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BHAGAT NAMDEV JI


In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Bhagat Namdev Ji's 61 hymns in 18 Ragaas have been included. He was born on October 29th (October 26th according to some scholars) in 1270 AD in the village Narsi Bamni also spelled as Narasi-Vamani, District Himgoli of Maharashra. His parents were Sri Dam Sheti Ji also spelled as Damsheti Ji and Shrimati Gonabai Ji. His caste was chheemba (calico-printer). Janabai the family's maid servant and a Bhakta and poetess in her own right has recorded the tradition that Namdev Ji was born to Gonabai Ji as a result of her worship of Vithala in Pandharpur District Sholapur of Maharashtra. In two of his hymns he has mentioned that he was a chheemba. It is worth mentioning that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji while visiting Maharashtra visited all the key religious places and also visited Narsi Bamni.

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji also visited the Naag Naath Temple which is also called Aundha Naag Naath Temple in Hingoli District of Maharashtra. In his hymn which exists on Page 1164 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Bhagat Namdev Ji has said: I am of a low social class, O Lord, why was I born into a family of fabric dyers? When his age was less than 11 years he got married to Rajabai Ji also called Rajai Ji daughter of Gobind Shetti Ji also spelled as Govindasheti Sadovarte. He had four sons Narayan, Mahandev, Gobind and Vithaal and one daughter named Limba Bai. Bhagat Namdev Ji received the gurhati (the first food ritually given to a new-born baby) from his father. He spent the early years of his life in worshipping Shiv Ji and Vishnu Ji. But later on in the company of Vishobha Khechar Ji and Gyandev Ji he attained spiritual knowledge and changed his views. He adopted Vishobha Khechar Ji as his Guru. Out of his life span of 80 years he spent a large part in Pandharpur also called Pundrikpur in District Sholapur of Maharashtra. At Pandharpur several persons became his disciples. The anecdote which is very commonly narrated about Bhagat Namdev Ji is related to his worship of Thakur Ji (idol). His father was a worshipper of Thakur Ji. One day his father had to go to some place and he instructed Bhagat Namdev Ji to serve milk to Thakur Ji. Like his father he gave a bath to Thakur Ji and also put a tilak (saffron mark) on the forehead of Thakur Ji. Then he put milk in front of Thakur Ji and requested with folded hands that Thakur Ji should drink that milk. Bhagat Namdev Ji has narrated this incident in his hymn which appears on page 1163-64 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In this hymn Bhagat Namdev Ji has stated that taking the golden cup he filled it with the ambrosial milk and placed it before the Lord. He requested Thakur Ji saying that: 'Please drink this milk, O my Sovereign Lord God drink this milk and that will make my mind happy. Otherwise, my father will be angry with me. The Lord looked upon Namdev and smiled. Viewing his prayer and his dedication and determination Thakur Ji blessed him and drank that milk. The God Almighty said that this one devotee abides within my heart. The Lord drank the milk and the devotee returned home. In this way Bhagat Namdev Ji was blessed with the Blessed Vission of the Lord's Darshan. Bhai Gurdas Ji (Vaar 10, Pauri 11) has narrated this incident as follows:One day his father who used to serve milk to Thakur Ji had to go away on some errand. He instructed Namdev Ji to serve Thakur Ji and also serve milk to Thakur Ji. Namdev Ji gave a bath to Thakur Ji and brought milk of Kapil (brown) cow. He also a put a Tilak on Thakur Ji's forehead and then he prayed whole heartedly with folded hands that Thakur Ji should drink that milk. In view of Namdev Ji's dedication and determination Thakur Ji became kind and blessed him with His Darshan (holy glimpse) and also drank that milk.

Bhagat Namdev Ji's songs have been collected in 'Namdevachi Gatha' which includes a long autobiographical poem 'Tirathavali'. Dharampal Single and Baldev Singh Baddan in their list of 67 Saint poets have put Bhagat Namdev Ji's name at number one. As per tradition more than 2000 hymns have been ascribed to him, but the actual number does not seem to exceed to 156, counting those preserved in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

In the company of Jnanadeva Ji and other saints Bhagat Namdev Ji roamed about in the country and later came to village Ghuman in Tehsil Batala, District Gurdaspur of Punjab. He lived in this village for about 18 years. Bhagat Namdev Ji left for his heavenly abode from this place in 1350 AD. His sacred memory is preserved in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Baba Namdev Ji in this village. Inside this Gurdwara there is a samadh of Bhagat Namdev Ji. This memorial was constructed by Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and the Tank by its side was got dug by Sada Kaur, mother-in-law of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is believed that the hymns which are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib were composed while he was living at Ghuman because the language of these hymns seems to have been influenced by Punjabi language. In this Gurdwara birthday of Bhagat Namdev Ji is celebrated four days before the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhagat Namdev Ji's leaving for his heavenly abode is observed in this Gurdwara during January 12-18 every year. Presently S. Tarsem Singh (Mobile No. 94177-36233) is President of this Gurdwara. In Bhagat Namdev Ji's sacred memory in village Bhattiwal, Tehsil Batala of District Gurdaspur, Punjab Gurdwara Nameana Sahib has been established. In this village two more Gurdwaras (i) Gurdwara Khoohi Sahib and (ii) Gurdwara Khundi Sahib have been established.

References used in this write-up include:

(i)

The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism published by Punjabi University, Patiala, Part III, 1997.

(ii) Mahan Kosh by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha (1930).

(iii) Pandran Bhagat Sahiban by Sukhdev Singh Shant (2018)

(iv) Vaaran Bhai Gurdas Ji: Vaaran Gian Ratnavli, Shiromani, Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (1990) (v)Darbari Das (Bhai) Parchi Gosain Namdev Ki in Parchian Bhagtan Kian (Ed) Gurcharan Singh Sek (1991) (vi) The book Punjab De Sant Kavi by Dharampal Single and Baldev Singh Baddan (2006). (vii) Sarbjinder Singh's book Divine Revelation (1999)

(viii) Atlas: Travels of Guru Nanak by Fauja Singh and Kirpal Singh (1976)

(ix) Prabhakar Machwe's book Sant Namdev (2010)

(x) Macauliffe's book The Sikh Religion (2009) Although reference has not been given at each place




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