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Bibi Basant Lata Jee
When the Mughal forces laid siege around Anandpur Sahib, many Singhs deserted the Guru, including the 40 Singhs who later became the 40 Muktas. Guru Gobind Singh Jee told Bibi Basant Lata to leave the fort, as there would be terrible hardships in the coming months. However Bibi Jee refused, saying that she would not leave her Guru whatever the circumstances.
After some months of real difficulties and hunger, Guru Gobind Singh Jee decided to leave Anandpur Sahib at the request of his Sikhs. Evading the Mughal forces, the Guru and his Sikhs reached the River Sirsa. It was the winter months, and due to the cold weather and fast flowing river current, the Sikhs got scattered. Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh got separated from Mata Gujjer Kaur, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh.
Bibi Basant Lata was with Mata Gujjer Kaur at this critical time, leading Mata Jee’s horse through the River Sarsa. Mata Jee’s horse led her to the other side of the river, but Bibi Basant Lata got swept away by the cold but rapidly flowing river water. As the river carried her for some distance, she fell unconscious due to the horrendously cold water. Finally her body was washed up on the side of the riverbank.
A Mughal soldier, Samund Khan, seeing Bibi Basant Lata unconscious, took advantage of her vulnerability and took her to his house. When she regained her consciousness, he asked her to accept Islam and become his wife. He said if she accepted his wishes, she would have all the material pleasures that she could ever dream of. Bibi Jee replied: “I could have left my Guru months ago and not had to endure such hardships at Anandpur Sahib. I will never leave my Guru.” Samund Khan was taken aback by Bibi Jee’s response, but thought leaving her locked up and hungry in a cell for eight days would easily break her resolve.
Bibi Basant Lata’s health was already in a bad state, but throughout her stay in the cell, she resolved to make Gurbani her Aasra. She sat cross-legged in one spot, but with deep concentration and faith in Waheguroo, she did Sukhmani Sahib da Paath for those eight days. No fears about the future could remove her concentration from Guru Jee and Gurbani.
When Samund Khan came to Bibi Jee after eight days, her resolve was nowhere near broken. This left Samund Khan seething with anger. Evil thoughts crossed his mind. He started to move towards Bibi Jee. Bibi Jee realised the situation, and started praying to Kalgidhaar Dasmesh Pita.
Samund Khan was saying in an antagonising and sarcastic manner “what’s your Guru going to do for you now? Are you ready to accept Islam now?” Bibi Jee responded “My Guru is always with me. You cannot do anything to me.” “Don’t lie … your Guru is nowhere to be seen,” he said in a taunting manner, as he moved further towards Bibi Jee. Bibi Jee started to do Ardaas to Guru Sahib with even greater pyaar and faith. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Bibi Jee said “My Guru is here.” He was now within touching distance of Bibi Jee. He said, “I cannot see him … you’re imagining things.” Bibi Jee said, “you will not be able to see him … you’re a Paapi person, full of the 5 vices. Only those with high Kamayee can see him. My Guru Jee is here with me.”
At this instance, Samund Khan tried to move further towards Bibi Jee, yet his body had now frozen. Although he could see with his eyes and speak with his mouth, all his body’s muscle had frozen, as if he was a statue. After a few moments, he was getting freaked out. Bibi Jee had realised what her Guru Jee had done. She asked, “I thought you said my Guru would not save me? I thought you said he was not here?”
After a few minutes of being frozen like a statue, he started begging Bibi Jee to do Ardaas to unfreeze him. Bibi Jee said that her Ardaas would only happen if Samund Khan promised to be a decent God-fearing person. Samund Khan readily agreed. Bibi Jee did her Ardaas, and Guru Gobind Singh Jee unfroze the Mughal soldier. For the following few weeks, having seen the Kamayee and Gursikhi Jeevan of Bibi Basant Lata, he served Bibi Jee very well whilst Bibi Jee continued doing Bhagti. He then took Bibi Jee personally to Dina Kangoor to re-unite Bibi Jee with Guru Gobind Singh Jee.
What can we learn from this episode?
Guru Jee is always with us, but only those fortunate souls with high Bhagti and Naam Jeevan realise this. Such souls can speak, feed, see and call upon their Guru all the time and at any time.
If we are to reach this stage, we must have full faith in the Guru, incorporate his his teachings into our lives and never leave the Guru … just like Bibi Basant Lata Jee.
If we become Bhagats of Waheguroo like Bibi Basant Lata Jee, Waheguroo will always preserve our honour, saving us physically whilst having mortal form and saving us forever once our soul leaves the body.
hir jugu jugu Bgq aupwieAw pYj rKdw AwieAw rwm rwjy ]
har jug jug bhagath oupaaeiaa paij rakhadhaa aaeiaa raam raajae ||
In each and every age, He creates His devotees and preserves their honor, O Lord King.
(Translated from a Diwan by Ranjit Singh Dhaddrian Wale)