Shortly after Guru Gobind Singh left this earth, his Sikhs were being hunted. The fanatic religious rulers of the time determined to destroy all the Sikhs.  Many years went by and there were many wars. Sikhs became very small in number. The Moghul rulers made one rule: whoever doesn't convert to their religion, will be killed. One of these Moghuls name was Massa Ranghar, he took over Amritsar in 1740. Massa Ranghar turned Hari Mandir Sahib into a common hall for himself.

For many decades Hari Mandir Sahib ji had been used only for the Guru's purpose. Sikhs recite Gurbani there at all hours. The Sacred Word is so powerful there, a person's prayers are sure to come true. It is a lighthouse calling all souls to awaken. Now Massa Ranghar and his people drank alcohol there and smoked tobacco, things that cause souls to sleep. Sikhs had always used this holy temple to attach to Gurbani and see God as the only focus. Massa Ranghar had dancing women entice him and his lusty men, attaching only to animal instinct. Instead of an enlightening center where angels dwell, Hari Mandir now became a crude place for these spiritually blind invaders. A Khalsa named Bhai Mehtab had been traveling around India when he heard this news. Bhai Mehtab couldn't stand it when he heard this news. He told the people in the village, "Start an Akhand Poth, I will either die or bring back this rulers head by the time it is finished." And to Bhai Mehtab galloped on horse to Amritsar, with another son of Guru Gobind Singh named Sukha Singh.

When they got to Hari Mandir Sahib, they tied their horses on a tree right next to the gate of Hari Mandir Sahib. They crossed the bridge and found Massa Ranghar drunk with wine. He was smoking, listening to music and watching dancing girls. Bhai Mehtab said to him, "I have a gift for you in this bag, look inside." When this drunken invader leaned over to look in, Bhai Mehtab cut off his head, which fell in the bag. No one knew what to do as these two Singhs ran back to their horses. The rode back a great distance to where they left. Bhai Mehtab told the Sikhs there, "The Akhand Poth isn't yet finished, and I have his head here. This is how we get rid of those who dishonor Hari Mandir Sahib." Bhai Mehtab continued to be a defender of the hunted Sikhs. He was eventually captured. Even though all his bones were broken in torture, he never uttered a complaint. He chanted Wahiguru till his last breath. His soul easily merged on the other side.

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The Story of Bhai Mehtab Singh and the Golden Temple

Within a few years of Guru Gobind Singh's death, the Sikhs were being persecuted. They were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. They were each time given a choice by the Moghuls, either to abandon their Guru and to become Muslims, or to lose their life in horrible tortures. Many died giving their head but not their faith. The Moghuls had even taken over the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the most sacred Gurdwara of the Sikhs, the House of Guru Ram Das. They thought that in this way, they could break the spirit of the Khalsa. A very cruel and evil man named Massa Ranghar was put in charge of the Golden Temple. He was a great enemy of the Sikhs, determined to destroy them and their religion. He occupied the Golden Temple with his soldiers. He turned the walkway around the Holy Place into a stable for his men's horses. The Temple itself became a drinking hall. He and his men used to drink liquor and smoke there, and they had young women dance for them. This was a great insult to the House of the Guru.

The man who escaped from Amritsar traveled to tell the story to other Sikhs. One of those Sikhs, his name was Bhai Mehtab Singh, lived in Jaipur. When he heard of this, he said, "What?! You've heard of these terrible things and yet you live traveling around telling the news to others? Why did you not kill Massa Ranghar right there and then? Is there no Sikh left in Amritsar?" "No" replied the messenger, "There is no honorable Sikh there. They have all ran away to far away places, like you, to save their lives." Bhai Mehtab Singh was a strong and brave young Khalsa. He stood up at once and picked up his sword. He gathered the people of the village and said, "Start a Sri Akhand Paath, and I will be back with Massa Ranghar's head before it is finished. Or else, I will not come back." An Akhand Paath is a reading of the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhs begin reading the first page and do not stop until they have read the very last page. This takes several days to do, but it is a very beautiful and strong meditation. It protects all those who come near. The Words are very pleasing to God, and They make the people who hear and the people who sing Them, very graceful. And so the Sikhs in the village of Jaipur began to read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

     Bhai Mehtab Singh and his friend, Bhai Sukha Singh, jumped on their horses and galloped as fast as they could towards Amritsar. After riding long and hard, they arrived in Amritsar. They went straight to the Golden Temple. They went with such speed that no one stopped them. The Moghul soldiers could not believe that Sikhs would even come into Amritsar. The two Sikhs entered the walls of the temple, and when they arrived near the bridge, they tied their horses to a tree, and they walked across the bridge. They entered the Golden Temple. Massa Ranghar was seated, smoking a big rukab pipe. He was drunk for he had drank a lot of wine. His eyes were half closed and he was watching dancing girls and listening to their music. The two Sikhs could not believe it, and so Bhai Sukha Singh stood watch at the door and Bhai Mehtab Singh fell on Massa Ranghar like lightning from the sky. Raising his sword high, he cut off Massa's head and threw in a bag. Massa's men were very surprised. They ran around not knowing what to do. They were very afraid. Before they could do anything, Bhai Mehtab Singh and Bhai Sukha Singh ran out of the Temple, they ran down the bridge. They jumped on their horses and galloped away like the wind. They rode across the countryside, faster and faster they ran, bringing back the head of the enemy.

Finally, they arrived near the village. They jumped off their horses. Bhai Mehtab Singh took the Moghul's head and he stuck it on top of his lance. Then, he and his friend walked their horses into the village. Everyone saw them and was very joyful and surprised to see them alive. They saw the head of a man on top of the lance and realized that Bhai Mehtab Singh had succeeded in his mission. The Akhand Paath was not even yet finished. "Vaheguru jee ka khalsa, Vaheguru jee kee fateh!", said Bhai Mehtab Singh, "This is the way that those who dishonor the House of Guru die." Later on Bhai Mehtab Singh was made prisoner by the Moghuls. They tortured him and killed him, breaking every bone of his body on the wheel, but he calmly and joyful continued to chant, "Vaheguru, Vaheguru, Vaheguru.". Refusing to cry, refusing to beg, refusing to betray his Guru to save his life. And this is the way that true Sikhs of the Guru, the true Khalsa, live and die.

Vaheguru jee ka khalsa, Vaheguru jee kee fateh

Storyteller:  Guruliv Singh
Age ranges:  13 - 17, 18 and over