PĪPĀ, one of whose hymns is incorporated in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, was a prince who renounced his throne in search of spiritual solace. He was born at Gagaraun, in present day Jhālāwār district of Rājasthān, about AD 1425. He was a devotee of the goddess Bhavānī whose idol was enshrined in a temple within the premises of his palace. The goddess, it is said, once told him in a dream to visit Kāshī (Vārāṇasī) and receive initiation from Rāmānand. Pīpā went to Kāshī, but Rāmānand refused to see him in his gaudy robes. Pīpā cast off his royal apparel and put on a mendicant's garment. He returned home after initiation and began to live like an ascetic. At his invitation Rāmānand visited Gagaraun, and the rājā lent his shoulder to the palanquin carrying him in a procession. Pīpā now finally decided to give up his throne and retire to a life of seclusion and meditation. He went to Dwārkā (Gujarāt) where Lord Kṛṣṇa, after the Mahābhārata war, had spent the last years of his life. All the twelve wives of Pīpā insisted on accompanying him, but he took along only one, named Sītā, who was of a pious temperament. He selected a cave for his residence from where he daily walked through a tunnel to the temple of Krsna on the sea coast. The temple is still a popular place of pilgrimage, and a fair is held there annually in Pīpā's memory. After what he thought was a personal encounter with the Lord, he gave up idol-worship. He and his companion wife started living in a jungle. After a period of penance, he set out roaming about the country to serve the common people. He, along with his wife, sang hymns and prayers of his own composition and collected money to be distributed among the poor. He fed the mendicants and treated them as God's chosen ones. From an idol-worshipper (saguṇa bhakta) Pīpā became a worshipper of the Formless One (nirguna devotee). As he says in his hymn in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the body itself is the Supreme Being's temple (kāiau deval). One need not make stone images of Him and burn incense or light candles in front of them.

         Two collections of Pīpā's sayings are known to exist, namely Shrī Pīpā Jī Bāṇī and Sarab Guṭakā, both in manuscript form. Pīpā Maṭh, a monastery in Dwārkā, honours his memory.


  1. Tāran Siṅgh, ed., Gurū Granth Ratnāvalī. Patiala, n.d.
  2. Pratap Siṅgh, Giānī, Bhagat Darshan. Amritsar, 2001 Bk
  3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. London, 1909

Hardev Bāhrī