(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Bibi Tulsan is an ignored character of the Guru History. We have not enough information about her.
Bibi Tulsaan was a maidservant of Bibi Nanaki Ji, the only sister of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Tulsaan got the opportunity to serve the Guru in Sultanpur Lodhi, a city in Punjab. In his book ‘Twaareekh Guru Khalsa’, Giani Gian Singh writes that Bibi Tulsaan was present along with midwife Bibi Daultaan, when Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born, but it cannot be verified. In Bhai Santokh Singh’s book ‘Sri Gur Nanak Prakash’, Bibi Tulsaan calls Bibi Nanak Ji using the word of ‘Badhu’ (daughter-in-law), which proves that Bibi Tulsaan was originally belonged to the city of Sultanpur Lodhi, that is why she used to use word ‘Badhu’ for Bibi Nanaki Ji.
If we accept that Bhai Santokh Singh Ji wrote the word ‘Badhu’ by mistake, then it is possible that Bibi Tulsaan was originally a resident of village ‘Talwandi’ (Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s village) and she went to Sultanpur after the marriage of Bibi Nanaki Ji. It was very common in rich families that servant would go to girl’s in-laws to stay with her forever. In those days, marriages were performed in young age. It was common to send any reilable servant with her, so that she could not feel strangeness in her in-laws. If Bibi Tulsaan was originally a resident of village Talwandi, possiblly she was sent to Sultanpur Lodhi after marriage of Bibi Nanaki Ji. Bibi Tulsaan Ji got the ‘Brahm-Giyaan’ (the realisation of the God) in village ‘Talwandi.
The luck of Bibi Tulsaan started to shine, when Guru Nanak Dev Ji started to work in the ‘Modikhana’ in the city of Sultanpur Lodhi. Guru Ji lived in the house of his sister, Bibi Nanaki Ji, for a long time. During this time, Bibi Tulsaan Ji got the opportunity to see Guru Ji daily. Even when Guru Ji started to live saprate alongwith his family, Bibi Tulsaan Ji used to get chance to have ‘Darshan’ of Guru Ji repeatedly.
According to the book ‘Bansaavali-naama Dasaan Paatshaahiyaan Ka’, written by Kesar Singh Chibbar, Guru Ji went to Sultanpur in the age of 14. According to this, we can say that Guru Ji went there in Samvat 1540 Bikrami. According to ‘Bansaavali-naama Dasaan Paatshaahiyaan Ka’, the second son of Guru Ji, Sri Lakhmi Chand Ji, was born in Samvat 1553 Bikrami. We know that Guru Ji started his journeys (Udaasis) from Sultanpur Lodhi, after the birth of his second son. From this, we reach on conclusion easily that Guru Ji lived in Sultanpur approximately for 13-14 years. It is a long time. Bibi Tulsaan Ji enjoyed the company of Guru Ji during this long period.
As said earlier, we have not enough information about Bibi Tulsaan Ji. We find few lines about her in ‘Sri Gur Nanak Prakash’, written by Bhai Santokh Singh. Giani Gian Singh has written that she was present when Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born. ‘Sardar Bahadur’ Kahan Singh Nabha has mentioned her name in his big book ‘Mahaan Kosh’. Most of the writers just avoided writing about her.
Whenever Bibi Nanaki Ji wanted to call Guru Nanak Dev Ji, it was Bibi Tulsaan Ji, who would go to Guru Ji to convey the message of Bibi Nanaki Ji. For example, when some people said to Bhaiya Jai Ram Ji that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was wasting the money of Nawab Daulat Khan on the poor, Bibi Nanaki Ji sent Bibi Tulsaan Ji to call Guru Ji.
Bibi Tulsaan Ji was an eyewitness of many important happenings in Guru Ji’s life. For example, she was there, when the accounts of ‘Modi-khana’ was checked. She was also present, when Guru Ji started his ‘Udasis’ (religious journeys).
Once, Guru Ji was sleeping in his house in his native village ‘Talwandi’ (now Sri Nanakaana Sahib Ji, Pakistan). Mother of Guru Ji, Mother Tripta Ji, prepare food for him and asked Bibi Tulsaan Ji, “Wake my son up. Ask him to have his food”.
Bibi Tulsaan Ji went inside, where Guru Ji was sleeping on his bed. His foot was out of cloth. Bibi Tulsaan Ji kissed the holy feet of her Guru Ji. As soon as she kissed the holy foot, she got the conscious of the three worlds.
Through this conscious, she saw that the ship of Bhai Mansukh Ji, a resident of city of Lahore, was in deep Ocean. There was some problem. He prayed before Guru Ji, “O True Guru, always helpful to the poor, please help me immediately”.
The omniscient Guru Ji heard his appeal and reached there immediately. Guru Ji helped him and his ship was saved.
Bibi Tulsaan Ji could see all this with the help of the consciousness of the three worlds she got after kissing the holy foot of Guru Ji.
She did not wake Guru Ji up and went back to Mother Tripta Ji. She said to the mother, “I have not woken him up. He is saving his Sikh’s ship. When he saves it, I will wake him up”.
Mother Tripta Ji thought that Bibi Tulsaan Ji was just joking, so she woke her son up herself and said, “Listen my son, Tulsaan was joking to me. She told that you were saving someone’s ship”.
Guru Ji said, “Do not believe this mad”.
As soon as Guru Ji uttered these words, Bibi Tulsaan Ji became silent forever. People thought that she got mad. In fact, she started to enjoy the cheerfulness of ‘Brahm-Giyaan’ (the realization of the God). By the Grace of the Guru, she got the salvation.
Sources: ‘Sri Gur Nanak Prakash’, ‘Twaareekh Guru Khalsa’, ‘Puratan Janamsakhi’, ‘Mahan Kosh’.