Mata Suhag Bai

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At the time of Guru Amar Das ji there was a man, Bhai Mengha, who together with his wife, was searching for the truth. Like most people of that era, they were hampered by despair over their long cherished Hindu ideals of ascetic renunciation. One day a stranger, a distant relative of theirs, came for a visit. She very quickly made herself at home with Bhai Mengha and his wife. She cooked for them, served them and looked after them as though she was their mother. After her arrival, the sense of acute despair that had engulfed the household soon began to slowly dissipate.

This kind woman, Mai Suhag Bai brought them hope, though they were not yet ready to admit that she was creating a fundamental change in their lives. The couple fell dangerously ill, for twenty one days they were ravaged by typhoid fever, which was followed by a long period of physical weakness. Friends and relatives shunned them, afraid of catching the disease. But fearlessly Suhag Bai remained at their bedside. With untiring love she washed them, brought them food and drink and kept an endless watch over them. This seemingly insignificant woman became an imposing and mysterious figure in their eyes. They noticed that there was something in her that was curiously different. They began to ask questions.

They found her acting as the mother of many orphans. She was the sustainer of many a poor young bride, deserted by a cruel husband, gambler, thief or drunkard. They found her visiting sick women, looking after their children, washing their clothes, caring for them and bringing financial sustenance to those in need. They found in her, a secret river flowing in a thousand channels, bringing water of life to the dead and dying. They found it impossible to define her as she brought hope and good cheer to them and all the others that she encountered. Gradually, it dawned on this couple that every act of this Mai Suhag Bai was a play, her every step a song, and she herself was as pure and as high as the very sky that spreads over the snow-topped mountains.

This distant relative of theirs, became known in the community as the Grey Lady, and was loved by all. She told them that it was Guru Amar Das who had sent her. Her instructions were to go out to preach the truth through the language of action. Love and service of mankind were the tools to influence the converts. This she did very well, bringing the couple and many others in the area to Goindwal, where they became loyal followers of the Guru.


1. Alice Basarke "The Champion of Women."