Sunday, October 23, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

SADHNAA, one of the fifteen saints and süfis whose hymns are incorporated in the Guru Granth Sâhib, was a qasãi or butcher by profession who, by his piety and devotion, had gained spiritual eminence. He is believed to have been born at the village of Sehvãn, in Sindh. He was cremated at Sirhind, in the Punjab, where even today a tomb stands in his memory. He is considered to be a contemporary of Nãm Dev, another medieval saint. Sadhnaã lived by selling meat, though, as it is asserted, he never butchered the animals himself. His only sabda (hymn) in the measure Bilãval, in the Guru Granth Sãhib, indicates his belief that all evil deeds of a man could be washed away by devoted meditation on the Name— and so the deeds of a butcher:
What merit have you, Enlightener of the world, if our ill deeds are not effaced?
What avails it to enter the asylum of the lion, if a mere jackal will be allowed to devour one?
I am nothing, nor is anything mine Save my honour, O lord,! am your slave after all. (GG 858) the ammonite stone, symbolising god Vishnu of the Hindu Trinity. His spiritual quest led him to renounce the household. He left Sehvãn and roamed about the country preaching the love of God. None of his holy songs have survived except the solitary hymn preserved in the Guru Granth Sãhib, which keeps his memory alive.

Excerpts taken from Encyclopedia of Sikhism
by Harbans Singh .
Published by Punjabi University, Patiala

He honours His Servants Himself, He Blesses with both hands on his forehead.According to the Holy Word, every kind of being can get liberated provided he or she moulds his or her life in keeping with the ideals of the true preceptors. There are evidences in the Sakhis (religious stories) about the Gurus that Kauda, a Kapalika with devilish tendencies got transformed through Guru Nanak's company into a noble being. Similarly, there was a robber who used to rob people wearing the garb of a noble. He gave up his evil deeds and devoted himself to remembering Divine Name and service of mankind. Then, there was prostitute by the name of Ganka who succeeded in achieving the ultimate end of her life by remembering the Name (Lord). Sadhna, the butcher, was also one such person who used to kill daily many innocent animals for earning his livelihood. He belonged to village Sihwan, in the Hyderabad region, known as the cradle of ancient civilization. The exact date and year of his birth are not known. On the basis of whatever little information we have about him, we can say that Sadhna was a contemporary of Bhagat Namdev.

A hymn by Sadhna has been included in the Guru Granth Sahib; a fact which has immortalized him. It is said that Sadhna used Salgram (a stone idol symbolic of Siva) as a weight to weigh the meat he sold. One day an enlightened mendicant passed by, and he chided Sadhna for what he did. Sadhna repented and renounced his home and left for the forests. It is also said that on his way to the forests, a woman met him She felt so charmed by Sadhna that she wanted to possess him. However, Sadhna remained indifferent to all her actions. She thought that perhaps the presence of her husband is the hindrance and Sadhna does not take the initiative because of his fear. So the woman took no time in murdering her husband, thereby clearing the way for Sadhna. However, while committing this crime, she failed to read correctly the mental state of Sadhna who was then on the point of acquiring mystical unity with the Lord. Therefore, whatever she did, she failed to charm Sadhna. At last when she found defeat staring in her face, she alleged that Sadhna had killed her husband. Consequently, the poor Sadhna had his hands chopped off as a punishment for the crime he never committed. God has always protected his devotees and there are extant evidences to prove this contention : for example, He saved Prehlad, helped Namdev and saved the honour of Daropadi, similarly, Sadhna also prayed to God

Nothing am I, no pride is mine; nothing is mine,
On this occasion save the honour of Sadhna,
the Servant. SGGS-858

'The Lord listened to his prayer and accepted it. God through His graceful benevolence made his hands healthy once again. This gesture of grace by God flowed in Sadhna's mana (mind), the river of devotion to God.
Pandit Tara Singh instead of referring to this incident narrates another story. He says that Sadhna was a Muslim butcher. It was under the influence of a holy-man that he turned a Hindu. The qazis took affront and decreed that he be bricked alive in a building wall. At that moment, Sadhna felt helpless and offered a prayer to the Lord saying: O Omniscient Lord! Come to my aid in time, lest I should lose my life.

It seems this anecdote has been invented by his followers to match explanation with his hymn because it is universally accepted that a true devotee of God is ever happy in His will The only hymn of Sadhna wherein he prays God to save his honour and which finds inclusion in the Guru Granth Sahib (P 858) would read asunder;

For love of a king's daughter
a man disguised himself as Vishnu
Of this man, lust-seeker, self-seeker, You saved the honour. (1)
Enlightener of the world! what merit is yours if our
retribution of deeds leave us not?
Why seek shelter with the tiger if a jackal
is to grip us? (1-Pause)
The Chatrik (cuckoo) for lack of a drop suffers.
If after its life is gone, even the ocean be found,
what good? (2)
Tired, without poise is my life-
How may I delay supplicating Thee?
If after drowning comes the boat,
who will then ride it?
Nothing am I, no pride is mine; nothing is mine.
On this occasion save the honour of Sadhna,
The servant. SGGS-858

If we paraphrase the above hymn, it would read as follows; what is the use of seeking shelter with a lion if a jackal threatens life even then? If the chatrik (A type of bird) dies for want of a single drop of water, what is the use of a full ocean after that? If a boat becomes available after one drowns, it is of no use. He continues to pray to God with the help of such instances: In the world-ocean many waves of evil arise and the helpless life fails to save the boat of life. Therefore, the Omniscient and benevolent God is requested that He should come and save him rather soon. Sadhna says that there is none except Him whom he could call his own.

The whole Shabad conveys this message that the prayer made by a devotee in the court of his Lord should be saturated with devotion and submission otherwise it is just a formality which one observes and we all know fully well that unless the prayer is done from the core of heart with utmost devotion and dedication, it is not accepted in the court of Lord God.

According to Bhai Kahan Singh of Nabha, the mausoleum of Sadhna is near Sirhind which goes to suggest that Bhagat Sadhna travelling from Sindh reached Panjab during the fast days of his life. It was in Panjab that he breathed his last. As such, Sadhna got mingled in the soil of Panjab.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras. brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas . You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.
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