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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Time of origin: 1495 (birth of Baba Lakhmi Chand Maharaj)

The term ‘Bedi’ itself refers to a division of the caste known as ‘Khatri’, to which the Sikh Gurus belonged. The ‘Bedis’ within Sikh historical accounts represent the descendants of Akali Guru Nanak’s second son, Baba Lakhmi Chand Maharaj. Sikh tradition holds that the second son of Akali Guru Nanak was very fond of hunting. Udasin Mahant Bikram Das Ji wrote:

‘Bhagwan Siri Chand Ji Maharaj, at Dehra Baba Nanak where now is Dera Tali Sahib laying down a tiger skin was doing penance. A little distance from Dehra Baba Nanak was a jungle full of wild animals, and they were ruining the crops. So ‘Bhagwan’ (meaning ‘Master’, referring to Baba Siri Chand) said to Baba Lakhmi Chand:
In the interest of the people, drive these animals away because even the ‘Shashtars’ (Hindu law books) give permission for sake of protecting the populace to kill violent animals”. ’
‘Mahatma’, by Udasin Mahant Bikram Das Ji, 1973, Pa. 57

Baba Sri Chand Ji Maharaj
Founder of the Udasi order and eldest son of Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, circa early 19th century

The above story continues to tell of how Baba Lakhmi Chand then went and hunted down the dangerous animals hidden within the jungle. However, Lakhmi Chand inadvertently ended up killing some animal young. Baba Siri Chand Maharaj, being the elder son of the Guru, reprimanded Baba Lakhmi Chand for this act and stated that one day he would have to answer for their deaths in the eternal court.

Guru Ka Bagh
The building used by Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji as his home after
his marriage, and birthplace of Baba Sri Chand Ji and Baba Lakhmi Chand Ji

The angry Baba Lakhmi Chand came home to his wife, Mata Dhanvanti and baby son, Baba Dharm Chand. Then, mounting a horse he rode out to his holy brother with his family. He told his brother that he was now going to ‘Sach Khand’ (the eternal abode of truth), to give account of his killing of innocent animal young. According to Sikh Udasi/Bedi legend, Baba Lakhmi Chand’s horse flew into the skies with him and his family. Being a celibate himself, Baba Siri Chand watched his brother rise into the skies and realized that there would be no one left to continue the Guru’s lineage once his brother and his family had left this world. He then miraculously extended his left arm high into the skies, and plucked his baby nephew from the arms of Mata Dhanvanti. This child’s name was Baba Dharm Chand, and according the legend, Baba Siri Chand suckled his nephew on milk from his big toe.

Baba Lahmi Chand
Akali Guru Nanak Devji with Bhai Mardana, Baba Sri Chand Maharaj,
Bhai Bala and Baba Lakhmi Chand Ji Maharaj, Janam Sakhi painting, circa early 19th century

Then as the child grew up, Baba Sri Chand took him all over India, visiting the great Hindu pilgrim centers to spread the Sanatan Dharma. Baba Dharm Chand eventually married the daughter of Diwan Utam Chand and Bibi Lajwanti. This union blessed by Baba Sri Chand Maharaj, was celebrated in tremendous fashion and many prominent Sikhs of the time attended this joyous occasion. In time, Baba Dharm Chand’s wife gave birth to Baba Manak Chand and Baba Mehr Chand. It is from them that all the ‘Bedis’ of today are descended.

Baba Lakhmi Chand and Baba Sri Chand Ji Maharaj
Fresco from the walls of Baba Atal Gurdwara, Amritsar,
depicting Baba Lakhmi (left) and Baba Sri Chand Ji (right), circa 19th century

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