In Village Gharam, of District Ambala, India, a Muslim mystic saint, or Pir, of great repute, Sayid Bhikhan Shah resided with his disciples. On the morning of December 22, 1666 C.E. (Julian Calendar), in Patna, of Bihar, some 800 miles to East of the Pir's hermitage, Mata Gujri, the wife of Ninth Guru Teg Bahadar, gave birth to their son Prince Gobind Rai, who would one day become Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. As per his daily routine, Pir Bhikhan Shah rose early and met with his disciples for morning prayers. Facing West, they knelt in pious prostration upon their prayer rugs. As the Pir began his ritual Wud'u ablutions, in preparation for prayers, a brilliance caught the corner of his eye. Diverted, he stood and turned his gaze toward the East transfixed by a wondrous illumination brightening the dark skies. Astonished by his actions, his disciples looked on in disbelief as Bhikhan Shah prostrated himself in the direction of the mysterious effulgence. His bewildered disciples queried their master, "Devotees of Allah pray only in the direction of Qiblah to face the Ka'aba in Mecca. Please explain to us, O Sainted One, why your radiant face looks towards the East."
"This day, a spiritual sovereign of immense magnificence has been born to illuminate the world," Sayid Bhikhan Shah solemnly affirmed. "The aura of radiance in the Eastern sky signifies that a supreme soul of divine destiny has arrived on earth with a legacy
to uplift, and enlighten, all of humanity, while eradicating the evil influence of ego. Make haste and gather all provisions needed for a prolonged journey," he directed his disciples. "We shall follow this luminance to its source and there present ourselves in obeisance to divine ordnance."
Pir Bhikhan Shah and his entourage set out immediately on a journey of considerable length. Day by day, they traveled guided by the spiritual brilliance in the dawning of early morning skies. The Pir inquired of everyone he met along the way, until he discovered news of the birth of Ninth Guru Teg Bahadar's son in Patna. After more than two months of arduous trekking South through Delhi, and East towards Patna, having covered a distance of nearly 800 miles, Bhikhan Shah and his disciples arrived at their destination, footsore, and famished.
Bhikhan Shah located and begged admittance to the Guru's home in *Patna, telling how he had traveled for weeks, only for glimpse darshan
of the newborn prince. Kirpal Chand, the Guru's brother in law, his sister Mata Guri, and her mother in law, did not feel it to be proper to allow viewing of the babe before his own father had set eyes on him. Uncertain that an Islamic alliance might exist between Bhakhan Shah and Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb
, they felt it most prudent to await the Guru's return. Kirpal Chand explained kindly to the Pir, that Guru Teg Bahadar had been absent for several months on a mission tour 800 miles to the East, in Assam. Word of the birth had been dispatched and they eagerly awaited the Guru's arrival. Kirpal Chand asked the Pir to have patience and assured him of welcome should he return after three months when Guru Teg Bahadar would be present.
Hunger and Langar:
Bhikhan Shah knew no one else in Patna. He and his followers had no where else to go, and with their provisions exhausted, they had nothing to eat. So the Pir and his devotees patiently settled and waited near the Guru's door to await his arrival, though it be many weeks in the future. At the end of the day when the crowds who thronged hoping for a glimpse of the child had dissipated, Kirpal Chand discovered the Pir still lingered. Naturally Kirpal Chand had langar
prepared and sent out to the feed the weary men. The Pir, however, refused to eat. Bhikhan Shah humbly explained that nothing would fulfill his particular hunger except darshan
of the great soul residing within the tiny body of infant Gobind Rai.
Kirpal Chand continued to provide Bhikhan Shah and his party with langar. The Pir politely declined, and continued his fast. No delicacy could tempt him from his vigil at the Guru's door. Insisting himself to be a mere faqir without political design, he very lovingly replied to all requests, that he partake nourishment, with the adamant response that only feasting his eyes on the divine child could appease his peculiar appetite. Several days passed with the Pir steadfastly refusing to eat. Kirpal Singh could not stand by and helplessly watch Bhikhan Shah suffer both physical and spiritual hunger, so his kind nature triumphed over convention, and at last he relented. Kirpal Chand arranged an assembly with musicians to perform the divine hymns of Gurbani. He invited all the sangat, and personally requested Bhikhan Shah to attend, assuring him that Prince Gobind Rai should be present.
Prophetic Clay Pots:
Bhikhan Shah managed to procure two small clay pots, one containing milk, and the other water, and covered them covered with cloth so their contents could not be seen. The Pir presented the pots to the tiny prince. The babe reached out both arms placing a hand on each pot. Bhikhan Shah explained his actions, saying the the pot of water represented the Islamic faith, while the pot of milk represented the Hindu faith. The child had shown complete impartiality, indicating his respect for both religions in equal measure, and love of all humanity. The Pir then brought forth an empty pot. The little prince stretched out his right arm grasped it with his tiny baby hand. Bhikhan Shah predicted the child would create a new kind of faith with fresh ideals to fulfill principles of equality lacking in the practices of existing modes of worship, and would welcome both Muslims and Hindus, all well as all of humanity, into its fold.
Prince and Pir:
His quest accomplished, and his spiritual hunger sated, Pir Bhikhan Shah bade farewell to the tiny prince and ate heartily of the langar offered. He and his disciples acquired provisions and set out for Ambala to make the long trek homeward.
It came to pass that, after several years time, the opportunity came for the young prince to repay the Pir's visit. While journeying from Patna to Anandpur, Prince Gobind Rai and his family traveled through Ambala. Their company halted at Village Gharam, where they stayed overnight and visited with Sayid Bhakhan Shah.
*Historian, Aurthur Macauliffe places the meeting at Patna in 1666 C.E.
Surji Singh Ghandi author of History of Sikh Gurus Retold places the meeting at Lakhnaur in 1671 C.E.
Read the story of Prince Gobind Rai's birth as told from the perspective of parents, Guru Teg Bahdur, and Mata Gujri.
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