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Nirmala Sampradaya


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Guest Javanmard

:!: Don't copy this without my permission :!:

It was Guru Gobind Rai, who became Guru Gobind Singh after Baisakhi 1699, himself founded the Nirmala sampradaya in 1686. The Guru was then residing in Paonta Sahib (in Himachal Pradesh) on the borders of the Yamuna. It is confirmed by Sikh tradition that the Guru had favoured intense learned and creative activity at his court in Paonta and that he had invited many scholars and artists .The Guru’s darbar of Anandpur Sahib was a central place for warriors and scholars. Weapons were there for the destruction of enemies and shastras or literature, were there to increase people’s strength. According to Sikh tradition, it was Guru Gobind Rai’s wish to have his Sikhs educated in different sciences and arts. He asked a Brahmin scholar, Pandit Raghunath, to teach Sanskrit and Vedanta to his Sikhs. The Pandit politely refused on the basis that most of the Sikhs were Jatts and Tarkhans by caste (jati) and therefore Shudras by varna (class). Knowledge of Sanskrit was restricted in those times to twice-born Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas only. The sources indicate that Guru Gobind Rai sent a group of Sikhs to Benares to learn Sanskrit, Vedanta as well as other sciences. The sources differ regarding the exact number of the group, are indicating five, the other thirteen. All both nevertheless agree that there were five Sikhs dressed by the Guru in saffron clothes and that their names were Karam Singh, Vir Singh, Ganda Singh, Saina Singh and Ram Singh. That group of five saffron-clad Sikhs is part of the group of thirteen Sikhs. The names of the remaining Sikhs who were dressed in white are: Dharam Singh, Daya Singh, Mohkam Singh, Sobha Singh, Gian Singh, Kesar Singh, Chanda Singh and Gaja Singh. The tradition has it that the five saffron-clad Nirmalas were brahmacharins and the rest were householders. After their training in Benares they returned to the court of Guru Gobind Rai which was now established in Anandpur Sahib. At their return Guru Gobind Rai gave them the title nirmala from the Sanskrit nirmala: ‘im-maculate’ or ‘blemish-less’. After the introduction of the khande di pahul in 1699 the Nirmalas received the new initiation and were put under the command of Bhai Dharam Singh and Bhai Daya Singh. The Nirmalas were then progressively (throughout their history) divided into 24 sub-sections (upa-sampradayas). Thirteen of these 24 sub-sections go back to Bhai Daya Singh and eleven of them to Bhai Dharam Singh.

During their stay at Anandpur Sahib the Nirmalas participated in Guru Gobind Singh’s cultural projects, translating the great works of classical Indian literature, teaching Sanskrit and other classical Indian sciences to the Sikhs or explaining passages from the Adi Granth. Bhai Mani Singh is said to have received his training from the first Nirmalas, which explains why the Nirmalas consider the Giani sampradaya to have originated from them. According to Sikh scholars Bhai Karam Singh used to comment on the Upanishads at the court of Guru Gobind Singh whereas the other Nirmalas were teaching the epics, Sanskrit and Vedanta. After the evacuation of Anandpur Sahib in 1705 the Nirmalas spread in different regions of Panjab and Northern India especially around Haridvar, Allahabad and Benares. Some of them, like Bhai Karam Singh, also went with Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded and followed Banda Bahadur and Baba Binod Singh back to Panjab. According to Giani Gian Singh a group of Nirmalas lead by Bhai Dargaha Singh established their first dera at Kankhal on the banks of the Ganga near Haridvar in 1710. They had left Nanded after Guru Gobind Singh’s disappearance in 1708. Their dera was established at a Sikh shrine dedicated to Guru Amardas who used to come regularly to Haridvar.

:!: Don't copy this without my permission :!:

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some references would be helpful. also, what specifically do you mean when you talk about "sikh tradition" ( i assume you have written this piece).

the five people you say who were sent by guru gobind to venaras in 1686 - they all seem to have "singh" in their names, so what were their names before they took amrit ?

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Guest Javanmard

Sikh tradition: sikh historiography (Suraj Prakash, Sarabloh Granth,Panth Prakash)

Nirmala Singhs: there are some sources (chaupa SIngh Rahitnama) which indicate that Guru Gobind Singh had started giving the name Singh before 1699, as a sort of preparation.

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Guest Javanmard

Don't have them at hand now, but look in Chaupa SIngh Rahitnama. Yeah I know sounds strange to you but then again, could well be that the 13 Singhs' previous names are not known and that we only know the names they received after amrit.! :wink:

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Lalleshvari,

Since you’re in the mode for seva, allow me to pose a few questions :)

Do Nanaksar and Rara Sahib have any linkage with Nirmalas?

I’ve heard that baba harnam singh ji was a nirmale (this Babaji was the babaji of Baba Nand singh Ji – founder of Nanaksar)

Also, In another thread you mentioned:

6. Nirmale and Nihangs used to be the ones who gave amrit:no one else

According to Narasingha, Nihang tradition states that Amrit can be only administered from Akali Nihang Singhs (with farla), else its invalid.

I presume that nirmales without Shartervidya would not have Nihang bana (hence no farlae).

Does this mean that:

1. The amrit they (Nirmale) administered was “invalidâ€.

or

2. It is not mandatory to receive amrit from Akali Nihangs Singhs (with farla)?

Your opinion please

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:D Bhaji thanks for the info.....

as someone pointed out....yeah it is strange that Singh name was used before 1699...but it might be that ther were like Vir Lal and became Vir Singh after Amrit..... :D

i also like to ask something jee.....

i am what you will call a "mainstream" Sikh....should i recognize Nirmalas as a part of Khalsa Panth or as a seperate cult which is not Sikh.....and MORE importanly do they consider themselves part of Khalsa Panth or do they have their sepeate 'authority'..?

bhaji in a seperate forum you mentioned that Nirmalas have a seperate Rehit (and not the same as Nihangs or 'mainstream Sikhs' -SGPC)....why so? If Bhai Daya Singh who was one of Guru Gobind Singh's Singhs...if he started this school-of-knowledge or samparyada then why do they have a seperate Rehit jee?

Are we bound to have seperate Rehits to create new Samparyadas? Isn't it okey to just stuct to the one we allready have jee?

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Guest Javanmard

Well NIhangs and Nirmale being the two wings of the Khalsa were the ones who gave amrit. There wasn't much of a difference between both really except that Nirmale were first of all scholars, but a lot of them were fighters as well, and their bana is different that's it really.

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Lalleshvari,

I have a question for you, if nirmallay are one wing of the khalsa, (which makes sense as 5 nirmallay were sent to kashi...hence, initiation into the panth)

a) did they wear a big kirpan?

B) did they actually wear a "jati/sati" kachera

c) was blue a non-permissable color (meaning was their any reason why white and "bhagwa" were used)

Now, there have been nirmallay sadhs such as "baba dalel singh"; was he amritdhari and since he was so respected by many, would the fact that he wasn't amritdhari, from khanday battay da amrit; mean he's any less of a saint?

also, read the itihaas of baba jwala singh harkowal, on the advice of another "sant" he took "shatardhaara (afeem)" because a shardaloo had given it with pyaar. He took it consistently until he realised that it was overpowering his body... he was told by the sant that it keeps one's body "chust" and helps ones "birti" (probably during smaadhi)....

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Guest BikramjitSingh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

I think we need to understand that Lallesvari is not a representative of the Nirmalas and Narsingha does not represent the Buddha Dal Nihangs. I am not saying that they have claimed to be but the inconsistancy between their views ( Narsingha's claim that Amrit can only be administered by Nihangs, Lallesvari's claim that Nirmalas also gave Amrit ) can been seen in this regard.

I am surprised tha Lallesvari requests that his post not be copied without his permission. I wonder if he asked the editor of the Enclyclopedia of Sikhism Vol. 3 when he copied the section on Nirmalas ( pages 236-237 ), yes he's changed some of the the wording and added a few more details but he should have referenced his work to the encyclopaedia or at least mentioned the source.

Lallevari has had to backtrack on a few things, firstly he implied that Nirmalas were solely scholars and Nihangs were the warriors ( shastras and Shastar ). Now he writes that many were also warriors. Narsingha's argument was that Sikhi was some sort of hinduism in minature with a division of labour between the Nihangs ( warriors ), Nirmalas ( Scholars ), Udasis ( ascetics ) and SewaPanthis ( social workers ). This is patently false because apart from Udasis who cannot claim that their creation as being started by any of Gurus, all the others took part in all activities. Lallesvari has had to backtrack to his comment about Nirmalas being solely scholars because he is aware that there is a great deal of evidence that during the Misl period the Nirmalas took part in military activity with the Dal Khalsa. In fact on of the great Misldars was a Nirmala, Karam Singh Nirmala, whose territories included the town of Shahabad in Haryana. His son married the daughter of the Maharaja of Patiala.

There can be a number of opinions of why Guru Gobind Singh created the Nirmalas. Their founding was just after the Guru had disbanded the Masands. A clue for a reason could be their name ' Nirmala' means 'pure' in Sanskrit just as 'Khalsa' alsoe means the same thing in Persian. The Nirmalas could have been set up to preach Sikhi to the Hindus in their own sacred language.

The Nirmalas were never a well organised body until they set up their Panchaiti Akhara with the financial help from the Maharaja of Patiala in the 1870's. Many veered towards Vedanta believing that the Guru Granth Sahib was the Vedas in the language of the common people. Others believed that Sikhism was an independent religion and therefore supported the Singh Sabha reformers. Nirmalas unlike Udasis did not accept revenue free land grants from the Sikh Misldars or later the Sikh Maharajas. During the Misl times the Nirmalas visited all the Hindu pilgrimage sites and preached the Sikh religion amongst the Pilgrims. Due to visits by the Nirmalas the Sikh Misldars as well as their officials started to visit their pilgrim sites as well. This then led to the ordinary Sikhs taking part in some of the Hindu rites at these pilgrimage sites. During the 1796 Kumbh Mela at hardwar there was a dispute between the Hindu orders of ascetics such as the Gosains and the Udasis. This led to an attack by the Gosains on the Udasis and sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh Misldars and the Maharaja of Patiala attacked Hardwar and over 5000 Gosains were killed and the ones that survived only did so by crossing the river to the other side where a regiment of East India Company troops were stationed.

GurFateh

Bikramjit

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sat sri akaal

Bikramjit, thank you very much for the information.

This is a topic that I will share some of my own views and understanding on.

Firstly, Historical facts are mere facts, how they are understood and construed to develop a "history" is subjective. More times than not people like decisions (even every day life decisions) without looking at the facts and assessing what little they do have and discarding what doesn't fit with their "chosen" beliefs. In saying this, it is important to understand everything from everyone's point of view (in my opinion).

I'll give you a perfect example, our 5 kakkars are viewed by different people , differently:

a) they are practical in warfare and survival

B) they are symbols to ground us in the principles of sikhi

c) that they are "mystical" and help us advance spiritually

I will say this though, our current view of sikhi seems limiting to me and that is why any facts I come across can help.

Here are other questions which I think about at times

a) if initiation was charan-pahul for sikhs prior to guru gobind singh, what about those people who had come into sikhi via masands? or via the udasi's etc? not everyone travelled to see the guru, not everyone could afford to... did they

1) take charanpahul from the local caretaker of the dharamsal?

2) did they die and come back to retake amrit from guru gobind singh?

3) did they empower theirselves with the message of sikhi and practice

did that make them inferior?

I'll write more, I would say this though... no one here is really an authority, none of us understand the master plan..

waheguru

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"Narsingha's argument was that Sikhi was some sort of hinduism in minature with a division of labour between the Nihangs ( warriors ), Nirmalas ( Scholars ), Udasis ( ascetics ) and SewaPanthis ( social workers )"

-Bikramjit

Bikramjit, this is YOUR interpretation of the knowledge presented on the websites. Its clear you do not understand Sanatan Sikhi, and have some fear of being absorbed into the Hindu faith. Possibly you were bullied as a child by Hindus, or you base your Khalistani-esque Sikhi around 1984 and see all Hindus as enemies of the Sikh faith.

We have even created a section for "kattarpanthis" who suffer from selective information absorption:

http://www.sarbloh.info/htmls/epilogue_sikh.html

Please refrain from assuming everyone sees information the same way you do. If you dont wish to listen to me, maybe u will listen to Guru Maharaj...

‘According to one's intellect one expresses it [the truth] in a myriad of ways.’

(Farladhari Sodhibans Bajja Waley Dasam Patshah Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh ji Maharaj, Treh Charittar 104, Dasam Guru Durbar)

Nirmalas are seen as the intellectuals of traditional Sikhi, but this does not mean they are incapable of weilding weapons when there is a need for this. Not all Nirmalas are passive, just as not all Nihangs are warriors (within an army, there are many roles to be filled). Same goes for the Udhasis who are largely passive and non-violent, but even so, some great Udhasis fought beside Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji's side when the call to arms was made. Indeed, the lineage of Akali Nihang Baba Durbara Singh Ji Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya Akharah includes Akali Baba Gurditta ji Udasin (see http://www.shastarvidiya.org/htmls/akhara.html

With regards to Amrit, within the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa, Amrit is seen as an initiation into an Army. Anyone who took Amrit from the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa, traditionally, had to be tested physically and mentally (and sometimes had to prove themselves worthy by serving the Khalsa Dal Panth by doing manual labour before they were given Amrit. Granted, today, this ideology has become relaxed and things werent as strict as they once were. The farla (loose piece of cloth at the top of the dumalla) was also traditionally only given after service to the Dal Panth of at least 14 years, and along with this came the title of "Akali Nihang"....this too has slipped and one finds many Akali Nihangs in India who have not been within Nihang Dals for 14 years let alone devote these years in service. These issues and many more will be highlighted in www.nihang.com.

Nirmalas are considered as "Khalsa" too, but this defintion of Khalsa refers to the Satoghuni (purity of the soul) rather than the Rajoghuni (outwardly warrior/dynamic/energetic) Nihang warrior version. Sarbloh Guru Durbar explains this well, where non-warrior saints are referred to as Khalsa.

lalleshvari can explain more regarding the Nirmala view on Amrit, and how Nirmalas perceive Amrit....it does differ to the Nihang aspects but as is tradition amongst Sanatan Sikhs, we do not go around fighting amongst each other :wink:

Within Akali Nihangs, the kakkars are practical...briefly...

kirpan/kard = lethal weapon, kara = lethal weapon, kachera = many uses according to kyshatria (warrior) maryada, kesh = shivswaroop/kaal roop/warriors of Chandi (see Chandi di vaar), kanga = to prevent dreadlocks (sign of passiveness/sadhus), kamarkasar = sign of being always ready for war+many uses, panj shastars = respect for Sarbloh, dummalley deh shastar = easy access to weapons, gupt weapons =weapons kept secret. Nihangs carry many weapons on their persons, not just a kirpan/kard (there will be a section on kakkars from the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa perspective coming on www.shastarvidiya.org in the near future). If one wishes to read more, Baba Gurbachan Singh Ji Bhindrawaley's darpan explains the kakkars and their origins very well (and may shock the likes of Bikramjit when he realises where the kakkars actually come from :LOL: ). Baba Ji himself was a Nihang Singh of the Budha Dal (the SAME sukha-drinking, chatka-eating Nihangs that Bikramjit considers to be "hindus"!!)

..within Nirmala Sampardah, these explanations and uses of kakkars may not necessarily match, but then again, Nirmalas are not expect to be at the front line or contemplate on Kaal as Nihang Singhs do. (..for anyone wondering about 1984 and Nihangs, www.nihang.com will explain this, so stick to the issue at hand).

Mainstream Sikhs, who prefer to focus on differences rather than nuture similarities, may see this as a "conflict" between Nihangs and Nirmalas with regards to their ideology of Amrit, but amongst Sanatan Sikhs, this is simply the beauty of diversity of Sikhi.

We, as Sanatan Sikhs, choose to build upon what is common, rather than fight on what is different. Every Sanatan Samparadah has its own forms of initiation....they take various forms...it does not mean they are conflicting with each other.

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Guest BikramjitSingh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Narsingha

If there's one thing consistant about you it is that you are inconsistant !.

The amount of somersaults you have with regard to sanatan sikhi would qualify you to join the chinese state circus. In a bit of a hurry otherwise would love to show you up again.

GurFateh

Bikramjit

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Nirmallay

I have been reading a Punjabi book about nirmallay and I thought I would put together a post on what was written. I commend the effort put forth by the authors in sharing the traditions. So I thought I would do a loose translation. I don’t believe that there should be any elitism, of any sort, when it comes to facts. This article has many typos etc etc, so please bear with it :).

1716, banda bahadur died, and for 50 years there was practically no “open†prachaar of sikhi. People were scared to go by the gurdwaray/dharamsal’s. they probably weren’t attacked because the mughals probably kept them as traps, like people do with cheese and mice. The Udasi’s most probably took care of the dharamsals. The first nirmalla dera was established by (sant) dargaha singh. He was a sikh of guru gobind singh who stayed with the “tat†khalsa, instead of siding with the bandhai (from reading excerpts of pracheen panth prakash, I have inferred that the “seperation†of the Bandai khalsa was not looked upon with great respect…meaning it was actually a “split†from the khalsa ideals). Dargaha singh escaped the mughal hakumat and moved to khankal in 1710, where he established a dera. It is common knowledge that Sikhs had to flee Punjab in hard times. Common sense would dictate that they would go as far away as they could for temporary retreats. They knew to go the “nirmallay†deray outside of Punjab. Hence, they would take shelter there. The first official nirmalla dera opened up in amritsar in 1750 by koer singh, and, shortly after, an udasi sant by the name of santokh das opened one up in 1755.

One would assume that the prachaar of sikhi was dead from the death of banda singh bahadur till the political and social climate of amritsar was better, but that was certainly not the case. The nirmallay who stayed in panjab migrated to the malwa region, where the influence of the mughals was significantly less, and they traveled from village to village. What is interesting here, in my opinion, is the method they used to preach sikhi and what they ended up doing in the process. They weren’t missionaries as we would see them today but actually ambassadors who empowered the common folk.

They traveled from village to village and integrated theirselves with everyone. They used their vedic knowledge to act as hakims/vaids. They would give everyone medicine regardless of the afflicted person’s background. The only thing they would ask in return was seva, if even that. People would gladly do seva because Vaids were given angel-like status in people’s eyes. This would open the doors for communication and acceptance with everyone in the village because selfless work was done to help people. The average villager would have recognized the intentions of these social workers and seen through them had they been using this as a tactic to “convert†people, but that certainly was not the case. The nirmallay actually became close with everyone in the villages and offered them advice and provided basic counseling on family matters. Only people who are trusted or holy (in this case both, by means of virtue) would be have this liberty. The nirmallay, would be sensitive to the social climate around them because their history stemmed from a proactive stance against oppression (the martyrdom of guru tegh bahadur, the sacrifice of the 4 sons of guru gobind singh..etc etc). They recognized that the locals did not want to be subject to the oppression or deceit of the tyrannical mughals, hence they protected their children by not sending them through the equivalent public school system. Those non-muslim people who were working with the government had absolutely no qualms with sending their children to the public, moghul run, schools. Similarly, those hindu’s who were rich, had their children sent to elite private schools, but the average child did not have access to these institutions. The nirmallay, without any incentive except the need to empower others, started teaching Sanskrit and gurmukhi to the children of the villages that they belonged to. They used their scholastic aptitude to empower anyone who wanted to learn. They won people over, and many of their pupils followed in their footsteps. It is interesting to note here that the nirmallas appearance could not be as distinct as the akali khalsa, hence it makes common sense for them to have dressed in white or bhagwa (the ochre color worn by sadhus in India). Larger karray and kirpans would be replaced with smaller ones lest they wanted to be known and hunted down by the authorities. They did not have a governing body (from my understanding) because they established deray. This hypothesis is further attested to by the fact that their pilgrimages to places like hardwar required them to eat, have langar, with the udasi’s (who weren’t always receptive to them) because there was no central organization that provisioned langar etc. As the tension between the 2 groups increased and the ties severed; The need for an organized langar system was established. In 1789, the nirmallay had their first organized langar and it was attended by respected scholars/saints such as pandit gulab singh and pandit nihal singh.

I am still reading and will write more.

For those interested, the next section will cover the establishment of the deray and the reason why dates/times became auspicious (ie. Pooranmashi, sangrand etc).

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hello everyone,

I should have done this initially actually.

my source is nirmal sampardai, by pritam singh. It was published by the guru nanak dev university in amritsar. I am doing a translation (with my understanding and commentary) of the article by darshan singh, pg. 453.

enjoy :LOL:

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