Bibi Bhani (1535 - 1598)

Golden Temple and Akal Takhat Surrounded by Sarovar Amritsar
The Golden Temple and Akal Takhat are surrounded by Sarovar Amritsar excavated by Guru Raam Das on land gifted to his wife Bibi Bhani. Photo © [Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa]

Daughter of Guru Amar Das:

Bhani was the youngest daughter of Third Guru Amar Das and his wife Mansa Devi. Her parents became followers of Guru Angad several years before her birth. She had one older sister Dani, and two younger brothers, Mohan and Mohri. Amar Das served Guru Angad Dev selflessly carrying water daily from a nearby river. Guru Angad had Amar Das establish the town of Goindwal on the banks of the river where Bhani grew up.

Guru Angad appointed Bhani's father Amar Das to be his successor and third guru. Bhani showed great devotion to her father and Guru and served him faithfully all of his life.

Marriage:

Bhani's parents arranged her marriage with the orphan Jetha, a boy who showed an enterprising but selfless nature. Jetha joined the Guru's family and eventually wed Bhani when she was about 19. Jetha wrote wedding hymns for their marriage ceremony describing the spiritual union of the soul bride and the divine groom. After marriage, Jetha remained with Bhani's family and became part of the Guru's household even though it went against the prevailing tradition of a bride going to live with her groom's family. Jetha and Bhani continued to faithfully and humbly serve Guru Amar Das and his Sikhs.

Steadfast Nature:

One day while Bhani tended to her aging father's bath, he became absorbed in meditation. The stool on which he sat gave way.

Bani thrust her arm beneath it to hold in in place, and in doing so received an injury. Though blood flowed from her arm, she continued to support her father, the Guru. When he notice what had happened, Guru Amar Das, asked what boon he might grant her as a reward for her steadfast endurance. Bibi Bhani asked only that she and her heirs might ever continue to be in the service of the Sikhs and remain absorbed in the divine.

Wife of Guru Raam Daas:

Bibi Bhani's husband, Jetha, was very attached to the service of Guru Amar Das and helped him in all of his projects. One day the Guru asked Jetha and Bhani's brother-in law, Rama, to build several platforms by the river bank so that he could over see a well being dug. The Guru saw that the platforms could be improved and asked that they be torn down and rebuilt. This occurred several times. Rama abandoned the task. Jetha rebuilt his platform seven times begging the Guru's forgiveness and instruction. Guru Amar Das rewarded Jetha's perseverance appointing him as his successor and naming him Raam Das fourth Guru.

Bibi Bhani's Gift:

Bibi Bhani received a portion of land for a wedding present from the Emperor Akbar. Her husband, Jetha, purchased adjacent land. After he was appointed Guru Raam Das, her husband began excavation of a sarovar, or tank, on their land which would one day come to be known as Amritsar, the sacred pool surrounding Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib which is commonly called the Golden Temple. Amritsar is also the location of Akal Takhat the highest seat of religious authority in Sikhism.

Mother of Guru Arjun Dev:

Bhani had her husband Jetha had three sons, Prithi chand, Maha Dev and Arjun Dev.

Guru Raam Das appointed their youngest son Arjun Dev to succeed him as the fifth guru. Guru Arjun Dev was the first Guru of the Sikhs to be martyred. The entire line of Sikh gurus thereafter were Sodhis directly descended from Bibi Bhani.

Important Dates and Corresponding Events:

Dates correspond to the Nanakshahi calendar unless otherwise indicated as SV representing the ancient Vikram Samvat calendar.

  • Birth: Basarke Gillan near present day Amritsar – January 19, 1535 or Magh 21st day, 1591 SV.
  • Family:
    • Parents: Guru Amar Das and his wife Mansa Devi.
    • Siblings: sister Bibi Dani and brothers Mohan and Mohri.
  • Inauguration of Guru Amar Das: Khadur – April 16, 1552. Bhani's father becomes the third Guru.
  • Marriage: Goindwal – February 18, 1554. Bhani marries Jetha the future Guru Raam Das. Jetha is a Sodhi of the Khatri Clan, and the son of Hari Das Sodhi and his wife Anup Devi, aka Daya Kaur.
  • Children:
    • Prithi Chand (Goindwal – 1558 - April 1618)
    • Maha Dev (Goindwal – June 1, 1560 - 1605)
    • Arjun Dev (Goindwal – April 115, 1562)
  • Inauguration of Guru Ram Daas: Goindwal – September 16, 1574. Bibi Bhani's husband becomes the fourth Guru.
  • Inauguration of Guru Arjun Dev (Arjan Dev): Bibi Bhani's youngest son becomes the fifth Guru.
  • Death: Goindwal – April 9, 1598.