Bhagat Dhanna's Sakhi

The story of Bhagat Dhanna is a well-known tale in Sikhism that highlights the importance of true devotion and faith in God. Bhagat Dhanna was a simple Indian farmer who worked hard on his farm all day tending his crops. He used to go past the house of a clever pundit (religious scholar) every day on the way to his work on the farm.

Dhanna Ji would listen to the pundit chanting religious lines while performing different ritualistic activities that were beyond the comprehension of this poor Jatt (farmer). He found these acts intriguing, but he never approached the holy man about any of the things he had noticed over the years as he passed the pundit's house.

Bhai Dhanna ji was walking by the pundit's house one day when he spotted the pious man feeding his Thakur - a stone idol. Bhai Dhanna ji was perplexed by what he was seeing. He went to the pundit on this occasion because he had some free time. "Pundit Ji, what are you doing?" Dhanna Ji inquired.

The pundit was starving and wanted to finish his meal as fast as possible, therefore he wasn't interested in Bhai Dhanna ji's straightforward questions. "Oh, nothing, I'm just feeding my Thakur," he said. Please pardon me while I..."

"What is the use of feeding a stone?" thought Bhai Dhanna ji.

"This is not a stone," the pundit said. "This is Thakur Ji!"

"Really?" asked Bhagat Dhanna Ji. What happens when you feed the Stone... I mean, when you feed the Thakur?"

"The Thakur gives you everything!" said the pundit. You will receive everything if you can please God. Now I have to ask you to go..."I have a lot of work to do."

Bhai Dhanna ji liked the notion of presenting a small amount of food to this small God and receiving everything in return. So Bhai Dhanna ji inquired of the pundit if he, too, may have a Thakur.

At this point, the pundit's stomach was grumbling loudly from lack of food. So he grabbed the nearest stone from the ground and said, "Here." You must first feed Thakur before you eat. Understood! Goodbye." Saying that the pundit dived into the food left over by Thakur. "Wonderful, I couldn't have waited any longer!"

Bhai Dhanna ji raced home, clutching the stone to his chest. When Bhai Dhanna ji returned home, he carefully and lovingly cleansed the stone. After bathing the Thakur, Dhanna Ji prepared the nicest meal he knew for dinner: Saag and Makkee di Roti. He set it in front of Thakur and said, "Here, Thakur ji, please eat this food, which I have lovingly prepared for you." Following that, I'd like to talk about a variety of topics with you.

For example, I need a new cow and a few other basic demands - but for now, please eat."

Bhai Dhanna ji, it is said, sat in front of the Thakur and waited. And then waited. And then waited. "Look Thakur, I really have no time for your play," Bhai Dhanna ji stated after a while. Come and eat right now! "I have a lot on my plate."

After a few hours, Bhai Dhanna ji realised Thakur ji was upset with him - perhaps he had done something wrong. So Bhai Dhanna ji begged the Thakur to forgive him, saying, "Look here Thakur, I haven't eaten in a while."

It's certainly likely that I've done something to irritate you, but believe me, we'll be able to talk about it much better after this Saag and Makkee dee Roti is in our stomaches." Nothing had changed. The night grew darker and darker. It was now completely dark outside, and the Thakur was still not eating the delectable food.

Bhai Dhanna ji became enraged and exclaimed, "Look Thakur, I have one nerve left and you are dancing on it." "Eat your food or I will...", Bhai Dhanna ji couldn't think of anything more to say so he exploded in rage. Nothing changed! The Thakur was unaffected by the fierce outburst.

Soon Dhanna ji could see clear sky in the East, which meant that daybreak was just around the corner. Bhai Dhanna ji was quite perplexed and lost. Sometimes Bhai Dhanna ji would scold the Thakur, other times he would hug the Thakur, and still other times he would break down in tears.

In this way, two exhausting and hungry nights and days passed. Dhanna ji made every effort to get the Thakur to eat. He tried using every tactic he was aware of, every ounce of love he could manage, every trick he knew for appealing, and every ounce of fury he could conjure, but nothing seemed to work. Bhagat Dhanna Ji was obstinate, yet he was failing horribly in this situation. His resolve had not wavered, though. He continued to practice his beseeching and pleading.

The third day, when Dhanna ji was too weak to continue cursing, Waheguru made the decision to step in at amrit vela (early dawn). Waheguru appeared as a young guy in a vision to Bhai Danna in order to save Dhanna ji from going insane. It was a young man's most gorgeous body. Dhanna ji lost all of his rage and merely regarded the boy.

"Dhanna ji, Sorry, I'm late," Waheguru stated through the young man. The food will be warmed up, Dhanna ji interjected. You must eat this meal, Thakur Ji, as you must be very hungry. Dhanna Ji, who had been starving for over two days, fed the young man and then consumed the remaining food.

Dhanna Ji told Waheguru after finishing his meal, "As I told you two days ago, I have a few things to address with you. The farm's labour must be done first, then comes the rest.

When God communicated to Bhai Dhanna ji through the young man, he fell deeply in love with him. He was compelled to be with the young man.

The following several days were practically spent arm in arm. Even at night, Bhai Dhanna ji would hold Waheguru's hand until they drifted off to sleep while listening to Waheguru's songs (Waheguru sang a lot). The pundit was passing Bhai Dhanna ji's hut a week later. Oh, pundit ji, you are the most amazing man, cried Bhai Dhanna ji as he rushed to greet him. I will always be grateful to you for giving me that wonderful Thakur.

What are you talking about? the pundit retorted. Okay, yes, sure, you’re welcome. Look, I have to rush. I'm attending an important pundit conference.

Bhai Dhanna ji said "But come on over and have a lassi (milkshake), please. Thakur ji makes the best lassi."

What now? the pundit asked. Who are you speaking about? Thakur makes what?

Bhai Dhanna Ji: "Oh, sure! The best in the entire world.  Simply put, he is enticing.

When Pundit ji turned to look, it was clear that someone was pushing the cows on the property. However, nobody could be seen.

Who is in charge of the cows, asked the pundit.

That is Thakur ji, of course, said Bhai Dhanna ji. Do you not recognise him? Oh, you must listen to him sing. It's extraordinary!"

Pundit ji was now quite curious and persisted in asking Bhai Dhanna ji questions regarding Thakur. Over time, Bhai Dhanna ji came to understand that the pundit was unable to see Thakur ji. Dhanna ji assured that he will discuss this with Thakur. Pundit departed. Waheguru was greeted by Bhai Dhanna ji, who asked, "Thakur ji, how come pundit ji can't see you?"

The pundit really doesn't want to see me, said Waheguru. He is more enthralled by the entanglement involving my maid, Maya, and he shows this interest. He simply cares about my creation and not really about me.

But I don't understand, said Dhanna ji. How come I can see you but others can't? How can one even start to see you?

Waheguru: "One needs to purify themselves. And just now, Dhanna ji, repeating Naam is the only way to become pure.

"Naam?" asks Dhanna ji.

"Naam is the magic of this age," said Waheguru. The magic needed to see me will be brought by a single moment of Naam Simran.

But I haven't uttered the Naam, Dhanna ji said. How is it that I can see you?

Bhai Dhanna ji's forehead was touched by the young man. Surat of Bhai Dhanna ji went inside. He discovered that Bhai Dhanna Ji had performed intense tapasaya (devotional worship) throughout the course of many incarnations. He had spent the entire day and night standing in the heat. He had spent several incarnations hanging upside down. He had lived two lives, one as a moni (one who doesn't talk) and the other as a celibate. But he had made very little spiritual growth.

Then, in a past existence, he met an adept Guru who bestowed upon him Naam. And by performing Naam Simran for only one lifetime, Bhai Dhanna ji had attained purity. Seeing Waheguru Ji was his reward from a past life.

Bhai Dhanna ji sobbed at the young man's feet. "Please forgive this fool, I treated you as an equal..." he says.

The young man ji picked him and held him close, singing songs of comfort, "Bhai Dhanna ji, now the time is right to leave. The way you see me now is the superficial way of meeting me. The real way is inside. Now you must start Naam Simran again and then I will meet you inside."

Saying that, the young man vanished into thin air. Bhai Dhanna ji was now enlightened. With each breath, he restarted his Naam Simran. Within days, Bhai Dhanna ji had a parkash (sighting) of Waheguru ji within his consciousness, and it is because of this enlightenment that we now have Dhanna Bani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

When we bow to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, we are not only honouring our ten Gurus' counsel and lives, but also the lives and Bani of 15 Sikh Bhagats.