KANHAIYA, BHAI (1648-1718), founder of the Sevapanthi or Addanshahi sect of the Sikhs, was born in a Dhamman Khatri family of Sodhara near Waxirabad in Sialkot district (now in Pakistan). His father was a wealthy trader, but he himself being of a religious bent of mind left home when still very young and roamed about with sddhus and ascetics in search of spiritual peace. His quest ended as he met Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-75) and accepted initiation at his hands. Kanhaiya established a dharamsdl at Kavha village in the present Attock district of Pakistan which he turned into a preaching centre.
His special mission was selfless service of humanity with no distinction of nationality, caste or creed.In 1705, he was on a visit to Anandpur when Anandpur was invested by a combination of hill troops and the imperial army. During the frequent sallies and skirmishes, Bhai Kanhaiya used to roam around serving water to the wounded and the dying without distinction of friend and foe. Some Sikhs complained to Guru Gobind Singh that Kanhaiya had been resuscitating the fallen enemy soldiers. As Guru Gobind Singh summoned Bhai Kanhaiya and told him what the Sikhs had said, he spoke, “Yes, my Lord, what they said is true in a sense, but I saw no Mughals or Sikhs in the battlefield; I only saw the Guru`s face in everyone.
” The Guru, pleased with the reply, blessed him and told his Sikhs that Kanhaiya had understood his teaching correctly. After the evacuation of Anandpur, Bhai Kanhaiya retired to Sodhara where he died in 1718.
1. Lal Chand, Sri Sant Maid. Patiala, 1955
2. Giirmukh Singh, Sevapanthian di Panjahl Sdhit nun Den. Paliala, 1986