Early Gursikhs:Baba Budha ji
Baba Budha Ji
In Sikh history, it is hard to find an individual like the great Baba Budha Ji. He is the only individual who can claim to have seen eight different Gurus during his lifetime. Baba Budha Ji did not only see all of the first eight Gurus, he also performed the crowning ceremony for five of the Gurus. Each of the first six Gurus praised Baba Budha Ji as a great Gursikh.
Guru Nanak ji told him:
‘ qYQoN kdy Ehly nw hosW ‘
Translation: I cannot remain hidden from you.
When Baba Budha Ji asked the second Guru for a blessing, Guru Angad Saheb said:
‘ iqn kau ikAw aupdysIAY ijn gurU nwnk dyau ‘
Translation: What can you teach to that person who has learnt from the Saint Guru Nanak.
Guru Amar Das Ji called Baba Budha Ji the pillar of Sikhism and the fourth master conferred with Baba Ji before appointing the fifth Guru. When Mata Ganga Ji wanted a child, Guru Arjun Saheb Ji told her to go and ask for Baba Budha Ji’s blessing and then he entrusted Baba Ji with the duty of teaching his son, Guru Hargobind Ji how to read the Holy Scriptures.
Baba Budha Ji was appointed the first Granthi (Priest) of Darbar Saheb (Golden Temple), the holiest shrine of the Sikhs. Baba Ji was also the first to take a Hukamnama (command) from the Adh Granth Saheb Ji. Then, at the age of 125, he breathed his last breaths in the arms of Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji, who spoke:
‘ bfw purwqn isK pRmwn ‘
Translation: He was an old and wise Sikh
Baba Budha Ji’s birth took place on October 22, 1506 (7 k`qk, sMmq 1563) in the village of Kathoo Nangal (k`QU nMgl). His father’s name was Baba Sunghae Randhawa (sunGy rMDwvy) and mother’s name was Mata Gowra Ji (mwqw gorW). He had four sons – Baba Sudhari, Bhikhari, Mehimoo, and Bhana Ji.
When he was still young, the Mughal armies had attacked his village and destroyed many fields. They set many fields, crops, and trees on fire. Baba Ji saw the fire and noticed that the smaller branches were burning up quicker than the bigger ones. He started to think in his mind that if the smaller ones are burning faster than the bigger ones, then who knows about life. A smaller, younger person can die just quick as an older person.
This thought had a profound effect on this child. He stopped being attached to this world and started to seek the company of holy men.
Once in 1518, Guru Nanak Ji, Bhai Mardana, and Bhai Bala came to a nearby village. They stayed here for a few days and did kirtan (singing of hymns) and preached the message of God. Baba Budha Ji, who was only twelve years old, heard that a great saint was in town, so he decided to go and visit him. When he went, there was a large crowd gathered, so he offered some milk to the Guru and then sat with the rest of the sangat (congregation).
After some time, everyone in the sangat left and went home, but Baba Ji did not leave. He remained seated by Guru Nanak. He then asked Guru Nanak the following question, "Please cut my cycle of life and death."
Guru Nanak said, "You are a child, but you ask questions like an old man (budha)."
From this moment on, he started to be known as Baba Budha Ji. Baba Budha Ji eventually moved to Kartarpur, the same village that Guru Nanak Ji was living in. While completing his worldly duties, he kept full concentration on God. Bhai Gurdas Ji tells us about Baba Ji:
bUVw bu`Fw iek mn iDAwvY[
Translation: Old Bhai Budha meditates on God with full concentration.
When Guru Nanak appointed Bhai Lehna as his successor, Baba Budha Ji is the one who performed the ceremony.
After the departure of Guru Nanak from this world, Baba Budha Ji remained in Kartarpur and continued to meditate on God. Guru Angad Saheb Ji decided to leave Sultanpur and go back to his village of Khadoor (KfUr). However, once he got there he wished to meditate in isolation. He went to his aunt (BUAw) Viraee’s house (ivrweI) where he stayed isolated in a room and meditated.
Six months passed like this. The Sikhs started to worry, they all wished to see their Guru so they finally decided to ask Baba Budha Ji for help. Baba Budha Ji was given a boon from Guru Nanak that the Guru could never remain hidden from him. Baba Budha Ji led the Sikhs to Mata Viraee’s house by Khadoor.
The Guru had ordered Mata Viraee to hide the entrance to the room and told her not to tell anyone where he was. Baba Budha Ji asked Mata Viraee where the Guru was, but she did not tell because of the Guru’s orders. Baba Budha Ji said, "The Guru is very close now. Everyone sit and starting to sing kirtan (singing of hymns) and the Guru will reveal himself to us.
Upon hearing the kirtan, Guru Angad Saheb Ji came out of the room and met his Sikhs. At this momemt, Baba Budha Ji asked Guru Angad Ji to bless him, But the Guru said, "What can I say to that person who himself has served Guru Nanak."
Many times Guru Angad Saheb Ji would go into a Samadhi for days and Baba Budha Ji would have to take charge of running things. Then once Bhai Dattu Ji came to Goindwal, kicked Guru Amar Das Ji and proclaimed himself to be the true Guru. Guru Amar Das Ji left Goindwal and went back to his original village of Basarke.
Some time went by and the Sikhs had no idea where their great Guru was. Once again the sangat (congregation) came to Baba Budha Ji and asked him to help find the glorious Guru. Baba Budha Ji prayed to God and then unleashed a horse saying, “This horse will lead us to our Guru.”
Everyone followed the horse which went all the way to the village of Basarke. It finally stopped in front of a hut. On the door there was a sign posted by the Guru which said, “Whoever opens this door, he is not my Sikh and I am not his Guru.”
The Sikhs all worried that if we open the door, the Guru will not be happy with us. However, Baba Budha Ji went to the back of the building and broke a small hole in the wall and entered the hut. In this way, he got in, but he did not open the front door either. Guru Amar Das Ji was pleased to see Baba Budha Ji and blessed him by saying:
ieh sMgq ko boihQ Bwrw[
Baujl qy kir hY insqwrw[
is`KI AviD n ies qy prHy[
nwm ley gn ibGn su hry[
You are a strong boat that will help the sangat (congregation) cross the ocean of life. You are a pillar of Sikhi. (Sooraj Parkash)
When Guru Amar Das Ji created 22 regions and appointed a preacher for each region, Baba Budha Ji was made in charge of looking after all 22 regions.
The fourth Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji asked Baba Budha Ji for his advice as to who he should appoint as the fifth Guru. The Guru said:
sRI nwnk ky qum bhu pXwry[
guru AMgd sRI Amr inhwry[
gurqw Ajr jrn aur mwhI[
sRI Arjn Aib BXo ik nwhI[
jy kir qumh suhwviq AwCy[
iesih ibTwvih hm inj pwCY[
You are a beloved of Guru Nanak, You have served Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das Ji. Do you feel that (Guru) Arjun is ready to be the next Guru? Tell me who you feel should be the next Guru, that person I will appoint my successor.
When the Adh Granth was prepared, Baba Budha Ji was appointed the First Granthi (Priest) of Darbar Saheb. The reason that he was chosen is that he had lived the life of a true Gursikh:
cwr gurU syvw krI pwXo prm inDwn[
syvk kI ieh bsq hY sRI muK kIE bKwn[
The Guru knew that he had served four Gurus and gained their blessings. This true servant deserves this honor.
Baba Budha Ji was the first person to carry the Adh Granth Saheb Ji into the Darbar Saheb:
buFy ko sRI gurU khw sIs Awpny Dwr[
Translation: The Guru told Baba Budha Ji to Hold the Holy Granth on his head.
swihb buFw Awgy kInw[
Translation: He (Guru Arjun Saheb) told Baba Budha Ji to walk in front of him.
Then, when Mata Ganga Ji wanted a son, Guru Arjun told her to ask Baba Budha Ji to bless her with this gift. Did the Guru not have the powers to grant her a son?
Of course he did, but he wanted to give praise to his servants. Mata Ganga Ji came and served Baba Budha Ji by preparing a meal for him. After eating the meal, Baba Budha Ji blessed her with a son. He told her that she will have a son who will be a great warrior:
qumry gRih pRgtygw joDw jwko bl gun iknhUM nw soDw[
(pMnw 12, gurU iblws pw: CyvI)
Translation: In your house will be born a warrior whose strength ca not be matched by anyone else.
Baba Budha Ji was put in charge of teaching Sikh philosophy and farm work to Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji.
Baba Budha Ji knew that his time to leave this world was coming near. Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji was away from Amritsar, But Baba Ji’s wish was to see the Guru one last time. A messenger was sent and the Guru came back to Amritsar at once. Baba Budha Ji breathed his last breaths in Guru Hargobind Saheb Ji’s arms. The Guru himself cremated Baba Jis body.
Baba Budha Ji is a shining star in the Sikh religion, many people found the path to God by following his example. Even today, we can find the path to God and of Gursikhi by looking at Baba Ji’s life.