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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Gulab Raieh

Time of origin: early 1700s

Gulab Rai was a grandson of the sixth Sikh Guru. He was the son of Akali Guru Hargobind Sahib’s fifth son, Suraj Mal a cousin of Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh.


Dasam Guru Durbar
Folio from an illustrated Dasam Guru Durbar which contains the compiled
works of Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji depicting the second 'Avtar' (incarnations)
of Vishnu known as 'Kachh' (the tortoise) and the churning of the Ocean, circa 1850-1860

After Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh fled from Anandpur, the property of Anandpur was confiscated by the Moghal state. Gulab Rai paid the local Hindu King a sum of 60,000 rupees to buy back Anandpur and settled in Anandpur Sahib. There he set up his ‘Manji’ (seat) and declared himself as Guru. He was not a Khalsa Sikh, indeed, he was in fact hostile to the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa. Gulab Rai began to give ‘Charana Phaul’ (initiation) and initiate his own Sikhs. On the offering of these Sikhs, he became very rich and powerful.


Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj and Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj
A Pahari painting depicting an imaginary meeting between the first and tenth Sikh Guru, Mandi, circa mid 19th century

During this time at Anandpur, the mausoleum of Akali Guru Tegh Bahadur was maintained by an Udasi Sadhu named Baba Gurbakhsh Das Ji. Before leaving Anandpur Sahib, Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji had appointed Baba Gurbakhsh Das this position. Gulab Rai wished to evict the Udasi Sikh from the territory of Anandpur. Baba Gurbakhsh Das, like all true Sikhs, had objected to Gulab Rai setting himself up as a Guru within the holy city of Anandpur Sahib. Gulab Rai and his eighteen sons could not tolerate the Udasi Sadhu’s objections.


Udasi
A Pahari painting of an Udasi Sikh named Bhyalashmir, circa mid 19th century, Gulam

Rattan Singh Bhangu states that Gulab Rai and the Udasi Baba exchanged hostile words, and this eventually spilled over into violence. Gulab Rai ordered his eighteen sons to beat the Udasi Sadhu upon which they desecrated the Sadhu’s matted hair. In turn, the holy Sadhu cursed Gulab Rai that his seed would die out. Spiteful and angry, Gulab Rai repeated the same curse onto Gurbakhsh Das. Rattan Singh Bhangu continues:

‘Gulab listening said: “May none of your offspring also not remain.”
He [the Udhasi replied]: “Some of mine will still remain be they deaf or one eyed. They will attend my ‘Dhooi’ (sacred smoking fire of Udasis). But your roots will not remain at all.
With anger he cursed him thus.
Like this no offspring of both remained.
Sword like words were wielded between them.’
‘Pracheen Panth Prakash’, by Rattan Singh Bhangu, expunged by Vir Singh, Pa. 174-175

This way the Gulab Raieh died out.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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