The City of Amritsar (literally "pool of nectar") was originally called Ramdaspur (Guru Ram Das's city) and Chakk Ramdas, or Chakk Guru, or simply Guru Ka Chakk. The habitation was started by Bhai Jetha (the future Guru Ram Das) when Guru Amar Das asked him to establish a new colony of Sikhs.
Guru Nanak's Visit
At that time there was no habitation nearby Ramdaspur. A few kilometers away were the villages of Sultanwind, Tung, Chattiwind and Khaparkheri. Guru Amar Das knew that Guru Nanak stayed at the bank of the small natural lake and the berry trees. Guru Nanak rested at night and in the early morning throughout the day, sang Gurbani (kirtan).
Guru Nanak sang of his thirst only for the nectar of the God's Name, to be engrossed in devotion to Waheguru. After staying near the pond for sometime, Guru Nanak then travelled towards the west. Bhai Jetha was tasked with finding the location that Guru Nanak had visited. Bhai Jetha searched, and found an open uninhabited tract of country some twenty-five miles from Goindwal, and there he established himself.
Dukh Bhanjani Beri
Dukh Bhanjani Beri is a historic Beri tree in the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex associated with Bibi Rajni Ji. Bibi Rajni was the daughter Duni Chand Khatri who was a rich landlord of the town of Patti. Duni Chand had five daughters. All were beautiful and talented.
Duni Chand, the Kardar (revenue collector) of Patti, had a big ego and one day he asked his daughters, "Tell me who provides you food and shelter?" The elder four daughters readily said that their father was providing them with everything. But the youngest daughter, Bibi Rajni replied, "It is God that provides for everyone". Hearing this, Duni Chand was enraged, he married Rajni to a leper. But Bibi Rajni did not mind, she accepted the leper as her husband and served him with great love.
One day, Bibi Rajni's husband asked her to take him on a pilgrimage to a place of worship so that they could earn salvation and end their suffering. Bibi Rajni procured a basket, put her husband into it, and tenderly bore him on her head to Hardwar, Tribeni, and other places of hindu pilgrimage in the hope of curing him of his malady.
Unfortunately, the hindu places of worship did not have to power to cure. At the time Sri Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji was constructing a new settlement at Amritsar. Wandering and wandering, Bibi Rajni by the divine guidance of piety and virtue arrived footsore and weary at the very spot which the third Guru had indicated and the fourth Guru had marked out as the site of his pool of nectar (Amritsar), and there laid down her burden.
Bibi Rajni and her husband needed food. After much discussion, during which the wife expressed her reluctance to leave her husband, it was decided that he should remain under a ber tree in the cool and grateful proximity of the water, while she departed to beg their daily meal.
Amrit Sarovar Discovered
The leper, left alone, saw two crows fighting. One had a piece of bread in its mouth, which the other tried to snatch. While they were struggling, the bread fell into the pool. Both birds swooped down upon it. The crows reappeared with their colour changing from black to white. Seeing this he concluded that pool did not contain ordinary water, so he made up his mind to bathe in the pond.
Bibi Rajni's husband crawled to the pond and went in. When he came out he was astonished to find himself healthy, he was no longer a leper. He walked as a young man and again sat under the shade of the Ber tree. When Bibi Rajni returned from langar she was unable to recognize her husband.
On arriving, her consternation knew no bounds. In the perfect proportions of the man who stood before her, Bibi Rajni could not discover her husband, the recent crippled and maimed leper, and she shrank from his embrace with all the indignation of outraged virtue. In vain did her husband tried to explain the cause of his metamorphosis. She interrupted his narrative with tears and imprecations.
Pool Of Nectar
Bibi Rajni's belief was, that the stranger before her had killed her husband, and now presented himself as an unholy lover in her helplessness and bereavement. The quarrel continued between husband and wife. She refused to accept his statements, and he felt mortified at the incredulity of his wife. Remonstrance and argument had no effect on her, and feminine obstinacy temporarily triumphed.
With ceaseless objurgations and monitions of divine vengeance Bibi Rajni hastened from the presence of the man she believed guilty of such great enormity, to mourn her darling leper in some remote and forlorn solitude. Some villagers who had accidentally seen the occurrence, bore witness to the fact that it was really the same man she had brought in her basket.
Bibi Rajni still remained sceptical. On this the villagers told her that Guru Ram Das, a famous Saint of God, was sitting under a tree nearby, and if she went to him he would resolve her doubts. Accordingly Bibi Rajni and her husband appeared before Guru Ram Das. After compliments, Bibi Rajni said, "I am a virtuous woman. I left my leprous husband here and he has disappeared. This man whom I know not, claims to be him, but I believe he is some deceitful person who has a design on my virtue. I do not think that this pool of water possesses such extraordinary efficacy as he alleges."
Balm For THe Wounded Spirit
Guru Ram Das smiled and said, "You say this pool has no such efficacy. It is in fact supreme among all places of pilgrimages. If you do not believe this, see this man is affected with leprosy in one finger. Let him dip it into the water, and you shall see the result. And whoever bathes in this tank shall obtain balm for his wounded spirit!" The late leprous cripple put his finger into the water and it was immediately healed.
Bibi Rajni was doubly convinced that it was in reality her husband who had accosted her, and that the pool possessed miraculous virtues. The ber tree, still on the spot, is that under which she left her crippled husband. The tree, under which the leper was sitting, came to be known as Dukh Bhanjani Beri as it is said to relieve the pains and afflictions of people. Every day, thousands of people enter the Amritsar sarovar near the Beri.
After the conjugal reconciliation through the kind offices of the Guru, the faithful couple embraced Sikhi, and the quondam leper and cripple assisted him in enlarging the tank, building to it flights of descending steps, and rearing on its margin imposing edifices for divine praise and prayer, worthy of the miraculous discovery of the water and its still more miraculous virtue.
Service To The Guru
Guru Ram Das's Sikhs rejoiced on seeing the Guru's participation in this miracle, and the Kardar of Patti (Bibi Rajni's father) was astonished on hearing of it. Duni Chand was delighted on again beholding his daughter and seeing her husband restored to ordinary human shape and vigour. He recognized the Guru as a real saint of God, made him offerings, and prostrated himself before him. At the time Guru Ram Das composed the following Gurbani;
ਗੂਜਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥
Gūjrī mėhlā 4.
Gujri, Fourth Mehl.
ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਮੁ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਨੁ ਮੋਹੈ ॥
Govinḏ govinḏ parīṯam man parīṯam mil saṯsangaṯ sabaḏ man mohai.
The Lord, the Lord of the Universe is the Beloved of the minds of those who join the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation. The Shabad of His Word fascinates their minds.
ਜਪਿ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ਸਭ ਕਉ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਇ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਓਹੈ ॥੧॥
Jap govinḏ govinḏ ḏẖi▫ā▫ī▫ai sabẖ ka▫o ḏān ḏe▫e parabẖ ohai. ||1||
Chant, and meditate on the Lord, the Lord of the Universe; God is the One who gives gifts to all. ||1||
ਮੇਰੇ ਭਾਈ ਜਨਾ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਗੋਵਿੰਦੁ ਮਨੁ ਮੋਹੈ ॥
Mere bẖā▫ī janā mo ka▫o govinḏ govinḏ govinḏ man mohai.
O my Siblings of Destiny, the Lord of the Universe, Govind, Govind, Govind, has enticed and fascinated my mind.
ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਜਨੁ ਸੋਹੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Govinḏ govinḏ govinḏ guṇ gāvā mil gur sāḏẖsangaṯ jan sohai. ||1|| rahā▫o.
I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord of the Universe, Govind, Govind, Govind; joining the Holy Society of the Guru, Your humble servant is beautified. ||1||Pause||
ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਕਉਲਾ ਰਿਧਿ ਸਿਧਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਪਗਿ ਓਹੈ ॥
Sukẖ sāgar har bẖagaṯ hai gurmaṯ ka▫ulā riḏẖ siḏẖ lāgai pag ohai.
Devotional worship to the Lord is an ocean of peace; through the Guru's Teachings, wealth, prosperity and the spiritual powers of the Siddhas fall at our feet.
ਜਨ ਕਉ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਆਧਾਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਤ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੇ ਸੋਹੈ ॥੨॥
Jan ka▫o rām nām āḏẖārā har nām japaṯ har nāme sohai. ||2||
The Lord's Name is the Support of His humble servant; he chants the Lord's Name, and with the Lord's Name he is adorned. ||2||
ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗਹੀਨ ਮਤਿ ਫੀਕੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਆਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਹੈ ॥
Ḏurmaṯ bẖāghīn maṯ fīke nām sunaṯ āvai man rohai.
Evil-minded, unfortunate and shallow-minded are those who feel anger in their minds, when they hear the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
ਕਊਆ ਕਾਗ ਕਉ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਰਸੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤੈ ਵਿਸਟਾ ਖਾਇ ਮੁਖਿ ਗੋਹੈ ॥੩॥
Ka▫ū▫ā kāg ka▫o amriṯ ras pā▫ī▫ai ṯaripṯai vistā kẖā▫e mukẖ gohai.||3||
You may place ambrosial nectar before crows and ravens, but they will be satisfied only by eating manure and dung with their mouths. ||3||
ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਤਿਵਾਦੀ ਜਿਤੁ ਨਾਤੈ ਕਊਆ ਹੰਸੁ ਹੋਹੈ ॥
Amriṯ sar saṯgur saṯivāḏī jiṯ nāṯai ka▫ū▫ā hans hohai.
The True Guru, the Speaker of Truth, is the pool of Ambrosial Nectar; bathing within it, the crow becomes a swan.
ਨਾਨਕ ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਡੇ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਹੈ ॥੪॥੨॥
Nānak ḏẖan ḏẖan vade vadbẖāgī jinĥ gurmaṯ nām riḏai mal ḏẖohai. ||4||2||
O Nanak, blessed, blessed and very fortunate are those who, through the Guru's Teachings, with the Naam, wash away the filth of their hearts. ||4||2||
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Ram Das, Ang 492-493.
On hearing this Duni Chand became ashamed of his previous perversity. Having no son Duni Chand adopted his completely healed son-in-law. Duni Chand made over all his property to his son-in-law, he went to serve the Guru, and put himself under his instruction and spiritual protection.
Guru Ram Das told his Sikhs and Baba Budha Ji that pond was the same holy place which Guru Amar Das Ji had foretold. In due course work began on a large sarovar which was named Amritsar. Guru Ram Das induced all his Sikhs to join in the work, under Baba Budha's supervision and engaged labourers to assist them.
The first sarovar was not Amritsar, it was Santokhsar. Santokhsar sarovar still exists next to Gurdwara Sri Tahli Sahib Amritsar. Guru Ram Das stopped work at Santokhsar and started work on Amritsar. Subsquently, both sarovars were completed by Guru Arjan. Amritsar continued to thrive as more and more Sikhs and settlers arrived.
Bibi Rajni - kept the faith in Guru and God, and was rewarded at the end.
Associated with Bibi Rajni Ji.
This Gurdwara is situated at the place where Bibi Rajni Ji used to reside with her parents and four sisters.
Associated with Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Guru Ram Das Ji, Bibi Rajni Ji.
This tree, under which a leper was sitting, came to be known as Dukh Bhanjani Beri as it is said to relieve the pains of people.