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Great Sikh Women

Mata Sahib Devan

Mata Sahib Devan

SAHIB DEVAN is by tradition mother of the Khalsa, was the daughter of Bhai Har Bhagvan alias Ramu, from clan of a Bassi , and his wife,Jas Devi, a devout Sikh couple of Rohtas, in Jehlum district (now in Pakistan). Her parents had from the beginning dedicated her to the service of Guru Gobind Singh. They took her along as they came to Anandpur on the occasion of the Baisakhi festival of 1700, and disclosed to the Guru their heart’s wish to give away their daughter in marriage to him. The Guru, who already had married and was the father of four sons, refused the offer. But when Bhai Har Bhagvan insisted that their daughter had been brought up as a prospective spouse of the Guru and would not countenance marriage with anyone else, he agreed, but made it explicit that she would remain virgin all her life. The nuptials took place at Anandpur on 15 April 1700. Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed Mata Sahib Devan to be the mother of the Khalsa. Ever since the custom has been that, at the time of initiation, the novitiates declare themselves to be the sons and daughters of Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Sahib Devan.

During the fateful night of 5-6 December 1705, after Anandpur had been evacuated, the Guru’s withdrawing column was attacked on the bank of the rlvulet Sarsa. In the confusion that followed, the Guru’s family and disciples got scattered, and Mata Sahib Devan and Mata Sundari were escorted by Bhai Mani Singh to Delhi. They rejoined the Guru at Talvandi Sabo for some time during 1706 and were sent back to Delhi before Guru Gobind Singh set out on his journey through the desert of Rajasthan on his way to meet Emperor Aurangzib in the South. But on learning of the emperor’s death, he changed his course and went to Agra via Delhi to meet the new emperor, Bahadur Shah, whom he accompanied to Rajasthan and onward to the Deccan in 1708. Bahadur Shah, along with the Nawab of Sarhind conspired by hiring two Afghani mercenaries who later in disguise attacked Guru Gobind Singh. This time Mata Sahib Devan accompanied Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded, but again, shortly before his assassination in early October 1708, she was persuaded to return to Delhi and stay with Mata Sundari. She brought with her from Nanded five weapons said to have originally belonged to Guru Hargobied. From Delhi she, jointly with Mata Sundari, supervised the affairs of the community as is evident from some of the hukamnamas issued to sangats in her name.The exact date of Mata Sahib Devan’s death is not known, but it is believed that she passed away some time before Mata Sundari who died in 1747. The available hukamnamas issued by Mata Sahib Devan bear dates between 1726 and 1734 indicating that she must have expired some time between 1734 and 1747. The memorial in her honour stands close to the one commemorating Mata Sundari in the premises of Gurdwara Bala Sahib, New Delhi. The weapons said to have been brought by her from Nanded are preserved as sacred relics in Gurdwara Rikabganj in Parliament Street, New Delhi.

Article taken from these books.
Encyclopedia of Sikhism edited by Harbans Singh ji.


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