by Manvir Singh Khalsa

When Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji went to sacrifice himself for the freedom of the Hindu nation, in order to upkeep dharam, righteousness and justice, Guru Ji also had three other Sikhs who stayed with him and were martyred in front of Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji's own eyes.

One of these great men was called Bhai Mati Daas Ji.
The Qazi, the Muslim priest, asked Bhai Mati Daas:
"Accept Islam and you will receive all the happiness' and comforts of the world. We will give riches, as many wives as you wish and make you a courtier of the Mughal royal court."

Bhai Mati Daas replied: "And if I don't accept Islam then what will I face?"

"Then you will be faced with death! You will be sawn alive", said the Qazi.

Bhai Mati Daas said to the Qazi:
"O Qazi I have tasted all of the world's happiness' and comforts. My family are well off, I have a wife, children and parents. I am healthy and experienced all the world has to offer me…"
"…However I have not tasted the teeth of your beloved saw! I would rather taste the teeth of the executioner's saw than have all the comforts of the world."

The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the executioners to give a taste of the saw's teeth.
The executioners placed the saw on top of Bhai Mati Daas' head and sawed downwards up to the length of four fingers.

Blood was pouring from the head.
The hair was shining with bright red.
The face was smothered with the colour of blood.

"You have tasted the teeth of the saw. Now tell me if you wish to accept Islam and have all the comforts and riches of the world or face death", asks the Qazi.

Bhai Mati Das replies, "I would rather face death and take on the teeth of the saw than be engulfed in the pain and misery which the comforts of the world bring."

'Sir jaave ta jaave, par meri Sikhi sidq na jaave… if I have to die, so be it, but may my Sikh faith never go." [Sikh proverb]

The Qazi, executioners and the rest of the crowds were shocked at Bhai Mati Daas' decision.

The executioners ask, "What is your last request?"

Bhai Sahib says, "I don't have one but two requests! Firstly may my body be facing Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji, I never wish to turn my back to me Beloved Guru. Secondly I request you to execute me slowly. I wish to recite 'Jap Ji Sahib'. So do not saw my tongue off until I utter: 'jinni naam dhiaayiaa, gaye masakhat ghaal; naanak te mukh ujley kehtee chhutee naal.''

'Where the Holy people constantly vibrate on the Kirtan of the Praises of the Lord of the Universe, O Nanak - the Righteous Judge (Recorder of Karma) says, ""Do not approach that place, O Messenger of Death, or else neither you nor I shall escape [from God]!""' [Ang. 256]

The executioners were moved by this. "People usually ask us to hurry up the execution, so that they feel as little pain possible. We have never been requested to kill somebody slowly."

The saw was put on Bhai Mati Daas' head.
"Ek Oangkaar, Sat-naam, Karta Purkh, Nir-bhau, Nir-vair, Akaal Moorat, Ajooni, Sai-bhan, Gur-prasaad…"
Bhai Mati Daas shows no sign of distress and continues to recite Jap Ji Sahib. Eventually the body split into two pieces.

Bhai Mati Daas never gave up Sikhi or the support of Gurbani when challenged with death.
Bhai Mati Daas didn't merely utter Gurbani but, he lived Gurbani and put Guru Ji's Divine words into action.

Now we are not shadowed with the choice choosing between torturous deaths, conversion or keeping our Sikh faith.

Have we held on tight to the support of Jap Ji Sahib?
Have we held on to immortal spirit of Sikhi?
Have we held on to the Guru's gift of fearlessness and love?

'Remember those who laid their lives for our tomorrow.'
May Waheguru bless you.