Life and teachings of Bhagat Sain Ji

Dr Amrit Kaur | October 31, 2021 12:19 PM
Bhagat Sain ji (Painting)
Dr Amrit Kaur

Bhagat Sain Ji is among the 15 Bhagats whose hymn Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji included

in Sri Adi Granth Sahib complied by him. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in addition to his own

hymns and the hymns of his four predecessor Gurus included the hymns of 15

Bhagats, 11 Bhatts and four others closely associated with the Sikh Gurus. These

Bhagats include:

(i) Bhagat Jaidev Ji (ii) Sheikh Farid Ji (iii) Bhagat Trilochan Ji (iv) Bhagat Namdev Ji

(v) Bhagat Sadhna Ji (vi) Bhagat Ramanand Ji (vii) Bhagat Ravidas Ji (viii) Bhagat

Kabir Ji (ix) Bhagat Sain Ji (x) Bhagat Dhanna Ji (xi) Bhagat Pipa ji (xii) Bhagat Beni

Ji (xiii) Bhagat Bhikhan Ji (xiv) Bhagat Surdas Ji and (xv) Bhagat Parmanand Ji.

Thus it is evident that this is the only Holy Scripture which includes the hymns of

Hindu and Muslim Saints belonging to various castes and creeds. In Sri Adi Granth

Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji added the hymns of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib

and this Holy Scripture is now known as Sri Guru Granth Sahib and is the eternal

Guru of the Sikhs. In Sri Guru Granth Sahib one hymn of Bhagat Sain Ji (SGGS,

P695) in Raag Dhanasri has been included.

There is some difference of opinion about the date and place of birth of Bhagat Sain

Ji. According to Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha he was the barber of Raja Ram, the King

of Bandhavgarh (now called Rewa) which now falls in the north-eastern part of

Madhya Pradesh. A few of his predecessors still live in Bandhavgarh. After

becoming a disciple of Bhagat Ramanand Ji (1300-1411) and worshipping God

Almighty he came to be included in the list of Bhagats. Some scholars believe that

the was a servant of the king of Bidar which now falls in Karnataka and became a

disciple of Sant Gianeshwar Ji but this argument does not carry any weight.

One thing is certain that he lived before Bhagat Ravidas Ji (SGGS, P1106) who in

one of his hymns has included his name among the five Bhagats (i) Bhagat Namdev

Ji (ii) Bhagat Kabir Ji (iii) Bhagat Trilocahn Ji (iv) Bhagat Sadhna Ji and (v) Bhagat

Sain Ji.

Bhagat Ravidas Ji says:

'naamdayv kabeer tilochan sadhna sain tarai'

In this hymn Bhagat Ravidas Ji says that through the grace of Dear Lord all is

accomplished and because of this Namdev, Kabeer, Trilochan Sadhna and Sain

crossed over.

According to Macauliffe "Sain was a disciple of Ramanand and consequently lived in

the end of the fourteenth and beginning of fifteenth centry of the Christian era. He

was a barber in the court of Raja Ram, King of Rewa, then called Bandhavgarh"

Giani Pratap Singh has also said that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber in the court of

Raja Ram and due to the sangat of Ramanand Ji he turned towards worshipping

God Almighty." Macauliffe also writes that "the tendency of the age was towards

devotion and religious composition and Sain found leisure in the midst of his duties

to study the hymns of Ramanand, shape his life on the principles inculcated in them,

and successfully imitate their spirit and devotional fervour". Bhai Jodh Singh also re-

iterates the same fact and adds that every day he would go to the palace of Raja

Ram and got initiation from Ramanand Ji. He lived from the end of 14th Century and

lived in the beginning of 15th Century

The scholars who prepared Shabdarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib (i) Principal Teja Singh

(ii) Principal Bawa Krishan Singh and (iii) Professor Narayan Singh have stated that

'the barber Sain was a Bhagat among the disciples of Ramanand. He was a barber

in the court of King Raja Ram of Rewa'. Macauliffe has stated that Bhagat Sain Ji's

era is between the end of 14th and beginning of 15th century. Bhagat Ramanand Ji

was born in 1366 A.D. Because Bhagat Sain Ji received initiation at the hands of

Ramanand Ji after Kabir Ji, therefore, Bhagat Sain Ji's birth may be said to be

around 1398 and in the light of other facts it should be after 1366 A.D.

Sarup Singh Alag in his book Parichai Sri Guru Granth Sahib has stated that Bhagat

Sain Ji was born in 1390 and left for his heavenly abade in 1440 A.D. In the light of

the fact that he was a contemporary of Bhagat Kabir Ji and received initiation at the

hands of Ramanand Ji, his date of birth as 1390 may be considered to be correct.

Contrary to the views of the above-mentioned scholars some scholars believe that

he was born in 1343 A.D. in Punjab in village Sohal Thathi in District Amritsar of

Punjab. His father's name was Baba Mukand Rai Ji and mother's name was Mata

Jiwni Ji. During his youth he went to Lahore to live with his father's sister Shobha

Daee and married Salakkhni and the couple was blessed with a son. Later he went

to Delhi. Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha also agrees that he was married and that his

predecessors still live in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. At Lahore he learned the work of

barbery and hikmat from Rahim Khan. After some time he went to Bandhavgarh and

joined the service in the court of King Raja Ram. According to Bhai Darbari Das

(Parchi Bhagat Sain Ji) he was married to Moorti who helped him in his occupation.

Mayharwaan Singh has also stated that "Bhagat Sain was a barber in the Court of

Kingdom of Rewa, Madhya Pradesh".

All the resources confirm this fact that he was a barber by birth and by occupation.

Bhai Gurdas Ji also confirms this fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber:

"Sain hua adhiatmi: Sain neech kul ander nai".

(Vaar 12, Pauri 15)

Bhai Gurdas Ji further adds:

"kul Ravidas chamar hai, Sain snaati ander nai

(Vaar 25, Pauri 5)

Bhai Darbari Das also confirms the fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber. He says

that "kul Ravidas chamar hai Sain Bhagat jaat ka nai"

Bhai Darbari Das also says:

Sain Bhagat jaat ka nai ll jis kaliyug bheetar bhagat kamai ll

(Page 484)

Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji in three of his hymns confirms the fact that Bhagat Sain Ji was

a barber:

Sain naaee butkaarree-aa oh ghar ghar suni-aa ll

hirday vasi-aa paarbarahan bhagtan meh gani-aa ll

(SGGS, P487-88)

which means and that Sain a barber, the village drudge, became famous in each and

every house. The Supreme Lord God dwelled in his heart and he came to be

counted among the devotees. Sri Guru Arjan Das Ji also says, "naeeu uDhaari-o

Sain sayv"

(SGGS, P1192)

Which means that Sain the barber was saved through his selfless service.

Praising Bhagat Sain Ji, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji also says:

Bhalo kabeer daas daasan ko ootam sain jan naaee


(SGGS, P1207)

which means that Kabeer is good, the slave of the Lord's salves; the

humble barber Sain is sublime.

Bhai Gurdas Ji (Vaar 10, Pauri 16) narrates an anecdote about Bhagat Sain Ji. After

listening to the glory of God, Sain the barber became a Sikh. At night he would

worship and in the morning would go to the king's palace. One time it so happened


that in the house of Bhagat Sain Ji some hermits came as guests and the whole

night was spent in singing hymns. Bhagat Sain Ji could not leave the hermits to go to

the king's palace. The God Almighty himself went to the king's palace and served the

King. After the hymn singing next morning he shamefully went to the king's palace to

beg pardon for his absence. The King called him close to him, made him wear his

own royal dress. The king said that by doing very wonderful service yesterday you

have won my heart and all the people listened to him. The God Almighty eulogizes

the Bhagats before the world.

Bhai Darbar Das ji (Page 486-87) explains this anecdote slightly differently. He says

that Sain Ji could not go to the King's palace for three days because he was

absorbed in serving the hermits. After three days he went to the king and said to the

king that I could not serve him for three days, please forgive me for my this

disobedience. The king said, "O Sain Listen! for all the three days you came

regularly and gave me a bath." Sain Ji was astonished to hear this and said that I did

not come for three days. The king said you served me so well during these three

days which you had never done before. Sain Ji said someone else must have come

in my place. It must have been God Almighty himself. O King! you are lucky that you

got a holy glimpse of the God Almighty. This implies that God Almighty saves the

honour of his Bhagats. This also shows that Bhagat Sain Ji was a barber and while

performing his duties as a barber he had spiritual interests. To serve the hermits and

listen to their hymns was part of his habitual behaviour.

Bhagat Sain Ji not only chose the Bhagti Marg but was also well versed in the hymns

of other Bhagats. It may be said that before the anecdote about being absent in the

king's service he must have received initiation from Bhagat Ramanand Ji and had

engrossed himself in prema-bhagti.

The hymn of Bhagat Sain Ji in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is in Dhanasri Raag is as

follows: (P695)

Saree Sain Ji,

saree sain.

Dhoop deep gharit saaj aartee.

vaarnay jaa-o kamlaa patee llll

manglaa har manglaa ll

nit mangal raaja raam raaay ko. llll rahaao ll


ootam dee-araa nirmal baatee ll

tuheen niranjan kamlaa paatee llll

raamaa bhagat raamaanand jaanai ll

pooran paramanand bakhanai llll

madan moorat bhai taar gobinday ll

sain bhanai bhaj parmaananday llllll

This hymn means that: This is the aarti with incense, lamps and ghee, I offer this

lamp-lit worship service. I am a sacrifice to the Lord of Lakshmi. Hail to You, Lord

hail to You! Again and Again, hail to you, Lord King, Ruler of all! Sublime is the lamp,

and pure is the wick. You are immaculate and pure, O Brilliant Lord of Wealth!

Raamaanand knows the devotional worship of the Lord. Remember the Lord who is

all-prevading, the embodiment of supreme joy. The Lord of the world, of wondrous

form, has carried me across the terrifying world-ocean. Remember the Lord, the

embodiment of supreme joy!

In other words he says that for me this is the aarti of incense, diva and ghee, the

song of happiness of God Almighty I sing everyday, O God! Supreme Lord you are

above material things. Guru Ramanand knows the bhagti of Ram. He explains God

Almighty in the form of complete and great happiness. The beautiful God, He gives

salvation to the human beings. He is the owner of the world. Telling about God

Almighty Bhagat Sain Ji says worship the giver of supreme happiness. We should

worship God Almighty without incense, ghee, diva or other material things. God

Almighty himself is symbolic of all these material goods. Worshipping Him is His

aarti. His name is inclusive of all these material things. Bhagat Sain Ji praises his

Guru Ramanand Ji by mentioning his name and in a way explains that the Guru

himself tells the method of worshipping and attainment of Supreme bliss. Bhagat

Sain Ji himself never used incense, ghee or diva while worshipping and has given

the same instruction to us. He says that it is only due to the grace of God that one

can become one with God Almighty. In worshipping God the use of material goods is


In conclusion it can be said that Bhagat Sain Ji told us that to attain God Almighty we

should do good deeds and have pure heart (ootam deeara nirmal baati, tu hi niranjan

kamlapati). God forgives those who apologize and prays Him and He saves their


The references used in this write-up include:- (i) The Encyclopedia of Sikhism

published by Punjabi University Patiala, Part I, II, III, IV (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) (ii)

Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha's book Mahan Kosh (iii) Sukhdev Singh Shant's book

Pandran Bhagat Sahiban (2018) (iv) Sarbjinder Singh's book Dhur Ki Bani (2004) (v)

Guru Granth Sanket Kosh by Piara Singh Padam and others (1997) (vi) Dharbari

Dass (Bhai) Editor Dr. Gurcharan Singh Sek, book Parichian Bhagtan Kian Bhai

Darbar Dass (1991) (vii) M.A. Macauliffe's book The Sikh Religion (2009) and (viii)

Sarup Singh Alag's book Parichai Sri Guru Granth Sahib (2016) although reference

has not been given at each place.


Dr. Amrit Kaur Retd. Professor Punjabi University Patiala, Punjab, India

Email: amritkaurchd40@gmail.com

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