Bhai Sati Das (died 1675) along with his elder brother Bhai Mati Das is one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history. Bhai Sati Das and his elder brother Bhai Mati Das were followers of ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dyal Das were all executed at kotwali(police-station) near the Sunehri Masjid in theChandni Chowk area of Old Delhi, under the express orders of emperor Aurangzeb.
Bhai Sati Das was a Mohyal Brahmin of the Chhibber clan. He belonged to the village of Karyala, a stronghold of the Chhibbers, in the Jhelum District in Punjab (Pakistan), about ten kilometres from Chakwal on the road to the Katas Raj Temple Complex. The village stands on the top of the Surla hills. This part of the country is known as Dhani meaning rich. A few kilometres away are the Salt Mines and coal mines of Dandot. The Katas lake is beautiful. Legend connects it to the Mahabharata. It is believed to be the very pool, where the Pandava, Yudhishtira was tested by his father, Lord Yama/Dharma in the form of a Yaksha. A great Hindu fair used to be held there up to 1947.
Sati Das was the son of Hira Nand, a disciple of Guru Har Gobind, under whom he had fought in many battles. He survived the Guru, and a little before his death he had entrusted his two sons, Mati Das and Sati Das to the care of Guru Har Rai, who had assured the dying man of his full attention and help. Both the lads remained attached to the Guru’s family at Kiratpur. When Guru Har Krishan was summoned to Delhi by Aurangzeb, both the brothers, Mati Das and Sati Das, were present in his entourage along with Dyal Das and Gurditta, a descendant of Bhai Budha (different from Baba Gurditta, the son of Guru Hargobind, brother of Guru Teg Bahadur and father of Guru Har Rai).
On Guru Har Krishan’s death at Delhi, these two brothers were included in the deputation of five men containing Dyal Das and Gurditta to declare the nomination of Teg Bahadur as the ninth Guru at the village of Bakala where the new Guru was then residing. The Guru was pleased to offer the two important portfolios of finance and home departments to Mati Das and Sati Das respectively. Both knew Persian well, and were quite familiar with the working of the Guru’s durbar. The department of household affairs was entrusted to Dyal Das.
The two brothers accompanied Guru Teg Bahadur during his journey to Assam. Guru Tegh Bahadur bought a hillock near the village of Makhowal five miles north of Kiratpur and established a new town, which he named as Anandpur (the abode of bliss). Mati Das and Sati Das were present at the foundation of Anandpur. The Guru’s council of administration then consisted of Mati Das, Sati Das, Dyal Das and Gurditta. When the Guru was arrested and taken to Delhi, these four persons followed the Guru
At Delhi, the Guru and his four companions were summoned into the council chamber of the Red Fort. The Guru was asked numerous questions on religion, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. It was suggested to the Guru that he should embrace Islam. On the Guru’s emphatic refusal to abjure his faith, he was asked why he was called Teg Bahadur(gladiator or Knight of the Sword; before this, his name had been Tyag Mal). Bhai Mati Das immediately replied that the Guru had won the title by inflicting a heavy blow on the imperial forces at the young age of fourteen. He was reprimanded for his breach of etiquette and outspokenness. As for the Kashmiri Pandits, it was his duty to raise his voice against cruelty and injustice. The Guru and his companions were ordered to be imprisoned and tortured until they agreed to embrace Islam.
After a few days, Guru Teg Bahadur and three of his companions were produced before the Qazi of the city. Gurditta had managed to escape. He remained in hiding in the city, and in spite of all the efforts of the Government, he could not be traced. The Qazi turned to Mati Das first and asked him to embrace Islam. He refused to do so. He was condemned to an instantaneous death.
The executioners were called and the Guru and all the three of his companions were made to sit at the place of the execution. After the martyrdom of Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dyal Das, Bhai Sati Das moved towards the Guru with folded hands and asked for his blessings, saying that he was happy to achieve martyrdom.
The Guru blessed him telling that they must resign themselves cheerfully to the will of the Lord. He praised him for his lifelong single-minded devotion to him and his cause. With tears in his eyes, he bade him farewell saying his sacrifice would occupy an abiding place in history. Sati Das touched the Guru’s feet, and came to his place.
Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton and set to fire by the executioner. He remained calm and peaceful and kept uttering Waheguru, waheguru-, waheguru-, waheguru, Waheguru………. Fire consumed his body; his immortal soul remained in peaceful joy. His martyrdom is remembered by the Sikhs in their daily prayer.
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