeing us from the clutches of greed.

Remembrance and the True Pilgrimage 

ਸਚੈ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਚਲਦਿਆ ਉਸਤਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਜਹਾਨੁ ॥

Those who walk on the Path of Truth shall be praised throughout the world.

Next, Guru Sahib Ji states that those who praise Vaheguru receive acclaim from the entire world. Devotees like Bhagat Prehlaad Ji, Bhagat Dhru Ji, and Bhagat Kabeer Ji from diverse faiths are remembered across ages.

ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਸਗਲ ਪੁੰਨ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥

Be kind to all beings-this is more meritorious than bathing at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage and the giving of charity.

Guru Sahib Ji then reminds us that while doing pilgrimage is commendable, the biggest merit is to have compassion within our hearts. If our hearts are full of compassion for all living beings, we earn the greatest virtue by being of service to those around us.

At the same time, visiting historical Gurdwaras is also important because it reminds us of our history and legacy of sacrifice, inspiring us to keep progressing forward in our Sikhi journey. 

Being Wise = Being Compassionate!

ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਦੇਵੈ ਦਇਆ ਕਰਿ ਸੋਈ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਸੁਜਾਨੁ ॥

That person, upon whom the Lord bestows His Mercy, is a wise person.

Guru Sahib Ji goes on to say that one who connects with Vaheguru is blessed with the virtues of Vaheguru. The connected soul further shares these virtues with the world. Vaheguru is compassionate, and those whose minds are attuned to Vaheguru also become compassionate. They are known as truly wise.

ਜਿਨਾ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਨ ਕੁਰਬਾਨੁ ॥

Nanak is a sacrifice to those who have merged with God.

Towards the end, Guru Sahib Ji says that I am a sacrifice to those who have killed duality from within and become one with Vaheguru Ji. They have renounced their ego and fulfilled the purpose of their life by uniting with Parmaatma.

ਆਤਮਾ ਪਰਾਤਮਾ ਏਕੋ ਕਰੈ ॥

His soul and the Supreme Soul become one.

ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਰੈ ॥੧॥

The duality of the inner mind is overcome. ||1||

Message of the Month

ਮਾਘਿ ਸੁਚੇ ਸੇ ਕਾਂਢੀਅਹਿ ਜਿਨ ਪੂਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨੁ ॥੧੨॥

In Maagh, they alone are known as true, unto whom the Perfect Guru is Merciful. ||12||

Guru Sahib Ji states that in the month of Maagh, a Sikh is considered true when blessed with the Guru's mercy. Such a Sikh's heart is brimming with compassion as he dedicates time to Seva and Simran (selfless service and meditation), remaining free from the influence of the 5 thieves (Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, Pride). The month of Maagh is also a time for reflection on the legacy we are crafting for future generations. Let’s utilize our time and energy in service and meditation to leave behind a legacy of love and sacrifice!

You can help spread the message of Sikhi to people around you by using the leaflet created by the Basics of Sikhi team.
You can also check out our other leaflets on the Downloads page.

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