KALIANA, BHAI, a prominent and learned Sikh of the time of Guru Arjan. The Guru once sent him to the hill country, present day Himachal Pradesh, to raise funds and bring timber for the holy Harimandar, then being built at Amritsar. When Kaliana arrived at Mandi, the capital of a hill state of the same name, he found that it was Janam Astami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krsna, pro-claimed by the ruler, Raja Hari Sen, to be observed by the entire population as a day of fasting. Bhai Kaliana and the Sikhs accompanying him did not consider themselves bound by the prince`s fiat in a purely religious matter and did not observe the fast.
He was pulled up by the Raja for the “sacrilege,” but he argued against compulsion in matters of faith so convincingly that Raja Hari Sen became interested to know more about the Sikhs and their Guru. He noi only helped Bhai Kaliana with whatever he needed, but also accompanied him back to Amritsar. He paid obeisance to Guru Arjan and received instruction at his hands. Bhai Kaliana, according to Bhai Santokh Singh, Sn Gw Pratap Suruj Granth, was among those who were specially blessed by Guru Arjan for their dedication and piety and who enjoyed a place of honour in his retinue. Bhai Kaliana had the privilege of being included in the (Guru) Hargobind`s marriage party travelling to the village of Dalla in 1604.
1. Mani Singh, Bhai, Sikhan di Bhagat Mdlfi. Amritsar, 1955
2. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Cur Pratdp Suraj Granti Amritsar, 1927-33