BĀLĀ, BHĀĪ (1466-1544), who, according to popular belief, was a life-long companion of Gurū Nānak, was the son of Chandar Bhān, a Sandhū Jaṭṭ of Talvaṇḍī Rāi Bhoi, now Nankāṇā Sāhib in Pakistan. Three years senior in age to Gurū Nānak, he was his childhood playmate in Talvaṇḍī. From Talvaṇḍī, he accompanied Gurū Nānak to Sultānpur where he stayed with him a considerable period of time before returning to his village. According to Bālā Janam Sākhī, Bhāī Bālā at the instance of Rāi Bulār set out from Talvaṇḍī to join Gurū Nānak who had already left. Sultānpur on his travels abroad and met him in Bhāī Lālo's home at Saidpur. After Gurū Nānak's passing away, Gurū Aṅgad, Nānak II, invited Bālā from his native Talvaṇḍī to come to Khaḍūr and narrate to him events from the First Gurū's life. Very graphic, if somewhat miraculous, is the version contained in an old text, the Mahimā Prakāsh. To quote : "Gurū Aṅgad one day spoke to Bhāī Buḍḍhā, 'Seek the disciple who accompanied the Master, Gurū Nānak, on his journeys far and wide, who heard his preaching and reflected on it, and who witnessed the many strange events that occurred; secure from him all the circumstances and have transcribed a volume which may please the hearts of those who should apply themselves to it. ' Bālā Sandhū made his appearance. " The anecdotes narrated by Bālā were recorded in Gurmukhī characters in Gurū Aṅgad's presence by another Sikh, Paiṛā Mokhā. The result was what is known as Bhāī Bale Vālī Janam Sākhī, a hagiographical account of Gurū Nānak's life. Bhāī Bālā died in 1544 at Khaḍūr Sāhib. A memorial platform, within the precincts of gurdwārā Tapiāṇā Sāhib, marks the site where his mortal remains were cremated.
Among modern researchers, the identity of Bhāī Bālā is as controversial as is the authenticity of the Janam Sākhī ascribed to him. Bhāī Bālā is mentioned neither by Bhāī Gurdās who has recorded the names of a number of Sikhs contemporary of Gurū Nānak, nor by the authors of Purātan Janam Sākhī and Miharbān Janam Sākhī, both older than Bālā Janam Sākhī, the oldest available manuscript of which is dated 1658. However, owing to the popularity the last-named Janam Sākhī has attained and the fact that the 19th century chroniclers such as Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh and Giānī Giān Siṅgh have relied on it more than on any other, the name of Bhāī Bālā is firmly established in Sikh lore.