Question: – Can you please tell me about Bibi Punjab Kaur, Baba Ram Rai’s wife? What relations do they have to the different ‘Sampardaas’ ?
(Question by Kulpreet Singh Ji of Canada).
Answer : – Punjab Kaur was one of the four wives of Ram Rai. When Ram Rai died in Dehradoon, Punjab Kaur sent a message to Guru Gobind Singh Ji and invited him to attend the ‘Bhog’ ceremony of Ram Rai. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was in Sri Paonta Sahib at that time.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji went to Dehradoon along with Bhai Dya Ram Ji Purohit and other Sikhs. There was some controversy over issue of succession of the ‘Dera’ of Ram Rai. There were two groups of followers of Ram Rai. First and the biggest group wanted Punjab Kaur to be the next ‘Mahant’ of the Ram Rai’s ‘Gaddi’.
Second group was led by Gurbaksh Rai Masand. Gurbaksh Rai Masand wanted to be the ‘Mahant’ by himself. Other wives of Ram Rai wanted Punjab Kaur to be the ‘Mahant’ of the ‘Dera’. It was her right as well. Ram Rai did not appoint anyone his successor. Guru Gobind Singh Ji supported her right and appointed her the chief of the ‘Dera’ of Ram Rai.
Bhai Daya Ram Ji performed the religious ceremony to appoint her the chief of the ‘Dera’. Here, it should be understood clearly that she was appointed the ‘chief’ of the ‘Dera’. She was NOT appointed the ‘Guru’.
The rival group was punished by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Later, Gurbaksh Rai Masand went to the King Fateh Shah and made a complaint against Guru Gobind Singh Ji. After the battle of Sri Bhangaanee Sahib, King Fateh Shah summoned Punjab Kaur to his court. Punjab Kaur appeared in his court and cleared her point. The dispute was settled down there. The followers of Ram Rai were, finally, divided into two parts. One was led by Punjab Kaur and other was led by Gurbaksh Rai Masand. Punjab Kaur remained in Dehradoon, where the ‘Dehra’ of Ram Rai still exists. Gurbaksh Rai Masand established his own ‘Dera’ in Sri Nagar (Garhvaal). Punjab Kaur started to recite the ‘Ardaas’ (prayer), as told by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Thus, she was recognized by Guru Ji.
Punjab Kaur died in Dehradoon, where her ‘Samaadhi’ exists. After Punjab Kaur’s death, ‘Udasis’ of Baalu Hasna’s sampardaa took control of the Dehra. After that, the chiefs of the ‘Dehra’ were appointed from Baalu Hasna’s Sampardaa. The answer to the second part of your question is not an easy one. As far their relation to the Udasis is concerned, we can say that they originally belong to Udasis of Baalu Hasna’s Sampardaa. But, this cannot be said about other Sikh Sampardaas. We know that a Sikh is not allowed to have any relation to Ramrai’s followers, according to the ‘Sikh Rahat Maryada’. Our old texts also say that Ramrai’s followers are discarded.