The sole survivor of
the battle of Khidrana, i.e. Muktsar (29 December 1705), was a descendant
of Pero Shah, the younger brother of Bhai Langah, who had converted
a Sikh during the time of Guru Arjan. Born at her ancestral village
of Jhabal in present-day Amritsar district of the Punjab, she was
married to Nidhan Singh Varaich of Patti. A staunch Sikh by birth
she was distressed to hear in 1705 that some
of the Sikhs of her neighbourhood who had gone to Anandpur to fight
for Guru Gobind Singh had deserted him under adverse conditions.
She rallied the deserters persuading them to meet the Guru and apologize
to him. She set off along with them and some other Sikhs to seek
out the Guru, then travelling across the Malva region. Mai Bhago
and the men she was leading stopped near the dhib or pool of Khidrana
where an imperial army in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh had almost
They challenged the pursuing host and fought
furiously forcing it to retreat. Guru Gobind Singh, who had supported
them with a shower of arrows from a nearby high ground, found all
the men except one, Mahan Singh, killed when he visited the battlefield.
Mahan Singh, who had been seriously wounded, also died as the Guru
took him into his lap. Guru Gobind Singh blessed those forty dead
as the Forty Liberated Ones. He took into his care Mai Bhago who
had also suffered injury in the battle. She thereafter stayed on
with Guru Gobind Singh as one of his bodyguards, in male attire.
After the death of Guru Gobind Singh at
Nanded in 1708, she retired further south. She settled down at Jinvara,
11 km from Bidar in Karnataka where, immersed in meditation, she
lived to attain a ripe old age. Her hut in Jinvara has now been
converted into Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago. At Nanded, too, a
hall within the compound of Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib marking
the site of her residence is known as Bunga Mai Bhago.