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Balvand Rai

Balvand Rai
Detail of a rababi (possibly Bhai Balvand Rai) from a painting of Guru Arjan (the fifth Sikh Guru) listening to music, from a series of painting of the first nine Sikh gurus, circa 1800–1840
Personal
Born
Balvand Doom
Died
Lahore, Punjab
ReligionSikhism
Known for
RelativesSatta Doom (brother)

Balvand Rai (fl. late 16th to early 17th century) also spelt as Balwand and Rai Balvand,[1] was a poet mystic and rabab player in the court of Guru Arjan.[2][3]

Biography

He was born a Muslim belonging to the Doom-Mirasi community who embraced Sikh thought during the time of Guru Arjan.[3][4] Alternative sources describe him as being born into a Bhatt family.[5] He had a brother named Satta Doom.[3] Other sources do not ascribe a brotherly blood relation between Balvand Rai and Satta Doom.[5] Another narrative is that he began playing hymns for the Sikh guru's congregation during the guruship of Guru Angad, a relationship with Sikhs that would continue up til the guruship of Guru Arjan.[3][1] His three hymns are included in Guru Granth Sahib in Ramkali measure at Amritsar.[3] According to Sikh lore, him and his brother, Satta, became too arrogant and abandoned the guru after a disagreement over funds they requested from the Sikhs.[3][1] Eventually, they would return to serving the Sikh guru after falling ill and realizing their errors, where they were pardoned for their earlier transgressions.[3] He co-composed this Ballad of Ramkali with his brother, Bhai Satta Doom, whom was a drummer (player of the jori),[6] which includes a total of six hymns.[7][1] They were motivated to compose these hymns as a means of apology for leaving the service of the guru.[8] The compositions he co-composed with his brother Satta can be found on pages 966–968 of the Guru Granth Sahib under the title of Ramkali ki Vaar Rai Balwand tatta Satte doom akhi.[8][1] The Sikh guru was greatly impressed by the work and conduct of Balvand, therefore he gave the title of "Rai", which is usually reserved for Brahmin scholars alone.[8] He is said to have died in Lahore during the time of Guru Hargobind (1595–1644) and was buried on the bank of the River Ravi.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Fenech, Louis E.; McLeod, William H. (2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series (3rd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-4422-3601-1. BALVAND AND SATTA. Rai Balvand and Satta the Dum were two rabab players who, according to tradition, sang kirtan for Guru Angad. After some years they became increasingly insubordinate and left the Guru's service. When they lost popularity, they were humbled. To signal their contrition they wrote the first five stanzas of Tikke di Var, composing the remaining three stanzas in the time of Guru Arjan.
  2. ^ The Sikh Encyclopedia Archived 19 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine: Satta Dum
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Singh, Harbans (2002). The Encyclopedia of Sikhism (4th ed.). Punjabi University, Patiala. pp. 269–70.
  4. ^ Dilagīra, Harajindara Siṅgha (1997). The Sikh Reference Book. Sikh Educational Trust for Sikh University Centre, Denmark. p. 285. ISBN 9780969596424.
  5. ^ a b Datta, Amaresh (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo, Volume 1. Sahitya Akademi. p. 79. ISBN 9788126018031.
  6. ^ Nayar, Kamala Elizabeth; Sandhu, Jaswinder Singh (2020). "Notes". The Sikh View on Happiness: Guru Arjan’s Sukhmani. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 219. ISBN 9781350139893. Bhai Rai Balwand was a Muslim rebab musician and Satta was a Muslim drummer during the time of Guru Angad up to the time of Guru Arjan; they both sang gurbani-kirtan and composed a Ramkali var that was included in the Guru Granth Sahib (pp. 966-8).
  7. ^ srigranth.org: Page 966, Hymn of Satta and Rai Balvand
  8. ^ a b c Chauhan, G. S. (2006). Bani of Bhagats (1st ed.). New Delhi: Hemkunt Publishers. pp. 137–39. ISBN 9788170103561.


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