51. Bhaai Buddhaa ji

The Guru initiated Kirtan at the early hours of the morning at Kartarpur. A boy seven years of age started to come to listen Kirtan and stood behind the Guru as a mark of respect. One day the Guru asked the boy,"O boy, why do you come so early while your age requires to eat, play and sleep." The boy replied,"Sir, one day my mother asked me to lit the fire. When I put fire on the wood, I observed that the little sticks burned first than the big ones. From that time I am afraid of the early death. I am doubtful whether I will live to be old and so I attend your holy communion." The Guru was very much pleased to hear these words of wisdom from the lips of the boy and said,"Although you are only a boy, yet you speak like a 'buddha' (an old man)." From that day the boy was called Bhai Buddha. He was held in such high esteem that he was commissioned to impress the saffron tilaks or patches of Gurudom on the foreheads of the first five successors of Guru Nanak. Bhai Buddha's original name was Ram Das, and a village was named after him. The word Bhai means brother. Guru Nanak who disregarded caste and preached the doctrine of the brotherhood of mankind, desired that all his followers should be deemed brothers, and thus be addressed so. The title 'Bhai' is now bestowed on Sikh priests also.