Sri Hemkunt Sahib


There is a place high in the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas that was hidden from sight for eons. For thousands of years this place has remained unknown to humans, a place of utter beauty and peaceful serenity. Here a natural lake lies on a plateau at a height of 15,000 feet surrounded by seven white clad peaks. To the Sikhs this place is known a Hemkunt Sahib.

Hemkunt Sahib is associated with the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, but what distinguishes it from other historical sites to the great Guru is that it is linked to Guru Sahib Ji’s previous incarnation as the mighty warrior Dusht Daman. Guru Sahib Ji mentions this place in his composition Bachittar Natak. But it was not until the twentieth century after many long years of searching that Hemkunt Sahib was finally discovered.Before this site was discovered by the Sikhs it was known locally as Lokpal, which translates to ‘protector of the world’. It was a place of worship and pilgrimage by the local population, a place linked to the hindu trinity of the creator – Brahma, the sustainer – Vishnu, and the destroyer – Shiv Ji. The Vedas and Purana text of ancient India mention the Himalayas as the abode of the gods and goddesses, the locals tell tales of Lakshman, Vishu and Hanuman.

The deity Lakshman who was mortally wounded in battle against the demons, was brought to the shores of the lake by his wife. She prayed to Hanuman the monkey god to save his life. Hanuman heard her prayers and found the life giving herb called Sanjivani Bhutti, this was given to Lakshman and he was revived. The gods were overjoyed and went to Lord Bramha to give thanks, seek his blessing and to protect them from the demons who ravaged the world. Lord Brahma told them that only Nanak the saviour of the universe can assist them in his tenth incarnation, that he will destroy evil and tyranny and will become the protector of the holy people. Lord Brahma recounts the following tale.

Dusht Daman  

During the age of truth – Sat Yuga, gods and mortals will face the tyranny of the fierce demons known as Dhents. The gods will call upon Durga Devi to assist them and she will do battle against the dhents. The onslaught will be too much even for her and she will flee to the mountains.

Here she will approach a holy man called Samaundh Rikhi who will be seated upon a lions skin. She will ask for his help. The pursuing demons will also reach his abode and demand that the rishi tell them where she is. The rikhi says that since the devi has sought his protection he is duty bound to assist her. The demons are enraged by this and draw their weapons. The rishi addresses them " I am a Brahmin and will therefore not take up arms against you."

Upon this one of demons shoots an arrow which glances the Rikhi on the temple. Blood spouts to the ground and from this manifests a KHANDA. From the khanda appears a Khattri (warrior class) youth who will be known as Dusht Daman (destroyer of evil). The warrior asks permission to engage in battle with the dhents. When this is given the battle ensues.

The battles last for many years and in the end all the dhents are destroyed by Dusht Daman. The warrior then returns to the rikhi and says "what are your orders now ?" The rikhi tells the youth that he is to go to the mountains and perform intense penance and austerities. Dusht Daman sets of and reaches the lake of Hemkunt Sahib and spends many many years meditating on the name of the one true God. So much tapasia (meditation on Gods name) is done that the two – Dusht Daman and God – become one.

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