Baba Bakala is a historic Sikh town associated with Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji and Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.
In the 1640s, nearing his end, Guru Hargobind and his family including Tegh Bahadur and Mata Gujri moved to the village of Bakala.
Bakala, as described in Gurbilas Dasvin Patishahi, was a properous town with many beautiful pools, wells and baolis. Tegh Bahadur lived there with his wife and mother. He lived a strict and holy life and spent most of his time in meditation. Yet, he was not a recluse and attended to family responsibilities. He made visits outside Bakala and also visited the eighth Sikh guru, Guru Harkrishan, when he was in Delhi.
During his stay in Delhi, Guru Harkrishan was seized with smallpox. When asked by his followers as to who would lead them after him, he replied Baba Bakale, meaning his successor was to be found in Bakala.
Some pretenders took advantage of the ambiguity in the words of the dying Guru and installed themselves as the Guru of Sikhs. There were about 22 pretenders who called themselves as the ninth Sikh guru. The most influential of them was the nephew of Tegh Bahadur, Dhir Mall. The Sikhs were puzzled to see so many claimants and could not make out who the real Guru was.
Baba Makhan Shah Labana a trader from Jhelum district was aboard a ship carrying supplies when it was caught in a furious storm. This ship was tossed about by gaint waves and the lives of the crew and goods were in great danger. Helplessly, Baba Makhan Shah Labana knelt down and prayed to God and Guru Nanak for safety. He vowed that if by the grace of Guru he landed at the nearest port safely, he would donate five hundred Dinars to the Guru for charitable purposes.
The ship landed safely and proving to be a Sikh of great integrity he headed to Delhi where the young Guru Harkrishan had travelled at the command of Aurangzeb. Along the way he learned of Guru Harkrishan's passing and of his mentioning that the next Guru was in the village of Bakala. He arrived in Bakala to find 22 members of the Sodhi dynasty styling themselves as the Guru and taking donations from the Sikhs.
Baba Makhan Shah Labana decided to offer only two Dinars to every one claiming to be Guru Harkrishan's true successor. The true Guru would himself demand the exact amount he had vowed to give while any of the impostors would be satisfied with the two golden mohurs. Thereby, their own ignorance would expose their lack of spiritual insight and character.
As expected, none of the imposters could recognize him. But he was left with a problem; if none of these men were the Guru then where was the rightful Guru? He was about to leave the village when a child told him of another holy man meditating nearby who made no claims about himself. His name was Tegh Bahadur and he was the son of Guru Hargobind. Again Baba Makhan Shah bowed and gave 2 gold pieces and turned to leave. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji said, "Why have you broken your promise? When you prayed to God to save you and your ship from the terrible storm you promised 500 gold pieces to the Guru. The Guru is never in need of any thing but a Sikh is expected to keep his pledge to the Guru".
Thus the issue was clinched and the real Guru was discovered by Makhan Shah. In amazement Makhan Shah proclaimed that he would inform everyone upon discovering the True Guru. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was hoping to continue to meditate in solitude and told Makhan Shah not to tell anyone. The Guru tried to discourage him by saying his face would be blackened if he did so (this is a statement meaning you will be dishonored).
Makhan Shah took this as a challenge instead of a curse and put ash on his face and climbed to the rooftop to announce to all that he had found the Guru. From the rooftop he shouted for all in the village of Bakala, "Guru Ladho Rae" ("Found the Guru" in Lubanki the language of the Labanas). The false Gurus all left Bakala.
This small village where Guru Ji revealed himself subsequently came to be known as Baba Bakala.
Guru Tegh Bahadur lived and meditated on God's name for 26 years 9 months and 3 days at this location. This was where Baba Makhan Shah found Guru Ji. Today, there is 9 floor building upon the Bhora Sahib.
This was Guru Tegh Bahadur's darbar and where he was formally recognised as Guru.
After finding Guru Tegh Bahadur, the Sikh sangat set up a diwan. While leading the diwan, a Shia masand and follower of Dhir Mall attenpted the assassination of Guru Tegh Bahadur. He fired at Guru Tegh Bahadur with the bullet hitting Guru Tegh Bahadur's dastar without affecting Guru Ji.
At this location, Guru Tegh Bahadur's grand mother Mata Ganga (wife of Guru Arjan) and Guru Tegh Bahadur's mother (wife of Guru Hargobind) rejoined with God.
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