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Akali Singh And The Lion

From Tapoban.org by Bhai Kulbir Singh Ji

This is a great story of an Akali Singh of Raja Ranjit Singh's time. It tells us a lot about how fit the Singhs in olden days were and how fearless they were. It also tells us how much paath they used to do and how age did not reduce their strength. Their strength came from Naam and Gurbani.

AKALI SINGH AND THE LION

During the times of Raja Ranjit Singh, there used to be chardi kala waalay Akali Singh jee. His name has not been recorded in history and for this reason we are going to refer to him as Akali Singh hereafter in this story.

Akali Singh jee was quite old and used to live in Lahore, the capital city of the Sikh kingdom. Raja Ranjit Singh held darbar at Lahore where all his government officials and public used to gather to run the day to day activities of the kingdom. The prime minister of the Sikh kingdom was a Hindu Dogra – Dhyaan Singh. Dhyaan Singh was from Jammu and had ulterior motives besides serving as the prime minister. It is very unfortunate that Raja Ranjit Singh placed non-Sikhs in important positions in his government. The only high ranking Sikh I can think of is Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa but after his shaheedi, basically there was no real Sikh in any high ranking position. The foreign minister and the internal affairs minister was Farid Azizudin, a Muslim. Other important ranks in Raja Ranjit Singh’s government were also held by Muslims and Hindus.

The Sikhs and particularly the Akalis, whose jathedar was Akali Phoola Singh jee, understood that it was very wrong to have non-Sikhs in such high positions but the only person who did not understand was Raja Ranjit Singh. Raja Ranjit Singh was not bad at heart and was quite intelligent too but I guess in this case his intelligence betrayed him.

The Akalis were very fearless and did not recognize anyone’s authority besides Guru Akal Purakh. They never recognized Raja Ranjit Singh as their king and always recognized only the government of Vaheguru. It is possible that deep inside Raja Ranjit Singh craved for the honour and respect that a king should get and since he could not get this from the Sikhs, who considered him to be his equal, he inclined towards the Dogra Hindus and Muslims who fulfilled his craving for the fake worldly honour.

During the Darbar proceedings, our Akali jee used to attend the darbar when ever he could. Whenever Raja Ranjit Singh came to the court, all used to get up but the Akali jee used to stay seated and say fateh while being seated. The Dogra prime minister did not like this and one day he questioned Akali jee in the darbar as to why he did not get up from his seat to honour him and Raja Ranjit Singh. At this Akali jee declared, roaring like a lion that he only recognized Sachi Sarkar (True Government, true authority) i.e. that of Akal Purakh. He further said that Ranjit Singh was Jhooti Sarkaar (Fake worldly authority) and as such he did not feel the need to get up and say fateh to him.

Raja Ranjit Singh had a big heart and he did not mind at all when Akali jee called him “Jhooti Sarkaar”. He humbly declared that indeed he was Jhooti (false) Sarkaar and that Akali jee was “Sachee Sarkaar”. The prime minister Dhyaan Singh got very upset when he heard Ranjit Singh bowing before Akali jee but he felt helpless and did not do anything further at that time. After that day, big-hearted Raja Ranjit Singh started calling Akali jee “Sachee Sarkaar”. On the othre hand, after this incident Dhyaan Singh started looking for an excuse to insult or hurt Akali jee. Akali jee in his natural way, continued his practice of critically analyzing the daily affairs of the government and did not hesitate to criticize Dhyaan Singh or anyone else for that matter. This made Dhyaan Singh more mad but he could not do anything about it.

One day, Raja Ranjit Singh and Dhyaan Singh made plans to go out for hunting. Dhyaan Singh contrived an evil plan and asked Akali jee too to come along with them. Akali jee did sense some ulterior motive behind Dhyaan Singh’s offer but nevertheless agreed to come along. Akali jee had mountain faith in Akal Purakh Vaheguru.

The whole party went to thick forest and they all were on horsebacks. As they came into thick forest in a very quite area, they heard the roar of a lion. Everyone stopped right there. Behind the bushes, they spotted a lion who stayed there and did not try to sneak away. Raja Ranjit Singh challenged his companions to move forward and fight the lion. The lion was a very fierce looking lion and no one answered his call. The Akali Singh stayed absorbed in baani and did not care what was going on around him.

When no one answered to the challenge of Raja Ranjit Singh, he himself decided to move forward to engage in a fight with the lion. Just as he was about to move, Dhyaan Singh mockingly said to Raja Ranjit Singh that why should he the jhooti sarkaar (false authority) move forward in the presence of the Sachee Sarkaar (True Authority) i.e. Akai jee. Raja Ranjit Singh just smiled and did not say anything. Dhyaan Singh had said this to get even with Akali jee and avenge previous insults he had endured by the truth-speaking Akali jee. He wanted Akali jee to feel embarrassed as he thought that Akali jee was too old to fight the lion and would have to say no. Dhyaan Singh wanted Akali jee to say no to fighting the lion and then he wanted to make fun of him then for rest of his life.

Akali jee was not an ordinary person. He was from the 1700s and had seen very tough times. He was a great fighter and on top of all this he used to do massive paath and Naam abhyaas. Akali jee accepted the challenge and said that Dhyaan Singh was right in pointing out that in the presence of Sachee Sarkaar (Akali jee), there was no need for jhooti sarkaar (Raja Ranjit Singh) to go forward. Saying this he jumped down the horse. When Raja Ranjit Singh saw him on the ground, he pleaded him to not go forward as he did not want him to get hurt. But Sachee Sarkaar did not yield and decided to move forward.

At this Raja Ranjit Singh asked him to at least be on horseback as he would be more safe then but Akali jee said that it would not be fair to lion if he stayed on the horseback and the lion was on the ground. Raja Ranjit Singh felt helpless and also felt a bit angry at Dhyaan Singh. He asked his soldiers to keep close eye on the fight and to intervene if Akali jee’s life was in danger.

Akali jee was on the ground now and started moving forward. Akali jee had a sword in his hand and he had done a double kamarkassa around his waist with his kambal (shawl). Akali jee thought of something and even dropped his sword saying that it was not fair for him to fight with a sword because the lion did not have any weapon. Raja Ranjit Singh was really worried but Akali jee did not care about anything.

Now Akali jee was without a sword but he took out his shawl from his waist. The lion too came forward after seeing Akali jee moving forward. Their eyes were now locked and they looked fearlessly into each other’s eyes. The lion and Akali jee were looking deep in each other’s eyes waiting for their opponent to make the move. They stayed like this for few moments. To each of them the time seemed like a long time. It seemed as if they were testing each other’s mental strength and fearlessness through eyes. This lion was a human-eating lion and it was imperative to kill this lion. Since this lion was a human-eater (aadam-khor) he did not try to hide or get away. He had no fear of humans as other animals do.

The lion could not wait any longer and jumped forward at Akali jee. Akali jee was just waiting for him to make the move. He was a huge person with very solid body. He was old but his strength had not left him. He possessed great fighting skills in hand to hand combat. As the lion jumped at him, he like a lightening moved aside and tied his shawl around the face of lion. The happened so fast that the lion too did not get any chance to think or do anything. Before the lion could realize what to do, Akali jee hit a massive blow on the lion’s back and hurt it bad. The lion just fell there and could not move. The lion just laid there helplessly and could not move any longer.

Akali jee came back to his horse after finishing his work. Raja Ranjit Singh and everyone present there were surprised at the skill of Akali jee. Akali jee had subdued the lion in a very short time and they all started praising Akali jee. Raja Ranjit Singh gave a bag full of gold to Akali jee as reward. Seeing the reward, Akali jee thundered saying that how could Sachee Sarkaar accept something from a Jhooti Sarkaar.

Akali jee said to Raja Ranjit Singh that it was his last fateh to him now. He said that he was going to spend the rest of his life in doing bhagti of Vaheguru. He warned Raja Ranjit Singh that he was surrounded with serpents like Dhyaan Singh who were going to rob the Sikhs of their kingdom one day. He asked Raja Ranjit Singh to see if he can ensure that the Sikh Raaj stayed for long. Saying this he left the bewildered Raja Ranjit Singh. The predictions of Akali jee came true and we all know that our raaj was destroyed by the evil Hindu Dograas. Akali jee was never seen by anyone again.

Daas,
Kulbir Singh