Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Baba Makhan Shah Lubana

Guru Har Krishan, the eight Sikh teacher-prophet went to Delhi at the invitation of Raja Jai Singh and the sangat (Sikhs) of Delhi. He was the honoured guest of the Raja and stayed in his bungalow.

At the spot now stands Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

The Guru had a severe attack of small-pox, while staying at Delhi. He felt that the end of his life on the earth ws near. His Sikhs asked him who the next Guru would be. Guru Har Krishan called for five paisa and a coconut, took them in his hand; waved his hand in the air thrice and said his last words? "Baba Bakala."

Soon after, on March 30, 1664 AD, the Guru departed from the world. His body was cremated on the bank of Jamuna river where Gurudwara Bala Sahib is located.

The last words of Guru Har Krishan clearly meant that "The next Guru is our Baba (grandfather) who resides at village Bakala in Amritsar district." Guru Tegh Bahadur was the grandfather of Guru Har Krishan and lived in his maternal village, Bakala, near Amritsar. As such there was really no doubt of the identity of the next Guru. However, the Guru's greedy relatives including Dhir Mal, grandson of Guru Hargobind, took advantage of Guru Har Krishan's last statement and flocked to village Bakala. There were 22 self-made gurus and each Sodhi claimed himself to be real Guru.

Knowing Guru Har Krishan's last words, as usual, Sikhs from far and near came to see his successor at Bakala. But they were unable to discover the real one. These self made gurus took Sikhs offerings by deceit or force. This process continuted for about a year.

A gursikh, named Makhan Shah Lubana was a trader of Deccan and Masand of Gujrat area. Once, a ship full of his goods was sailing in the sea. There was a severe storm and the ship began to sink. All efforts to save it were futile till Makhan Shah prayed . "O Guru Nanak, save my sinking ship. I will offer 500 gold mohars." His prayer was granted and the ship reached shore safely.

In March 1665, Makhan Shah visited Bakala to fulfill his sukhana. He was surprised to find 22 self made gurus. Who was the real Guru? To whom should he make the offering?

He thought of a plan to trace the real Guru. He planned to offer two gold mohars to each self proclaimed Guru. The flse would readily accept them, whereas the true Guru would definetely ask for what had actually been promised.

Makhan shah went to each of the self proclaimed gurus and offered him two gold mohars. They were all pleased at the sight of gold coins. Everyone praised himself to the skies, but no one asked for what had actually been promised.

Makhan Shah Lubana recalls the following hymns from Guru Arjun's Sukhmani:

As long as a man deems himself good

no goodness can approach him

He who deems himself as of the lowly

Shall be esteemed as the highest of the High.

He was confident that non of them was the real Guru. He enquired if there was any other person who belonged to the Sodhi family. He was told there is another man, called Tegha and son of Guru Har Gobind. His full name was Tegh Bahadur. He lives in silence, away from worldly affairs and makes no claims to the Guruship."

Makhan Shah went to Tegha's house. He met Mata Gujri, his wife and requested an interview. She said :" he spends his time in worship and prayer all by himself. He does not like to be disturbed, but I shall go and ask him. If he agrees, I shall take you to him."

Makhan Shah was permitted to go in. He bowed before the Guru and placed two gold mohars before him as planned. The Guru opened his eyes, and saw two gold mohars before him. The Guru said: "Why are you breaking your promise? You have made a sukhna of 500 gold mohars when your ship was sinking. But now you are offerring only two."

Makhan Shah was filled with joy. He fell at the Guru's feet and placed 500 gold mohars before the Guru. Makhan Shah rushed to the top of the nearby house and shouted at the top of his voice : "Guru Ladho re Guru Ladho re"

"Congratulations, O dear Sikhs, I have found the real Guru, who is living all alone and has no claim for the Guruship.. But he is a Guru," he proclaimed.

On hearing this, the Sikhs felt mightily pleased. There was a great rejoicing among them. They gathered at the Guru's door. The Guru came out of his Bhora. A gursikh from Delhi had brought five paise and a coconut which was offered to the Guru and Baba Gurditta, the grandson of Baba Buddha ji, applied the tilak of Guruship on the forehead of Guru Tegh Bahadur.

In this way Guru Tegh Bahadur was duly seated on Guru Nanak's throne on Monday, March 20, 1665 (Chet 23, 1772 BK) at the age of 44 years.

References

1. Copyright © Gursharn Singh Kainth "The Tribune, 9th August 1994."

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