Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Pipal Tree Prophesy

This is a story of Guru Gobind Singh which happened in the year 1704 and was recorded in 1714 or 1715 in a small book called Sakhi Pothi written by a Udasee Sikh. Not much is known about the writer. The Sakhi Pothi records Guru Gobind Singh's travels. Attar Singh translated the manuscript, "Sakhi Pothi" and presented it to Queen Victoria when he was invited to a ceremony to solemnise her sovereignty over Punjab.

When she read the story, two paragraphs caught her attention. The story goes like this:

Guru Gobind Singh was travelling through a district of East Punjab. His next stop was a village, Soheva, where he camped for a night. Beside Guru Gobind Singh's tent was a large Jand tree. He told a Sikh to climb up the tree and look for a Pipal (Brahminic Fig) sapling within the Jand tree. He found it in the cleft of the Jand tree.

Guru Gobind Singh said, "This Pipal tree will grow into a large tree, though it does not grow in desert areas. It will grow as big as the Jand tree itself. It will spread over the whole tree. This is the time when my Khalsa will spread into the four corners of the world and the sovereignty of Delhi will the first prize which will fall into their laps. When the Pipal tree will spread over the Jand tree, then the spirit of the order of the Khalsa, which I have enshrined under the command of God Almighty shall start to work to set up a world-society, which will last for five thousand years. That divine society will enjoy peace and affluence."

Queen Victoria on reading this, knowing there was something mystical behind the invincibility of the Sikh soldiers wrote to the Governor-General at Calcutta, "Please go and find out the village Soheva, and see if there is a Pipal tree growing in a Jand tree. Please report the size of Pipal and Jand tree." The reply came in two or three months, "Yes, it is there. It is about four and half yards and the Jand tree is such a height.

Then she referred the matter to the Royal Botanical Professor, who informed her, "Your Majesty, the Pipal trees grows very slowly and it will take the Pipal saplings at least one hundred years to grow to the height." Her Majesty's mind was at rest and she slept without any mental disturbance that night because as far as she is concerned, one hundred years of uninterrupted British rule in India, guaranteed by the slow rate of growth of Pipal tree.

Note: Soheva is a village in the old Bikaner state, which is now part of Rajasthan. Its Tehsil is Rini and district is Churu. It is situated at 25 kos from Rajgarh station and 30 kos from Sirsa. The people often called it "Saha".

The late Kapur Singh writes:
During those days I was a British Officer in one of the districts of the Punjab - about sixty miles from Soheva. I was aware of this story and the official report sent from India in 1858. In 1942 I made arrangements to travel on horseback to see this tree. It was about two and half yards lower than the highrest pinnacle of the Jand tree.

Since 1942 I have not been there, but now I am told that the Sikhs who were expelled from Pakistan areas have settled in those arid areas and have raised in that place a magnificent Gurdwara. The late Kapur Singh passed away in 1986.

A student of folklore who visited the place in August 1990 writes:
I stayed there for two nights. It is very difficult to see any visible Jand in the outgrown Pipal tree. During my discussion with the sadhu, I found a number of interesting things. He told me, "There still exists a small branch of JAnd about nine inches in size. It will be eaten up by the Pipal tree by the turn of the century.

Extracted and adapted from Sikh Predictions by Surindar Singh Kohli