After the shaheedi of Bhai Mani Singh jee, Panth gave the responsibility of granthi of Siri Harmandir Sahib to a great gursikh of that time Bhai Chanchal Singh. Bhai Chanchal Singh was the perfect embodiment of Gurmat. There are many stories related to his great moral and spiritual character but here we are going to list couple of them, for the benefit of cybersangat.
Before becoming the head granthi of Siri Harmandir Sahib, Bhai Chanchal Singh jee was known for his strictness on following Gurmat. He was an accomplished warrior and participated in numerous battles along with the Singhs of that time. Another great quality that he possessed was hakeemi i.e medical knowledge. His hands contained such divine grace (shafa) that whoever took medicine from him became free of diseases. It was known that if Bhai Chanchal Singh treated someones wounds, they healed very fast.
History stands witness to the fact that Bhai Sahib used to recite Siri Sukhmani Sahib all the time. He used to do chaur of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee all day long, and kept doing paath along with it. His life was totally devoted to Guru Sahib. His eyes stayed teary while he recited Siri Sukhmani Sahib and doing chaur on Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee.
CHALLENGING THE SODHI AND BEDI PRINCES
In those days, the Sodhis and Bedis (belonging to the birth-caste of Guru Sahib) were widely revered by Sikhs because of their background. These Sodhis and Bedis widely abused the respect given to them. They considered it their right on any offerings made to Gurdwaras. Some of the Sodhis were very greedy and their avaricious acts greatly hurt the Sikh sentiments. Khalsa at that time was busy defending itself from the oppressors like Pathaan, and Mughals, and could not pay too much attention to the wrong happenings at Gurdwaras.
Once a rich Gursikh from Kabul, presented a very beautiful chandoya (chaananee that is hung on top roof of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee) at Siri Harmandir Sahib. The chandoya was extremely beautiful and befitting to be hung on roof on top of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee. Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh jee was very pleased to see the new Chandoya and immediately had it hung at Siri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar Sahib.
Incidently, a Sodhi prince arrived at Harmandir Sahib and noticed the beautiful Chandoya hanging inside Darbar Sahib. He got tempted to take it away and sell it to a king and get a fortune in return. He asked one of his men, who were accompanying him, to get the chandoya. His servant, a Sikh himself, was hesitant in getting the chandoya as he too thought that such beautiful chandoya deserved only to be at Darbar Sahib but muted out of fear for his master.
While he hesitated, the Sodhi prince, ordered him in front of Bhai Chanchal Singh and other sangat to immediately remove the chandoya. He said that it was their (of Sodhis) birth right to have anything offered at the Sikh Gurdwaras and that Khalsa had given them right to do so.
Bhai Chanchal Singh jee was not an ordinary gursikh and was a player of high spiritual states. First he was going to say something but then thinking something he just closed his eyes. He kept quiet and was in some different spiritual rang (colour) that day. As the servant removed the chandoya, tears dropped from Bhai Chanchal Singh jees eyes. These were such tears that must have brought storms and tempests in the unseen world. These storms were soon going to manifest in the seen world. But alas, the Sodhi prince blinded by ignorance did not realise what a big mistake he was committing.
Even after witnessing the condition of Bhai Sahib, the Sodhi prince did not falter in his resolution to get the chandoya and eventually brought the chandoya home. His servant could not hide his sentiments and expressed his reservations at this infernal act. He mentioned to the Sodhi prince, how Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh was a very chardi kala waala Singh and how he had tears in his eyes at their act. The Sodhi instead of realizing his mistake spoke ill of Bhai Sahib. The Sodhi was too much in haume (ego) to accept his
Anyway, as he opened up the chandoya, at his home, to examine the beauty of it, he felt sudden severe pain in his stomach. So great was the pain that he fell on the ground and starting wailing out for help. The servant gave him water and tried different things but things only got worse for the Sodhi prince.
One of his truthful servants chided his master and told him that he was being punished by Guru Sahib for acting so greedily and for disregarding sanctity of Siri Harmandir Sahib and sangat present there. The Sodhi, whose ego had now clawed back to a much tolerable level realized his mistake. He asked his servant to go in haste and beg Bhai Chanchal Singh for forgiveness.
When the Sodhis men reached Darbar Sahib, they found Bhai Chanchal Singh in same position as they had left him. He was doing chaur, his eyes were closed and shedding tears, his head was upwards, and his chola drenched in his own sweat. The rest of the sangat too was in shock and many were extremely upset at the autocratic act of the Sodhi prince. The servants were very apprehensive of disturbing him but somehow found audacity to inform Bhai Sahib of their master's pitiful condition. They entreated before him and begged for forgiveness.
At this point Bhai Sahib addressed them in full Bir Rass, Go tell your Sodhi princes that the kind of shameful behaviour they are displaying is not acceptable to Guru Sahib. Their shocking disregard for Guru Sahib and sangat was an unpardonable sin that will make their lok-parlok (this world and the next world) miserable. Tell your Sodhi prince to tie the Chandoya just as he removed it from Darbar Sahib. Only then he will be pardoned for his diabolical act.
The Sodhi prince's pain now knew no bounds. He came pleading to the darbar of Guru Sahib implored for forgiveness for his sin and returned the chandoya with full respect. From that day the practice of taking away offerings at Gurdwaras by Sodhis and Bedis totally stopped.
ENCOUNTER WITH BABA SAHIB SINGH BEDI
Baba Sahib Singh Bedi was the most revered Sodhi/Bedi prince of his times. All Sikh sardars and even Raja Ranjit Singh used to bow before him. Out of respect many ill-informed, uneducated and ignorant Sikhs even started addressing him as "Guru jee". Baba Sahib Singh too did not object to this title, as history stands witness to it. With so many people giving him undue respect and and performing silly acts like bowing before him, he got very egoistic. He really started considering himself as the real Guru.
Having this silly thought of being the true Guru, Bedi reached Amritsar Sahib and thought of establishing a parallel gaddi in Siri Harmandir Sahib. When Bedi reached Siri Harmandir Sahib, Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh jee as usual was doing chaur sewa of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee. Bedi had a large following along with him, which numbered many hundreds of followers. As he reached Harmandir Sahib, his disciples established a manji to the west of Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee.
Just as Sahib Singh Bedi was about to get seated on this newly established manji (throne), Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh who was doing chaur, stopped doing chaur and like a lion roared at the Bedi prince, Listen up Bedi! If you dare to establish your gaddi, parallel to Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee, in Siri Harmandir Sahib, then my hand will reach my sword. My sword will surely fix you up. You cannot do such a deplorable act as long as even one Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh jee is alive.
Baba Sahib Singh Bedi was not expecting any resistance from anyone because no one had dared talk like this to him before. Even kings bowed before him. He was totally taken aback by the daring and audacious act of Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh. He had already heard about the spiritual power of Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh and had heard of the incident of the Sodhi prince who had taken away the Chandoya of Siri Harmandir Sahib. Baba Sahib Singh Bedi soon realised that he too could meet similar fate. He immediately changed his act and with a sheepish smile bowed out of the despicable act he was going to perform.
Today we need such preachers and granthis who have jeevan like Bhai Sahib Chanchal Singh jee. The reputation of our granthis in panth has suffered a lot in the twentieth century. We need to restore this reputation.