Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand
Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand were official Ragis in the Darbar of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. They used to recite GurBani in the morning and evening. Their sweet Kirtan always mesmerized the Sangat. One day Bhai Satta said to Guru Ji, “My Lord! I have fixed the marriage of my daughter, please help us financially.” The Guru said,” Don’t worry, whatever offerings we get today, will be given to you.” After the completion of the evening recitation, the Guru gave them the offerings of the day. But when they counted the money they found that it was not according to their expectations. They were disappointed.
When Prithi Chand came to know about this, he advised them to leave the service of the Guru, as the Guru was getting the offerings due to their singing. Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand believed the words of Prithi Chand. They at once met the Guru and talked against the house of Guru Nanak. They said, “The devotees come only to hear our Kirtan. If we stop to come here, nobody will recognize you as the Guru.” Guru Ji tried to console them but instead of listening to the Guru, they began to talk in a very rude manner. When they did not stop talking the Guru addressed the congregation and said, “They have slandered the house of Guru Nanak, so no Sikh should meet them. If anybody is found helping them, his face would he blackened and mounted on a donkey (with a shoe necklace around their neck) he will be driven through all bazaars and streets of the city.”
Guru Ji was himself a good musician. He had performed the duty of a Ragi at Lahore for more than two years (This was when Guru Ram Das Ji had sent him to attend the marriage of a relative). So Guru Ji himself started playing the musical instruments and singing Gurbani. Guru Ji also blessed the Sangat that they themselves can sing Gurbani.
When Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand learnt that the Sangat and Guru Ji himself were doing Kirtan and that the number of Sikhs was increasing day by day they felt ashamed of what they had said. They had also developed a disease which gave them so much pain that they could not rest or sleep, so day and night they were in great grief. They wanted to get pardon from Guru Ji, but no Sikh was ready to see them, when they went outdoors people would turn their faces away from them (due to the Hukam of Guru Ji). Thus they had become completely isolated.
At last someone advised them to go to Bhai Ladha of Lahore as he was the only man who could help them. They met Bhai Ladha ji. Hearing their story Bhai Ladha ji said, “You have done a great blunder by slandered the house of Guru Nanak. I am ready to help you but the Guru has laid down a very strict condition. He had said that who would help you, had to face consequences of riding a donkey with blackened face with a shoe necklace around their neck. When Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand requested him again and again, Bhai Ladha blackened his face himself and riding on a donkey facing the rear, putting on a shoe necklace then drove towards Amritsar. Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand were also accompanying him. On the way to Amritsar from Lahore people thinking Bhai Ladha a thief (due to the above punishment) shouted abuse at him.
Bhai Ladha reached Guru Ji’s house riding on the donkey. They knocked the door of the House. When Guru Ji came outside he recognized Bhai Ladha. He asked Bhai Ladha to dismount. Bhai Ladha dismounting the donkey befell at the feet of the Guru. Guru Ji cleaned the face of Bhai Ladha, took off the shoe necklace and embraced him. Guru Ji then said, “Bhai Ladha, it is true you are a great well-wisher of the poor, but these men had slandered the house of Guru Nanak. A slanderer of the house of Guru Nanak can’t he pardoned. But if they want to be pardoned then they should praise the house of Guru Nanak with the same tongue, which has criticized it.” Bhai Satta and Bhai Balvand agreed to do this. They recited Ramkali kee Vaar also known as Satta ate Balvand Di Vaar, the Vaar can be found on Ang 966 to 968. It was due to the reciting of the above Vaar that they disease disappeared, Guru Ji then pardoned them both. Guru Ji also said that whoever recites this Vaar with Prem (Love) will have their diseases vanish.