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  In the Guru's footsteps
In the Guru's footsteps

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: In the Guru's footsteps:

Bhai Bidhi Chand

Bhai Bidhi Chand

Guru Har Gobind was now known far and wide. The Sikhs came to him in their thousands. They brought him offerings of arms and horses. One day a Sikh brought the news that Jahangir had died, and his son, Shah Jahan, had become the Emperor in Delhi. The new Emperor and the Governor of the Punjab did not like the Guru and his activities.

In the year 1630, two Sikhs named Tara Chand and Bakhat Mal of Kabul (Afghanistan) set out with two beautiful horses as offerings to the Guru. The names of the horses were Dil Bagh (Heart's Happiness) and Gul Bagh (Flower of Happiness). It took the Sikhs many days to reach the Punjab. One evening they came to Lahore, which was the capital of the Punjab in those days. They stayed there for the night under a tree just opposite the Lahore fort. Next morning, when they were about to set off to see the Guru, two Moghul Officers saw them and their horses. They came along and questioned them.

"Who are you, and where are you going?" said one of the officers.

"We are Sikhs of the Guru and have come all the way from Kabul," said Bakhat Mal politely.

"But where are you going?" repeated the second officer, "and where did you steal these horses from?"

"Sir, we are going to present these horses to our Guru," said Tara Chand confidently. "We haven't stolen them. The Guru's Sikhs never steal."

"Why are you taking such beautiful horses to the Guru? And what will he give you in reward?" asked the first officer.

"Sir," said Bakhat Mal, "We don't want any reward. He is our true king. These horses are our humble offering to him."

"Why don't you present them to the Emperor?" said he second officer.

"No," said the Sikhs. "These horses are meant only for the true king Guru Har Gobind. We don't care a fig for anybody else."

The Sikhs wanted to leave, but the Moghul officers arrested them and took their horses away to the royal stable. The two Sikhs protested but all in vain. At last they were taken to the Qazi (the Moslem judge) where they told the whole story about themselves and the Guru, but nobody believed them. In a fit of anger Tara Chand said, "This is most unfair and unjust. We have been robbed by the Government itself. A Government which robs its peaceful citizens in broad daylight is no good at all." The Qazi became very angry and ordered them to be put into prison for two days. After their release the Sikhs set out for the Guru's Court but without their horses.

After a week's journey the Sikhs found the Guru in the village of Bhai Rupa (District Ferozepore). The two Sikhs went up to the Guru, bowed and sat down. When the Morning prayer was over, the Guru looked at the two Sikhs and said, "Dear Sikhs, you seem to have come a long way and you look tired and sad. What is the matter?"

"Dear Guru," said Bakhat Mal, "You are our 'True King' and know everything. We started from Kabul and here bringing two horses as an offering to you, but on the way at Lahore, the Moghul officers took away our horses by force. We were helpless and couldn't do anything. The Guru heard the whole story and was quiet for a moment. Then he said, "Dear Sikhs, do not worry about horses. They are the Guru's horses and shall come to the Guru if God wishes. Take a rest and have a meal in the Langar, sing God's praises and forget all about the horses."

That day after the evening prayer the Guru narrated the story of the Moghul injustice to the whole gathering and said, "Is there any Sikh who can go and bring back the Guru's horses from the Lahore fort?" Immediately Bhai Bidhi Chand stood up, folded his hands and said. "O True King, just pat me on my back and this stumble servant will be able to do this task very easily."

Next day, Bhai Bidhi Chand set out on his journey to Lahore. On reaching there he stayed with another Sikh and made plans for his mission. He put on the clothes of a poor grass-cutter, mowed a bale of soft, green grass and in the evening passed near the fort with it. The stable keeper stopped him and bought his bundle of grass, asking him to carry the grass into the stable. Bhai Bidhi Chand did as he was told. He told the stable keeper that his name was Kasera and that he would be pleased to work as a royal grass-cutter. The stable keeper was pleased with his simplicity and good manners, so he appointed him as a servant at the stable. Kasera worked well and was soon very popular.

Bhai Bidhi Chand making the horse jump over the fort-wall.One night, when it was a festival, all the soldiers and servants got drunk. Bhai Bidhi Chand thought he should make the best of this chance. At dead of night, he saddled the horse, Dil Bagh, mounted it and leaped over the wales into the river Ravi which flowed by the Lahore fort. It was really a daring feat and before anybody could get up and stop him he was a long way off galloping towards the Guru. On reaching the Guru, he humbly presented the horse and asked for his blessing to enable him to recover the second horse: Gul Bagh, as well. With the sweet Japji (The Sikh) morning prayer) on his lips, he set out once more on his second adventure.

While the Moghul officers at Lahore were preparing to track down the thief, Bidhi Chand was once more in the streets of Lahore. This time he disguised himself as an astrologer and went out to the royal fort. The Moghul Government had put a price of One Lakh rupees (100,000 rupees) for information leading to the arrest of the thief. Bhai Bidhi Chand declared that he could tell all about the horse and its theft. The Governor invited him to come at once and asked for his help. On reaching the Governor, Bidhi Chand said, "I am a famous astrologer and tracker. My name is Ganak. Take me to the place of the theft, show me the other horse and the stables from which the horse was taken. I will then tell you all about the thief, the horse, and the place where they are at the moment." The Governor agreed and took 'Ganak' to the stables.

On reaching the stable, 'Ganak' asked the Governor to have all the gates and doors locked as they had been on the night of the theft. It was no sooner said than done. He then asked the Governor to saddle the horse, ride on its back and see if he could find any way out. The Governor did as he was told but failed to find any way by which a thief coaled escape. 'Ganak' asked if he could try it for himself. The Governor could not guess what he planned to do, so he allowed him to try. 'Ganak' at once rode on the horse's back, for a moment closed his eyes as if he were praying, and said, "Sir, the thief is not far away. Your first horse will very soon join the second. I am sure before long the matter will be over. The name of the thief is Bidhi Chand. He is the Sikh of Guru Har Gobind. At this moment he is in Lahore. You must be quick to arrest him otherwise he will be off to the Guru." Saying this Bidhi Chand spurred the horse and made him jump over the fort wall. Before the Governor could have the doors unlocked, Bidhi Chand and the horse were a long way from the city.

Bhai Bidhi Chand prestenting the rescued horse to Guru HargobindWhen the second horse Gul Bagh reached the Guru. Tara Chand and Bakhat Mal were overjoyed. They presented the horses to the Guru and the Guru changed the names of the horses. Dil Bagh became Jan Bhai (As dear as life) and Gul Bagh was given the name of Sohela (A dear friend.)

"Kings are butchers, cruelty is their knife;
The law has taken wings and flown away.
It is the night of falsehood,
And the moon of truth can be seen nowhere.
I have searched everywhere and am tired of the quest;
Lawlessness prevails and there is no hope of justice.
Pride in our hearts is the root of all evils,
O Nanak! how shall we be saved?"
(Guru Granth Sahib)
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