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101 Discussions On Seevapanthi(Sikh Order)


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Due to lot of demands from our members, We are now making a new thread dedicated to Seevapanthi Sect within Sikhism.

:!: 1. Who are Seevapanthis??:!:

:!:2. What are their beleifs(maryada)? :!:

:!: 3. Famous Seevapanthis and their breif contribution to humanity(sikhism)? :!:

:!:4 . Breif Sketch on their Lineage? :!:

:!: 5. Relationship with other sampradha's?? :!:

Please Nihal our sangat by making this thread full of information

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I'm not going to type it all up again. I've just compiled bits from my other posts into this article. The Sewapanthi samprda is one of the four traditional samprdas. Below are a couple of posts on Sewapanthis, I've added more underneath.

:!: Can I also ask that no-one copies this without my permission...cheers

There is so much to say about the Sevapanthi/Adhanshahi samprda, and lots to find out. There is literture to read, places to visit and people to meet.

I'm sure you are aware that they started with Guru ji's blessings to Bhai Kanhaiya ji. The Sewapanthis were strong in the western areas, and the central Tikana pre-partition was in a place called Nurpur, now in Pakistan. The Sewapanthis had strong ties to the Sufis in that region, and used important Sufi texts in there derae. Historically few maintained the Khalsa roop, often having cut hair. They lived the life of sadhus, remaining celibate and dedicating their lives to sewa alone. Furthermore, their seva was not limited to humans but animals as well. At some point I hope to write something more in depth in which I will give specific examples of the sewa that was done to anything needing it. Their mindset bordered on jain-like respect for life. The scope of the samprda stretches from those who were pure compassion practically, through to scholars such as Pandit Nischal Singh ji Maharaj from Yamun Nagar, who is recognised as a Nirmala as well for his learning. As such, one of the listed upsamprda of the Nirmalay is the Adhanshahi upsamprda and mahapurush such as Sant Gyani Surjit Singh ji Sewapanthi have upheld this dimension within the Sewapanthis.

Baba Jagta who lived during the 19th century was a profound example of Sewapanthi whose life history serves as a testimony to the Sewapanthi vow of helping others at whatever expense to himself.

At a scholastic level, Sewapanthis studied key vedanta texts such Yog Vasistha and Bhagvad Gita (see Baba Gopal Das' 'Brahm Gyan granth'), but specialised in Tasuwwuf especially Mevlana and Ghazali. Bhai Sehaj Ram, the foremost Sevapanthi scholar, also had a text in which he explains the life story of al-Hallaj along with other sufis. Geographically the sangat many Sewapanthis were serving were largely Muslim, this included the sewa of adhyatmic gyan. Other authors include Baba Lal Chand, Baba Gopal Das, Baba Ram Kishen (who wrote a famous tika on Japji Sahib, soon to be published for the first time), and others.

Other important historical mahapurush of the Sewapanthi samprday include Baba Shaam Singh ji (who did a lifetime of kirtan sewa at Sri Darbar Sahib on the saranda, and also compiled two texts - one of which has since disappeared, which included info about Raag kirtan), Baba Ram Kishan, Baba Dukh Bhanjan ji - a spiritual friend of Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, Baba Kirpal Singh ji of Dera Sato Waali Gali (which many describe as a 'Gyani' institution, when in actual fact it is a Sewapanthi institution). The list goes on and on.

Since the Singh Sabha movement, the samprda has changed noticeably. The present sri mahant is Mahant Tirath Singh ji who is based at Goniana Mandi near Bhatinda. Nowadays Mahant ji sees no need for men carrying water, but for free hospitals and colleges for all. This is where the samprdas work has been focused on for quite a few years. I had the pleasure of visiting some of these institutions, and they are impressive and well-maintained.

Now regarding the questions you asked;

- To become an initiated Sewapanthi you must be celibate (they are very strict on this) and nowadays these are chelae in the deras.

- Bhagat Puran Singh ji was not a Sewapanthi in the stricter sense of the word (he wasn't initiated into the order) however, Sri Mahant recognised him as such posthumously through the 'Bhai Kanhaiya Award' he honoured him with.

- A Sewapanthi is more than a sewadar. The selfless service offered must be exemplary, and is a spiritual end in itself. The service if needed may also be gyaan. Therefore you will find all Sewapanthi sadhus being well versed in various vidya. My friend for example, wished to learn Urdu simply so that he could read more Tasuwwuf writings. So it is selflessness as a way of life designed to reinforce inner spiritual ideals. There is also a specific rehit for Sewapanthi sadhus.

and then...

I can help you with getting hold of the majority of Sewapanthi literature. Unlike other samprdava (Udasis, Nirmalay, Nihangs), I have yet to come across one female Sewapanthi. To my knowledge, there are none alive presently, and none that I have come across in the past. There has been a suggestion that in one minor historical text, this celibacy goes as far as misogynism...but I have yet to clarify this. However, as sadhus, renunciation is often manifested in attitudes towards women.

They are strict about the celibacy to this day. For example, my Sewapanthi friend was explaining how Sant Anoop Singh ji kirtanwale was initially a Sewapanthi, but that he is not so nowadays as he is married with children.

They are also numerically very small these days and keep a relatively low profile. There are only about 40 (I have 41 listed) Sewapanthi institutions left. Each with a handful of Sewapanthis attched to it adds up to a small samprda!

I recently went to Konya, Rumi's tomb, in Turkey out of respect for those Sewapanthis who could never make it themselves and derived so much from the Masnuvi. It was interesting talking to the gupt Sufis over there explaining the Sewapanthi link. One of the reasons the Sewapanthis used these texts was because the locations were they were based had 90% or so Muslim population. An interesting insight into pre-partition socio-religious climate is to look to the Sindhi Sufi qalandhars like Hazrat Sai Qutub Ali Shah who was a fan of Pir Guru Nanak as well as Vedant. There was much common ground.

I mentioned earlier a change in their thinking post-Singh Sabhia. Sewapanthis were wisened to what the Sabhas were doing to deras, akharas, mandals of the sampradava (there are still records of court cases between SGPC and Udasis and Nirmalay) and prospectively Tikanas as well. The story goes that it was Teja Singh Bhuchur who was heading the reform committee, and had set their eyes on Sewapanthi institutions also. Mahant Gulab Singh ji, the first Mahant to wear panj kakkar, spoke to them in a typical Sewapanthi manner explaining that he is a daas of the Khalsa Panth, he has inherited the broom and bucket (as is Sewapanthi tradition) and as such will happily hand over the keys to the panth. If they feel they need for the institutions, take them. The SGPC decided that they would permanently reject encroaching on Sewapanthi institutions. Personally, I feel there must have been more politcal posturing than this. For example, the Sewapanthis nowadays are aligned with Chief Khalsa Diwan. Most Sewapanthis at a public level wear the panj kakkar, and on important smagams give khande ki pahul (generally annually). There was a specific rehit maryada for Sewapanthis, but this seems less relevant nowadays. This rehit is contained in Sant Lal Chand's 'Sri Rattan Mala'.

Getting involved with the Sewapanthis...hmm. Go speak to them first of all. In fact pm me for more information (public forum and all!). I have a couple of ideas!

But something that needs clarifying. Being a sewadar and a Sewapanthi is not the same thing. One is doing our duty as Sikhs, the other is more akin to the boddhisattva vow in Mahayana Buddhism, that you become a complete sacrfice for the upliftment of others, which requires great committment.

Origin of Sewapanthi Samprda

The specific mission known as the Sewapanthi samprda as such was instigated by Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1604 (hence September sees the big celebration of 400 years by Sewapanthis), when he gave his instructions to Bhai Kanhaiyya ji after the famous incident at the battlefield at Anandpur Sahib. From then on the samprda has existed through the tradition of gurdev and chele, with a Sri Mahant. Sewapanthi centres are often called 'Tikana', 'Ashram' or 'Dera'.


Unlike modern jathebandi who have competing differences on rehit, path and kirtan style, the structure of the samprda is more mutually complementary. As such the distinguishing characteristics of the Sewapanthis are not minor issues, but one of general perspective and lifestyle. As mentioned above, it is a mindset of complete selflessness. Every life form is to be worshipped in the same way one would a god. To achieve this lack of self interest requires celibacy and no vested interests. There is a specific maryada for Sewapanthis which is guidance on how to live the life of a sadhu.

Equally the mindset is of rejecting religious boundaries. Bhai Adhan Shah famously had at the dharamshala Gurbani read in the morning, Sufi writings (Paaras bhag and Masnavi) read in the evenings, and a leather bucket in the well. When questionned on this Bhai Adhan Shah ji stated that the pandits would say that the masnavi is written by a malech, and the Muslim maulanas would complain that the paaras bhag is written in the language of the kafirs, the vaishnavites would complain about the leather bucket used in the well. In otherwords, only those who are possessed of divine love, and see beyond the petty prejudice would remain in bliss at the dharamshala, it had no place for fanatics!

hope this helps.

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Also I wouldn't use the word 'sect' more the word 'order'. Sect implies divisions that do not exist and were never intended to by Guru ji. Remember that the samprdas are mutually complementary.

Problems arise when they step on each other's toes...and we can see this problem in modern jathabandi, each competing with the next, which creates confusion, doubt and most detrimentally division.

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Giani Gian Singh ji in Panth Prakash talks about the Sewapanthis. Much older than this is 'Parchian Bhai Kanhaiyya ji' written in the first half of the 18th century by Bhai Sehaj Ram and contains sakhis from Bhai Kanhaiyya's life. This information then appears in later Sewapanthi itihas such as Sri Sant Rattan Mala, Sant Maal, etc.

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  • 2 months later...

A couple of corrections; Although not in this post, but another on the Sewapanthis somewhere on this site , there was a reference to Mahant Tarlochan Singh's murder. Mahant Tarlochan Singh ji, heir to Pandit Nischal Singh ji from Yamuna Nagar, was not murdered by hindu terrorists, but alas, by sikh kharkhoo. I had been misinformed on this issue.

Also, the actual official heir to Dera Sato Wali Gali is Sant Gyani Surjit Singh ji Sewapanthi, and there are photos to support this. However, due to the politicisation of the issue, he had to set up his own dera.

The fairly comprehensive overview on the Sewapanthi samprday I promised in the form of a website, will be up very soon..watch this space!

Perhaps N30 could help have it as a link from this site? :P

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  • 3 months later...

Let me know when is it coming... then link should be up on sikhawareness :D

Oh shooot... i have forgotten about this.. sowwie guys... :cry:

Lets do this now...either tsingh or narsingha if any of you can sent me a banner of sewapanthi.org (if you don havet resizing tool.. i ll do it) to sikhawareness2003@yahoo.ca ... i ll add sevapanthi.org under our link section.


Anand Hi Anand :D

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Getting back to the matter at hand...

Please could we discuss the practices of the Sevapanthis in the following regard as well:

1. Nitnem -any particular Banis (Sukhmani Sahib?) that feature especially?

2. Meditation -any unique methods here?

3. Scriptures -is Santhiya and other exgensis common beyond the Aad Guru Granth Sahib? Do Sevapanthis hold Dasam and Sarbloh Granths in the same light as do the Nihangs? Are there any additional scriptures that recieve prominent attention and to what extent (Koran, Rumi etc).

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Guest Maha_Pavitar

Sewapanthi.org is a wonderful resource (if anyone hasn't visited it yet!)

In the limited knowledge that I have about this order..I'll make some comments here:

There is a strong emphasis on naam simran, because personally I believe that there are many aspects of seva, one of the most important is seva for yourself (i.e. simran).

There is no set nitnem (I've been told) but Sukhmani Sahib should be done regularly..challenge_everything put up a post about this a few months back. There is emphasis on sangat: doing keertan together in the evening and listening/participating in katha.

It must be remembered that sevapanthis involve themselves in spiritual seva as well as physical, being intellectual is highly important here. Sevapanthis are fluent in Gurbani, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit...

The website states "the sewak must be suitably qualified to carry out this duty and capable to adjust to each new individual...the Sadhu could adapt the essential teaching of dharam to suit the language and tradition of each individual."

I'm not sure about the viewpoint on the Granths..but there are many additional 'sevapanthi granths' that are listed on the website..which include Sufi works (mostly by Rumi)..Here are a few:

--The works of Bhai Sehaj Ram

Parchi Bhai Kanhaiyya Ji

Parchi Bhai Sewa Ram Ji

Parchi Bhai Adhan Shah Ji Ki

--Sakhian Bhai Adhan Shah ji

--Parchiaan Fakeeran Dian (includes stories about Mansoor al-Hallaj

--Pothi Asavarian (compositions of sevapanthi sants who sung in Asavari raag)

Could anyone shed light on raag Asavari and why they would have chose this raag?

--Musnuvi Bhakha (Rumi's Musnuvi in Punjabi by Bhai Mangoo Ji Sevapanthi)

there are many more listed on sewapanthi.org

such a beautiful path...

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One correction, SOME sewapanthis WERE fluent in arabic, sanskrit and persian. Nowadays very few are fluent in persian and arabic as there is little need to be in east punjab.

Generally nitnem is fairly standard with minor variations, in the punjab at least.

Having since spoken to Sri Mahant Tirath Singh and Sant Gurcharan Singh, they confirmed that deepa, shank and foolan aarti SHOULD take place at all Sewapanthi deras, tikanas, etc.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

We know that Bhai Ganeya Jee was married with children. No evidence exists to refute this, however Sevapanthi texts claim that he later in life left his family and became celibate.

Now the question arises, why would Bhai Sahib Jee do this? Effectively leave his wife and children in this manner? How is this conducive to the Sevapanthi cause?

Moreover, if it is correct, then how come Bhai Sahib Jee never left his Pind following this supposed event as suggested by the Sevapanthis?

It would appear that this sampradhya began with Bhai Addan Shahi, who came much later than Guru Gobind Singh, so where does this claim that Guru Sahib began this sampradhya arise, for if he did surely such a historic event would have been mentioned in texts such as Sri Guru Sobha, Banasivalanama or Guru Ki Sakhia, which are all contemporary to Guru Gobind Singh's time and hence more reliable in this respect than later Sevapanthi texts.

Please, TSingh and Challange Everything veers, provide us with your thoughts?

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