BHAGATŪ, BHĀĪ (d. 1652), a devoted Sikh who served the Fifth, Sixth and the Seventh Gurūs, was the son of Ādam (Uddam in some chronicles), a Siddhū Brāṛ of Mālvā country. Sikh chronicles record that Ādam, without a son for a long time and despaired of prayers at the feet of different holy men, Muslim as well as Hindu, was advised by a Sikh to go to Gurū Rām Dās. Ādam reached Amritsar and dedicated himself to the service of the Gurū and the saṅgat. The Gurū was pleased by his humility and sincerity. Ādam received his blessing and had a son born to him. Bhagatū, as the son was named, grew to be a saintly person with a firm faith in the Gurū. He made frequent visits to Amritsar where he stopped for long intervals rendering diligent service as construction of the Harimandar was in progress under the guidance of Gurū Arjan. He was at Kīratpur in 1644 when Gurū Har Rāi succeeded Gurū Hargobind on Gurū Nānak's throne. He later retired to his village, but continued to visit the Gurū, especially on Baisākhī and Dīvālī. During one of these visits, Gurū Har Rāi said to him, "You are fairly old now; it is time you were married. " The Gurū was referring metaphorically to death, alluding to Shaikh Farid's line in the Gurū Granth Sāhib:

        The soul is the bride, Death the bridegroom;

        He will wed her and take her away.

                                                     (GG, 1377)


        But the simple-minded Bhāī Bhagatū, taking the remarks literally, was greatly perplexed. He had two grown-up sons from his wife, now long deceased, and remarriage at his age would in any case be ridiculous. He went home without giving a reply, but the Gurū's words continued to ring in his ears. He was still ruminating over the "strange" suggestion when he made his next visit to Gurū Har Rāi, at Kartārpur, in present-dayJalandhar district. The Gurū asked Bhāī Bhagatū why he looked so preoccupied. As Bhāī Bhagatū shyly and haltingly revealed his problem, Gurū Har Rāi smiled at his naivette and told him that he had merely meant to comment on his age. Bhāī Bhagatū now feeling relieved, stayed on in the service of the Gurū until he died shortly after the next Baisākhī festival in April 1652. Gurū Har Rāi personally performed his last rites, and praised his simplicity and devotion.

        Bhāī Bhagatū's elder son, Gaurā, through his enterprising spirit and prowess, became a minor chief at the village of Viñjhū, near Baṭhiṇḍā. One of his descendants, Bhāī Desū Siṅgh, founded the Sikh state of Kaithal in the eighteenth century. A gurdwārā, Bhāīāṇā Bhagatū, named after the celebrated Bhāī is located near village Gobindpurā, about 11 km northeast of Baṭhiṇḍā (300-14'N, 740-58'E). An annual fair is held there on the occasion of Baisākhī.


  1. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Graṅth. Amritsar, 1926-37
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā. Patiala, 1970

Tāran Siṅgh