Bhai Daya Singh (26 August 1669 - 1708), the first of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved celebrated in the Sikh tradition, was the son of Bhai Suddha, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, and Mai Diali. His original name was Daya Ram. His name is uttered first among the five Beloved of the Guru (Panj Pyaras) in the Sikh Ardas.
Bhai Suddha was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur and had visited Anandpur more than once to seek his blessing. In 1677, he travelled to Anandpur along with his family including his young son, Daya Ram, to make obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh, this time to settle there permanently.
- Born as a Sobti Khatri in Lahore in 1661
- Father's name: Bhai Suddha Ji
- Mother's name: Mata Mai Diali Ji
- Original Name: Bhai Daya Ram
- Was the "first" to answer the call of Guru Gobind Rai, even though he thought he was to be killed.
- Become the first Panj Piare
- Became Bhai Daya Singh on taking Amrit
- At the time of the creation of the Khalsa, Bhai Sahib ji was 38 years old
- On the night of 7/8 December 1705 with Bhai Dharam Singh, he accompanied Guru Gobind Singh out of Chamkaur fort.
- Together with Bhai Dharam Singh was sent to deliver the Zafarnamah to Emperor Aurangzeb
- Akal Chalana: Attained Shayeedie at Nanded Sahib on 1708, aged 47 years.
Anandpur, 30 March 1699
In the historic divan in the Keshgarh Fort at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, he was the first to rise at the Guru's call and offer his head, followed by four others in succession. These five were the first to be admitted to the fold of the Khalsa and they in turn administered the rites of initiation to Guru Gobind Singh who called them collectively Panj Piare. Daya Ram after initiation became Daya Singh.
Although the five enjoyed equal status as the Guru's close confidants and constant attendants, Bhai Daya Singh was always regarded as the first amoung equals. He took part in the battles of Anandpur, and was one of the three Sikhs who followed Guru Gobind Singh out of Chamkaur on the night of 7/8 December 1705, eluding the besieging hordes. He was Guru Gobind Singh's emissary sent from the village of Dina in the Punjab to deliver his letter which became famous as Zafarnamah, the Letter of Victory, to Emperor Aurangzeb, then camping at Ahmadnagar. Bhai Daya Singh, accompanied by Bhai Dharam Singh, another of the Panj Piare, reached Ahmadnagar via Aurangabad, but found that it was not possible to have access to the Emperor and deliver to him the letter personally as Guru Gobind Singh had directed. Daya Singh sent Dharam Singh back to seek the Guru's advice, but before the latter could rejoin him with fresh instructions, he had managed to have the letter delivered, and had himself returned to Aurangabad. A shrine called Gurdwara Bhai Daya Singh marks the place of his sojourn in Dhami Mahalla.
Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh returned and, according to Sikh tradition, they rejoined Guru Gobind Singh at Kalayat, a town 52 km southwest of Bikaner (28° 4'N, 73° 21 'E) in Rajasthan. Bhai Daya Singh remained in attendance upon the Guru and was with him at the time of his death at Nanded on 7 October 1708. He died at Nanded soon after, where today, a joint memorial for him and for Bhai Dharam Singh known as Angitha (literally burning pyre) stands in memory of these two famous Panj Piare. It stands on the site that marks their cremation near the bank of the river Godavri.
Bhai Daya Singh was a learned man. One of the Rahitnamas, manuals on Sikh conduct, is ascribed to him. The Nirmalas, a sect of Sikh schoolmen, claim him as one of their forebearers. Their Darauli branch traces its origin to Bhai Daya Singh through Baba Deep Singh.
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- 4. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909
- 5. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. I. Princeton, 1963
- 6. Harbans Singh, Guru Gobind Singh. Chandigarh, 1966