The real name of Bhai Manjh was Tiratha. His surname being Manjh, he came to be called Manjh. He was a big landlord of village Kangmai, district Hoshiarpur. He was a follower of Sakhi Sarvar, so he had constructed Pirkhanas — places for worship, in the nearby villages to propagate his faith.
In 1585 A.D., while returning from a visit to the Piíkhana at Nigaha, he stopped at Amritsar for an audience with Guru Arjan Dev. Seeing Sikhs serving the devotees in the Guru’s institution, he requested Guru Arjan Dev to make him his disciple. The Guru said, “You have acknowledged Sakhi Sarvar as your spiritual guide. You shall have to give him up to become a Sikh.”
Obeying the command of the Guru, Bhai Manjh went to his village and demolished the Pirkhana from his house, due to which, the people of the village parted with him. Poverty was another consequence but his mind came to be contented in the Will of God and he began to feel happy.
Once, Bhai Manjh presented himself in service of Guru Arjan Dev. Like other Sikh devotees, he took the service to cut wood in the forest and bring it for the community kitchen. One day, Bhai Manjh was returning from the forest with a bundle of firewood on his head.
There was a strong dust storm on the way back. It was so severe that one could not find his way. Swept by the wind, Bhai Manjh fell into a well. Even in the well, he did not let the bundle of wood fall from his head so that it might not get wet and the devotees may not feel any difficulty in lighting the fire. He kept his mind occupied in reciting the Guru’s word.
When the devotees of the kitchen did not find Bhai Manjh returned even after dark, they started towards the forest in his search, calling him loudly. When they reached the well, they heard his voice from the well. The Sikhs hung a rope in the well and said, “Oh Brother! Please catch hold of the rope and climb up.’
Bhai Manjh replied, “Please pull up this bundle of dry wood first. I will come next.” By the time he came out, Guru Arjan Dev also reached the well. The Guru said, “Bhai Manjh, I am very pleased with your service. Ask for something.” Bhai Manjh replied, “Respected Guru! You have already bestowed spiritual bliss. There is no need for anything else.”
Extracted from Bed Time Stories by SS Jagdev