Bhai Daya Singh was one of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved celebrated in the Sikh tradition. He was son of Bhai Suddha, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, and Mai Diali. His original name was Daya Ram.
Bhai Suddha was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur and visited Anandpur more than once to seek his blessings. In 1677, he travelled to Anandpur sahib along with his family including his young son, Daya Ram, to make obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh, this time to settle there permanently. Daya Ram, already well versed in Punjabi and Persian, engaged himself in the study of classics and gurbani. He also received training in the use of weapons.
In the historic divan in the Kesgarh Fort at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, he was the first to rise at the Guru's call and offer his head, followed by four others in succession.
These five were the first to be admitted to the fold of the Khalsa and they in turn administered the rites of initiation to Guru Gobind Singh who called them collectively Panj Piare. Daya Ram after initiation became Daya Singh. Although the five enjoyed equal status as the Guru's close confidants and constant attendants, Bhai Daya Singh was always regarded as the first among equals. He took part in the battles of Anandpur, and was one of the three Sikhs who followed Guru Gobind Singh out of Chamkaur sahib on the night of 7th December 1705, eluding the besieging hordes. He was Guru Gobind Singh's emissary sent from the village of Dina in the Punjab to deliver his letter which became famous as Zafarnamah, the Letter of Victory, to Emperor Aurangzeb, then camping at Ahmadnagar. Bhai Daya Singh, accompanied by Bhai Dharam Singh, another of the Panj Piare, reached Ahmad nagar via Aurangabad, but found that it was not possible to have access to the Emperor and deliver to him the letter personally as Guru Gobind Singh had directed. Daya Singh sent Dharam Singh back to seek the Guru's advice but before the latter could rejoin him with fresh instructions, he had managed to have the letter delivered, and had himself returned to Aurangabad. A shrine called Gurdwara Bhai Daya Singh marks the place of his sojourn in Dhami Mahalla.
Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh returned and, according to Sikh tradition, they re-joined Guru Gobind Singh at Kalayat, a town 52 km southwest of Bikaner (28 4'N, 73 - 21'E) in Rajasthan. Bhai Daya Singh remained in attendance upon the Guru and was with him at the time of his death at Nanded on 7 October 1708. He died at Nanded soon after and a joint memorial there for him and for Bhai Dharam Singh known as Angitha (lit. burning pyre) Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh marks the site of their cremation.
Bhai Daya Singh was a learned man. One of the Rahitnamas, manuals on Sikh conduct, is ascribed to him. The Nirmalas, a sect of Sikh schoolmen, claim him as one of their forebears. Their Darauli branch traces its origin to Bhai Daya Singh through Baba Deep Singh.
In the institution of Panj Piara's the names of the five Beloved one's have a very special significance. Bhai Daya Singh Stands for Compassion, Bhai Dharam Singh signifies the rule of Dharma or justice, Bhai Himmat Singh, denotes courage, Bhai Mohkam Singh refers to discipline and serenity, and Bhai Sahib Singh represents Sardari or Leadership/Sovereignty. Thus Guru Gobind Singh looking for an element of all five (Compassion, Justice, Courage, Discipline and Leadership) among his Khalsa.
DHARAM SINGH, BHAI (1666-1708),was one of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved, the forerunners of Khalsa, came of farming stock. He was the son of Bhai Sant Ram and Mai Sabho, of Hastinapur, an ancient town on the right bank of the Ganges, 35 km northeast of Meerut (29 N, 77 - 45'E).
Dharam Das, as he was originally named, was born around 1666. As a young man, he fell into the company of a Sikh who introduced him to the teachings of the Gurus. He left home at the age of thirty in quest of further instruction. At the Sikh shrine of Nanak Piao, dedicated to Guru Nanak, he was advised to go to Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur, where he arrived in 1698. A few months later came the historic Baisakhi congregation at which five Sikhs responding to five successive calls of Guru Gobind Singh offered one after the other to lay down their heads Dharam Das was one of those five. The Guru blessed them and called them Panj Piare, the five beloved of him. They were anointed as the first five members of the brotherhood of the Khalsa inaugurated on that day. Guru Gobind Singh then begged them to administer to him the vows of initiation. Dharam Das, who, after initiation, became Dharam Singh, took part in the battles of Anandpur. He was in Guru Gobind Singh's train when Anandpur and thereafter Chamkaur were evacuated. He accompanied Bhai Daya Singh to the South to deliver Guru Gobind Singh's letter, the Zafarnama, to Emperor Aurangzab.
During the war of succession following the death of Aurangzeb on 20 February 1707, Guru Gobind Singh took the part of the rightful claimant to the imperial throne, Prince Muazzam and sent for his help Bhai Dharam Singh who with his small band of Sikhs fought in the battle of jajau (8 june 1707). He accompanied Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded and was with him at the time of his heavenly abode on 7 October 1708. A Gurdwara there preserves the memory of jointly Bhai Dharam Singh and Bhai Daya Singh.
BHAI HIMMAT SINGH (1661-1705) was one of the Panj Piare, or the Five Beloved, celebrated in Sikh history, was born in 1661 at Jagannath in a low caste family of water suppliers. He came to Anandpur at the young age of 17, and attached himself to the service of Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Himmat, as he was called before his initiation, was one of the five Sikhs who one by one offered to lay down their heads in response to the Guru's successive calls made at an assembly of the Sikhs especially summoned on the occasion of Baisakhi of 1756 Bk corresponding to 30 March 1699. He along with the other four received the vows of the Khalsa at Guru Gobind Singh's hands and was renamed Himmat Singh. Himmat Singh proved a brave warrior and while at Anandpur, he took part in battles with the surrounding hill chiefs and imperial commanders.
He attained martyrdom fighting in the battle of Chamkaur on 7 December 1705.
BHAI MUKHAM SINGH JI (1666-1705) was born Muhkam Chand, one of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved of honoured memory in the Sikh tradition, was the son of Tirath Chand, a cloth-printer of Dwarka in Gujarat. About the year 1685, he came to Anandpur, then the seat of Guru Gobind Singh. He practised the manly arts and took part in Sikhs' battles with the surrounding hill chiefs and imperial troops. He was one of the five who offered their heads in response to Guru Gobind Singh's call on the Baisakhi day of 1699 and earned the appellation of Panj Piare. Initiated into the order of the Khalsa, Muhkam Chand received the common surname of Singh and became Muhkam Singh.
Bhai Muhkam Singh attained martyrdom in the battle of Chamkaur on 7 December 1705.
BHAI SAHIB SINGH JI was one of the Panj Piare or the Five Beloved of revered memory in the Sikh tradition, was born the son of Bhai Guru Narayana, a barber of Bidar in Karnataka, and his wife Ankamma. Bidar had been visited by Guru Nanak early in the sixteenth century and a Sikh shrine had been established there in his honour. Sahib Chand, as Sahib Singh was called before he underwent the rites of the Khalsa, travelled to Anandpur at the young age of 16, and attached himself permanently to Guru Gobind Singh.
He won a name for himself as marksman and in one of the battles at Anandpur he shot dead the Gujjar chief Jamatulla. In another action the raja of Hindur, Bhup Chand, was seriously wounded by a shot from his musket following which the entire hill army fled the field. Sahib Chand was one of the five Sikhs who, on the Baisakhi day of 30 March 1699, offered, upon Guru Gobind Singh's call to lay down their heads. They were greeted by the Guru as the five beloved of him. These five formed the nucleus of the Khalsa, the Guru's own, inaugurated dramatically that day. Sahib Chand, after undergoing the rites of the Khalsa, became Sahib Singh, receiving the surname of Singh common to all members of the Khalsa brotherhood.
He attained martyrdom fighting in the battle of Chamkaur on 7 December 1705.