Bhai Bala

Indian Sikh saint

Bhai Bala (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਬਾਲਾ 1466–1544), born in Talwandi Rai Bhoi into a Sandhu Jat family (now called Nankana Sahib in Pakistan), was a childhood friend and lifelong companion of Bhai Mardana and Guru Nanak. According to the Bhai Bala Janam Sakhis, he traveled with Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana on all of their great journeys around the world including China, Mecca, and around India. He supposedly died in Khadur Sahib, in his late 70s, in 1544.

Quotes edit

  • For instance Trumpp, in the introduction to his translation of the Adi Granth,cast serious doubton the historicity of Bhai Bala, a cherished figure in Sikh tradition. For long, Sikhs had believed that Guru Nanak was on his extensive tours steadfastly accompanied by Bhai Bala. Now all of a sudden this revered figure was shown to be a creature of the imagination. Trumpp based his conclusions on the fact that the oldest of the then extant janam-sakhis, the so-called Colebrooke manuscript that he had discovered at the India Office Library in London, did not mention any Bhai Bala.“ His name appeared only much later in the Sikh hagiographic tradition. The manuscript on which Trumpp based his findings had been donated by H.T. Colebrooke to the Library of East India House in 1815 or 1816, and accordingly came to be known by his name. Sikh intellectuals of the period knew nothing about this valuable manuscript and its contents. All that they could do to save face was to vilify Trumpp. His missionary background and intemperate use of language made him an easy target.
    • Harjot Oberoi - The Construction of Religious Boundaries_ Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition (1994, University of Chicago Press)

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