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Fear Ends Where Faith Begins


Baba Gurbaksh Singh

Baba jee was of village Leel near Amritsar Sahib. His Father was Bhai Dasaundha Singh jee and mother Mata Lachmee Kaur jee. Baba jee's parents served Satguru Gobind Singh jee and Baba jee received amrit at the age of 11, due to the inspiration of Bhai Mani Singh jee. He spent time with Baba Deep Singh jee and Bhai Mani Singh jee and became a very good scholar and warrior.

Baba Gurbaksh Singh was always dressed in blue baaNaa and kept a very strong Rehit (discipline). He would awake at Amrit-vela (early hours before sunrise) and do ishnaan (bathe). Then, while reciting Gurbaani, Baba jee would tie his tall dastaar. Baba jee loved Sarbloh (pure iron) and would adorn his body and dastaar with iron Shastars (weapons) and armour. Every Amrit-vela Baba jee sat in the divaan at Siree Akaal Takhat Sahib. Rich or poor, he greeted all people with the same respect. He had absolutely no worldly aspirations or greed. Whenever there was a battle, Baba jee would be in the forefront carrying the the Nishaan Sahib (Sikh flag) and advancing to the forward to the beat of the nagaara (war drum).

Abdali's Oppression and the Khalsa Scatters

The Khalsa had scattered to the jungle and mountain areas when the Afghan invader, Ahmed Shah Abdali, brought his army through Panjab in 1765. It was Abdali's 10th invasion. At Amritsar, the Sarbat Khalsa (the collective gathering of all the Khalsa) gathered one day and after the night divaan, decided to abandon Amritsar and leave together as a group for Malwa (south Panjab).

Baba Jee Offers His Shaheedee

After the decision had been made, Baba Gurbaksh Singh rose and addressed the Singhs. Baba jee asked whether there is any Sikh who is devoted to Naam and has strong Rehit that is willing to sacrifice themselves and spill their blood for the Chardi Kalaa of the Panth. The Singhs replied, "Baba jee, is there any Singh better for this than you? There is no one with more kamaeee (spiritual wealth). No one else has the power to abandon their body and go to Dargah (Court of the Lord) like you do. No one else's request will be more acceptable to Waheguru than yours." Baba jee listened to these words and then bowed his head and agreed to the request.

The Singhs Prepare for The "Wedding"

Baba jee then called out, "I want to be Shaheed! If there is any other Gurmukh who wishes to come with me to Dargah, then let them also come. When there is a marriage, the groom goes with his Sarbaalha (best man) and with a large baraat (marriage party). I am going to marry the bride of Death. Are there Singhs who would be my Sarbaalhas?"Hearing Baba jee's call, many Singhs rose and stood with Baba jee to become the "Sarbalhas" and the others joined saying they would be the "Baraat" (marriage party).

Hearing of the advance of Abdali from Lahore, some people left Amritsar. Only about 30 Singhs now remained who were all Chardee Kalaa Naam Abhyaasee (repeaters of the Divine-Name) Gursikhs. They prepared for their death like a groom prepares for his wedding. They all had new cholas (dresses) sewn. Some decided to sew blue, and others wore white and others saffron. After bathing in the holy Sarovar (pool of nectar), along with the other 30 Sikhs, Baba jee offered Karah Parshaad at Siree Harmandir Sahib and did Ardaas: "Satguru jee may our Sikhi last with our Kesh (hair) intact until our last breath." After taking Hukam (edict) from Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee and reciting "Ghoriaa'n" (a prayer abot marriage), the Sikhs stated that they were going to wed death. They returned to Sree Akaal Takhat Sahib to listen to keertan of marriage hymns and await the enemy. In this way, the entire night passed in listening to keertan. At day break, the enemy had arrived.

Baba jee Prepares His Wedding Party

The Nishaan Sahibs were furling and the beat of nagaaraas was echoing. The Singhs were like grooms anxious to marry a beautiful wife and seeing the time come closer, becoming more and more excited. The Singhs were surrounded on all four sides and the Afghans began to close in. Baba jee called out to all the Singhs, "Singhs! Step forward and embrace martyrdom! If we step forward, our honour remains intact, if we step back, they will say we are retreating! Do not look for assistance anymore, just go forward! Now go forward and give your heads!" Hearing Baba jee's cry, the Singhs all charged forward. They fell upon the Afghans like a lion on deer.

Wherever the Singhs stood their ground against the Afghans, they eventually fell. Afghan reinforcements also arrived. Not one Singh stepped back. Some Afghans even began to run away. Many Singhs standing with Baba jee fell to the rain of bullets. Baba jee then took out his heavy Tegha (double-edged sword) and ran towards the enemy. He swung his Tegha with such force that it cut through the armour of the Afghans. The Afghans continued to fall back and began to wonder whether these few Singhs would cause their defeat. They could not bear the brunt of the Singhs' sword blows. They fell back and began to fire bullets and arrows.

Baba Jee's Shaheedee

Baba jee's body was pierced by many bullets and arrows and his wounds could not be counted. But neither did the Singhs accept defeat nor would they acknowledge any pain. Although tired and weak from loss of blood, Baba jee was careful that no one would say he retreated. Baba jee called to the remaining Singhs, "Singhs! Do not shame the BaaNaa we wear! May our Shaheedees be perfect and may we fall in the battlefield!" By this time, even more Afghan reinforcements arrived. The new Afghans surrounded the wounded Baba jee and pierced him with their long spears. Baba jee fell to his knees. Not willing to accept anything but martyrdom, Baba jee then again raised his khanda and called to the Afghans, "Come! Try to take my head!" Again the enemy surround him and fighting on his knees, Baba jee was beheaded and attained martyrdom. Baba jee's vow was completed.

The Aftermath

Night fell and the Afghans were in shock after seeing such a bloody battle. They set up camp near the Bhangi fort and fell into a deep sleep. The few Singhs that had remained hidden in the area attacked the camp at night. The remaining Afghans could not sleep in peace and at day break, they quickly fled from the area. The same night, a few other Singhs came to the scene of the battle. They saw the headless bodies of the Singhs and many many Afghans. The Singhs gathered all the bodies are cremated them together behind Siree Akaal Takhat Sahib. Degh was distributed and the Singhs celebrated as though a great wedding had taken place. The Shaheed Ganj of Baba Gurbaksh Singh still stands at that place. Baba jee's Shaheedee was glorious and indeed, the Afghan power did begin to fall after this point. Within a few years, the Sikhs began to rule Punjab and the Sikh Kingdoms were established.


Sikh Martyrs