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Panj Pyare the Five Beloved of Sikh History

Guru Gobind Singh Creates the Original Panj Pyare of 1699

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The original five beloved Panj Pyare played a vital role in the shaping Sikh history and defining Sikhism. Guru Gobind Singh asked for volunteers ready to give their heads. Five courageous men answered the call. The guru initiated them into the order of Khalsa, a sect of sant saphai, or saint soldiers. These spiritual warriors vowed not only to fight adversaries on the battlefield but to combat the inner enemy egoism with humility through service to humanity and abolishing caste. They performed the original Amrit Sanchar initiation ceremony, baptizing Guru Gobind Singh and then about 80,000 others on Vaisakhi of 1699.

1. Bhai Daya Singh (1661 - 1708)

Panj Pyare, leading a procession at Wolverhampton.
J Singh/Creative Commons

The first of the Panj Pyare to answer the call of Guru Gobind Singh and offer his head was Bhai Daya Singh.

  • Birth: Lahore, present day Pakistan, 1661. Born Daya Ram.
  • Family: Son of Suddha and his wife Mai Dayali of the Sobhi Khatri clan.
  • Occupation: Shopkeeper.
  • Initiation: Anand Pur, 1669. Age 38.
  • Death: Nanded, 1708. Martyred age 47.

Upon initiation, Daya Ram gave up the occupation and alliance of his Khatri caste to become Daya Singh and join the Khalsa warriors. The meaning of Daya is merciful, kind, compassionate and Singh is lion, qualities which are inherent in the five beloved Panj Pyare. Bhai Daya Singh fought beside Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa in Anand Pur and helped the guru to escape from Chamkaur in December, 1705.

    2. Bhai Dharam Singh (1699 - 1708)

    PanjSacramento1500x.jpg
    Photo © [S Khalsa]

    The second of the Panj Pyare to answer the call of Guru Gobind Singh and offer his head was Bahi Dharam Singh.

    • Birth: By River Ganges in Hastinapur, NE of Meerut, 1666. Born Dharam Das.
    • Family: Son of Sant Ram and his wife Mai Sabho of the Jatt clan.
    • Occupation: Farmer.
    • Initiation: Anand Pur, 1699. Age 33.
    • Death: Nanded, 1708. Martyred age 42.

    Upon initiation, Dharam Ram gave up the occupation and alliance of his Jatt caste to become Dharam Singh and join the Khalsa warriors. The meaning of Dharam is righteous living and Singh is lion, qualities which are inherent in the five beloved Panj Pyare. Bhai Dharam Singh fought beside Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa in Anand Pur and and helped the guru to escape from Chamkaur in December, 1705.

    3. Bhai Himmat Singh (1661 - 1705)

    PanjStockton1500.jpg
    Photo © [S Khalsa]

    The third of the Panj Pyare to answer the call of Guru Gobind Singh and offer his head was Bhai Himmat Singh.

    • Birth: Jagannath Pur, 1661. Born Himmat Rai.
    • Family: Son of Gulzaree and his wife Dhanoo of the Kumhar clan.
    • Occupation: Water carrier.
    • Initiation: Anand Pur, 1699. Age 38.
    • Death: Chamkaur, December 7, 1705. Martyred age 44.

    Upon initiation, Himmat Rai gave up the occupation and alliance of his Kumhar caste to become Himmat Singh and join the Khalsa warriors. The meaning of Himmat is courageous spirit and Singh is lion, qualities which are inherent in the five beloved Panj Pyare. Bhai Himmat Singh fought beside Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa in Anand Pur and at the battle of Chamkaur in December 7, 1705 where he died.

    4. Bhai Muhkam Singh (1663 - 1705)

    Panj Pyare in Amrit Ceremony
    Gurmustuk Singh Khalsa

    The fourth to answer the call of Guru Gobind Singh and offer his head was Bhai Muhkam Singh.

    • Birth: Dwarka, Gujrat 1663. Born Muhkam Chand.
    • Family: Son of Tirath Chand and his wife Devi Bai of the Chhimba clan.
    • Occupation: Tailor, printer of cloth.
    • Initiation: Anand Pur, 1699. Age 36.
    • Death: Chamkaur, December 7, 1705. Martyred age 44.

    Upon initiation, Muhkam Chand gave up the occupation and alliance of his Chhimba caste to become Muhkam Singh and join the Khalsa warriors. The meaning of Muhkam is strong firm leader or manager and Singh is lion, qualities inherent in the five beloved Panj Pyare. Bhai Muhkam Singh fought beside Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa in Anand Pur and at the battle of Chamkaur in December 7, 1705 where he died.

    5. Bhai Sahib Singh (1662 - 1705)

    Panj Pyara in Yuba City Annual Parade
    Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

    The fourth to answer the call of Guru Gobind Singh and offer his head was Bhai Sahib Singh

    • Birth: Bidar, present day Karnataka, India, 1663. Born Sahib Chand.
    • Family: Son of Bhai Guru Narayana and his wife Ankamma Bai of the Nai clan.
    • Occupation: Barber.
    • Initiation: Anand Pur, 1699. Age 37.
    • Death: Chamkaur, December 7, 1705. Martyred age 44.

    Upon initiation, Sahib Chand gave up the occupation and alliance of his Nai caste to become Sahib Singh and join the Khalsa warriors. The meaning of Sahib is lordly or masterful and Singh is lion, qualities inherent in the five beloved Panj Pyare. Bhai Sahib Singh fought beside Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa in Anand Pur and at the battle of Chamkaur in December 7, 1705 where he died.

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