Kids Corner

Poetry

The Liberated Becomes Liberator

A Poem by INNI KAUR

 

The Dialogue

On the banks of the Godavari River in 1708, an encounter between Guru Gobind Singh and Madho Das Bairagi, an ascetic with tremendous occult powers and notoriety, takes place. This meeting plays a major role in shaping Sikh history.

 

Canto I

Sitting by the Godavari

Watching the setting sun,

I hear a gentle voice

Permeating the air.

 

Listen, O Seeker!

To an event that changes history,

When a man named Bairagi

Takes refuge on my shores.

Born on October twenty-seven

In sixteen hundred and seventy

To a farmer, Ram Dev,

A son, Lachhman Dev.

He teaches him farming

And the art of warfare,

Hoping to continue

The family legacy.

But events do not transpire

Like his father plans.

For the heart of Lacchman Dev

Is tender like a rose.

Tormented by the bloody deed

Of having killed a pregnant doe,

The mighty Lacchman Dev

Turns into a recluse.

Wandering on mountain tops,

Meditating in caves,

He joins the Order of

Jaanki Das Bairagi.

Abandoning his family name,

He assumes a new name:

Madho Das Bairagi,

Disciple of Jaanki Das Bairagi.

Subjecting his body to austerities,

Following all yogic practices,

Searching for the Truth

That will set him free.

But all his efforts

Are of no avail;

For Bairagi stays

Exactly the same.

He leaves the hermitage,

Takes refuge on my shores,

Developing supernatural powers,

Presiding like a demi-god.

But these powers

Bring him no joy,

For the answer that he seeks

Eludes him still.

 

Canto II

The wind has quieted,

The trees are bowing,

Petals are shedding

In reverence to the Guru.

On seeing such greatness,

Bairagi becomes alive.

O Mighty Guru,

What brings you here?

I am an insignificant recluse,

Distant from your world of action.

Strange that you should ask,

When it is I

You have been waiting for

To steer you to dharma.

Bairagi's ego surfaces.

I wait for no one!

My kundalini is awakened!

I have the power:

To walk on water,

To fly in the air,

To become invisible,

Or become colossal.

I move through time and space,

Converse with the spirits,

Nature is at my beck and call.

The Guru applauds:

Are you a charlatan?

Or a seeker of Truth?

These gimmicks are like

A child flaunting his new toy.

Bairagi fumes.

He directs his occult powers

On his noble guest.

The ground trembles,

Demons appear.

Storm rages,

Godavari rises.

Snakes fly,

Birds crawl,

Lions howl,

Jackals purr.

The Guru sees through this

And is not amused.

Bairagi is stunned:

His powers are shunned.

He falls at the Guru's feet

Begging his pardon.

His joy knows no bounds

On finding his True Master.

Save me, O Guru;

Make me your banda.

Command me as you wish;

I am your willing slave.

The Guru bestows upon him

The sacred Amrit.

Madho Das Bairagi

Ceases to exist.

Standing before the Guru:

Banda Singh Bahadar,

A new member of

The Khalsa Panth.

 

Canto III

Enlighten me, my Guru

How to walk this path.

Where is the glory

In picking up the sword?

The Guru speaks:

There is no glory

When I pick up the sword.

But dharam must be defended;

That is my duty above all.

I walk the path of Guru Nanak,

The path of the One Creator.

It is the Will of the Creator

That I defend all creation.

Creation must be free

To worship in freedom.

All paths lead to the One;

Conversion is not the goal.

The Guruship of Nanak

Is remarkable in a way,

For the Guru is the instrument

In protecting dharam of the day.

It is the spirit of Guru Nanak

That flows in all the Gurus.

Responding to social situations,

Answering to a Higher Call.

Guru Arjan was a willing martyr;

My father gave his head.

My two sons were buried alive

To defend dharam of today.

By Divine Will,

The mortal Guruship

Will end with me.

Fear Not!

The Ten Gurus are eternal.

They rest

In the Guru Granth -

The Body of Truth.

No other Granth

Will ever have this status.

For lies in the Guru Granth

The spirit of the Guru.

 

Canto IV

Vaisakhi of 1699,

I initiated the Panj Piaras;

From their beloved hands,

I, too, took the sacred Amrit.

Their unshakable faith

In the House of Guru Nanak

Will guide the panth

In the challenges that lie ahead.

It was at their command

I left the Battle of Chamkaur.

I wanted to continue defending,

But I had to bow to their call.

The spiritual spirit of democracy

Has now been established.

In the hands of the Panj Piaras,

I rest the path of Guru Nanak.

When tyranny is in the air,

There is no use for the rosary.

Every saint must rise

To defend dharam with the sword.

It's a hard life

To live on horseback,

With sword in hand

And simran in heart.

Panjab now thunders

Because of my Khalsas.

They fear no death

In the fight to save dharam.

That is the miracle,

The miracle of Guru Nanak:

Where once wandered sheep

Now roar lions.

 

Canto V

Permit me, my Guru,

To go to the Punjab.

In serving this cause

Lies my salvation.

The Guru speaks:

Go with my blessings;

Lead my people in battle.

Instill fear in the enemy;

Shake the Moghul tyranny.

But before you go,

I want you to remember

That you must always act

In accordance with the Panj Piaras.

Do not declare yourself a Guru;

Remain pure in thought, word and deed.

Victory will be yours

In this battle to save dharam.

From now till eternity,

You will be known as -

Banda Singh Bahadar,

The defender of Punjab.

Wherever I am remembered,

Your image, too, will come to mind,

As the one I chose

To protect dharam above all.

 

With tears flowing like streams,

I bow before the elements,

For bestowing me with this honour

And revealing the sacred meeting.

 

 

November 18, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: Chintan Singh (San Jose, California, U.S.A.), November 18, 2009, 12:39 PM.

A beautiful poem describing Baba Banda Singh Bahadar's life and history.

2: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), November 18, 2009, 3:10 PM.

Imaginative, lovely and inspiring - all at the same time. Wonderfully done.

3: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), November 18, 2009, 3:26 PM.

Sweet as Sikhi. Your words take me to the time and place. It's hard to come back! Thank you.

4: Arvinder Singh Kang (Oxford, MS, U.S.A.), November 18, 2009, 7:17 PM.

Beautiful!

5: Pritam Singh (San Antonio, U.S.A.), November 21, 2009, 4:47 AM.

A great historical prospective. Very touching, imaginitive and beautiful.

6: Varun Bubber (India), March 09, 2010, 10:29 PM.

Wonderful!

7: Puneet (India), May 13, 2010, 5:50 AM.

Very nicely described.

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