THE FIRST PRIEST OF GURU GRANTH SAHIB – BABA BUDDHA JI

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Tanuj Bansal

As my last article on the great Sikh General or Jarnail,Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, today, on the day of Guru Granth Sahib Prakash Purab, we are going to know about one of the greatest Sikh ever born and the first priest of Guru Granth Sahib, the only Sikh in the history to serve the first six Gurus, from The Great Guru and founder of SIKHISM, Guru Nanak Ji to the sixth one, Guru Har Gobind Ji was known as Baba Buddha Ji. Baba Ji is renowned as the prime, the humblest, a very wise Sikh figure in the history of Sikhism. He is remembered as a teacher of Gurus, one of the earliest Sikhs of Guru Nanak Ji and the who performed the formal coronation ceremonies of the five gurus who succeeded Guru Nanak Ji.

He was born on 6 October, 1506 at the village of Katthu Nangal, 18 KMs northwest of Amritsar to Bhai Suggha and Mai Gauran. His brith name was Bura. A life of over 124 years, he remained in close association with the first six gurus. As a small boy, he was grazing cattle outside when he was passed by Guru Nanak Ji, according to Bhai Mani Singh, he went to Nanak Ji, making the obeisance with the bowl of milk as his offering and prayed to him, “O, the sustainer of the poor, I am fortunate to have a sight of you today, resolve my confusions and questions on the cycle birth and death.” Guru said “You are just a child, yet you hold the wise mind of an old man.” Bura replied, “some soldiers set ip a camp nearby our village and destroyed the crops which were ripe and unripe as well and it’s the same manner of death which do not see if someone it takes with itself is old or young.” From that day onwards he came to be known as Bhai Buddha which in Punjabi means ‘wise old man’ , later when advanced in years, as Baba Buddha Ji.

He never let his early marriage at age seventeen let him disturb his duties and distract him from path he was on, the path he chose. The eminence he attained in Sikh piety that Nanak ji asked to apply ceremonial tilak on the forehead of Guru Angad Ji. Bada Buddha Ji lived up to ripe old age and had the unique honor of performing formal coronation ceremonies of five gurus. He devoted himself zealously to tasks such as the digging of the baoli at Govindval under the instruction of Guru Amar Das and the excavation of sacred tank under the instructions Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan. The ben tree under which he used to sit down and supervise the excavation of Amritsar pool is still standing today in the precincts of Golden Temple. He subsequently retired to a bir or forest, where he tended the livestock of the Guru ka Langar. What is left of the bir is still known after him, as Bir Baba Buddha Sahib. Baba Buddha Ji passed his last days in meditation at Jhanda Ramdas, or simply called Ramdas, a village founded by his son, Bhai Banna, where the family had since shifted fro Katthu nangal. As the end came, on 16 Novemebr 1631, Guru Har Gobind was at his bedside. The Guru, as says the Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi, gave his shoulder to the bier and performed the last rites. Bhai Gurdas, further to quote Gurbilas started reading Adi Granth in memory of deceased. Bhai Gurdas completed the recital and Guru Har Gobind presented a turban to Bada’s son, Bhai Bhana. Two shrines stand in Ramdas commemorating Baba Buddha, Gurdwara Tap Asthan Baba Buddha Ji, where the family lived on the southern edge of the village, and Gurdwara Samadhan, where he was cremated.

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