Bhai Jivan Singh (13 December 1649 - 22 December, 1705) was the name given to Bhai Jaita after he had received the rites of initiation at the hands of Guru Gobind Singh on the day - 14 April, 1699 when the Khalsa was inaugurated. He was a Sikh from Patna, India who had belonged to the Majhabi (scavenger) caste.
He received initiation into Khalsa panth from Guru Gobind Singh who had previously given him the special honour by addressing him as "Ranghareta Guru Ka Beta" ("the young man of the Ranghar caste is the Guru's own son"). The Ranghar caste was a caste created for those born of a union between a Hindu and a Muslim. Both the children and their descendants were considered outcasts by the Hindus.
It was Bhai Jaita who had risked his life to recover and return the severed head of Guru Tegh Bahadur to the Guru for cremation. He had been sent to Delhi where he witnessed Guru Tegh Bahadur's beheading in Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675.
He succeeded in evading the guards and escaping with the severed head of the ninth Guru to Anandpur where he was received with much honour by Guru Gobind Singh. In the ensuing storm others were able to secure and cremate the Guru's body, though it took burning down their own home to accomplish this.
Bhai Jaita's summary
Bhai Jaita was born on 13 December 1649 to mother Premo (aka Kanno) and father Sada Chand. At the time of his birth, he was named Jag Chand, shortened to Jagu or Jota but it is said that Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib at some stage named him 'Jaita'. He and his younger brother Bhag Chand, also called Bhagu, were disciples of Guru Har Rai, Nanak VII from Kiratpur, in the Sivalik hills, Where the Guru then resided. They shifted along with their parents, to the village of Jhanda Ramdas where they stayed with Bhai Gurditta (1625-1675), the great-great-grandson of Bhai Buddha
As Bhai Gurditta was detained in Delhi following the arrest of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Jaita was sent by the family to bring news of him. He thereafter lived at Anandpur, becoming the first nagarchi or beater of the Guru Gobind Singh's awesome Ranjit Nagara.
In 1691, he was married to Raj Kaur daughter of Sujan Singh of the village of Riar near Amritsar. Waheguru blessed the couple with four sons. He became famous as a marksman and trained the two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh in the art of warfare. He himself took part in all of Guru Gobind Singh's battles against the hill chiefs and the Mughals.
Bhai Jivan Singh fell, a martyr, in the Battle of Chamkaur on 8 December 1705. Gurdwara-Shahid-Burj a (tower) now a Gurdwara stands on the site as a monument to his memory.
He was born to Bhai Sada Nand and Mata Premo at 1:13 A.M. on the 7th moon day of Poh Bikrami Samat, 1718, which was Tuesday, the 13th December, 1649 A.D at Patna Sahib. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib himself named the child 'Jaita' although he is believed to have been name Jag Chand at birth.
In December, 1665 A.D. Guru Tegh Bahadur set out on his 3rd missionary tour of the eastern parts and took Bhai Sada Nand Ji and his family along with him. Leaving his wife Mata Gujari Ji and other lady members of the family at Patna in the supervision of Bhai Kirpal Chand Ji, the brother of Mata Gujari Ji, Guru Ji left for the Bengal area.
At this very place Gobind Rai Ji, Guru Ji’s only son was born on 22 December, 1666 A.D. The next day i.e. 23 December, 1666 A.D. Bhai Sangata, the second son of Bhai Sada Nand Ji was born. While carrying on his missionary propagation Guru Ji reached Anandpur Sahib by the middle of 1670 A.D. But Mata Ji and Sahibzada Gobind Rai Ji continued to stay at Patna Sahib.
At Patna during their childhood, Bhai Jaita and his younger brother Bhai Sangata were fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play in the company of Gobind Rai Ji. Once while playing on the bank of the Ganges, their return home was delayed a little. In their hurry Jaita started tying the turban of young Gobind Rai Ji on his own head. Realizing the mistake Bhai Jaita Ji returned the turban to Gobind Rai Ji, where upon Gobind Rai Ji remarked, “Jaite, the time for you to tie my turban has not yet come. When the time comes I will myself put my turban on your head."
The Ninth Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur before acceding to the guruship kept meditating in a basement from 1644-1664 A.D., mainly at Baba Bakala, where Bhai Sada Nand Ji was in attendance. The name of Bhai Sada Nand Ji is mentioned in the Hukamnamahs of Guru Tegh Bahadur. This easily ascertains his place in the Guru’s establishment.
Bhai Sada Nand Ji was the son of Bhai Jas Bhan, Grand-Son of Bhai Sukh Bhan and Great-Grand-Son of Bhai Kalyana Ji. Bhai Kalyana Ji had founded the village Kathu Nangal. Baba Buddha Ji was also a resident of Kathu Nangal and a contemporary of Bhai Kalyana Ji who was one of the Chiefs of the village. Bhai Kalyana Ji along with Baba Buddha Ji shifted from Kathu Nangal to Gaggo Mahal and later settled at Ramdas in district Amritsar.
Bhai Kalyana Ji served the Guru’s establishment from the first Gurus to the sixth Gurus. He participated along with his family in voluntary service (Kar Seva) at Darbar Sahib and under the orders of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He performed the task of bringing timber from Mandi State. His name is mentioned in the Hukamnamahs of Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji from which it can be realized what a respectable place this family had in the Guru’s establishment.
Bhai Sukh Bhan Ji built Kalyan Ashram in the Mohlla Dilwali of the village Raisinha near Delhi after the name of his father Bhai Kalyana Ji. He established a school of Gurmat Music at this Ashram where hymn-singing of Gurbani was taught. Later on this Ashram was called Bhai Kalyana di Dharamashal which was a centre of Sikh activities. This Dharamshal was also the residence of Bhai Agya Ram Ji, the elder uncle of Bhai Jaita.
But some members of this family continued to reside at Kathu Nagal, Gaggo Mahal and Ramdas in district Amritsar. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji often stayed at Bhai Kalyana’s Dharamshal during his visit to Delhi. Bhai Sukh Bhan, Bhai Jas Bhan, Bhai Agya Ram and Bhai Sada Nand continued to serve the Guru’s establishment like their ancestors. They were great scholars, musicians and excellent singers of their time.
Ranghrete Guru Ke Bete (Son of Guru)
Tired of the orthodox attitude of Aurangzeb, a deputation of Kashmiri Pandits led by Padit Kirpa Ram approached Guru Ji with a petition at Anandpur Sahib on 25 May, 1675 A.D. Hearing the hair-raising story of the pandit, Guru ji was lost deep thoughts. Returning from his play young Gobind Rai Ji asked his father the reason of his being worried and suggested to him to offer himself for martyrdom for the protection of the Hindu religion.
Guru Ji left Anandpur Sahib along with his five loved ones on 20 July, 1675 A.D. On 15 September, 1675 A.D. Guru Ji and his five loved ones were arrested at Agra and imprisoned at Delhi. Bhai Jaita Ji escaped from the prison with the help of Aurangzeb’s daughter Zebunnissa, Kotwal Khwaja Abdullah and his uncle Bhai Agya Ram, and reached Anandpur Sahib with anointing material for guruship Ninth Master’s Hukamnamahs and 57 verses written by Guru Ji in the jail.
He handed over this material to young Gobind Rai Ji at Anandpur Sahib. Later on at Damadma Sahib (Talwandi Sabo) when Guru Gobind Singh Ji edited Guru Granth Sahib Ji, having got it written by Bhai Mani Singh Ji he included the verses of Guru Tegh Bahadur also. This was the special contribution of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji (Bhai Jaita Ji). It was on his account that verses of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji in the rag Jaijaiwanti were preserved in Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The Sikh Path will ever remain indebted to him. He enlightened the Tenth Master on the situation at Delhi. Young Gobind Rai Ji demanded in the open session of the congregation that some heroic dauntless person should come forward to take the responsibility of bringing back the head and the trunk of his father (The Ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji) after his martyrdom at Delhi. There was a pin drop silence on all sides.
At length, Bhai Jaita Ji took this responsibility on his own shoulders and set out for Delhi in disguise. He reached his Uncle Bhai Agya Ram’s house at Raisinha village. Bhai Sada Nand Ji was already there keeping an eye on the situation at Delhi. They made a plan to bring Guru Ji’s head and trunk after his martyrdom.
On 11 November, 1675 A.D., early in the morning Guru Ji while he was in a trance under a banyan tree, was martyred with a sword by the executioner Jalalludin of Samana in pursuance of the verdict pronounced by Qazi Abdul Wahab. The Government had announced the death sentence for anybody trying to carry away the head and the trunk of the Guru Ji. As a result no devotee showed the courage to do it and rather they avoided being called the Sikhs of the Guru Ji.
During the first quarter of the night Bhai Jaita Ji along with his father Bhai Sada Nand Ji, his uncle Bhai Agya Ram Ji and Oodai Singh Ji succeed in approaching the Guru Ji’s dead body taking the cover of the pitch-dark, taking advantage of the torrential rains and creeping near the walls of the residential houses. According to the pre-devised plan the head of Bhai Sada Nand Ji was severed by Bhai Jaita Ji so that his trunk and head could be exchanged with those of the Guru Ji.
Baba Jiwan Singh Ji himself bears witness to this fact on Page 35 of his sacred book “Shri Gur Katha” as under:
The entire project was successfully executed,
He put his father's head in place of the Guru Ji’s head,
It bears resemblance to the Guru Ji’s looks,
All the courtiers say so,
Just as you have protected me from the enemy forces,
In the same way O Guru save me from going to the hell,
The face of the Guru Ji was shown to all the Sikhs,
if some body talks of dying for love,
Let him stand by love like my father,
He got his head severed,
And placed at the feet of the Guru,
And this way he gave a demonstration of love.
Bhai Jaita Ji, his uncle Bhai Agya Ram Ji and Bhai Oodai Ji hurriedly removed the head and trunk of Guru Ji, put Bhai Sada Nand Ji's head and trunk at that place and disappeared on tiptoe. Putting Guru Ji’s head and trunk on their horses tethered at some distance, Bhai Agya Ram Ji reached his house at Bhai Kaliana’s Dharamshal in village Raisinha near Delhi. They cremated Guru Ji’s body by raising a pyre within the house.
The Kotwal of Chandni Chowk, Khwaja Abdullah and Aurangzeb’s daughter Zebunnisa had assisted in this act. Later when Emperor Aurangzeb came to know of the cremation, he martyred Bhai Agya Ram Ji and his family by torturing them to death. However, no reference is available regarding what happened to Pandit Shiv Narain Ji’s family. Aurangzeb confiscated the site of Bhai Agya Ram’s house and built a mosque there. Later on Jathedar Baghel Singh demolished this mosque and built there a Gurdwara named Rakab Ganj Sahib.
After he cremated the Guru Ji’s trunk in his uncle’s house, Bhai Jaita took the head along, taking advantage of the dark of the night and rainy weather and deceiving the royal forces. Following a zig-zag passage and passing through Bagpat, Taraori, Ambala, Nabha etc. he reached Kiratpur Sahib on 15 November, 1675 A.D.
As per the wishes for the members of the Guru Ji’s family, here onwards Guru’s head was decked in a palanquin and placed on the head of Bhai Jaita Ji it was carried to Anandpur Sahib in a procession. There it was respectfully cremated according to the conventions of the Guru’s establishment. This place of cremation is graced today by Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
The young Gobind Rai embraced Bhai Jaita who had brought the head and granted him the title of “Ranghrete Guru Ke Bete” (Son of Guru). Bhai Jaita Ji narrated to Guru Ji his experiences at Delhi from the time 9th Master’s Martyrdom to the time of the cremated of his trunk. He also told him how the Sikh devotees watched this incident quietly and helplessly for fear of death.
Guru Ji resolved that very soon he would bring about such important changes in the Sikh form that a Sikh would be distinguishable automatically among millions of people. Guru Ji fulfilled this resolved by created the Khalsa on 30 March, 1699 A.D. Guru Ji asked Bhai Jaita Ji to demand a boon and he requested that he may be allowed to take a bath in the holy tank of Shri Harmandir Sahib at Amritsar. Guru Ji granted this boon and also got constructed a Bunga of Ranghretas quite close to Dukh Bhanjni Beri. Here the Ranghreta Sikhs assemble and hold a fair every year.
After some time Aurangzeb came to know about the soft corner which Kotwal Khwaja Abdullah and Zebunnisa had towards the Guru Ji, help rendered by them in Bhai Jaita Ji’s escape from the jail, carrying away of the Guru Ji's head and trunk from Chandni Chowk and the cremation of the trunk at Bhai Agya Ram’s house in Bhai Kalyana’s Dharamshal in village Raisinha Sahib. He got his daughter Zebunnisa killed by slow poisoning, but the Kotwal had already left his job at Delhi and gone to the protection of the Tenth Master at Anandpur Sahib.
Baba Jiwan Singh Ji had stood by Guru Ji and showed the feats of his bravery in the following battles:
1. The Battle of Bhangani
2. The Battle of Nadaun
3. The Battle of Anandpur Sahib
4. The Battle of Bajrur
5. The Battle of Nirmohgarh
6. The First Battle of Anandpur Sahib
7. Sudden Attack on Anandpur Sahib
8. Second Battle of Anandpur Sahib
9. Third Battle of Anandpur Sahib
10. Fourth Battle of Anandpur Sahib
11. The Battle of Bansali/Kalmot
12. Sudden Attack-A Battle near Chamkaur Sahib
13. Freeing a Brahman Woman at Bassi Kalan
14. The Battle of Sirsa
15. The Battle of Chamkaur
While fighting the battle of Sirsa, Sahibzada Ajit Singh was caught in the siege of the enemies. Baba Jiwan Singh rode his horse, holding swords in both hands, held the reins of his horse in his mouth, made a short work of many enemies and succeeded in extricating Sahibzada Ajit Singh safe and sound from the circle of the enemy.
There can hardly be any fighter in the world who may ride his horse, holding the reins in mouth and wield two swords with his right and left hand at the same time. Similarly, no match to Baba Jiwan Singh Ji has been so far born in the world who may make sure shots with two rifles at the same time. That is why during the warfare he always kept his two guns Nagni and Baghni with him.
Guru Ji introduced the war-drum (Ranjit Nagara) to inject heroism in his soldiers during the war, the second of which could be heard over a long distance. The drum was beaten under the supervision of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji because he was the Chief Drummer, and the fighting was always started with the beat of the drum.
He possessed special expertise in guerilla warfare. In addition to this Guru Ji had appointed him the Chief of the Intelligence Department. According to historical research he was also the tutor of the two elder sons (Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji & Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Ji) of the Guru Ji in military training.
Sri Gur Katha
He was not only a great fighter, but he was also an excellent poet. His work “Sri Gur Katha” is a great contribution to the Sikh religion. This book contains a first hand account of Guru Ji’s battles.
The praises of Guru Ji sung in a devoted and emotional manner in this book make Baba Jiwan Singh Ji a poet of the rank of Bhatt Poets in Guru Granth Sahib. The picture of the personality of Satguru Ji is matchless and unique. He has also recounted in this book all the incidents in relation to Amrit captivation, the mode of preparing Amrit, the importance of five symbols in Sikhism, sikh conduct and conventions, martyrdoms of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and Bhai Sada Nand Ji (The Father of Bhai Jiwan Singh Ji) in detail.
To express his thoughts and emotions Baba Jiwan Singh Ji has used various like Kabitt, Swaiyya, Dohira, Sarkhandi, Kundlia, Rala, Bisham Padi (Shabad), Chopayee, Sortha etc. To express his meaning Baba Ji has used various literary techniques such as Alliteration, Simile, Metaphor, Proverbs, Examples, Weepsa Alankar, Utparokhia Alankar and Ulek Alankar. Baba Ji’s writing is dominated by thoughts founded on devotion, on which account essence of solace is supreme, but he has also made use of Pathos, Vir Ras and Vibh Ras.
The style is the image of a writer’s personality. Love of the Guru in his heart, courage, devotion, faith, forbearance, humility, enthusiasm etc. all have contributed to making his style distinctive.
The Martyrdom of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji at Chamkaur Sahib
Guru Gobind Singh Ji along with 40 Singhs, including two of his older sons, and the five Panj Piyare, the original "Beloved Five" reached Chamkaur di Garhi, after leaving Anandpur on the night of December 22/23, 1704A.D., crossing the flooded Sarsa rivulet, and resting at Kot Nihang Khan. They asked permission of the city chief for shelter to rest for the night in their garhi or haveli.
The Battle Of Chamkaur Sahib was a battle fought between Khalsa led by Guru Gobind Singh against the Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan and other Mughal Generals.
Endowed with the Plume and Raiment
The Battle of Chamkaur Sahib was fought, in which Guru Ji’s two Sahibzade (sons) and 27 Singhs (followers) embraced martyrdom. The surviving 11 Singhs in the fortress appointed five loved sons ones out of themselves, who commanded Guru Ji to quit the fortress. Taking it for a divine command Guru Ji accepted this decision.
Consequently, before quitting he had to take a decision to assign his plume, weapons, dress and appearance. All this was to be bestowed upon some great individual who might have served the Guru’s establishment with faith, loyalty and devotion. His Name was “Baba Jiwan Singh Ji (Bhai Jaita Ji)”. Guru Ji graced him “Ranghreta Guru Ka Beta”,
Kankan, the court poet of Guru Gobind Singh Ji has clearly mentioned that taking the correct decision, the king-hermit Guru Gobind Singh gave his Kalgi, Poshaka, Weapon (Hatiar) to Baba Jiwan Singh Ji who was a devoted and perfect Gursikh. Guru Ji graced him “Guru Ka Beta”(Son of Guru) keeping in view the sacrifices made by his family.
Guru Ji did not give the invaluable articles to Bhai Sangat Singh (younger brother of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji) or Bhai Sant Singh.
According to Guru Gobind Singh Ji ‘s court poet Kanakan:
He put his plume on Baba Jiwan Singh’s head,
And made him wear his own dress,
He seated Jiwan Singh in the tower,
And thus Gobind Singh left the fortress. (284)
Guru Ji, before leaving the havelli gave his Kalgi, Poshaka, and Weapon (Hatiar) to Baba Jiwan Singh Ji, but Guru Ji was very happy at that time with Baba Ji. Guru Ji offered Baba Jiwan Singh Ji (Bhai Jaita Ji) anything which ever he desired. But Baba Ji did not have any desire and demanded nothing.
Second time, Guru Ji repeated same and Baba Ji did not demand anything. Guru Ji once again offered Baba Ji and this was the last, but Baba Ji, complete Saint and Soldier who got all things because Guru Ji loved him as his son did not require anything. After three wishes (Tin Bachan), Guru Ji said that he was very happy with Baba Ji and he wanted to give something to Baba Ji but Baba did not demand anything.
Then, Baba Jiwan Singh Ji told Guru Ji that whichever Guru Ji liked, he should give to him. Guru Ji smiled and told him,” You are asking for after three wishes (Tin Bachan), the time will come after three hundred years (300 Saal Baad) when your name will shine in sky. And this is the time after three hundred years (300 Saal Baad) when he is rising again.
Martyrdom of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji (Bhai Jaita Ji)
Guru Ji left the Garhi of Chamkaur after gracing Baba Jiwan Singh Ji “Guru Ka Beta”. The Mogul force invaded the Garhi of Chamkaur on the morning on 23 Dec, 1704 A.D. There were only Seven Singhs and Baba Jiwan Singh Ji in the Havelli. Seven Singh soldiers came out on horses for fighting except for Baba Jiwan Singh Ji.
Baba Jiwan Singh Ji stayed inside the Garhi or Havelli and he fired with the two guns Nagni and Baghni and with the arrows which were given to Baba Ji by Guru Gobind Singh Ji when Guru Ji left Chamkaur Sahib. He fired from the top of the Garhi. Moguls considered that Guru Ji was still inside because the Kalgi (Plume) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji was shined on the head of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Moguls were deceived. Baba Ji continued firing with guns and arrows and beat the Nagaraa. Seven soldiers were fighting with bravery.
The shouts of 'Nagaraa', and sounds of swords, horses and men made the battlefield horrible. Just seven Singh soldiers were fighting with ten Lac Mogul soldiers. They showed their skill and did stunts in the battlefield. Moguls were stunned at their bravery. They were martyred separately. Now, Baba Ji still fought alone. Bullets and arrows were finished inside the Garhi. Baba Jiwan Singh Ji came down from the top of the Garhi or Hawelli.
Baba Ji held swords in both hands. Baba Ji broke out on the Moguls, who thought that only Guru Gobind Singh Ji was alone inside and now Guru Ji was fighting after he came out from the Garhi because the Kalgi of Guru Ji was shining on the forehead of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Poshaka (Dress) made the false thought true of the enemies. The Mogul force wanted to catch Guru Ji alive so that they could get rewards and high positions in the Mugal Royal Darbar.
But the son of Guru (Ranghreta Guru Ka Beta) did not make their wish true. Baba Jiwan Singh Ji fought against them and showed his bravery. He held two swords in both of his hands and broke out at enemies. At last, the enemies were unable to catch Baba Ji alive. So, they fired arrows and guns at Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. The fountain of blood burst from the body.
At last, Baba Jiwan Singh Ji was martyred at Chamkaur Sahib on 23 December, 1704 as Guru Ji said, “Sawa Lakh Se Ek Lraaun”. He was the last martyr of Chamkaur Sahib who fought against 10 lac of Mogul forces. When Baba Ji fell down the Mogul force seemed very happy. Wajid Khan and all the Mogul warriors were very happy that they killed Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
They separated the head from the body and presented it to the Mogul Emperor at Delhi. But after investigation it proved that this was not the head of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The head was that of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. This fact was found out by Saltnat, the daughter of Aurangzeb the Emperor of Mugal.
The responsibility of holding the funeral for the bodies of Shaheed Singhs was given to Mata Sharan Kaur Ji by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Guru Ji said to Mata Ji that she should hold a funeral for all the Singh’s bodies and the body of his elder son was given a funeral separate from the others. Bibi Ji asked, 'How can I recognize your elder son?' Guru Ji replied, 'His body had no head and he wore my poshaka.'
Gurudwara Shaheed Burj Sahib
At the place where Baba Jiwan Singh Ji was martyred, Gurudawar Burj Sahib was situated. This Gurudwara Sahib was situated in the memory of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji. Bibi Sharan Kaur Ji gave a funeral for Baba Jiwan Singh Ji at this place. There is a historical well there, where Guru Ji, two Sahibzadas and other Singh soldiers drank water from this well.
Relatives of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji at Chamkaur Sahib
In the battle of Chamkaur Sahib, the father in law Bhai Khajan Singh, younger brother Bhai Sangat Singh and two sons Bhai Sukha Singh Ji and Bhai Seva Singh Ji of Baba Jiwan Singh Ji was also martyred.