Sakhi of Bhagat Sadhana
Bhagat Sadhna is one of the fifteen saints and süfis whose hymns are incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib. He was born in 1180 AD at village Sehwan in Hyderabad Sindh province. He was a qasai or butcher by profession who, by his piety and devotion, had gained spiritual eminence. He was cremated at Sirhind, in the Punjab, where even today a tomb stands in his memory. He is considered to be a contemporary of Bhagat Namdev, another medieval saint.
His ancestors were butchers by profession. He also took up the family profession of slaughtering goats and selling meat. Sadhus (holy people) and beggars passing-by would sit outside his shop for a rest under the large tree.
Collisions due to his Profession
Many vegetarian saints would tell him, "Sadhna, your profession of slaughtering and selling meat is not good. You shall have to repay by taking birth as a goat many times over."
Sadhna used to reply, "My ancestors have been following this profession for generation and so I have had to take it up as well. The Lord who has brought me into this world has given me this profession by sending me as a son in this family who have for many generations prectised this trade. Which profession is good or which is bad, I don't know. Only the One who gives us life knows better about it."
One day a mendicant(faqir or holy-man) came to him. He saw Sadhna weighing meat against a black-stone as weight and said, "0' Sadhna, you weigh meat with this Saligram (holy black-stone), symbol of Shiva, instead of worshipping it. This is bad."
Sadhna replied "This black-stone is my weight."
The mendicant said, "A butcher should not touch this Saligram. Give it to me. I shall worship it."
Sadhna gave that stone to the mendicant without any hesitation. The mendicant took that stone and went his way. On his way a thought came to his mind, "Before starting his everyday work, Sadhna used to bathe this Saligram with all his devotion, burn incense before it and paid obeisance to it. I am taking it away from a true devotee. This Saligram will never be pleased with my hypocritical worship."
At this thought, the mendicant came back, returned the stone to Sadhna and said, "One day, the real Saligram will reveal to a true devotee like you."
After the departure of the mendicant, the longing for a glimpse of the Lord took root in Sadhna's mind. Whenever, he was free, he would start singing holy praises to the Lord: "For the love of a princess, - a man disguised himself as Vishnu. You saved the honour of that man full of lust and selfishness. Enlightener of the world, what merit is Yours if our deeds continue to pursue us? Why seek shelter with the tiger if a jackal makes meal of us? A rainbird suffers for want of a drop of water. What is the use if an ocean is found after its death? I am tired, how can I delay a glimpse of Thee? If, after drowning, a boat is found, who will then ride it? I am nothing, nothing is mine and there is no ego. O' Lord, save the honour of Sadhna, Thy servant, now."
Change in Sadhna's Life
One evening, as Sadhna was washing up and cleaning his shop before closing, a customer came and asked Sadhna, "Weigh for me a leg of mutton."
Sadhna said, "There is no meat left now; I am just closing. Please come tomorrow and take it."
The customer said, "I need the meat badly now. I have very important guests and nothing to cook for them. Please, you must help me out. I am a loyal, regular and old customer of your family's business. You may charge double the price for it."
Sadhna said, "If I slaughter a goat now, it will rot by tomorrow."
The man said, "You have no need to slaughter a goat. Just cut one leg and give it to me."
Pressed by the customer, Sadhna went near the goat with a hatchet. As he approached the goat, he felt as if the goat was laughing. This shocked Sadhna.
Then the goat said: "O' Sadhna, in your worldly greed, today you are going to open a new account of pain and misery. We have been going through many thousands of cycles of births and deaths; but never before has any of us cut a limb off while the other was still alive. You are beginning a new level of cruelty!"
At this point, the hatchet fell out of Sadhna's hand and he turned to the customer to tell him of his helplessness. But there was no one there. He did not find any customer there. A thought came to Sadhna's mind, "It was the Lord Himself Who had come to reveal Himself to his devotee in the form of a customer."
With dedication and devotion, Bhagat Sadhna obtained salvation - "…. Kabir, …. Sadhana and Sain crossed over. Says Ravi Daas, listen, O Saints, through the Dear Lord, all is accomplished." (sggs Page 1106). His spiritual quest led him to renounce the life of a householder. He left Sehvan and roamed about the country preaching the love of God. None of his holy songs have survived except the solitary hymn preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib, which keeps his memory alive.