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Suthra Shahi Ardas


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Gurfateh !

I found this on youtube - Suthra Shahi Ardas - with trademark sticks


Any members have any background about or contact with the Suthra Shahis ? - any information greatly appreciated.

I looked them up and found this on H S Kanwal's website ;

(Most of the above has been taken with courtesy from H.S.Rose's book "Tribes & Castes of Punjab &NW Frontier" This book was written in 1892 AD. Many Sects are probably extinct or have changed considerably now.- Kanwal)



An order of Sikh devotees whose origin is thus described:-

When Teg Shah - a faqir was alive, a boy was born of dark complexion, (or with a black mark on his forehead) and moustache, and with his teeth already cut---and his parents exposed him, - a child so born is unlucky. The sixth Guru Hargobind, happened to find the child and told his disciples to take him up but they refused, saying that he was kuthra, or dirty. The Guru replied 'he was Suthra or clean' and they then obeyed. This boy was the founder of the Suthra-Shahi sect.

A Suthra Shahi Sikh


The Kangra version adds -Twelve years later, in the reign of Aurangzeb, the Hindus were persecuted and the emperor removed every day one and a quarter maunds of sacred threads (janeoo), erased the tilaks from their foreheads, and compelled Hindu faqirs to show him miracles. The Guru then sent the boy Suthra to Delhi to exhibit miracles to the emperor and to convert him to the right path. On reaching Delhi the boy had a pair of shoes, l ¼ haths long, made at a cost of 1 ¼ lakhs of rupees. One night he put one of these shoes in the Delhi mosque, together with a lota (the vessel used for washing the hands and feet before prayer). Next morning the Muhammadans prostrated themselves before the lota and shoe, considering them to he sacred, and their fame spread throughout the city. One day the boy tied the other shoe to a stick and wended his way through the city, crying that he had been robbed of the other shoe. News of this event reached Aurangzeb who sent for the boy and asked him whether the shoe found in the mosque was his. He said it was, whereupon the emperor said that, if it were found not to fit him, he would be beheaded. The boy agreed and, calling on his Guru's name, put on the shoe, which he found a little, too small. At this his face lit up, so that the emperor in amaze bade him ask any boon he chose.

The boy warned Aurangzeb against further persecution of the Hin-dus, and the emperor assented. Moreover he decreed that all his subjects should at every wedding pay one gold mohar and 1 ¼ rupees per shop to the boy, who refused to accept more than 1 ¼ rupee at each wedding and a pice from each shop. This decree wag engraved on a copper-plate. Then the boy went to Lahore and built himself a house outside the Masti Gate. He made 4 chelas, Bawa Nihal Shah, B. Gulab Shah, B. Didar Shah and B. Changar Shah. In the plains the tax is still paid to the Suthra Shahis~, but in the hills it is not paid in full owing to the poverty of the people.

The boy Suthra composed a 'baramasa' in which the above history is given. Another version adds various details, prefixed to the above account It makes the boy go to Delhi of his own accord, put on a boar's Intestines as a janeoo and apply a tilak of ashes to his forehead. The Qazi of Delhi orders this janeoo to be broken, but in vain, so he licks it away and in consequence an evil smell issues from his mouth. The Suthra is then arrested, but the emperor Aurangzeb keeps him near the royal person and early next morning sees his face. As a result his breakfast turns into loathsome insects and he orders the Suthra to exe-cution. The latter demands to see the emperor and protests his innocence whereupon Aurangzeb declares that the sight of his unfortunate face early that morning had deprived him of food all day. To this the Suthra forcibly rejoins that the sight of Aurangzeb's unlucky face had led to his being condemned to death. So the emperor set him free and he took up his abode in a takia behind the Jama Masjid at Delhi. He had the shoes l ¼ hathas long made and a lota of earth set with precious stones. Going one night to the mosque to recite his prayers he fled in the morning from the mosque out of fear of the Muhammedans and left one shoe and the lota behind him. When he came before the emperor he found the shoe too small, but it just fitted Aurangzeb. At the Suthra's instance the emperor closes his eyes and finds himself alone with the Suthra in a terrible place. The Suthra mockingly asks him where are now his troops, and why he persecutes the Hindu faqirs. After craving his pardon Aurangzeb opens his eyes and finds himself back in the Delhi Fort.


Both Hindus and Muhammedans enter this panth whose members are called Suthra Shah or Benawa. Muhammadan Suthras carry a danda (staff) with which they strike their iron bracelet (churis). Hindu Suthras claim to be Udasis, are followers of Guru Nanak,: and are said to have been founded by Hari Chand, his elder son. In theory they are monotheists, but as they have to beg from Hindus they also worship the Hindu gods. Their gaddis in the larger towns have deras attached to, and dependent on, them in the neighbouring villages. They contain no idols, except the Samadhs of deceased mahants, and to these they offer dhup dip. They chant the sabda of Guru Arjan.

The Suthras are celibate, but make chelas. They wear a seli of black wool round the neck, and carry black dandas which they knock together, demanding a pice from each shop. If this demand be refused they blacken their faces, burn their clothes and expose themselves naked in public, refusing to leave the shop until paid.

Mode of initiation.-- The candidate for admission into the panth is dissuaded, but if he persists in his resolve to become a Suthra, he is warned that he will have to subsist by begging, remain celibate and not quarrel, even if abused, His beard and moustache are then shaved off by a barber, but his top knot is left to be cut off by his guru', before whom the candidate lays a razor and asks that he will shave off his top knot. The guru' repeatedly refuses to do so, returning the razor to him several times, but finally the candidate's prayer is granted, his topknot cut off and a mantra whispered in his ear by the guru'. The initiate's clothes are given to the barber. Karah is made and distributed among those present. The initiate is invested with a seli or necklet of black wool, and a cotton janeoo or sacred thread worn by a Brahman. The two dandas are also given him and his initiation is complete. Suthras must not wear anything but a dhoti and cannot wear coloured dopattas (shawls). Liquor and flesh are avoided but not tobacco. All castes are now admitted into the order, though formerly, it is alleged, only Brah-mans, Kashatriyas and Vaisyas were initiated

Rites at death.-AII the Brahminical rites are observed at death, and a Brahman is called in to perform the kiria karam, but it is said that a Sikh is also called in to read the Granth. The Sawarni and satarhwin rites of the Hindus are also performed, The body is cremated and the ashes taken to the Ganges, but a small quantity mixed with Ganges water and cow's urine is also placed in the dera and a samadh built thereon.

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I found the name of the Mahant who is leading the ardas. Its Sant Harjit Shah Suthre Fakir of Dera Shiromani 1008 Baba Anakh Shah Ji (not sure where that is). The dharamsala in Jalandhar is run by Mahant Atamjit Shah Suthre. I have a couple of photos of it. Yes, they are officially part of Bade Panchayat Udasin Akhara, although clearly they keep distinctive traditions and bhekh. The sangat at udasin deras are hindu, hence the bhajan style. This is the dera in delhi I think. I recall Vijaydep Singh saying it was somewhere nr new delhi train station, so preumably paharganj.

A big thank you to freed for finding this (i have no idea how he did)!

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Big Thank you to all for the information !

- I don't know how I stumbled across that video - it instantly caught my eye - but I must confess it was more because of the 'sticks' used.

In her major study of Punjabi folk instruments, Dr Alka Pande has talked about those sticks and how she was unable to find any, she has classed them as 'vanishing instruments'. She has also made some interesting points regarding their use and origin; Muslims using one stick and banging it on 'Karas' and non muslims using two

here are some excerpts;

Dr Alka Pande - http://www.alkapande.com/paper.htm

Suthra Shahi:

It is an order of Sikh devotees. There was a faqir by the name suthra who was famous for his attitude of ridiculing life. According to Bhai Kahan Singh [Mahaan Kosh, p-159], Suthra Shah was born in Samvat 1672 at Barampur near Baramullah in the house Nanda the Khatri.

Mohammadan suthras carry a danda [staff] with which they strike their iron bracelets [churis]. It is believed that non-Mohammadan suthras have two dandas out of which one danda was given by Guru Hargobind Sahib and the other smaller one by Durga Devi. The Mohammadans do not worship the Devi and thus have only one danda with which they strike their metal kadas or bracelets.


The Vanishing Instruments

As part of the field studies I identified some vanishing instruments through information transferred by word of mouth, and through references in the field and found that there are some instruments which are not even available for placing in the museums.........

3. Suthra Shahi Danda – Kadae: Used by Sufis. It comprises the wearing of four to six or even more kadae or metallic rings on the arm of the player. These rings are periodically struck with a metal staff or danda carried in the palm of the same hand that is wearing the kadae. The tone may vary depending on the material and diameter of the kadae.


Here is the Mahan Kosh entry for SuthreShahis


ਸੰਮਤ ੧੬੭੨ ਵਿੱਚ ਬਾਰਾਂਮੂਲੇ ਪਾਸ ਬਰਾਮਪੁਰ ਪਿੰਡ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਨੰਦੇ ਖਤਰੀ ਦੇ ਘਰ ਇੱਕ ਬਾਲਕ ਦੰਦਾਂ ਸਮੇਤ ਜਨਮਿਆ, ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਜੋਤਸ਼ੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਕਹੇ ਵਿਘਨਕਾਰੀ ਜਾਣਕੇ ਬਾਹਰ ਸਿੱਟ ਦਿੱਤਾ. ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ਜੋ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਤੋਂ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਆ ਰਹੇ ਸਨ ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਇਹ ਬਾਲਕ ਪਿਆ. ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਨੇ ਦਯਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਬਾਲਕ ਉਠਵਾ ਲਿਆ ਅਤੇ ਵਡੇ ਯਤਨ ਨਾਲ ਪਾਲਿਆ ਅਰ ਨਾਉਂ "ਸੁਥਰਾ" ਰੱਖਿਆ. ਇਹ ਗੁਰੂਘਰ ਦਾ ਵਡਾ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ ਅਰ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿਰਾਇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਭੀ ਹਾਜ਼ਿਰ ਰਿਹਾ. ਸੁਥਰੇਸ਼ਾਹ ਵਡਾ ਵਿਲਾਸੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ. ਇਸ ਦੀ ਹਾਸ੍ਯਰਸ ਪੂਰਿਤ ਅਨੇਕ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ ਜਗਤ ਪ੍ਰਸਿੱਧ ਹਨ. ਦਿੱਲੀ ਦੇ ਹਾਕਮਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਇਸ ਨੇ ਪੈਸਾ ਹੱਟੀ ਉਗਰਾਹੁਣ ਦਾ ਹੁਕਮ ਪਰਪਾਤ ਕੀਤਾ. ਇਸ ਦੇ ਪੰਥ ਦਾ ਨਾਉਂ ਸੁਥਰੇਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਹੈ. ਹੁਣ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੁਥਰੇ ਸਿੱਖਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਨਿਯਮਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਭੁਲਾ ਬੈਠੇ ਹਨ. ਡੰਡੇ ਬਜਾਕੇ ਹੱਟੀਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਮੰਗਦੇ ਹਨ. ਕਦੇ ਬੇਨਵਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਤਰਾਂ ਦੁਰਵਚਨ ਬੋਲਦੇ ਹਨ. ਕਈ ਮੂੰਹ ਕਾਲਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਧਰਨਾ ਮਾਰ ਬੈਠਦੇ ਹਨ.

Thanks !


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lol try and put this on the wrong site, only joking...

so, excuse my ignorance but i couldn;t quite firgure out what was beneathe the orange flower garlands? It didn;t look like idol, so what was it?

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  • 14 years later...
2 hours ago, umesh_shah said:

hello every one my name is Mahant Umesh Shah I form behrampur distil Gurdaspur Punjab I take care of birth place of suthre shah.i am also member of suthre shah samparda contact me if you people want to know more about suthre shah 

Waheguru Ji

Does your gurdwara have a facebook page or youtube channel?

1. Is there any katha online of you or other mahants?

2. What is the maryada of the Samprada?  Which bani do you recite everyday?

3. What is your Gurmantar? Is it Waheguru?

4. Does your samprada have any Vidyalas, where the mahants/giani are trained?

5. How do you become a mahant?

6. Is there any pictures online showing what the birth place of Baba Suthre Shah Ji looks like?

Gurfeteh for coming on this forum to answer our questions 

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