Asraj was King Sarang’s son (from his first marriage). Raja Sarang married another woman after his wife passed away. The step mother wanted her own sons to succeed the king in place of Asraj and thus falsely accused Asraj and convinced King Sarang to order his execution. King Sarang told his minister to carry out the order of execution of Asraj.
The minister was a wise man. He took As to a jungle and ordered the executioner to cut one hand of As a proof of his death. After cutting his hand, they left him in the jungle.
A party of traders soon passed through the jungle and heard the cries of Asraj. They attended to his wound and took him to a neighboring country. They sold him as a slave to a washer man. Asraj had lost his hand and was called Asraj the cripple (Tunda-Asraj). He was given the duty of loading a bull with dirty clothes and bringing back the washed clothes to his master-the washerman every morning.
Unfortunately the king of the town died suddenly, without leaving any heir. The ministers decided that the man who passed through the city gates first the next morning, would be crowned as King. As usual Tunda-Asraj who went out early morning with his bullock to the rivulet (outside the city) with his load of dirty clothes, happened to be the first man to pass through the city gate. He was crowned and called Tunda Asraja (King Asraj the cripple).
Soon thereafter the crops failed on account of drought. Asaraja was wise and had bought a lot of grain in advance to feed his people.
Raja Sarang-the father of Asraja-had two other sons who were given to hunting and pleasure. Raja Sarang felt the effects of famine and sent his minister to buy grain from the neighbouring country. The minister came to Asaraja’s town for purchase of grain and met him and recognised him. Asraja gave the minister a lot of grain free.
When that advisor reached his country he told the king the story of Asraj becoming the king and motivated him to transfer his kingdom over to Asraj. The kind had also realized the reality so he accepted his advisor’s virtuous advice and sent an invitation to his son.
When Asraj’s stepson ‘Sardool Rai’ found out of his father’s plan he took his forces without advising his father and went to stop Asraj. He also made his cousin ‘Sultaan Rai’ help him. A battle took place and Asraj came out victorious. After winning Asraj approached to meet his father and his father transferred his kingdom over to him. Asraj then ruled over both countries and spread the values of dharma
The court-poet composed a var to be sung in a particular dhuni (tune) in praise of King Asraja who became a symbol of the victory of virtue over vice. This var became very poplar and inspirational at the time.
It is believed, that there is a great resemblance(tune/music wise) between the five-lined pauri’s of Guru Nanak Sahib ji’s ‘Asa-ki-vaar’ and the var of ‘Tunda-Asaraja’ and thus Guru ji prescribed the tune of the latter for the singing of the former.
jisehi sehaaee hoe bhagavaan || anik jathan ouaa kai sara(n)jaam ||1|| rehaao ||
One who has the Lord God as his help and support – all his efforts are fulfilled. ||1||Pause||
karathaa raakhai keethaa koun || keeree jeetho sagalaa bhavan ||
He is protected by the Creator Lord; what harm can anyone do to him? Even an ant can conquer the whole world.
baea(n)th mehimaa thaa kee kaethak baran || bal bal jaaeeai thaa kae charan ||2||
His glory is endless; how can I describe it? I am a sacrifice, a devoted sacrifice, to His feet. ||2||