Bhai Dayala was one of those Sikhs who were allowed by Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib to remain with him and be arrested along with him under the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb. The other two were Bhai Mati Dass and Bhai Sati Dass.
Aurangzeb who was determined to convert the entire Hindu population of India into Islam even by force was immensly pleased by the message of Guru Teg Bahadur received by him through Kashmiri Brahmins and Governor of Lahore. He thought, it would not be difficult to deter the Ninth Guru of the Sikhs to shun the idea of coming to the rescue of Hindus from his tyrant methods of conversion. He was confident that his learned Kazis and scholars of Islam would easily persuade the Sikh Guru to himself become a MuslmanThe learned Kazis questioned the advisibility of Guru in taking up the cause of Hindus, the idol worshippers, when he himself had no faith in idol worship. They further told him that Islam preaches worship of one God like Sikh Gurus. Islam even promised paradise for idol destroyers.
Guru Teg Bahadur’s reply to Kazi’s persuation and arguments was. “Those using force and the influence of the State to bring about conversion of population from one religion to another can never be graced by God. They should only expect condemnation and punishment at the hands of the Lord. Every one should have the freedom of worship according to one’s belief. He said that while it was true that he was trying to educate people about the futility of idol worship and ritualism and concentration on the worship of one God. Since the advent of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, millions of Hindus and Muslims have adopted Sikh religion, only through preaching and persuation. He told them that they were also at liberty to adopt methods used by Sikh Gurus to convince people of other religions to join Muslim faith.
When Kazis, the learned scholars of Islam, failed to convince Guru Teg Bahadur about the supermacy of their religion and found that the Guru was stead fast towards his own religion, they planned to terrify him. In this regard, they cut Bhai Mati Dass into two pieces with a big saw. When Bhai Mati Dass’s brutal death in front of his eyes failed to terrify Guru Teg Bahadur. Bhai Dayala bound with iron shackles was marched to the place Chandni Chowk where Bhai Mati Dass was done to death. The Kazi offered to set him free and luxurious life if he accepted to be converted to Islam, or a torturous death in the event of refusal.
Bhai Dayala who had witnessed the horrible scene of two executioners sawing Bhai Mati Dass alive in front of thousands of spectators, had mentally and physically prepared himself for a similar treatment.
He told the Kazi, “Don’t think Bhai Mati Dass is dead. He is sitting happily in the lap of merciful God and will live forever in the hearts of godly people. Be quick and despatch me quickly to the heavanly abode where Bhai Mati Dass is waiting for me. However, I too wish that I should also be allowed to lay down my life while facing my beloved Guru’s cage.”
Under the orders of the Kazi, a big Cauldrum (a very big vessel) was brought. Bhai Dayala was made to sit in this vessel. Water was put into the vessel and fire was lit under the vessel.
While Bhai Dayala satrted reciting Gurbani the water started boiling in the cauldrum. Kazi continued to persuade Bhai Ji to save his precious life by accepting conversion to Islam. Bhai Dayala paid no heed to it and kept meditating on the name of God, with grace of his Guru, who was witnessing from his cage his devout disciple was laying down his life in the most courageous and peaceful manner unmindful of the brutal manner, the tryants were doing him to death. Boils appeared on the entire body of Bhai Dayala and the spectators were terrified by the most inhuman scene. But Bhai Ji had before his eyes the model of martyrdom of the Guru Arjan Dev Ji, who was done to death under the orders of Emperor Jahangir in a similar but much worse manner.
Under the watchful eyes of thousands of spectators many of who were sobbing and graceful eyes of his Guru, Bhai Dayala’s soul left his body and acquired the grace of Guru and God.
His example of courage and conviction of his faith in Sikh religion and stead fastness to his belief will keep inspiring the Sikh youth and others for generations to come. He thus contributed his share in making the Sikh heritage richer still.