Welcome to this series where we will delve into the stories of devout Gursikhs from the time of Guru Sahib Ji. These narratives are conveyed by Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji in the Granth known as Sikha di Bhagat Mala, also referred to as Bhagat Ratnavali.
The series expands upon and narrates the stories of Sikhs whose names are cited in Bhai Gurdaas Ji's 11th Vaar. Bhai Gurdaas Ji considered these Gursikhs to be valuable examples of how a Gursikh leads their life.
Although the Vaar (ballad written by Bhai Gurdaas Ji) mentions the names of these prominent Sikhs, it does not elaborate on how they met Guru Sahib Ji or the conversations that took place between them.
The Sikhs were curious to know about the stories of the Gursikhs whose names were mentioned in Bhai Gurdaas Ji’s Vaar. So, one day they humbly requested Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji to shed light on this. Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji said, "I also asked the same questions to Guru Gobind Singh Ji - I will share with you whatever They told me. Those who listen to these stories will receive abundant blessings."
Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji has provided the Teeka (explanation of Guru Sahib Ji's teachings) and recounted the stories of the aforementioned Gursikhs, as they were stated directly from Guru Gobind Singh Ji Themselves.
Sakhi 1: Sakhi Bhai Taru Popat
ਤਾਰੂ ਪੋਪਟੁ ਤਾਰਿਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਾਲ ਸੁਭਾਇ ਉਦਾਸੀ ॥
Guru Nanak Dev Ji liberated a detached child called Taru, a Sikh of the Popat clan.
Bhai Taru Popat, a devout Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, had the blessed opportunity to meet Guru Sahib Ji at the age of ten. Upon laying eyes on Guru Sahib Ji, Bhai Taru made a heartfelt plea, saying, "O' Protector of the Meek! I have heard that those who meet saints find inner peace. I have come to your sanctuary seeking the same."
In response, Guru Sahib Ji inquired, "Bhai Taru, you are so young and have yet to experience the pleasures of the world. How did this desire for God arise within you?"
Bhai Taru replied, "While observing my mother prepare a fire to cook food, I noticed that she first ignited small branches and sticks to create a fire large enough. Only then did she add the bigger and thicker branches. Witnessing this, I became fearful that if even small branches could be consumed by fire, there was no guarantee that death would spare me at a young age. Thus, I yearned to meet saints who could help me attain liberation. There is no certainty in death—it can arrive at any time, to anyone, and anywhere."
Gladdened by Bhai Taru's deep contemplation, Guru Sahib Ji said, "Bhai Taru, you shall become a Kultaru—a liberator for your future generations. Keep these three teachings close to your heart:
- Earn an honest and righteous living (Kirat Karni)
- Share your Kamaai (honest earnings) with others (Vand ke Chakna)
- With each breath you inhale, recite Vaheguru; and with each breath you exhale, repeat Vaheguru. Purify your mind from attachments and enmity.
Guru Sahib Ji illustrated this teaching with an example:
Once, there was a king who constructed a palace made of glass. One wall of the palace was adorned with gold and diamonds. Opposite this wall, he covered the other wall with a glass surface infused with mercury - turning it into a mirror. By investing in one wall and reflecting it in the mirror, the entire room appeared to be adorned with gold and diamonds. In this analogy, Guru Nanak Dev Ji represents the original wall adorned with gold, embodying all the beautiful virtues. While the mirrored wall represents a Sikh, who focuses on and reflects the virtues of Guru Sahib Ji.
In this manner, Bhai Taru embraced the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and followed the three core principles of Kirat Karni, Vand Ke Chakna, and Naam Japna. Bhai Taru would serve anyone who approached him, harboring love for all and practicing Prema Bhagti—loving devotion towards Vaheguru.
As a result, Bhai Taru Popat and his generations attained liberation.
-End of Sakhi 1 Bhai Taru Popat, Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji –
Author: Bhai Mani Singh Ji Shaheed
Translated by Bibi Gurprit Kaur