Bhagat Sain Ji
There is no denying the fact that the pure and pious souls influence mankind irrespective of the barriers of any kind. The kings make special efforts to get their history written but because of the precious deeds and altruistic words of the personages saturated in the love of God, new history is compiled daily in praise of them although it may not be possible to ascertain the exact date or year and place of their birth so as to confirm to the definition of history. Keeping their multi-faceted greatness in view, everybody feels proud in linking that personality to himself or considers himself blessed by linking himself with him. This has been the case with several contributors to the Sikh Scripture. Bhagat Sain is one such person.
According to some scholars, Sain who was born in 1390 AD, belonged to Karnataka. Their assumption is based on the evidence that Sain was once in the service of the king of Bidar, a town in Karnataka. Some others opine that Sain remained for most of his life in the service of the King of Bandhavgarh in Rajasthan and thus conclude that he might have belonged to Rajasthan. Apart from these two schools of thought, there is another view which believes Sain to be a Punjabi. According to this view, Sain was born in the early morning of the full-moon day of Maghar in 1343 AD in the village of Sohal Thati, in Amritsar district. His father's name was Baba Mukand Rai and mother's Jiwan. When he came of age, he went over to Lahore to stay with his aunt (father's sister). Sain married Sulakhani of Jalkhar, and led a householder's life. They had only one son born to them.
Later on, they migrated to Delhi from where he went into the service of a king of Rajasthan. It was during his stay there that he received spiritual enlightenment. Maybe, the above given facts are not unadulterated history, but this proves beyond doubt that the fame of Sain had reached beyond Punjab up to Rajasthan and Karnataka, but his links with Panjab are well established. Even now there stands a Gurdwara and a water reservoir in the village of Sohal Thathian to commemorate his memory. It is also said that Sain himself inaugurated the digging of this reservoir on the bank of which he used to spend long hours in meditation. Panjab Govt officially celebrated his 654th birthday on 6.12.1997 in this village itself.
Bhagat Sain, whose one hymn has been included in the Guru Granth Sãhib, is counted among the disciples of Bhagat Rãmãnand. Guru Arjan, Nãnak V, says in one of his hymns in the Holy Book that the name of Sain was a household word as a bhakta of rare devotion (GG,487). In another, hymn, he refers to him as an example of dedication to the service of holy men.
Bhagat Sain was not interested in study so his father sent him to Aunt Sobhi at Lahore. He learnt work of barber at Lahore from Ustad Azeem (barber). Bhagat Sain was married to Sahib Devi and returned home. He had a son whose name was Baba Nayi.
Bhagat Ravi Dàs in a sabda in the Guru Granth Sähib ranks Sain with Nãmdev, Kabir, Trilochan and Sadhnã in piety (GU. 1106). According to Bhãi Gurdäs, Sain was the disciple of Rãmänand and he had adopted him as his preceptor on hearing of the fame of Kabir (1398-1518) who, too, was Rãmãnand's disciple. All accounts agree that Sain was a barber, some stating that he served at the court of the King of Revã, then called Bändhavgarh, in Central India, while others hold that he was attached to the court of the ruler of Bidar in South India. Those supporting the South Indian tradition believe that Sain was a disciple of Jãnadeva. What is the best àrati or form of adoration of the Lord is the theme of Sain's pada incorporated in the Guru Granth Sãhib. According to Sain the singing of God's praise and meditating on God's name constitutes the highest worship. These alone will ferry one across the fearful ocean and bring him liberation.
There are two varying accounts of bhagat Sain's life. Some people hold that he was an employee of the ruler of Bidar and a faithful devotee of Gyaneshwar. But according to the popular tradition he was a barber who served as a personal attendant under Raja Ram, the ruler of Bandhawgadh. His nights were consecrated to a loving adoration of the Lord while the days were devoted to the humdrum duties at the King's darbar.
The tendency of the age was towards devotion and religious composition, and Sain found leisure in the midst of duties to study the hymns of Ramanand, shape his life on the principles inculcated in them, and successfully imitate their spirit and devotional fervour.
Acc. to Nabha Das Bhagatmal (1575), Bhagat Sain was one of 12 renowed disciples of Ramanand. His other Disciples were Kabir, Ravidas, Dhanna, Pipa, Bhabanand, Sursura, Sukha, Tulsidas etc.
Other sources from Sri Sain Temple, Batala also says so that Bhagat Sain was a disciple of Bhagat Ramanand and guided him to the true way of the lord.
Service of a King
Once there was a drought in Punjab so Bhagat Sain went to Delhi with his family, to Diwan Sohan Lal. From there he was sent to serve a king who was suffering from the frailties of human health.
The Bhagat Mal contains a legend which at illustrates Sain's devotion to bhagats and the estimation in which he was held for his piety. When going one day to perform his usual ministrations for King Raja Ram, he met some holy men on the way. He thought it was his first duty to attend to them, He took them with him, and began to render them with the customary services. With the greatest mental satisfaction to himself he gave them consecrated and secular food to relieve their souls and bodies. In thus acting Sain disregarded his duty to the king and braved his displeasure.
The legend states that a holy man, by God's favour, in order to avert the king's wrath and save Sain from punishment, assumed his appearance, and having gone and performed the customary duties for the king, took his departure. Soon after Sain arrived and began to apologise for the delay. The king said, "Thou hast only just gone after the usual services to me; why apologise?" Sain replied, "I have not been here. Perhaps thy majesty sayest so to excuse my absence." The Raja then knew that a special providence had intervened and performed for the usual duties.
It had at any rate at the time of the composition of the Bhagat Mal become an established custom that the successive kings of the house of Bandhavgarh should always be disciples of the descendants of Sain. They are now said to be followers of Bhagat Kabir.
With thy grace, O Lord I were redeemed
Namdeva, Kabir and Trilochan
As were Sadhna and Sain.
Guru Arjan writes,
Jaidev has abandoned ego,
And, Sain, the barber, has been redeemed by serving the Lord.
The accomplishments and duties of an Indian court barber at the time of Sain were and are still of a miscellaneous character. He is something of a surgeon and ordinarily a marriage or match-maker, he oils the king's body, shampoos his limbs, pares his nails, shaves his face and head, if he be a Hindu, and clips his moustaches, if he be a Musalman; amuses him with gossip and tales; often plays the rebeck and sings his own compositions, which deftly combine flattery of his master with social satire or pleasentry.
God is said by the hindu chronicler to have cherished Sian as a cow her calf. He frequented the society of holy men and was very happy in their company. He performed for them all menial officies, for he believed that serving bhagats was equivalent to serving God himself.
In this way God Himself intervened to prove the greatness of his devotee. Now let us see what Guru Arjan Sahib has said in this connection in one of his hymns:
His devotees, tasks has the Lord Himself
undertaken to fulfil;
These Himself has the Lord come to accomplish. (Page 783, SGGS)
Referring to the incident related above, Bhai Gurdas says.
Learning of the name earned by Kabir,
Another Sikh, who came on the scene was Sain, the barber.
He performed loving devotion at night
and went to the king's court in the morn.
Once many bhagat-guests came
and Kirtan went on all the night.
He could not leave his bhagat guests,
and thus tailed to do duty at the king's.
Lord Himself took Sain's form
and entertained the king.
After bidding farewell to all his guests,
Sain reached the king with diffidence.
The king called him from afar,
and summoning near bestowed robes.
You have captivated me,
said the king and numberless people heard this.
Lord Himself bestows honour on His devotees.
When the king heard from Sain's own lips the account of his absence, he thought very highly of the spiritual greatness of the bhagat. He was so impressed that he, along with his family, became disciples of Sain. Guru Arjan Sahib has in a hymn reiterated such a view :
One that is lowly without a name,
By contemplation of the Name in all
four corners becomes revered.
Beloved! Thy sight I seek: Pray grant it
Numberless by Thy devotion are saved.(Page 386, SGGS)
The above incident in Sain's life made his faith in God more intense and firm: it is inexpressible in words. From then onward Sain was always absorbed in the meditation of the Divine and sang songs in Praise of God who provides joys to all.
lt was perhaps keeping this episode in view that Ravi Das has written about Sain and other bhagats like him. He said that God is capable of doing whatever he wishes.
Namdev, Kabir, Trilochan, Sadhna, Sain-all are saved.
Saith Ravidas ; Listen ! devotees of God!
All within the Lord's power lies. (Page 1106, SGGS)
One more point becomes clear from the verse as quoted above: Ravidas was either a contemporary of Sain or was well familiar with his name and fame.
Guru Arjan Sahib had composed a hymn in Basant measure wherein the Guru refers to Jaidev's egoity and then his discarding of it. Herein he also said that Sain had adopted the profession of a barber to earn his livelihood. Writing of his fame, the Guru says in a verse as follows:
Sain, the barber, was running errands,
as known to all:
The Lord in his heart taking abode,
among the bhagats found he mention. (Page 487, SGGS)
This implies that Sain who did various odd jobs in the village had become very famous. The Guru felt it proper that a person's status should not be determined from one's profession or from the family in which he was born. Rather his deeds should determine his status in society. That is why he says about Namdev: God pushed the Brahmins and Khatris away, and instead embraced a calico printer as his son. Any profession is pious if it is marked by honesty and righteousness.
Bhagat Sain spent his entire life in the name of God and ultimately breathed his fast in at the approx. age of 50. His followers have been anxious even today to follow in his footsteps and thus make a success of their life by devoting themselves to singing eulogies of the Lord.
Bhagat Sain had many disciples from low and upper caste. One famous disciple was Brahmin Kordass. Bhagat Sain gave him namdan and explained the true way of life. Kordass made contributions in ending the false systems, like caste and untouchibility.
During last days of his life he spend with his friends Dhanna, sadhna,pipa. During his end time he called his son Bhagat nai to kashi and tell him to stay here for last time, to which he replied that he could not stay their for life time as he is worldly person. Bhagat Sain died in Samat at Kashi. Bhai Nai lived in Kashi for a year and returned to Punjab.
Main Themes Of Bhagat Sain's Bani
1) God is Supreme Joy
2) We should thank god for providing joy, happiness and wealth
3) Guru Is the source from where we can learn how to get the god (ਰਾਮਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਰਾਮਾਨੰਦ ਜਾਨੈ ॥)
ਸੀ ਸੈਣ ॥
ਧੂਪ ਦੀਪ ਘਤਿ ਸਾਜਿ ਆਰਤੀ ॥
With incense, lamps and ghee, I offer this lamp-lit worship service.
ਵਾਰਨੇ ਜਾਉ ਕਮਲਾ ਪਤੀ ॥੧॥
I am a sacrifice to the Lord of Lakshmi(The lord of Maya i.e God) ||1||
ਮੰਗਲਾ ਹਿਰ ਮੰਗਲਾ ॥
Hail to You, Lord, hail to You!
ਨਿਤ ਮੰਗਲ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮ ਰਾਇ ਕੋ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Again and again, hail to You, Lord King, Ruler of all! ||1||Pause||
ਊਤਮ ਦੀਅਰਾ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਬਾਤੀ ॥
Sublime is the lamp, and pure is the wick.
ਤਹਂੀ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਕਮਲਾ ਪਾਤੀ ॥੨॥
You are immaculate and pure, O Brilliant Lord of Wealth!(i.e God) ||2||
ਰਾਮਾ ਭਗਿਤ ਰਾਮਾਨੰਦ ਜਾਨੈ ॥
Only Ram's(God's) devotee can know the joy of Ram Name.
ਪੂਰਨ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦ ਬਖਾਨੈ ॥੩॥
and only such person says that the Lord is all-pervading, the embodiment of supreme joy. ||3||
ਮਦਨ ਮੂਰਿਤ ਭੈ ਤਾਰਿ ਗੋਿਬੰਦੇ ॥
The Lord of the world, of wondrous form, has carried me across the terrifying world-ocean.
ਸੈਨ ਭਣੈ ਭਜ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦੇ ॥੪॥੨॥
Says Sain, remember the Lord, the embodiment of supreme joy! ||4||2||
Bhagat Sain's bani can be found in the following ANG (page) of Guru Granth Sahib:
Bhagat Sain, pg. 695