Baba Sri Chand

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Baba Sri Chand Ji's statue. Sculpture by Amrit Singh Khalsa

Sri Chand (1494 to 1643), also called Baba Sri Chand is the elder son of Guru Nanak and the founder of the ascetic sect of Udasis. He was born to Mata Sulakhani on Bhadon sudi 9, 1551 Bk / 9 September 1494 at Sultanpur Lodhi, now in Kapurthala district of the Punjab. This type of arrangement where the child is born at the mother's parental (ਨਾਨਕੇ s  "Nanakay" meaning 'maternal grandparents') home was a quite common and accepted custom at that time.

Sri Chand mastered the techniques of yoga at a very young age. He remained devoted to his father, Baba Nanak and established the Udasi order. He travelled far and wide and spread awareness of Guru Nanak.

Baba Sri Chand was held in great esteem by the ensuing Sikh Gurus. Baba Mohan, the eldest son of Guru Amar Das and the person who is best known as the custodian of Guru Sahib's Pothis (hand written verses) from which Guru Arjun Dev compiled the Guru Granth Sahib also became a renunciate, possibly influenced by Sri Chand.

History

General background

Guru Hargobind sent his son Baba Gurditta to Sri Chand. He became Sri Chand's successor and is regarded as a patriarch of the Udasi Sampardai (order). Baba Gurditta was the father of Guru Har Rai, the grandfather of Guru Harkrishan, the older brother of Guru Tegh Bahadur and the uncle of Guru Gobind Singh.

After his father, Guru Nanak left Nankana Sahib, Sri Chand stayed in Dera Baba Nanak and maintained Guru Nanak Dev Ji's temple. Later he established the Udasi order.

Early Life

After Guru Nanak left home on his travels to distant lands, Baba Sri Chand's mother, Mata Sulakhani took him and his younger brother, Lakhmi Das, to her parents` home at Pakkhoke Randhave on the left bank of the River Ravi.

Guru Nanak had discourses with various yogis and their disciples like Gorakh, Bhangarnath, Loharipa, Hanifa, Kanifa, Bharthari etc. [1]. He taught them by answering their direct questions. [2][1][3].

When Guru Nanak, after his travels, had settled down at KARTARPUR on the right bank of Ravi and not far from Pakkhoke, Siri Chand rejoined the family.

Reburial of Guru Nanak’s Ashes

Guru Nanak having chosen one of his disciples as his spiritual successor, passed away at Kartarpur on 7 September 1539 and a monument was raised over the site where his ashes were buried. As the monument was washed away by floods in the river, Siri Chand had the urn containing the ashes salvaged, reburied it at some distance close to the well of Ajitta Randhava, a devotee of the late Guru, and built a mud hut over it. The place came to be revered as a dehri or samadh (mausoleum) of Guru Nanak around which the present town of Dera Baba Nanak grew. It is mentioned in accounts of the time that that when Guru Ram Das met Baba Siri Chand, Baba Siri Chand Ji commented that Guru Ram Das had the longest beard he had seen. Guru Ram Das replied, "It is to wipe the feet of the saints like you". Guru Ram Das bent down to do so, and Siri Chand pulled his feet back in surprise.

Teaching of Sikh Traditions

Baba Siri Chand stayed on at Pakkhoke Randhave for some time. He gathered around him a band of his own disciples who, like him, shunned the householder`s life and practiced austerities. With his disciples he traveled throughout the length and breadth of India, initiating many as Udasin or Udasi (lit. indifferent, stoic) sect who functioned as itinerant teachers and established missionary centres at different places in the country and beyond.

Through these Udasin Guru Nanak`s word was also carried to far corners of the land. Baba Siri Chand`s own main centre was at Barath, eight kilometres southwest of Pathankot in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. Baba Siri Chand also kept in touch with successive Gurus during his long life of well over a hundred years. The Gurus held him in high esteem. In 1626, when at the behest of Guru Hargobind, his eldest son, Baba Gurditta, proceeded to found the town of Kiratpur in the lower Sivalik hills, he had the ground broken by Baba Siri Chand Ji.


Death

Picture Depicting Baba Sri Chand picking his nephew from Lakhmi Das's Horse

Baba Sri Chand died at Kiratpur on Magh sudi 1,1685 bik/ 13 January 1629.[4]. Udasi Traditions say that he never died but he vanished into the forest of Chamba.

After Baba Siri Chand went invisible, the son of Guru Hargobind, Baba Gurditta became his successor as head of the Udasis. The Udasis protected and maintained the historical shrines of Anandpur, Hazoor Sahib and Amritsar for over a hundred years after Guru Gobind Singh's death.

Sri Chand and Sikhi

ਪ੝ਤ੝ਰੀ ਕਉਲ੝ ਨ ਪਾਲਿਓ ਕਰਿ ਪੀਰਹ੝ ਕੰਨ੝ਹ੝ਹ ਮ੝ਰਟੀਝ ॥
Nanak's sons did not obey His Word; they turned their backs on Him as Guru.

In Guru Granth Sahib on page 967, Satta and Balwand state that the sons of Nanak did not follow the path of their father and that they "turned his ear" against the "ambrosial path" of Nanak i.e against Gurmat (Guru's way) and wandered along other paths, so they were not chosen as his successor or as teachers of Gurmat, but Bhai Lehna was.[5]

Guru Arjun inserted the composition containing the above tuk (line) by bards Satta and Balwand in Guru Granth Sahib under Ramkali Bani.[6]

It important to note that Sri Chand did not marry or lead a life of a "Gristi" (householder) which are important consideration of Gurmat. Further the use of Occult and supernatural powers ("ridhia, sidhia") is not supported by Gurbani.[7] [8] [9]

Complete Composition by Satta & Balvand

(Guru Granth Sahib pages 966-968)

Vaar Of Raamkalee, Uttered By Satta And Balwand The Drummer:

One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
One who chants the Name of the Almighty Creator - how can his words be judged? His divine virtues are the true sisters and brothers; through them, the gift of supreme status is obtained. Nanak established the kingdom; He built the true fortress on the strongest foundations. He installed the royal canopy over Lehna's head; chanting the Lord's Praises, He drank in the Ambrosial Nectar. The Guru implanted the almighty sword of the Teachings to illuminate his soul. The Guru bowed down to His disciple, while Nanak was still alive. The King, while still alive, applied the ceremonial mark to his forehead. ||1||

Nanak proclaimed Lehna's succession - he earned it. They shared the One Light and the same way; the King just changed His body. The immaculate canopy waves over Him, and He sits on the throne in the Guru's shop. He does as the Guru commands; He tasted the tasteless stone of Yoga.

<New page 967>

The Langar - the Kitchen of the Guru's Shabad has been opened, and its supplies never run short. Whatever His Master gave, He spent; He distributed it all to be eaten. The Praises of the Master were sung, and the Divine Light descended from the heavens to the earth. Gazing upon You, O True King, the filth of countless past lives is washed away. The Guru gave the True Command; why should we hesitate to proclaim this? His sons did not obey His Word; they turned their backs on Him as Guru. These evil-hearted ones became rebellious; they carry loads of sin on their backs. Whatever the Guru said, Lehna did, and so he was installed on the throne. Who has lost, and who has won? ||2||

He who did the work, is accepted as Guru; so which is better - the thistle or the rice? The Righteous Judge of Dharma considered the arguments and made the decision. Whatever the True Guru says, the True Lord does; it comes to pass instantaneously. Guru Angad was proclaimed, and the True Creator confirmed it. Nanak merely changed his body; He still sits on the throne, with hundreds of branches reaching out. Standing at His door, His followers serve Him; by this service, their rust is scraped off. He is the Dervish - the Saint, at the door of His Lord and Master; He loves the True Name, and the Bani of the Guru's Word. Balwand says that Khivi, the Guru's wife, is a noble woman, who gives soothing, leafy shade to all. She distributes the bounty of the Guru's Langar; the kheer - the rice pudding and ghee, is like sweet ambrosia. The faces of the Guru's Sikhs are radiant and bright; the self-willed manmukhs are pale, like straw. The Master gave His approval, when Angad exerted Himself heroically. Such is the Husband of mother Khivi; He sustains the world. ||3||

It is as if the Guru made the Ganges flow in the opposite direction, and the world wonders: what has he done? Nanak, the Lord, the Lord of the World, spoke the words out loud. Making the mountain his churning stick, and the snake-king his churning string, He has churned the Word of the Shabad. From it, He extracted the fourteen jewels, and illuminated the world. He revealed such creative power, and touched such greatness. He raised the royal canopy to wave over the head of Lehna, and raised His glory to the skies. His Light merged into the Light, and He blended Him into Himself. Guru Nanak tested His Sikhs and His sons, and everyone saw what happened. When Lehna alone was found to be pure, then He was set on the throne. ||4||

Then, the True Guru, the son of Pheru, came to dwell at Khadoor. Meditation, austerities and self-discipline rest with You, while the others are filled with excessive pride. Greed ruins mankind, like the green algae in the water. In the Guru's Court, the Divine Light shines in its creative power. You are the cooling peace, whose depth cannot be found. You are overflowing with the nine treasures, and the treasure of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. Whoever slanders You will be totally ruined and destroyed. People of the world can see only what is near at hand, but You can see far beyond. Then the True Guru, the son of Pheru, came to dwell at Khadoor. ||5||

<New page 968>

The same mark on the forehead, the same throne, and the same Royal Court. Just like the father and grandfather, the son is approved. He took the thousand-headed serpent as his churning string with the force of devotional love,. and he churned the ocean of the world with his churning stick, the Sumayr mountain. He extracted the fourteen jewels, and brought forth the Divine Light. He made intuition his horse, and chastity his saddle. He placed the arrow of the Lord's Praise in the bow of Truth. In this Dark Age of Kali Yuga, there was only pitch darkness. Then, He rose like the sun to illuminate the darkness. He farms the field of Truth, and spreads out the canopy of Truth. Your kitchen always has ghee and flour to eat. You understand the four corners of the universe; in your mind, the Word of the Shabad is approved and supreme. You eliminate the comings and goings of reincarnation, and bestow the insignia of Your Glance of Grace. You are the Avataar, the Incarnation of the all-knowing Primal Lord. You are not pushed or shaken by the storm and the wind; you are like the Sumayr Mountain. You know the inner state of the soul; You are the Knower of knowers. How can I praise You, O True Supreme King, when You are so wise and all-knowing? Those blessings granted by the Pleasure of the True Guru - please bless Satta with those gifts. Seeing Nanak's canopy waving over Your head, everyone was astonished. The same mark on the forehead, the same throne, and the same Royal Court. Just like the father and grandfather, the son is approved. ||6||

Blessed, blessed is Guru Raam Daas; He who created You, has also exalted You. Perfect is Your miracle; the Creator Lord Himself has installed You on the throne. The Sikhs and all the Congregation recognize You as the Supreme Lord God, and bow down to You. You are unchanging, unfathomable and immeasurable; You have no end or limitation. Those who serve You with love - You carry them across. Greed, envy, sexual desire, anger and emotional attachment - You have beaten them and driven them out. Blessed is Your place, and True is Your magnificent glory. You are Nanak, You are Angad, and You are Amar Daas; so do I recognize You. When I saw the Guru, then my mind was comforted and consoled. ||7||

The four Gurus enlightened the four ages; the Lord Himself assumed the fifth form. He created Himself, and He Himself is the supporting pillar. He Himself is the paper, He Himself is the pen, and He Himself is the writer. All His followers come and go; He alone is fresh and new. Guru Arjun sits on the throne; the royal canopy waves over the True Guru. From east to west, He illuminates the four directions. Those self-willed manmukhs who do not serve the Guru die in shame. Your miracles increase two-fold, even four-fold; this is the True Lord's true blessing. The four Gurus enlightened the four ages; the Lord Himself assumed the fifth form. ||8||1||

Views of Some Scholars

Some Views related to Sri Chand Exist:

Nihang Baba Uday Singh comments upon the Udhasis:
Udhasi Panth is from the time of Guru Nanak it was started by Baba Siri Chand Ji. It is an ancient Panth. In it also the [Adi] Guru Granth was preached. They set up Akharas [religious gatherings] and alongside Adi Granth they gave knowledge of Ayurved [Traditional Indian medicine]. They moved like an army through the villages and towns. They visited the Kumbh [ie. the Kumbh mela, a Hindu religious festival occurring every 12 years] at Hardwar on elephants and horses. This I do know about Udhasis the old ones use to preach Guru Granth with Ayurved. These Udhasis are an old Panth of Guru Nanak. They are exempt from the Khalsa initiation. From the beginning they did not get initiated into the Khalsa [since]they adopted the Udasi way of life [non-attachment]... (Baba Uday Singh, transcript of a recording, 01-03-2001) Udhasi Gobind Das, Chief Mahant at Kankhal, Hardwar points out there was no conflict between father and son over this:

‘What throne of a kingdom did Baba Siri Chand occupy you tell me? Or, did Guru Nanak have such a throne so as he had to have a successor? Were they kings of some state? Guru Nanak was no king of some kingdom. He occupied the throne... of devotion. Thus Guru Maharaj Baba Sri Chand Ji made his throne of devotion to God separate. In which there is no attachment and renunciation of every type, as is also found in Guru Nanak as well. Father and son appreciated that each other's way of life was different, so they each taught their ways separately. The difference that was that Baba Sri Chand became the teacher of Udasis because one was a house holder [Guru Nanak] and one unattached [Baba Sri Chand].’ ‘Maharaj [Baba Sri Chand] preaching of Guru Granth that the Udasis have done in India all over. In all places, history shows, using Gutkas [small Sikh prayer books] we spread. We taught all to read Sikh scriptures. This is the gift of the holy men, the Udasis. They [S.G.P.C. Akalis] cannot even in seven lifetimes preach as much as the Udhasis and Nirmalas have done and are still doing now. Even now, whenever we preach [to Hindus] we always without exception include teachings from [Adi] Guru Granth Sahib. We give examples [from Sikh history] of how you should follow the footsteps of the Gurus. Then your suffering shall be removed. Only then can your thinking and mind can come pure. That is if you desire Oh Brother, otherwise, it is up to you.’ (Baba Gobind Das, transcript of a recording, 16-02-2001)


Sant Baba Jaginder Singh comments on the mission Guru Nanak set his son:
Baba Siri Chand was to teach the ascetic society how to contemplate God, how to put them on a straight path to salvation, make them firm in knowledge of God and reveal God to them. This was the duty Guru Nanak gave him. (‘Siri Hazoori Maryada Parbodh’, by Sant Baba Joginder Singh, Pa. 145-146)

Udhasi Karam Prakash speaks with regard to the Adi Guru Durbar, and, how Udasis and other Sikh religious orders presented scripture to the Hindus:
Guru Granth is such a great philosophy - greater than all. He who has read Guru Granth Sahib sees in it come all the reading of Vedas. How is this? Reading, reading we load carts [With books]’ [quote from Adi Guru Granth]So how many Hindu religious texts are we to read? For this reason we preached to all that in this [Adi Guru Granth] are all philosophies. The thinking of all religions is in this. Ramayana is in it, ‘Ram Ram keep near you’ [quote from Adi Guru Granth], This is written there. For this reason all the Shashters [Hindu spiritual texts] also come in it. That is why all our traditions [Sikh] acknowledge it [as Guru]. (Udhasi Karam Prakash, transcript of recording, 06-03-2001)

Virsa Singh Gobind Sadan
Baba Siri Chand was a renunciate; i.e., self-denying, celibate, and dedicated to meditation; but he was also a farmer. His father asked him not to leave the world but to take responsibility for the community farm at Kartarpur while he, Guru Nanak, was away. When Guru Nanak returned from his travels, the whole village happily told him that they had learned from Baba Siri Chand how to combine hard work on the farm and meditation. Baba Siri Chand had an extensive and dedicated following. When the Emperor Jehangir asked Mian Mir, his own darvesh (Muslim term for a powerful, truthful, God-intoxicated holy person), "Who is the greatest darvesh today?" Mian Mir replied, "At this time the elder son of Guru Nanak is the king of the darveshes."

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Twarikh Guru Khalsa - Giani Gian Singh Cite error Invalid <ref> tag; name "srichandTwarikh" defined multiple times with different content; $2
  2. ^ Sidh Gosati
  3. ^ Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  4. ^ Bhatt Vahis
  5. ^ SGGS page 967 - His sons did not obey His Word; they turned their backs on Him as Guru. (www.srigranth.org)
  6. ^ Bani Satta Balvand
  7. ^ SGGS page 593 -Riches and the supernatural spiritual powers of the Siddhas are all emotional attachments; through them, the Naam, the Name of the Lord, does not come to dwell in the mind. (www.srigranth.org)
  8. ^ SGGS page 709 -you may adopt a lofty name, and be known to have supernatural spiritual powers - even so, if you are not accepted in the Court of the Lord, then all this adoration is false. ||2|| (www.srigranth.org)
  9. ^ SGGS page 225 -He may be called a Siddha, a man of spiritual perfection, and he may summon riches and supernatural powers; (www.srigranth.org)
  • Nara, Ishar SINGH, Itihas Baba Sri Chand Ji Sahib ate Udasin Sampardai. AMRITSAR, 1975
  • Randhir Singh, Udasi Sikhan di Vithia. Amritsar, 1959
  • Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The SIKH Religion, Oxford, 1909
  • Harbans Singh, Guru Nanak and Origins of the Sikh Faith. Bombay, 1969

External Links

Relatives of Shri Guru Nanak Dev guru nanak

Grandparents: ✝ Mata BanarasiBaba Shiv Ram ✝ Grandparents (Maternal):✝ Mata BhiraiBaba Rama
Parents: ✝ Kalyan DasMata Tripta ✝ Uncle: ✝ Baba Lalu ✝ In-Laws: ✝ Baba Mool ChandMata Chando Rani
Wife: ✝ Bibi Sulakhni ✝ Siblings: ✝ Bibi Nanaki ✝ Brother-in-law: ✝ Bhai Jai Ram
Children: ✝ Baba Sri ChandBaba Lakhmi Das