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Bhai Daya Singh

Bhai Daya Singh was one of the Panj Pyare or the Five Beloved celebrated in the Sikh tradition. He was son of Bhai Suddha, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, and Mai Diali. His original name was Daya Ram.

Bhai Suddha was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur and visited Anandpur more than once to seek his blessing. In 1677, he travelled to Anandpur along with his family including his young son, Daya Ram, to make obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh, this time to settle there permanently. Daya Ram, already well versed in Punjabi and Persian, engaged himself in the study of classics and gurbam.

Daya Singh was born as Daya Ram in a Sobti Khatri family of Sialkot. His father was Bhai Suddha of Lahore, and his mother was Mai Diali. Bhai Suddha was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur and had visited Anandpur more than once to seek his blessing. In 1677, he travelled to Anandpur along with his family including his young son, Daya Ram, to make obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh, this time to settle there permanently.

• Daya Ram, already well versed in Punjabi and Persian, engaged himself in the study of classics and gurbani. He also received training in the use of weapons.

• Original Name: Bhai Daya Ram
• Became Bhai Daya Singh on taking Amrit
• Born as Sobti Khatri in Lahore in 1661
• Fathers name: Bhai Suddha Ji
• Mothers name: Mata Mai Diali Ji
• Akal Chalana: Attained Shayeedie at Nanded Sahib on 1708, aged 47 years.
• At the time of creation of Khalsa, Bhai Sahib ji was 38 years old
• Together with Bhai Dharam Singh was sent to deliver the Zafarnamah to Emperor Aurangzeb
• On night of 7/8 December 1705 at Chamkaur with Bhai Dharam Singh accompanied Guru Gobind Singh out of the fort.

In the historic divan in the Kesgarh Fort at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, he was the first to rise at the Guru's call and offer his head, followed by four others in succession. These five were the first to be admitted to the fold of the Khalsa and they in turn administered the rites of initiation to Guru Gobind Singh who called them collectively Panj Pyare. Daya Ram after initiation became Daya Singh. Although the five enjoyed equal status as the Guru's close confidants and constant attendants, Bhaa Daya Singh was always regarded as the first among equals. He took part in the battles of Anandpur, and was one of the three Sikhs who followed Guru Gobind Singh out of Chamkaur on the night of 7th December 1705, eluding the besieging hordes. He was Guru Gobind Singh's emissary sent from the village of Dina in the Punjab to deliver his letter which became famous as Zafarnamah, the Letter of Victory, to Emperor Aurangzeb, then camping at Ahmadnagar. Bhai Daya Singh, accompanied by Bhai Dharam Singh, another of the Panj Pyare, reached Ahmad nagar via Aurangabad, but found that it was not possible to directly access the Emperor and deliver the letter to him personally, as Guru Gobind Singh had directed. Daya Singh sent Dharam Singh back to seek the Guru's advice but before the latter could return with fresh instructions, he managed to deliver the letter and returned to Aurangabad. A Gurdwara called Bhai Daya Singh marks the place of his sojourn in Dhami Mahalla.

Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh returned and, according to Sikh tradition, they re-joined Guru Gobind Singh at Kalayat, a town 52 km southwest of Bikaner (28 4'N, 73 - 21'E) in Rajasthan. Bhai Daya Singh remained in attendance upon the Guru and was with him at the time of his death at Nanded on 7 October 1708. Bhai Daya Singh died at Nanded soon after and a joint memorial was built for Bhai Daya and Bhai Dharam Singh known as Aagitha (burning pyre) which marks the site of their cremation.

Bhai Daya Singh was a scholar. One of the Rehatnamas, manuals on Sikh conduct, is ascribed to him. The Nirmalas, claim him as one of their forebearers. Their Darauli branch traces its origin to Bhai Daya Singh through Baba Deep Singh.

The institution of the Panj Pyare, and the names of the five beloved one's, have a very special significance. Bhai Daya Singh's name means 'compassion', Bhai Dharam Singh signifies the rule of dharma or 'justice', Bhai Himmat Singh, denotes 'courage', Bhai Mohkam Singh refers to 'discipline' and serinity, and Bhai Sahib Singh represents Sardari or 'leadership/ sovereignty'. Thus Guru Gobind Singh's punj pyare (five beloved) had five qualities (Compassion, Justice, Courage, Discipline and Leadership) among his Khalsa.

Excerpts taken from Encyclopedia of Sikhism by Harbans Singh.

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