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The Love Dialogue Of Rana & Rani Bhabor (from SikhChic)


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The Love Dialogue of Rana & Rani Bhabor | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | The Love Dialogue of Rana & Rani Bhabor


As a young girl, I was always fascinated by the story of Rana Bhabor - this tough but wise, just king and his passionate Rani. It was especially their conversation on love that particularly stirred me.

I suppose all girls wear love-struck glasses.

However, their conversation remained with me. Perhaps because I could identify with the Rani's open and unapologetic affection and the basic truth of this couple's words. But mostly because, even in their conflicting opinions, spilling from their hearts through Bhai Vir Singh's passionate pen, there was such love - enduring, enticing, inspiring, living.

I'll attempt to share some of Bhai Sahib's love-magic with you through an extract from Rana Bhabor and his Rani's conversation.

The story of Rana Bhabor is set during the life of Guru Gobind Singh. It is part of Bhai Vir Singh's tome, Kalgidhar Chamatkar, but has also been published separately as a tract.

The Rana's hard exterior hid his compassionate nature.
His Rani was an ardent sikhni and it was always her explicit desire that she marry into a family that was devoted to the Guru.

She knew that the Rana respected Guru Sahib but she had hoped her husband could share the love she had for the Guru, that which flowed so abundantly through her heart. But the Rana's demeanour had never indicated that he had anything more than a distant regard for the Guru.

Initially, she was disappointed by her husband's reserve. However, the Rani was overjoyed when she stumbled upon her husband's secret - a hidden chamber in which was housed the Granth.

Love gets the better of her. She starts cleaning the chamber with her only means - her dupatta.

When she returns to her royal suite she remains silent of her discovery due to her deference for the Rana.

When the Rana next visits the hidden chamber, he finds some lace fashioned from the finest gold wires and some loose pearls, which he instantly recognizes are from the Rani's dupatta.

Later, when the Rana returns to his royal chambers, he finds the Rani completing the recitation of Sukhmani Sahib.

The two lines lingered in the air like perfume.

"The Saint's Words are most valuable, priceless are these gems!"

With the words still ringing in his ears, the Rana gently placed his offering of gold-lace and pearls in front of the Rani and said, "Those who are so careless with their jewels, how can they recite the words, "priceless are thse gems"?

Like thieves who had stolen from each other, they sat face to face.
But there was not a trace of shame or guilt in their embarrassment.

Instead renewed love and respect, and a beautiful, strange excitement fluttered in their hearts.

The Rani then replied, "Rubies and jewels are put in a box for safe-keeping only so that they can be worn every once in a while. If they never escape from the box, then why bother removing them from the mines? Why then the search of jewelers? Why then do buyers aspire to acquire them?"

Rana: But it is the box and its the lock that save the gems from thieves.

Rani: Even then, the keys are found in the hands of saints.

Rana: And it is these keys that one takes care of. Far more than the jewels.

Rani: The keeper of the key does not divulge its secret to anyone but their master and owner.

Rana: (acknowledging his wife's discretion) Thank you, my dearest. However, of what good is a kiln once its warmth has escaped?

Rani: All good things thrive in Light, my love. Have the sun and moon ever needed veils?

Rana: If seeds are not concealed and covered in earth's dark depths, how will they sprout? And how then will the tree grow and blossom?

Rani: But ripe fruits perish in darkness.

Rana: Think of the tiny grape which, when blossoming, seeks shelter within layers and layers of ripened fruit.

Rani: O, Raja, need the light hide?

Rana: The light hides in its intensity. The sun does not sport veils but who can look at it directly?

Rani: Then why conceal truth and goodness?

Rana: Because a lone raindrop of love seeks solitude. Laid exposed, it will not endure the gentlest gust of wind.

Rani: O, can the flame be controlled in wads of cotton wool or love contained in a heart?

Rana: But does one display one's love and sell it like wares?

Rani: This is true, my Rana! But which moth visits the flame wearing a veil or wrap?

Rana: When the moths come, they sacrifice themselves unto the flame. They die suffering terribly but without a murmur. Their love is veiled. Love is quiet.
Rani: Is love silent?

Rana: No. It is reserved and reticent.

Rani: When spoken, does it die? When seen, does it hurt?

Rana: Love does not require that you see or utter it.

Rani: The fire in a kiln that burns within itself - how is that possible?

Rana: No, my dear. The heat and light of a living body do not possess a flame or even a spark. You will not find in it smoke or the faintest glow, yet it burns, stoking the fire within to provide our body with warmth.

Warmth that sustains us. Warmth that nourishes us. Have you ever seen your body stoke its fires? But yes, it burns and protects our precious spark of life housed in it.

Rani: When the flame is ignited by Divinity, how can it endure the duality of burning within and glowing without?

Rana: The One within stays within and the outward glow manifests itself. The internal flame does not rip the curtain that lies between it and the external self while the evident, outward glow refines, repairs and adorns. One meets friends and folk out in the green lawns and bazaars but the meeting of lovers and love takes place within the privacy of the palace.

Rani: The Guru has said. "The radiance of my brow has revealed the presence of the jewel within."

Rana: You have not taken this jewel and glued it your forehead, my darling. The secret ruby gem is discovered within. You placed the gem in the custody of your fist; closed it tight. But the effect of the ruby was such that it indicated its presence on your brow. Yes, "My numerous efforts to contain this love-gem in my heart are in vain; it will not hide when hidden." That it cannot be concealed is its dharma, its intrinsic duty, its basic nature and its specialty. But what is the dharma of the one who discovers it? ... to make those numerous efforts to safeguard and conceal it in her heart.

Rani: True, this is the message of the Guru. But who should the sun hide from? How does love don a veil on her face even as a mark of modesty?

Rana: "Why boast of realizing Him? Those who do so, guard this secret."

Rani: Then what of me, Raja? When I saw the Guru, some divine thrill filled my every pore. Time came when my parents contemplated my marriage. I could not contain myself. I abandoned all modesty and told my mother, ‘The Guru is dear to me, please do not marry me into a household that disregards Him.' If I had hidden my love for the Guru, I may have been married to a be-mukh. But now, I am distressed. If the value of love is in concealing it, I have erred greatly.

Rana: On principle one should neither, ‘try and hide' or ‘attempt to display' divine love. The value lies in love itself and the devotion it inspires. To enjoy its unadulterated flavour, one must relish love and not search for anything else beyond it. Those who wear their love on their sleeves are beggarly gluttons for public applause; they seek praise for loving. And those that drive hard to hide it, actually hope that someone will discover their efforts and by this they will earn even more applause. So, both approaches bring us to the same point.

One should love, honor one's gift of love, know and realize its value. If he safeguards and conceals this precious commodity, he will be happy for it. I am helpless if love insists on revealing itself irrespective of my wishes. Those who are unmoved by public praise, let them flaunt their love; let them waltz merrily, with love in their arms through the streets - open and unguarded. Those that are unaffected by criticisms, let them do as they please. As for me, I prefer to conceal my love in my core. I appear to be comfortable with the fact that my love remains veiled and that this curtain should not drop or rip. Let this all-consuming love-spark do its bidding, so that my love-filled cries reach Guru ji. And that He would familiarize Himself with my heart and all its yearnings without me uttering as much as a word. These are my principles and in these values lie my personal betterment and benefit.


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