This article is in commemoration of Bhai Mani Singh Ji's Shaheedi Divas, the Hazuri Gursikh of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj, Coming into the Sangat of Guru Har Rai Sahib, serving Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, Bhai Sahib became a close Sevak of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Bhai Sahib participated in the battles of Bhangani (1688) and Nadaun (1691), and was also known as one of the principle Likharis (scribes) of Guru Ji who scribed much of Guru Ji’s Baani. In 1696 Guru Ji sent Bhai Mani Singh Ji to bring Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar back into the control of the Khalsa Panth. Being blessed with Amrit along with their family in 1699, they were renamed as Bhai Mani Singh Ji. Bhai Rattan Singh Ji Bhangu has sung the praises of Bhai Sahib’s divine qualities in Sri Gur Panth Parkash Granth:
ਮਨੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਥੋ ਸੰਤ ਸੁਜਾਨ ।ਜਤੀ ਸਤੀ ਔ ਧਯਾਨੀ ਮਾਨ । ਹਠੀ ਤਪੀ ਔ ਮਤ ਕੋ ਪੂਰੋ ।ਸਹਨ ਸ਼ੀਲ ਔ ਦਿਲ ਕੋ ਸੂਰੋ ।੨।
Bhai Mani Singh Ji was a Saint and possessor of divine knowledge. He was of high moral character and always immersed in the focus of Vaheguru. He was Hathi (firm in resolution), Tapi (immersed in Bhagti) and of firm mind. He was full of patience and truly courageous.2.
ਕਰਮੀ ਧਰਮੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਗਿਆਨੀ ।ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਚਨਨ ਪਰ ਮਤਿ ਠਾਨੀ । ਹੁਤ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੋ ਰਹਿਤ ਹਜ਼ੂਰ ।ਤਿਸ ਕਰ ਭਯੋ ਸੁ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਪੂਰ।੩।
Bhai Mani Singh Ji performed Karam (actions) and Dharam (duty) as per the instructions of Guru Ji. He was immersed in Bhagti (devotional worship) and was a Giani (meaning he was a Brahamgiani, but this is also showing how Bhai Sahib Ji was the first ‘Giani Sahib’ of the Giani Samparda, Arthan Di Taksaal and had learnt Gurbani Arth directly from Dasam Patshah). Bhai Sahib had complete faith on Guru Sahib’s Bachan. he would always remain in the presence of Guru Ji, due to which he became perfected in the way of Gurmat.3.
ਉਨ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕਛੁ ਜੂਠੋ ਖਯੋ । ਤਾਂਤੇ ਹਠੀਆ ਅੜੀਆ ਭਯੋ । ਸਿੱਖਨ ਕੋ ਸੋ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਵੈ । ਸਿਖੀਓਂ ਚੁਕੈ ਤਿਸ ਤਨਖਾਹ ਲਾਵੈ ।੪।
Bhai Mani Singh Ji would eat the blessed leftover food of Satguru Ji, which blessed him with the qualities of being firm in his resolve and principles. He would instil Sikhi into the Sikhs and bring those who had erred back into the fold by giving them Tankhaah.4.
ਬੀਜ ਬੀਜੇ ਵਹਿ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਲਾਵੈ । ਚਾਰ ਬਰਨ ਕੋ ਸਿਖੀ ਦਿੜਾਵੈ । ਕਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਬਹੁ ਸਿਖਨ ਸੁਨਾਵੈ । ਕਛੁ ਗੁਰ ਕਹੀ ਕਛੁ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਲਾਵੈ ।੫।
He would plant the seed of Sikhi, he instilled Sikhi in all four divisions of society (i.e. he taught Sikhi to all not looking at their class or creed). He would narrate Sakhis of the Gurus to many Sikhs, quoting from Gurbani and also from the episodes he had memorised (hearing these from various elder Sikhs before him).5.
In 1706 Bhai Mani Singh Ji was the scribe of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji at Damdama Sahib
and also heard the divine meanings of Gurbani from Guru Sahib alongside Baba Deep Singh Ji and 46 other Singhs. Guru Ji blessed Bhai Sahib and Baba Ji the Seva of teaching these meanings of Gurbani to the next generations. After Guru Ji’s Jothi Joth in Nanded, Bhai Sahib returned to Delhi where they served the Mehals of Guru Sahib. Afterwards they returned to Amritsar, where Bhai Sahib played a vital role in leading the Panth, teaching Gurbani and compiling the writings of Dasam Patshah. Bhai Sahib’s brother and 5 children (including Bhai Bachittar Singh Ji & Bhai Uday Singh Ji) attained Shaheedi in and the battles leading to Chamkaur Sahib. Altogether throughout Sikh History, Bhai Mani Singh Ji's father, 10 brothers, 7 sons and 10 grandsons gave Shaheedi for the Khalsa Panth. Bhai Sahib Ji's Shaheedi Gaatha is written in detail in many sources which we urge the Sangat to read. These cover the reasons as to why Bhai Sahib Ji gave Shaheedi (in particular the Jorr Mela of Divali in Amritsar) and why they were cut limb by limb. These can be read in Sri Gur Panth Parkash (Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangu), Sri Gur Panth Parkash (Giani Giaan Singh Ji Nirmala) and Shaheed Bilaas Bhai Mani Singh Ji. In commemoration of Bhai Sahib Ji's Shaheedi below are some lines translated from Giani Giaan Singh Ji's Panth Parkash:
ਭੁਜਾਂ ਜੰਘ ਮੋਢੇ ਜਬਿ ਕੱਟਗੇ, ਜਪੁਜੀ ਜਪਤ ਰਹਾਯੋ।
When the executioner cut the arms, legs and shoulders of Bhai Sahib Ji, they kept on reciting Sri Jap Ji Sahib Paath continuously (some sources state Bhai Sahib Ji recited Sri Sukhmani Sahib Baani at the time of their Shaheedi.)
ਪੜ੍ਹ ਸੋਦਰ ਕਿ ਪੌੜੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ, ਵਾਹਿ ਵਾਹਿ ਆਲਾਯੋ॥੧੯੫॥
Seeing Bhai Sahib reading the Pauri of Sodar which such peace while being cut limb by limb, the onlookers exclaimed 'Vah! Vah!'
ਸੀਸ ਉਤਾਰ ਜਲਾਦ ਦਯੋ ਤਬਿ, ਬਾਕੀ ਰਹਯੋ ਜੁ ਪਾਠੈਂ।
When the time came for the executioner to behead Bhai Sahib Ji, there was still some Pauris of Jap Ji Sahib left.
ਸੋ ਸਭਿ ਸੀਸ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੇ, ਜਪੁਜੀ ਪੂਰਾ ਕੀਨੋ ਠਾਠੈ।
When they were beheaded, Jap Ji Sahib continued from the mouth of Bhai Sahib Ji, they read it in such a state of bliss!
ਊਚ ਅਵਾਜ ਸੁਨਯੋ ਸਭਿ ਲੋਗੈਂ, ਪੂਰਨ ਪਾਠ ਕਰੈ ਕੈ।
Everyone heard the Paath being completed in a very loud voice.
ਵਾਹਿ ਵਾਹਿ ਕਹਿ ਫਿਰ ਇਮ ਗਾਯੋ, ਊਚੇ ਧੁਨੀ ਸੁਨੈ ਕੈ॥੧੯੬॥
The onlookers exclaimed 'Vah! Vah!' hearing the resonating sound of Sri Jap Ji Sahib.
ਘਾਲਕ ਪਾਲਕ ਚਾਲਾਕ ਏਕੋ, ਮਾਲਕ ਚੋਜ ਕਰੋਈ।
Vaheguru is the destroyer, the preserver and the one who gives life force to all, this was their play.
ਮਾਨੁਖ ਕੇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਾਥ ਨਹੀ ਹੈ, ਕਰੈ ਕਰਾਵੈ ਆਪੈ।
Nothing is in the hands of humans, Vaheguru does this all themselves. (i.e. The paath was completed with the grace and power of Vaheguru).
ਇਮ ਕਹਿ ਫਤੇ ਗਜਾਏ ਜਾਏ ਸਿੰਘ, ਮਿਲ੍ਯੋ ਸ਼ਹੀਦਨ ਥਾਂ ਪੈ॥੧੯੭॥
After the completion of Jap Ji Sahib, Bhai Mani Singh Ji roared the Gurfateh and ascended to the place of the Shaheeds.
Giani Giaan Singh Ji writes at the end of the Sakhi:
ਮਨੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੀ ਗਾਥਾ ਯਹਿ, ਪਢੈ ਸੁਨੈ ਸਿੱਖ ਜੋਇ।
Such is the story of Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji, that the Sikh who reads or listens to it...
ਸਿਦਕ ਨਿਭੈ ਸੰਗ ਸ੍ਵਾਸ ਤਿਸ, ਸਿੱਖੀ ਪ੍ਰਾਪਤ ਹੋਇ॥੨੦੯॥
They will obtain Sikhi, and their faith in Sikhi will remain until their last breath.
- Sri Gur Panth Parkash, Utraaradh, Chapter 29, Giani Giaan Singh Ji
NOTE: There is some difference on opinions between scholars on the birth date of Bhai Sahib Ji. The above has been written according to information in Shaheed Bilas Bhai Mani Singh Ji written by Kavi Seva Singh. Sources such as Giani Giaan Singh Ji’s Panth Parkash state Bhai Sahib came to Gurughar at the time of Dasam Patshah.