25. Death of Sodhi Ram Rai punishment of his masands
In the year 16185 A. D. news was brought of the tragic end of Sodhi Ram Rai. He had incurred enmity of some of his corrupt Masands. On one occasion when he was absorbed in meditation they represented him to be dead and despite the protests of his wife, Punjab Kaur, cremated him alive. Punjab Kaur wrote to the Guru informing him of the true version of the affair and praying that he should come and put matters right. The dastardly behaviour of the Masands enraged every one, particularly the Guru, who immediately proceeded to Dehra Dun on a visit of condolence and assuring Punjab Kaur of sympathy returned to Paunta. In response to an invitation issued by Punjab Kaur the Masands of the late Sodhi came to Dehra Dun, on the 17th day of his death, to olier mourning gifts. The Guru, too, came accompanied by Diwan Nand Chand, his cousins Mohri and Sango, uncle Kirpal Chand, Durga Ji, Jawahir Ji, Bhikhan Khan, Kale Khan and other veterans. Punjab Kaur received every one with due respect. Next day the Guru reprimanded the Masands for their misbehaviour. Not a word of regret or penitence was heard. On the contrary he was confronted with the reply that being a guest he had no business to meddle with other people's affairs. Finding that not the proper time to take any action in regard to the matter the Guru kept quiet. Dastarbandi ceremony was then performed. His gifts to Punjab Kaur consisted of a garland of pearls, a bracelet of gold and a white shawl. Other kinsmen and friends made suitable presents. All the Masands assembled in a meeting, the day following, to receive Khila'ts. Bhai Sundar, Punjab Kaur's principal agent, desired them to shift to another room close by. About sixty soldiers had been already stationed at the entrance of that room. As each Masand entered he was subjected to a very searching examination. Those who were found to be innocent were released while the guilty were incarcerated in a room set apart for the purpose. Some were fined, others flogged, while a few were put to death. The news of this exemplary punishment had a salutary effect. Thenceforward the Masands never troubled Punjab Kaur.