BĀLŪ HASṆĀ (1564-1660), Sikh preacher and the first head of a dhūāṅ or branch of the Udāsī sect, was born the son of Paṇḍit Hardatt and Māī Prabhā of Srīnagar (Kashmīr) on 13 November 1564. His original name was Bālū. Accompanying his elder brother, Ālū, better known as Bhāī Almast, he came to Amritsar in 1604, to receive instruction from Gurū Arjan. He devoted himself to the service of the Gurū. Of Gurū Hargobind he was a constant companion. Even when the Gurū went out for the chase, Bālū would trot along on foot with him. Happy-go-lucky by temperament, he always bore a smile on his face so that the Gurū gave him the appellation of Hasnā, lit. the laughing one. At the instance of Gurū Hargobind, Bhāī Bālū Hasnā joined Bābā Gurdittā, the Gurū's eldest son and the spiritual successor of Bābā Srī Chand, founder of the Udāsī sect. Bābā Gurdittā deputed him to preach the tenets of Sikhism in the Poṭhohār region (north-western Punjab) to which task he dedicated the remaining years of his life.
Bālū Hasnā passed away at Peshāwar on 2 December 1660. His disciples carried on his work in western and southern Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Sindh. Two of them, Bhāī Lāl Dās Daryāī and Bhāī Jādo Rāi, both Punjabi poets of merit, are said to have accompanied Gurū Gobind Siṅgh to the South. Bhāī Lāl Dās took the baptism of the Khālsā and was renamed Prahilād Siṅgh. One of the rahitnāmās or the Sikh codes of conduct is ascribed to him. Another of the followers of Bhāī Bālū Hasnā, Ūdho Dās, served Mātā Pañjāb Kaur, the widow of Bābā Rām Rāi, at Dehrā Dūn, and succeeded to the gaddī or seat after her death in April 1741. He constructed at Dehrā Dūn a samādh or mausoleum commemorating Bhāī Bālū Hasnā.
Piārā Siṅgh Padam