Category Archives: Faith

Reflection on the life of Mata Gujri Ji

poster-6Mata Gujri was a perfect woman, a Puran Istree. The word “Stree” originates from Sanskrit and means “expansion.” In a physical sense women expand by being mothers. In a spiritual sense, women give their children the ideals and values to live by; they nurture a sense of security; and they have the power to construct or destroy their families and their generations to come.

So, it is only pertinent to say that Mata Gujri was a Puran Istree in both the physical and spiritual realms. She completed the life and mission of Guru Teg Bahadur; raised the extraordinary child Gobind; managed the affairs of the Sikh Panth while the Guru was still a child; and inspired and prepared her young grandsons for the extraordinary courage, grace and sacrifice that would be required of them at such tender ages.

Let us look at her life and the different roles she plays as a perfect woman.

· As a Daughter:

MataJi was brought up with the consciousness of the Guru’s light; she fulfilled her parent’s aspiration of serving the path of the Guru beyond their expectations by growing into a perfect role model of grace, strength, persistence and sacrifice.

· As a Wife:

She supported Guru Tegh Bahadur when he was deep in meditation for years, again while he was on his missionary tour, and finally, when the Guru left for Delhi to make the supreme sacrifice.

· As a Leader:

After Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom, she and her brother, Kirpal Chand had the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Panth. She also organized the langar (community kitchen) and played an important role as the administrator of the army. She had an important role inspiring the Khalsa armies during the battles Guru Gobind Singh had to fight. Her role in the battle of Bhangani is especially remembered.

· As a Mother:

She molded the father of the Khalsa, the great Guru Gobind, raising him as a single mother after the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadurji.

· As a Grandmother and inspiration to the young martyrs:

When Mata Ji and the sahibzadas were arrested and confined in Sirhind Fort, and as the children were summoned to appear in court each day, she kept urging them to remain steadfast in their faith. She constantly reminded the Sahibzadas that their Grandfather and Great-Grandfather had both sacrificed their lives to strengthen the ideals of Guru Nanak. Her support of her grandsons played such an important role in Sikhism that as Sikhs, we probably owe our existence to her. It was due to her role that the seven and nine year old children did not budge from their beliefs and attained martyrdom. If the Sahibzadas had accepted Islam on that winter day, Sikhi probably wouldn’t exist as it does today. So, in fact, we stand tall because of the teachings and the inspiration Mata Ji provided to her grandsons and thousands of martyrs who gave their heads and not their faith.

· As a Martyr:

While imprisoned on top of an open tower during the cold month of December, Mata Gujri continually did simran with no complaints about her physical being. She attained martyrdom the same day as her grandsons after hearing that her grandsons had been bricked alive rather than give up their faith. Her mission had been fulfilled.

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The Warrior’s Song – The Extraordinary Jaap of Guru Gobind Singh ji

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ਨ ਸਾਜ਼ੋ ਨ ਬਾਜ਼ੋ ਨ ਫ਼ੌਜੋ ਨ ਫ਼ਰਸ਼ ॥ ਖ਼ੁਦਾਵੰਦ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ਿੰਦਹਿ ਐਸ਼ਿ ਅਰਸ਼ ॥੪॥
 I (Guru Gobind Singh), have no throne, horse, falcon, or army. However I have the blessings of the Almighty God who is the giver of the pleasures of Heaven. So, I will never give up to tyranny!

 

In 1685, the young Guru Gobind Rai sat on the banks of the river Jamuna at Paonta and contemplated the glory of the One God in an ecstasy that could not be contained.  Having left the city of Anandpur Sahib a few months earlier, his exalted mind found the gentle peace of Paonta Sahib to his liking. At nineteen years old, he was the undisputed leader of the Sikhs. Still unproven in battle, he was soon to face his first test of the sword.

The 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, was born Gobind Rai in the village of Patna in the eastern province of Bihar.  He was the only child of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and Mata Gujri ji was born on the 7th night after the new moon, December 22nd, 1666. Just as all children are reared in the laps of their mothers, the Tenth Guru grew up kicking and playing in the lap of Mata Gujri ji.  His grandmother, Mata Nanaki and his uncle, Kirpal Chand loved and protected him in the early days of his infancy. However his youth was short lived, and he shouldered the responsibility of the Sikh nation when his father was martyred at the hands of the Mughal Emperor in Delhi when he was only nine years old.

Guru Gobind Singh writes in his autobiography, the Bachitar Natak, that he was born into this world with a mission to protect the good and saintly people, and to uproot the tyrants and evil doers. This could only be done by living a life of action, courage, and leadership.  As the Guru matured into a man, he exemplified these aspects.  He lived amongst his people, not separate from them – a saint and solider, a man of the world yet a master of the divine. He lead them every step of the way, protecting them from aggression and oppression and sacrificing every facet of his life for the common good. He created the glorious order of the Khalsa out of the common people of the Punjab with unique form that made them stand apart in a crowd of millions.

But in 1685, Guru Gobind Rai was still a youth of nineteen, and that hard road of destiny was a few years away from unfolding.  He spent his days in Paonta Sahib as a poet and a scholar – teaching, learning and sharing his love for the One Lord.  It was during this time that the Guru wrote his powerful prayer – Jaap Sahib.

The Jaap Sahib is 199 verses composed in five languages, in rhymed couplets of defined and sophisticated meter.  It does not narrate a story, and does not depart philosophical wisdom. Instead, it calls out 950 names of the unformed and limitless Creator.  Some couplets speak of what God is, and others speak of what God is not. Together the words and rhythm create an experience of God that supersedes mere intellectual understanding.

The rhythm of Jaap Sahib is like that of a horse at the gallop, and the beat of the hooves drum martial spirit into the heart.  The cadence of the Jaap Sahib is used for marching, martial practice, and dance of the pantra.  The Jaap Sahib is written in ten distinct meters, or Chands, that weave into the experience of the practitioner.  A chand is a verse in which the syllables and the rhythm are arranged in a precisely controlled pattern.  Chhapai Chand, Rual Chand, Rasaawal Chand, Harbolmana Chand and Ek Acchhri Chand are used just once, Charpat Chand, Madhubhar Chand and Bhagwati Chand are used twice, Chachri Chand five times, and Bhajang Prayat Chand six times.

The construction of the chands is complex. For example, Madhubhar Chand is defined as four “feet”, or lines, with 16 syllables and a pause after every 8 syllables.  Rasaawal Chand has four feet with each foot consisting of 24 syllables and pauses after the 11th and 13th syllables.  So although the phrases roll easily off the tongue, they are sophisticated in design, disciplined in nature, and produce a consistent impact on the consciousness.  More than the outpouring of ecstasy from an enlightened personality, the Jaap Sahib is a complex, precise, mathematical composition from a brilliant mind designed to evoke a specific response from the human psyche.  All this came from the phenomenal Tenth Guru as a teenager about to embark on the journey of life.

The Jaap Sahib is now the opening bani, or verse, of the holy Dasam Granth Sahib – the collected writings of Guru Gobind Singh It begins with the Mangla Charan which introduces and sets the stage for the bani.  Unlike other bani of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Jaap Sahib starts with “Siri Mukhvak Patishai Dasavee – from the Great Mouth of the Tenth King.”  In the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, we read Mehela Pela – which refers to the First Guru Nanak Dev ji, Mehela Duja – referring to the second Guru Angad Dev ji, etc. This is a feminine reference – mehela – acknowledging that all beings take the posture of the feminine before the One God.  “Nowhere has Mehela Dasavaa been used because tradition, conception, and experience had changed.  That is the combined character of a Sikh, to be a solider and a saint in one person.  Shastra and Shaaster – the spiritual knowledge and the technology of self-defense – have to be together in one person. That is what Guru Gobind Singh gave us with absolute flawless detail” In the Dasam Granth Sahib, the Sikh stands as a soldier saint before God.

In the Mangla Charan, Guru Gobind Singh promises – “Who can ever recite all Your Names!  By your Grace, describing your actions we come to know You.”  Karam Nam – Naming the actions of the One God – is the essence of the Jaap Sahib.  By reciting Karam Nam, Guru Gobind Singh gives his Sikhs into an experience of the transcendental far beyond the rational faculty of man.  The Jaap Sahib is a self-manifestation of God that delivers the listener, as well as the speaker, to a level deeper than intellectual understanding.

As described by Dr. Jaspreet Kaur, “In the opening of Jaap Sahib, [Guru Gobind Singh says that] God had no physical appearance, no caste, no garb or signs of palm-lines which are the sign that help man recognize or distinguish anybody.  He is perpetual, self illuminated, and measureless in power.  God is the king of kings and God of millions of Indras.  He is sovereign of three worlds, demigods, men and demons; and the woods and dales proclaim Him as indescribable.

In the ending verses Guru says that God is a creator, preserver and destroyer of all.  He is the enemy of miscreants and strikes down the tyrannous. Yet out of his infinite mercy.  He provides daily bread to all.  He redeems man from hell and births and deaths.  He is present with all and His grandeur will never vanish.  God [as described by] Guru Gobind is no particular entity giving rise to social particularism. He is ‘all in all and for all.”          

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Life after Delivery?

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In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later. “Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?” “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.” The other says “This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.” “I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.” the other replies, “No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere.” “Well, I don’t know,” says the other, “but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us.” “Mother??” You believe in mother? Where is she now? “She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world.” “I don’t see her, so it’s only logical that she doesn’t exist.” To which the other replied, “sometimes when you’re in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her.” I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality….






taken from the recent sermon by the Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis

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Dhan Baba Deep Singh ji- the Scholar and the Soldier

Born simply as Deepa on 26th January 1682 in village Pahuvind, district Tarn Taran, Baba Deep Singh ji grew up to be one of the most revered scholar, soldier and martyr of the Sikh faith. Baba ji’s parents Bhai Bhagata ji and Mata Jeoni ji, first took their son to visit Guru Gobind Singh ji at Anandpur Sahib in 1694 at the age of 12, where he served the community at Anandpur Sahib, learning Sikh philosophy as well as martial arts. On Vaisakhi day in 1700 that Deepa took Amrit from the Panj Pyare and was renamed Deep Singh. During his stay at Anandpur with many elevated souls, the Sangat recognised Deep Singh as a very wise man and therefore honoured him with the title of “Baba.” Baba Deep Singh later returned to Pahuvind to help his parents in 1702.

It was in 1704 that Baba Deep Singh was informed that Guru Gobind Singh hi jad left Anandpur Sahib and that the two elder son’s of the Guru had been martyred in the Battle of Chamkor. Upon hearing such disheartening news, Baba Deep Singh Ji immediately left Pahuwind to meet with Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Baba Deep Singh Ji caught up with the Guru at Damdama Sahib in Talwandi. At Damdama Sahib, Baba Deep Singh ji worked with Bhai Mani Singh ji to prepare the final text of Guru Granth Sahib ji. Even after Guru ji had left Damdama Sahib to travel to Deccan with Bahadur Shah, and Bhai Mani Singh ji had been sent to Amritsar, Baba Deep Singh ji continued to write additional copies of Guru Granth Sahib ji including one in Arabic script, which was sent to the Middle East.

In 1708 when Banda Singh Bahadur was authorised by Guru Gobind Singh ji to uproot the tyrant rulers in Punjab, Sikhs were ordered to support and join him in his mission. Baba Hardas Singh who had previously fought in Battles alongside Guru Gobind Singh ji led a jatha of Sikhs to join up with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. Baba Hardas Singh (grandfather of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia) from village Sur-Singh district Amritsar, was a blacksmith who made many weapons including the Khanda (double edged sword) used by Baba Deep Singh ji and the Nagni used by Bhai Bachitter Singh ji against the drunken elephant at Anandpur Sahib.

Baba Deep Singh ji joined the jatha led by Baba Hardas Singh and fought together in the battle under the command of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Sirhind—the city in which Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s younger sons had been killed. Baba Ji fought so bravely without care for his life, that Baba Banda Singh Ji Bahadur entrusted Baba Ji with the title “Jinda Shaheed” (living martyr). Since that moment Baba Ji was called “Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji”. It is noteworthy that Baba Ji wasn’t called “Shaheed” after he died, but during his own lifetime.

In 1733 the Mughal ruler of Lahore sought peace with the Sikhs by offering them a Governorship and self rule.  Nawab Kapoor Singh Ji, the commander of the Khalsa forces divided the Sikhs into groups for administrative convenience. These groups later evolved into 12 regiments which collectively were known as Dal Khalsa. Nawab Kapoor Singh ji appointed Baba Ji as the leader of one of the regiments known as Misl Shaheeda(n)

As the leader of the Misl Shaheeda(n), Baba Deep Singh ji achieved numerous victories for the Sikhs. The Misl had its sphere of influence south of the River Sutlej and Baba Deep Singh’s headquarters remained at Damdama Sahib. The tower in which he lived still stands next to the Takht Sri Damdama Sahib and is known as Burj Baba Deep Singh Shaheed.

In May 1757, on the orders of the Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdali, the viceroy of Lahore Jahan Khan invaded Amritsar and razed the Sikh fortress of Ram Rauni and defiled the sacred pool. Although Baba Deep Singh Ji was now seventy-five years old, he still had the strength of a young warrior. He gathered a large group of Sikhs and advanced towards Amritsar. By the time they reached the village of Tarn Taran, about ten miles from Amritsar, their numbers had risen to about five thousand. At this time, Baba Ji drew a line on the ground with his Khanda, and asked only those who were willing to fight and die to cross the line.

All of the assembled Sikhs crossed the line eagerly. Baba Deep Singh Ji then recited the hymn:

“Those who wish to play the game of love (to follow the Sikh path), come to me with your head in your palm. If you wish your feet to travel this path, don’t delay in accepting to give your head.”

When news of Baba Deep Singh Ji’s intentions reached Jahan Khan, he immediately mobilized an army of 20,000 men and proceeded towards Tarn Taran. Baba Deep Singh Ji’s army intercepted Jahan Khan’s forces near the village of Goharwal, about five miles from Amritsar.

Both the armies clashed near Gohalwarh on the 11th November, 1757. Fighting bravely, the Singhs pushed the army back and reached village Chabba where Attal Khan came forward and fierce battle ensued during which Attal Khan inflicted a blow on Baba Deep Singh Ji severing his head from his body. Baba Deep Singh, started to lose his footing under the impact of the blow, when a Sikh reminded him of his vow to reach Sri Harimander Sahib. Upon hearing this, Baba Deep Singh Ji immediately stood up, holding his severed head upright on his left palm while holding his khanda in his right hand. He then continued fighting (with strength derived from the recitation of prayers) and continued moving towards Sri Harimander Sahib.

Upon seeing the sight of Baba Deep Singh’s headless body tearing through their numbers, most of the men in the Mughal army fled away in terror. Baba Deep Singh was able to continue fighting and fulfilled his oath on finally reached Sri Harimander Sahib – there he bowed and lay his head on the parkarma (rectangular walkway) of this sacred Gurdwara. The Sikh Army continued to fight the fleeing Mughals until victory was achieved. Baba Deep Singh ji is remembered by all Sikhs as a brave and courageous martyr with an unflinching dedication to the Sikh principles.

Two shrines now commemorate the martyr, one on the circumambulatory terrace of the Sarovar surrounding the Harimander Sahib where he finally fell and the other, Shahidganj Baba Deep Singh Shahid, near Gurdwara Ramsar, where his body was cremated. The places where Baba ji drew the line, engaged in battle, lost his head, threw it, and where it landed are all marked by Gurdwaras in Punjab. Baba Deep Singh Ji’s actions encouraged the Sikhs to continue to fight against the tyrannical and oppressive Mughal Empire for many years. Even today, his life serves as an example for all Sikhs on how to live and die with dignity.

BABA DEEP SINGH JI

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Guru Gobind Singh ji’s Generalship

Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s art of warfare was swift manoeuvres against relatively larger forces to achieve complete surprise over the enemy. Critical analysis of his battle with Hussain Khan of the allied forces at the battle of Nadaun amply illustrate that the manoeuvres were not aimed to slaughter the enemy but to cause fear and panic in the enemy ranks in order to disorganise and thereby drive them from the battle field. The fleeing enemy were never given pursuit by the Khalsa army as that would have amounted to indiscriminate killing of men and therefore against the Khalsa code of conduct.

Guru Ji’s action on the battlefield repeatedly shows quick decision, rapid cavalry manoeuvres and flexibility of mind. Incidentally these three characteristics – quick decision, rapid manoeuvres and flexibility in an ever changing situation rank the most prominent ones in modern warfare.

The element of battlefield mobility, inherent in mounted weapons on horses, camels and elephants were employed in offensive roles both in nature and concept even as a defender.

A careful analysis of Guru Ji’s battles indicates that Guru Gobind Singh Ji never risked the security of the main defences in a bid to achieve mere surprise. Thinning out the main defences for creating various combat groups, aimed to hit the enemies rear and exposed flanks were well balanced and at no time were the main defences rendered insecure.

Resources, both in men and material, available to his command, although meagre compared to those of his adversaries, were always utilised to maximum advantage. Needless to emphasise that leadership ability is measured by the degree of effectiveness with which each leader employs those assets available to him.

Basic principles of objective, offensive, simplicity, unity of command, economy of force, surprise and security, morale, manoeuvrability, flexibility and so forth were always integral ingredients in Guru Ji’s plans.

As a general in the battlefield Guru Ji succeeded in forcing his adversaries to give up their purpose completely. After the battle at Mukatsar, the Mughals realised the futility of their efforts and were so badly demoralised that they gave up altogether. Hostility towards the Khalsa army vanished never to resurface again while Guru ji was alive.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji as a general never once remained away from the battlefield giving a pretext of directing the operation. Guru ji always directed and fought at the same time with the forward most rank and file of the Khalsa army. Despite mental and physical stress of day long battles, Guru Ji attended to minor details. After day long battles Guru Sahib Ji personally attended to the wounded and solemnised last rites who had touched martyrdom as his command.

The discipline of Guru ji’s army was not based upon fear or punishment but on mental awareness and realisation of their moral and patriotic duty which always exhorted the Khalsa soldier to stand at the beck and call of their leader with a will to do or die.

The victories of Guru Gobind Singh Ji can be attributed to discipline of his troops which impelled them to strictly observe the demands of the oath of allegiance and self devotion to their Guru.

Guru Ji’s army strictly observed the Khalsa Code as given by their Guru. There were numerous occasions when the Khalsa army, after victory in the battle field, could have wiped out the enemy by pursuing them, but did not resort to it as it was not approved by their leader. It speaks of excellent self control realised through a very high standard of discipline.

With Bahadhur Shahs succession to the Moghul throne, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s military life came to a virtual end, but an epic legend in the military profession had only sprung to grow till eternity.

 

The Tenth Master

The Tenth Master

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Inspirational Video- Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

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by | January 1, 2013 · 3:30 pm

Baba Moti Ram Mehra – The man who understood Dharam and Karam

Much of Baba Moti Ram Ji Mehra’s life is unclear and until recently much was not known. Baba Moti Ram Ji Mehra was born in Fatehgarh Sahib (the year is unknown but many Historians claim approx 1660’s). Baba Moti Ram was one of two sons. His elder brother was Baba Joti Ram who was the father of Bhai Himmat Singh Ji, one of the original Panj Pyare (five beloved ones).

On the 24th December, 1704, Sahibzadas Baba Zorawar Singh ji, Baba Fateh Singh ji along with Mata Gujri ji (mother of Guru Gobind Singh Ji) were arrested by Kotwal Jaani Khan of Morinda at Kheri, the native village of Gangu Ram. Gangu was a servant of Guru Gobind Singh who was allured by the money and jewellery which Mata Gujri ji carried and ,thus, informed the Kotwal of Morinda about their presence in his house. Jaani Khan brought them as prisoners to Sirhind. Faujdar Wazir Khan of Sirhind imprisoned them in the Thanda Burj (cold Fort).

Baba Moti Ram Mehra was a servant in the Hindu kitchen of the Faujdar. He used to serve food to the Hindu prisoners. Jagat Mata Gujri ji refused to accept the food of the Mughal kitchen as well as that which came from Diwan Sucha Nand’s house. Baba Moti Ram Mehra was a great follower of Sikh Gurus. He used to serve the sikhs on their way to Ananadpur Sahib and back to their homes. The Sikhs took rest at his mud house, where the mother of Baba Moti Ram Mehra and Bibi Bholi, wife of Mehra ji prepared food for these sikhs.

When Jagat Mata Gujriji refused to accept the food, Baba Moti Ram Mehra could not bear the Sahibzadas sleeping hungry. He came home and told his family that he would serve milk and fresh water to these great prisoners. His mother and wife wee scared and tried to persuade him not to take such a step. Bibi Bholi, wife of Mehra ji, told him that the Wazir Khan had made an announcement in the town that whoever tried to help and serve any type of food to the sons of the tenth Guru, he along with his family would be crushed alive in a Kohlu, (the oil squeezer). This information could not change the resolve of Baba ji. His mother told him that there were so many followers of the Guru in the town, they could have dared to serve the Sahibzadas. Baba Moti Ram Mehra humbly, but with determination, told his mother that those followers feared the ruler .

“Aren’t you scared, my son?” asked the mother. Baba Mehra ji humbly replied, “Dear mother our Guru is fighting against injustice of the Mughals. I will serve the great mother and the Sahibzadas. I don’t fear the punishment of the Faujdar. The history will not forgive us if we do not serve the great prisoners.”

Sensing his determination, his wife gave him her silver jewellery and some coins and requested him,” Please bribe the gate man of the Burj and request him to keep this act a secret.” Baba ji praised his wife for participation in the great cause.Baba Moti Ram served milk and water to the Sahibzadas and Mata Gujri ji for three nights. Seeing Baba Moti Ram Ji’s determination and bravery, Mata Gujri Ji blessed Baba Moti Ram Ji Mehra by saying, “dhan moti jin punn kamaya, guru laalan taahe dudh pilaya.” (Blessed Moti has earned good deeds, serving the Guru’s son’s with Milk.)

On 27th December 1704, the Sahibzadas were slain after bricking them alive in the foundation of the wall. Mata Gujri ji also breathed her last. Raja Todar Mall of Sirhind performed the cremation. He told Baba Mehra ji to arrange a cart of Chandan wood, which he brought from the forests of Atta Ali. After some time, Pumma, the brother of Gangu, told the Faujdar that his servant (Cook) had served the prisoners with milk and water.

Baba Moti Ram Mehra, his mother, wife and a little son were arrested. He did not conceal his act and boldly told the Faujdar that, it was his dharma to serve the young children and the aged mother of Guru Gobind Singhji. So, Baba Moti Ram Mehra along with his family were sentenced to the death by being squeezed in a squeezer (Kohlu).

Today a Gurudwara stands in memory of Baba Moti Ram ji Mehra and their family in Sri Fatehgarh Sahib. Below is an actual picture of the 2 steel glasses which were uses by Baba moti Ram ji Mehra to serve the milk to the Chotte Sahibzade and Mata Gujri ji.

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