Preserving Guru’s relics at Bhai Roopa
Bathinda, Punjab: Bhai Roopa—a village in Rampura Phul sub-division of Bathinda district — has the rare honour of possessing a bundle of holy relics related to Sikh Gurus, which they handed over to the family of Bhai Roop Chand — after whom the village is named — acknowledging it as their own family.
As per the information gathered, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji laid the foundation of village Bhai Roopa in 1687 Bikrami (1630 AD) in the name of his devotee Bhai Roop Chand.
Later, Guru Hargobind Ji, recognising the devotion of Roop Chand and his family, honoured him with the title of 'Bhai' (own brother) and put him in charge of the spiritual welfare of the new region of Malwa.
Bhai Roop Chand and his family also served ninth Sikh master Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Bhai Roop Chand and his seven sons had received 'Amrit' from the sacred hands of tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji and enlisted themselves in his 'Army of Lions'.
Showing the relics, Bhai Gurchet Singh, 12th successor of Bhai Roop Chand Ji, informed that due to the service to the Guru families, they possessed a bundle of Hukumnamas— royal warrants from the Gurus—in which, besides asking for men, money and war materials, the Guru acknowledged Bhai Roop's family as his own family.
The family possesses a Rabab, wooden shoes of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, one Khadawan of Mata Ganga Ji (wife of Guru Arjan Dev Ji), some paintings of Guru Sahib's era including one of Guru Gobind Singh ji's childhood. They have preserved Mohrhi Sahib, the foundation of the village.
Old chulhas (burner), which were used for langar, bairagans, various utensils, many hand written literature, including one personally signed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, a sword, rumal (handkerchief), an old chowki and various other historical and religious articles are lying with the family.
Besides, the family has a chariot (rath). The house, where it is placed, is now called as the Rath Sahib Gurudwara. To pay obeisance here, people come from all across the country.
Recalling the history of the chariot, Bhai Gurchet Singh said, "Khuda Bakhsh, a Kashmiri carpenter, to get his wish for a son granted, worked extensively to make the promised chariot for the fourth Sikh master Guru Ramdas Ji.
Later, Guru Arjun Dev Ji took possession of it and on the same chariot, Mata Ganga Ji went to Baba Budda Ji to seek blessings for a son. The same chariot was used by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji and then also by the seventh Sikh master Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji.
When after committing the mistake of changing sloka on his own, Ram Rai, the son of Guru Har Rai Ji, was debarred from Guruship, he had settled at Dehradun and used this chariot to travel to far off places. It was said that it became famous as the 'flying chariot' because Ram Rai used to fly it using his supernatural powers.
On request from Mata Punjab Kaur, wife of Ram Rai Ji, this chariot was brought by Bhai Gian Chand, grandson of Bhai Roop Chand Ji, from Dehradun for safe keeping. Till this time, it stands at his successors' place in Bhai Roopa village. People come and offer a colourful top cloth over it, when their wishes are granted.
The family exhibits various holy articles at heritage fairs, organised from time to time at different places.