BHAGAT SAIN JI
Dr. Amrit Kaur Retd. Professor Punjabi University Patiala, Punjab, India
Bhagat Sain Ji is among the 15 Bhagats whose hymn Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji included in Sri Adi Granth Sahib complied by him. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in addition to his own hymns and the hymns of his four predecessor Gurus included the hymns of 15 Bhagats, 11 Bhatts and four others closely associated with the Sikh Gurus. These Bhagats include: (i) Bhagat Jaidev Ji (ii) Sheikh Farid Ji (iii) Bhagat Trilochan Ji (iv) Bhagat Namdev Ji (v) Bhagat Sadhna Ji (vi) Bhagat Ramanand Ji (vii) Bhagat Ravidas Ji (viii) Bhagat Kabir Ji (ix) Bhagat Sain Ji (x) Bhagat Dhanna Ji (xi) Bhagat Pipa ji (xii) Bhagat Beni Ji (xiii) Bhagat Bhikhan Ji (xiv) Bhagat Surdas Ji and (xv) Bhagat Parmanand Ji.
Thus it is evident that this is the only Holy Scripture which includes the hymns of Hindu and Muslim Saints belonging to various castes and creeds. In Sri Adi Granth Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji added the hymns of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and this Holy Scripture is now known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib and is the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib one hymn of Bhagat Sain Ji (SGGS, P695) in Raag Dhanasri has been included.
There is some difference of opinion about the date and place of birth of Bhagat Sain Ji. According to Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha he was the barber of Raja Ram, the King of Bandhavgarh (now called Rewa) which now falls in the north-eastern part of Madhya Pradesh. A few of his predecessors still live in Bandhavgarh. After becoming a disciple of Bhagat Ramanand Ji (1300-1411) and worshipping God Almighty he came to be included in the list of Bhagats. Some scholars believe that the was a servant of the king of Bidar which now falls in Karnataka and became a disciple of Sant Gianeshwar Ji but this argument does not carry any weight.
One thing is certain that he lived before Bhagat Ravidas Ji (SGGS, P1106) who in one of his hymns has included his name among the five Bhagats (i) Bhagat Namdev Ji (ii) Bhagat Kabir Ji (iii) Bhagat Trilocahn Ji (iv) Bhagat Sadhna Ji and (v) Bhagat Sain Ji.
Bhagat Ravidas Ji says:
'naamdayv kabeer tilochan sadhna sain tarai' In this hymn Bhagat Ravidas Ji says that through the grace of Dear Lord all is accomplished and because of this Namdev, Kabeer, Trilochan Sadhna and Sain crossed over.
According to Macauliffe "Sain was a disciple of Ramanand and consequently lived in the end of the fourteenth and beginning of fifteenth centry of the Christian era. He was a barber in the court of Raja Ram, King of Rewa, then called Bandhavgarh" Giani Pratap Singh has also said that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber in the court of Raja Ram and due to the sangat of Ramanand Ji he turned towards worshipping God Almighty." Macauliffe also writes that "the tendency of the age was towards devotion and religious composition and Sain found leisure in the midst of his duties to study the hymns of Ramanand, shape his life on the principles inculcated in them, and successfully imitate their spirit and devotional fervour". Bhai Jodh Singh also re- iterates the same fact and adds that every day he would go to the palace of Raja Ram and got initiation from Ramanand Ji. He lived from the end of 14th Century and lived in the beginning of 15th Century.
The scholars who prepared Shabdarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib (i) Principal Teja Singh (ii) Principal Bawa Krishan Singh and (iii) Professor Narayan Singh have stated that 'the barber Sain was a Bhagat among the disciples of Ramanand. He was a barber in the court of King Raja Ram of Rewa'. Macauliffe has stated that Bhagat Sain Ji's era is between the end of 14th and beginning of 15th century. Bhagat Ramanand Ji was born in 1366 A.D. Because Bhagat Sain Ji received initiation at the hands of Ramanand Ji after Kabir Ji, therefore, Bhagat Sain Ji's birth may be said to be around 1398 and in the light of other facts it should be after 1366 A.D.
Sarup Singh Alag in his book Parichai Sri Guru Granth Sahib has stated that Bhagat Sain Ji was born in 1390 and left for his heavenly abade in 1440 A.D. In the light of the fact that he was a contemporary of Bhagat Kabir Ji and received initiation at the hands of Ramanand Ji, his date of birth as 1390 may be considered to be correct.
Contrary to the views of the above mentioned scholars some scholars believe that he was born in 1343 A.D. in Punjab in village Sohal Thathi in District Amritsar of Punjab. His father's name was Baba Mukand Rai Ji and mother's name was Mata Jiwni Ji. During his youth he went to Lahore to live with his father's sister Shobha Daee and married Salakkhni and the couple was blessed with a son. Later he went to Delhi. Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha also agrees that he was married and that his predecessors still live in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. At Lahore he learned the work of barbery and hikmat from Rahim Khan. After some time he went to Bandhavgarh and joined the service in the court of King Raja Ram. According to Bhai Darbari Das (Parchi Bhagat Sain Ji) he was married to Moorti who helped him in his occupation.
Mayharwaan Singh has also stated that "Bhagat Sain was a barber in the Court of Kingdom of Rewa, Madhya Pradesh".
All the resources confirm this fact that he was a barber by birth and by occupation. Bhai Gurdas Ji also confirms this fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber:
"Sain hua adhiatmi: Sain neech kul ander nai".
Bhai Gurdas Ji further adds: "kul Ravidas chamar hai, Sain snaati ander nai" (Vaar 12, Pauri 15) (Vaar 25, Pauri 5)
Bhai Darbari Das also confirms the fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber. He says that "kul Ravidas chamar hai Sain Bhagat jaat ka nai"
Bhai Darbari Das also says: Sain Bhagat jaat ka nai ll jis kaliyug bheetar bhagat kamai ll (Page 484)
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji in three of his hymns confirms the fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber:
Sain naaee butkaarree-aa oh ghar ghar suni-aa ll hirday vasi-aa paarbarahan bhagtan meh gani-aa ll (SGGS, P487-88) which means and that Sain a barber, the village drudge, became famous in each and every house. The Supreme Lord God dwelled in his heart and he came to be counted among the devotees. Sri Guru Arjan Das Ji also says, "naeeu uDhaari-o Sain sayv"
(SGGS, P1192) Which means that Sain the barber was saved through his selfless service. Praising Bhagat Sain Ji, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji also says: Bhalo kabeer daas daasan ko ootam sain jan naaee which means that Kabeer is good, the slave of the Lord's salves; the humble barber Sain is sublime. (SGGS, P1207)
Bhai Gurdas Ji (Vaar 10, Pauri 16) narrates an anecdote about Bhagat Sain Ji. After listening to the glory of God, Sain the barber became a Sikh. At night he would worship and in the morning would go to the king's palace. One time it so happened that in the house of Bhagat Sain Ji some hermits came as guests and the whole night was spent in singing hymns. Bhagat Sain Ji could not leave the hermits to go to the king's palace. The God Almighty himself went to the king's palace and served the King. After the hymn singing next morning he shamefully went to the king's palace to beg pardon for his absence. The King called him close to him, made him wear his own royal dress. The king said that by doing very wonderful service yesterday you have won my heart and all the people listened to him. The God Almighty eulogizes the Bhagats before the world.
Bhai Darbar Das ji (Page 486-87) explains this anecdote slightly differently. He says that Sain Ji could not go to the King's palace for three days because he was absorbed in serving the hermits. After three days he went to the king and said to the king that I could not serve him for three days, please forgive me for my this disobedience. The king said, "O Sain Listen! for all the three days you came regularly and gave me a bath." Sain Ji was astonished to hear this and said that I did not come for three days. The king said you served me so well during these three days which you had never done before. Sain Ji said someone else must have come in my place. It must have been God Almighty himself. O King! you are lucky that you got a holy glimpse of the God Almighty. This implies that God Almighty saves the honour of his Bhagats. This also shows that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber and while performing his duties as a barber he had spiritual interests. To serve the hermits and listen to their hymns was part of his habitual behaviour.
Bhagat Sain Ji not only chose the Bhagti Marg but was also well versed in the hymns of other Bhagats. It may be said that before the anecdote about being absent in the king's service he must have received initiation from Bhagat Ramanand Ji and had engrossed himself in prema-bhagti.
The hymn of Bhagat Sain Ji in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is in Dhanasri Raag is as follows: (P695) Saree Sain Ji, saree sain. Dhoop deep gharit saaj aartee. vaarnay jaa-o kamlaa patee ll੧ll manglaa har manglaa ll nit mangal raaja raam raaay ko. ll੧ll rahaao ll ootam dee-araa nirmal baatee ll tuheen niranjan kamlaa paatee ll੨ll raamaa bhagat raamaanand jaanai ll pooran paramanand bakhanai ll੩ll madan moorat bhai taar gobinday ll sain bhanai bhaj parmaananday ll੪ll੨ll
This hymn means that: This is the aarti with incense, lamps and ghee, I offer this lamp-lit worship service. I am a sacrifice to the Lord of Lakshmi. Hail to You, Lord hail to You! Again and Again, hail to you, Lord King, Ruler of all! Sublime is the lamp, and pure is the wick. You are immaculate and pure, O Brilliant Lord of Wealth! Raamaanand knows the devotional worship of the Lord. Remember the Lord who is all-prevading, the embodiment of supreme joy. The Lord of the world, of wondrous form, has carried me across the terrifying world-ocean. Remember the Lord, the embodiment of supreme joy!
In other words he says that for me this is the aarti of incense, diva and ghee, the song of happiness of God Almighty I sing everyday, O God! Supreme Lord you are above material things. Guru Ramanand knows the bhagti of Ram. He explains God Almighty in the form of complete and great happiness. The beautiful God, He gives salvation to the human beings. He is the owner of the world. Telling about God Almighty Bhagat Sain Ji says worship the giver of supreme happiness. We should worship God Almighty without incense, ghee, diva or other material things. God Almighty himself is symbolic of all these material goods. Worshipping Him is His aarti. His name is inclusive of all these material things. Bhagat Sain Ji praises his Guru Ramanand Ji by mentioning his name and in a way explains that the Guru himself tells the method of worshipping and attainment of Supreme bliss. Bhagat Sain Ji himself never used incense, ghee or diva while worshipping and has given the same instruction to us. He says that it is only due to the grace of God that one can become one with God Almighty. In worshipping God the use of material goods is meaningless.
In conclusion it can be said that Bhagat Sain Ji told us that to attain God Almighty we should do good deeds and have pure heart (ootam deeara nirmal baati, tu hi niranjan kamlapati). God forgives those who apologize and prays Him and He saves their honour. The references used in this write-up include:- (i) The Encyclopedia of Sikhism published by Punjabi University Patiala, Part I, II, III, IV (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) (ii) Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha's book Mahan Kosh (iii) Sukhdev Singh Shant's book Pandran Bhagat Sahiban (2018) (iv) Sarbjinder Singh's book Dhur Ki Bani (2004) (v) Guru Granth Sanket Kosh by Piara Singh Padam and others (1997) (vi) Dharbari Das (Bhai) Editor Dr. Gurcharan Singh Sek, book Parichian Bhagtan Kian Bhai Darbar Dass (1991) (vii) M.A. Macauliffe's book The Sikh Religion (2009) and (viii) Sarup Singh Alag's book Parichai Sri Guru Granth Sahib (2016) although reference has not been given at each place.
DHAN DHAN BHAGAT SAIN JI!
Dr. Amrit Kaur Retd. Professor
Punjabi University Patiala,