GUPĀLĀ, BHĀĪ, a learned Sikh of the time of Gurū Arjan who distinguished himself also as a warrior under his successor, Gurū Hargobind. Once, as Gurū Hargobind was encamped at Ruhelā, renamed Srī Hargobindpurā, a Sikh, Sabhāgā by name, presented him with five handsome horses. The Gurū immediately distributed three of them, one each to Bābā Gurdittā, Bhāī Bidhī Chand and Paindā Khān. The remaining two were retained in the Gurū's personal stables. While sitting among the saṅgat one day, Gurū Hargobind asked the question: "Who among you can recite gurbāṇī faultlessly, pronouncing perfectly every vowel and consonant?" Many said with folded hands that they had learnt a large portion of gurbāṇī which they regularly recited. The Gurū thereupon declared: "Whoever recites correctly, in our presence, the Japu (jī) shall receive his desired reward." Bhāī Gupālā humbly said, "O beneficent one! if you would permit me and bestow upon me your grace, I shall try." As Bhāī Gupālā proceeded with the recitation, Gurū Hargobind was so moved, records Bhāī Santokh Siṅgh, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth, that he would have conferred gurūship on him as a reward. However, just at the concluding stanza, Bhāī Gupālā was distracted by the thought of the promised reward, and his mind ran to the prized horses presented by Bhāī Sabhāgā. He expressed his heart's desire and was happy to get his coveted prize along with costly trappings and some money. The Gurū impressed upon the saṅgat the importance of correct recitation of gurbāṇī.


  1. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-33
  2. Gurbilās Pātshāhī Chhevīṅ. Patiala, 1970

Tāran Siṅgh