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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Gulab Dasia cont'd

Overcome by greed, Gulab Das began to sit on a fine 'Palki' (palanquin) with loyal attendants waving 'Chaur' (fans) over his head. Adorned in fine garments, exquisite jewelry, lavish weapons, a 'Kalgi' (plume on the turban) and mounted on a fine horse, he proclaimed himself as 'Sahib' (Sikh chief/aristocrat). Composing more hymns, he began to attack his contemporary spiritual leaders, Hindu 'Avtars' (various incarnations of the Hindu Trinity), and Muslim saints and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Akali Guru Har Rai
The seventh Sikh Guru seated on a 'Palki' (palanquin)
with his attended holding a 'Chaur' (fan) being visited by two Sikhs

Gulab Das claimed he was the greatest holy man of his age, and spoke of how others were entangled in formal rules of religion, caste and dogma. According to his views, he considered himself to be free from all trappings. However, Gulab Das did not dismiss all formal religious or cultural rules, but held the belief that each individual was free to follow or abandon them as he/she wished.

Folio of Adi Guru Durbar done in Kashmiri style of 'Shesh Naag'
(King of the snakes), and Vishnu and his 10 'Avtars' (incarnations), circa 1839

As more began to hear the words of Gulab Das, his wealth increased with donations from wealthy individuals who became his disciples. The followers of Gulab Das became to be termed as the 'Gulab Dasia'. In this way, another wealthy prostitute named Piro became enamored by Gulab Das. She became his constant companion, with him night and day. Her relatives, angry at her decision took her back to her home village of Gujranwalla. Heartbroken, Gulab Das sent two disciples, Kala Singh and Chattar Singh to bring her back. They succeeded in their mission, and from then on, Gulab Das ensured that Piro was never let out of his sight.

Hari Singh Nalwa
Born in the village of Gujranwalla (now in Pakistan), Hari Singh
Nalwa is perhaps the most famous of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's generals

A General named Elahi Khan was also an acquaintance of Piro, and upon hearing that she was with Gulab Das; he came to the aid of Piro's brothers. Elahi Khan and Piro's brothers attempted to capture Gulab Das near Main Mir's mausoleum. Approximately 200 Sikhs came to save Gulab Das from the murderous clutches of Piro's brothers. Maharaja Ranjit Singh heard of this incident and intervened to stop the bloody fight. Gulab Das, along with Piro moved to the Chatia region of Kasoor.

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