DHANNA, BHAGAT (b. 1415?), one of the medieval saints whose bani has been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahib, describes himself in a hymn, in Raga Asa, as an ignorant Jatt and explains how he was attracted to the worship of God by the examples of Namdev (a calicoprinter), Kabir (a weaver), Ravidas (a cobbler) and Sain (a barber). Nabhadas, Bhaktamal, includes Dhanna among the twelve disciples of Ramanand (1299-1410), though it has been questioned if all the twelve did indeed live at the same time. Max Arthur Macauliffe fixes AD 1415 as the year of Dhanna`s birth, but his name nowhere appears in the writings of Kabir (f7. 15th century) or Ravidas (fl. 15th century).
The earliest mention of him is in Mira Bai (1498-1546), who in one of her songs proclaims how Dhanna grew corn without sowing seed. Dhanna was born in the village ofDhuan, in Tonk district of Rajasthan. His father was a simple, godfearing farmer, who frequently entertained sadhus in his house. Dhanna, as a child, was deeply impressed by these holy visitors and his mind turned to the pursuit of spiritual grace. Like his Brahman neighbour, he started worshipping thakurs or idols. He was later converted to nirguna bhakti, i.e. worship of the Formless One without attributes, as is evident from his hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib.
“Loving devotion,” says Dhanna in his sabda in Raga Asa, “is now fixed in my heart and thereby have I found solace and fulfilment. In whose heart is light divine manifested he alone recognizeth the Immaculate One.” That the devotee does not deny himself the needs of the body is attested by another hymn in which Dhanna supplicates the Lord for “food grains produced by tilling the land seven times over,” “a cow in milk as well as a buffalo,” “a dutiful wife to look after the household.” Totally, there are three hymns by Dhanna in the Guru Granth Sahib.
1. Sahib Singh, Bhagat-BaniSati`k, vol. I. Amritsar, 1979
2. Guru Granth Ratnavali. Patiala, n.d.