Bhagat Maalaa ~ Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal

On hearing Ajaamal call out the name of the Lord, the angels of death left. Ajaamal was saved and he was emancipated.

Introduction to the short stories

The short stories are a collection of stories taken from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Mala, which have been translated into simple English. The purpose of translating these stories is to provide understanding and the significance of these stories when reciting Gurbaani.

The Sikh Gurus and other Bhagats within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have made references to the various saints and disciples who existed at the time of the Hindu deities. By no means are these stories a form of praise or worship of the Hindu deities, but they are used as a reference to purely develop the meaning of Gurbaani.

The stories taken from Hindu mythology provide examples from the lives of the disciples and saints as parallels to understand the power and greatness of the One Lord, the righteous practise of faith and Dharma and how one is emancipated from sin and misfortune through meditating upon the Primal Lord.

~ Harjinder Singh Khalsa

The Story of Ajaamal

'Ajaamal Oudhriaa Keh Ek Baar.'
'Ajaamal uttered the Lord's Name once and was saved.'
(Guru Arjan Dev Ji; GGSJ: Ang 1192)

Ajaamal was a son of a Brahmin. His father was a very intelligent and religious man. When Ajaamal reached the age of five, his parents decided to send him to school. Ajaamal was also a very intelligent young boy and his teacher was pleased when a young child came in his presence with so much knowledge and intelligence. What his teacher had noticed that whatever Ajaamal learnt he would memorise it exactly. Ajaamal learnt the Vedas and the Sanskrit language off by heart. Just at the age of ten, Ajaamal excelled so much that he was educated to a level that would only be achieved after studying for twenty years. Many great educated men would come afar and pay their respects to Ajaamal.

One day, Ajaamal asked his teacher, how long he would need to remain a student for.

"Maybe another four years. That is when you shall master all four Vedas off by heart," his teacher responded.

"Well Guru Ji, can you tell me what I should do then?" Ajaamal asked.

Ajaamal's teacher looked at his face carefully and then responded, "Ajaamal, listen carefully. Whenever you come to me or when you return home, you should walk around the outskirts of the village town. Do not enter in the town and make your way to my class that way. You are still my student and I am concerned for your welfare. You should respect and accept what I have told you. If you do not then you will suffer great pain and distress. The one who listens to the words of their guru becomes peaceful because the guru carries a large amount of wisdom and wisdom of one's actions (karma)."

"Guru Ji, may I ask why you have stopped me from entering the village town?" Ajaamal asked.

His teacher remained silent for a moment and then he replied, "Just do not enter the village town, but walk around it."

Ajaamal accepted his guru's request. From this day, Ajaamal walked around the outskirts of the town. He never spoke to anyone on his travels; he did as his guru told him. As time went by, Ajaamal was near the end of his studies and his teacher could see that his student was going to be a well renowned and a very wise person when he is older.

Nonetheless, one day Ajaamal began to think to himself, "Guru Ji says to me to not enter the village, but to walk along the outskirts of it. Maybe if I go and see for myself what he is stopping me from then maybe these thoughts will go."

At the same time, his mind was also reminding him of what his guru warned him about, "You should respect and accept what I have told you. If you do not then you will suffer great pain and distress."

Ajaamal made his mind up and decided that he will go through the village town and see for himself. The very next day, Ajaamal made his way to school, however, he took the route that he was told not to go through. This village was a town of wealth, lust and worldly attachment. It was a place where beauty and lust both existed and attracted a lot of the youth. Along the way was a street known as the 'prostitutes den.' Here, many prostitutes would sit outside and attract young men and get them in their grasp. This is the type of environment that Ajaamal's teacher was trying to distract him from; he wished for Ajaamal to become a great man, who could control the five sins of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego.

On reaching his school, his teacher reminded Ajaamal, "Walk along the outskirts of the village town."

Ajaamal thanked his teacher and made his way into the village again. As he walked in the village town, he saw beautiful, attractive colours and beautiful ladies roaming around young men, touching them, speaking to them and taking them into their brothels. Ajaamal became intensified at the scene and felt content.

After some time, Ajaamal made his way home. On arriving home he did not feel like doing his homework and lay on his bed. His head began to spin and he fell asleep. He began to have lustful dreams of the women he saw at the brothels.

The morning came and Ajaamal went to school. Ajaamal's teacher looked at his eyes and said, "Ajaamal did you not sleep? Your eyes are red!"

"I did sleep Guru Ji."

"Why are your eyes so red then and why are you so dazed?"

"I don't know Guru Ji."

"You did go along the outskirts of the village didn't you and when you return you go the same way?" The teacher asked with some suspicion.

Ajaamal lied to his teacher and told him he accepted his wish and did as he was told.

During class, Ajaamal could not concentrate. His pure mind was now polluted and in front of his eyes all he could see were naked women from the village. As soon it was time to leave, Ajaamal returned to the brothels. This situation became increasingly difficult for Ajaamal and it became an ongoing thing. One prostitute, at a mere age of sixteen-seventeen grabbed Ajaamal's arm. She took him into her brothel and both of them indulged in sexual pleasures. Ajaamal returned home, he couldn't sleep and could not concentrate on his studies any longer.

Ajaamal had already committed two sins; the first one was disobeying his guru's instructions and the second one was lying to his guru. His feelings of lust became uncontrollable and he was becoming addicted to satisfying his sexual pleasures. His wisdom was lost and his mind was not allowing him to concentrate in class.

Ajaamal's teacher became increasingly worried and was suspicious that Ajaamal had not listened to his instructions. He decided that he will follow Ajaamal. He followed Ajaamal making his way into the village and saw that he entered a prostitute's brothel. The teacher returned and could not believe what he just saw.

The next day, Ajaamal came to class. His teacher said to him, "Ajaamal, go! You have completed your studies; I do not need to teach you any longer."

Ajaamal's teacher informed his father that it was wise to get Ajaamal married, as he will be distracted by disillusions and his current situation will worsen if he is not married.

A few days later, Ajaamal was married to a very beautiful woman. But Ajaamal's mind remained deceitful.

Although he was married, he continued to visit the brothels and consummate with the prostitutes there. His wife found out and she tried to stop Ajaamal from going to these brothels, but she failed to change his ways. The prostitutes polluted Ajaamal's mind with alcohol and feeding his mind with their deceitful words.

Some time later, Ajaamal's father passed away and he became the king of his father's kingdom. His responsibilities became greater, where he was now responsible for practising faith, righteousness, which he failed in already. He had all the wealth he desired. But Ajaamal could not detach himself from the brothels and committing adulterous acts. Having attended to a particular prostitute, he fell in love with her.

One day a Raja called upon Ajaamal. He said to Ajaamal, "There has been uproar within the villages that you have been visiting brothels. You have been taking part in sexual activity with a prostitute and have taken the drink of sin. Is this true?"

Ajaamal answered, "It is true. There is nothing false in what you have just said. I go to see a young prostitute and I have fallen in love with her."

"But you are a king-pundit, you are not meant to do such things. You have brought shame upon faith and righteousness."

Ajaamal: "I understand."

Raja: "Well if you understand then why on earth do you still go? How stupid are you?"

Ajaamal: "I don't know what to do. I love her and I cannot let her go. Her beauty has captured my mind."

The Raja was a wise man and wanting to save the status of the king-pundits, he went to the brothels. He said to Ajaamal, "If you are both committed to one another and you wish to be her husband then take her with you. If she stays here then people will not realise what you have done. From the beginning she was a prostitute and for as long as you live with her, she will always remain a prostitute.

Ajaamal responded to this, "I cannot bring her home nor can I let her go!"

Raja: "Is this your final decision?"

Ajaamal: "Yes, it is!"

Raja: "Think about it first"

Ajaamal: "I have already thought about it and I'm not going to change my mind."

"Look Ajaamal! From this day on you will no longer be the king-pundit. You have sinned; you have disobeyed your guru's instructions, you have lied to him, you have committed adultery, drank the sinful wine and you have stupidly committed sins. You do not have the right to keep such a status as a king-pundit; therefore you will be banished from this village and you have to live outside this town! You have all the wealth that your father had given you, you can use that to live but you are not permitted to set foot in this town again! Your lover will also be banished from this town. Now get out!"

Ajaamal did not care so as long as he was with his lover. The Raja's men threw Ajaamal out of the palace and out of the town. Ajaamal's wife was very hurt when she heard what had happened. There was nothing she could do to appeal against it.

Ajaamal and his wife left the town. They stayed in a small shanty town, where poor people lived. Night and day, both Ajaamal and his lover would consummate in sexual activities. They had four children, but their children looked like paupers. They had no proper clothing and no-one would help them out because the Raja had told people to not help Ajaamal, as he needs to learn the hard way.

Ajaamal was known as 'Paapi Ajaamal'. Their poverty became so bad that Ajaamal used to kill birds and eat them. They lost their belongings and their clothes became so tattered that they lived naked. Their health became increasingly terrible. Both Ajaamal and his wife's body became weak and they couldn't indulge in sexual activities as they used too. Before their health became weaker, they had their seventh son. He was named Naarayan.

Ajaamal's situation worsened and at this point they began to look back at the sins they committed. Ajaamal's lover began to think that she destroyed a high-caste Brahmin's son's life. From this she was known as a home wrecker. She thought if she asked for forgiveness from the Raja, then she would not have suffered so much. She sat outside her small, shabby hut and saw a sadhu walking by.

Sadhu (42K)This sadhu stopped by her hut to rest. She had nothing to give him to eat, as she was very poor. Ajaamal returned in the evening with all kinds of wild birds. He gave them to his wife to cook but she refused to do so. She told Ajaamal that if they changed their way of life then their karma will change. Due to the sins they have committed they are suffering. She said they should stop eating meat because a sadhu of Vishnu has come and it wouldn't seem right eating meat it in front of him. Ajaamal looked at her and said, ""What you are saying is right, but we need to eat. We have nothing else to eat but meat. He is a guest and if we do not feed him then we will be committing more sins."

His lover replied, "I understand, but we have to give him something to eat. I have some corns which have been roasted. We can all eat them."

Both Ajaamal and his lover gave the roasted corns to the sadhu and apologised to him because they had nothing else to offer him.

The sadhu spoke, "O Ajaamal, through our supernatural powers, we understand and know everything. You are a son of a Brahmin. You have been deceived by the fire of lust and have committed many sins. You have a son called Naarayan. This is the name of the Lord. Love and cherish this son. He will listen to you when call out 'Naarayan, Naarayan, Naarayan".

The sadhu left the following morning. Ajaamal would now ask or tell Naarayan to do something by calling his name. He would call out, "O dear son, Naarayan, come here Naarayan. Have your food Naarayan, drink your milk Naarayan."

On calling his son, Ajaamal felt happy and content. He felt some peace. Whatever he hunted he would now sell. With the money he would feed his family and clothe them. Ajaamal and his family's days seemed to get better.

Some time later, Ajaamal was on his deathbed. Ajaamal was suffering from a severe illness and he was in a great deal of pain. It is said that the angels of death came to take Ajaamal. He began to see the fiery hells, which he was going to be taken to. As the angels of death began to draw closer to Ajaamal, he cried out aloud and called his son, "Naarayan! Naarayan come to me please."

On hearing Ajaamal call out the name of the Lord, the angels of death left. Ajaamal was saved and he was emancipated. There was lightness, drums beat and conch shells were blown. As Ajaamal made his way to the Lord, flowers were thrown upon Ajaamal. Ajaamal entered the heavens.

'Ajaamal Preet Puthr Prath Keenee Kar Naarayan Boulaarae.'
'Ajaamal loved his son and he called out his name'
'Mere Takhur Ke Man Bhaavnee Jamkankar Maar Bidharae.'
'His loving devotion pleased my Lord Master, who struck down and drove
the Messengers of Death away.'
(Guru Ram Das Ji; GGSJ: Ang 981)

Below is the story of Bhagat Ajaamal as written by Bhai Gurdas Ji. Vaar 10, Pauri 20

੨੦ : ਅਜਾਮਲ

ਪਤਿਤ ਅਜਾਮਲੁ ਪਾਪ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਇ ਕਲਾਵਤਣੀ ਦੇ ਰਹਿਆ।

Patitu Ajaamal Paapu Kari Jaai Kalaavatanee Day Rahiaa.

पतितु अजामल पापु करि जाइ कलावतणी दे रहिआ ।

Ajamil, the fallen sinner lived with a prostitute.

ਗੁਰੁ ਤੇ ਬੇਮੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦਹਿਆ।

Guru Tay Baymoukhu Hoi Kai Paap Kamaavai Duramati Dahiaa.

गुरु ते बेमुखु होइ कै पाप कमावै दुरमति दहिआ ।

He became an apostate. He was entangled in the cobweb of evil deeds.

ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਅਨੁ ਭਵਜਲ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫਿਰਦਾ ਵਹਿਆ।

Biradaa Janamu Gavaaiaa Bhavajal Andari Dhiradaa Vahiaa.

बिरथा जनमु गवाइआ भवजल अंदरि फिरदा वहिआ ।

His life was wasted in futile deeds and was tossed and thrown within the terrifying worldly ocean.

ਛਿਅ ਪੁਤ ਜਾਏ ਵੇਸੁਆ ਪਾਪਾਂ ਦੇ ਫਲ ਇਛੇ ਲਹਿਆ।

Chhia Pout Jaaay Vaysuaa Paapaa Day Phal Ichhay Lahiaa.

छिअ पुत जाए वेसुआ पापा दे फल इछे लहिआ ।

While with the prostitute, he became the father of six sons. As a result of her bad deeds they all became dangerous robbers.

ਪੁਤੁ ਉਪੰਨਾਂ ਸਤਵਾਂ ਨਾਉ ਧਰਣ ਨੋ ਚਿਤਿ ਉਮਹਿਆ।

Poutu Oupannaan Satavaan Naau Dharan No Chiti Oumahiaa.

पुतु उपंनां सतवां नाउ धरण नो चिति उमहिआ ।

A seventh son was born and he began to consider a name for the child.

ਗੁਰੂ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਜਾਇ ਕੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਉ ਨਰਾਇਣੁ ਕਹਿਆ।

Guroo Duaarai Jaai Kai Guramoukhi Naau Naraainu Kahiaa.

गुरू दुआरै जाइ कै गुरमुखि नाउ नराइणु कहिआ ।

He visited the Guru who named his son Narayan (a name for God).

ਅੰਤਕਾਲ ਜਮਦੂਤ ਵੇਖਿ ਪੁਤ ਨਰਾਇਣੁ ਬੋਲੈ ਛਹਿਆ।

Antakaal Jamadoot Vaykhi Pout Naraainu Bolai Chhahiaa.

अंतकाल जमदूत वेखि पुत नराइणु बोलै छहिआ ।

At the end of his life, seeing the messengers of death Ajamil cried for Narayan.

ਜਮਗਣ ਮਾਰੇ ਹਰਿ ਜਨਾਂ ਗਇਆ ਸੁਰਗ ਜਮੁਡੰਡੁ ਨ ਸਹਿਆ।

Jamagan Maaray Hari Janaan Gaiaa Surag Jamu Dandu N Sahiaa.

जमगण मारे हरि जनां गइआ सुरग जमु डंडु न सहिआ ।

The name of God made the death messengers take to their heels. Ajamil went to heaven and did not suffer the beatings from the club of the messengers of death.

ਨਾਇ ਲਏ ਦੁਖੁ ਡੇਰਾ ਢਹਿਆ ॥੨੦॥

Naai Laay Doukhu Dayraa Ddhahiaa ॥20॥

नाइ लए दुखु डेरा ढहिआ ॥२०॥

Utterance of Name of the Lord dispels all sorrow.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Authors who mention Bhagat Ajaamal in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:
Bhagat Naam Dev Ji, Ang 345, 874
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, Ang 632, 830, 901, 1008
Bhagat Kabeer Ji, Ang 692
Guru Raam Daas Ji, Ang 981, 995
Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Ang 999, 1192
Bhagat Ravidass Ji, Ang 1124

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Read the other stories in this Bhagat Maalaa series: 

Part I: Raja Ambrik
Part II: Bhagat Angra ji and Bhagat Bidar

Part III: Sri Dhru Bhagat & Sri Prahladh Bhagat ji

Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal

Harjinder Singh Khalsa

I have translated the stories from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maala into English & have worked on a number of other articles exploring Gurbaani, Sikh history and the Sikh Gurus. My mission is to spread and share the Divine Universal message contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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