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Why do some Nirmaley claim that eating meat is acceptable?


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jTSingh, from your statement I assume that according to you, Nirmalas, Udhasis and Sewa Panthis abstain from eating meat, and consuming shaheedi degh?

If this is the case, why do some Nirmaley claim that eating meat is acceptable within their maryada?

Enlighten us pls...with evidence/examples if possible.

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I have met with and know of other Nirmalay who use bhang in meditation occasionally, who outlined how and when it is used. However it is done very quietly as it is frowned upon by others including gurdevs! Udasis may use bhang daily. Sewapanthis do not use either. Udasis I doubt (from the Udasis I've met, and the texts I've read) use meat but cannot say for certain. I have yet to meet a Nirmala in India who eats any form of meat. However, alike everything else, there is always diversity. Nirmalay are generally speaking brahmacharya, and live a lifestyle that helps maintain brahmachari, therefore wine and meat are a no-no as they produce 'heat'. Making love and fighting are not events that are likely to occur in a Nirmala's lifestyle (although the latter has been the case in the past). Increasingly, there are grishthi Nirmalay (and Udasis, no sewapanthis mind), and in that situation then I imagine such a maryada is less important, although I've yet to come across anything written on this matter, as gristhi Nirmalay and Udasis are still in the minority.

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jtsingh

A grishti udasi appears to be a contradiction in terms. I suppose a question that arises could be, when does an Udhasi cease to become an udhasi? Or for that matter, when does a Nirmala cease to become a Nirmala?

Speaking from a strictly Ayurvedic point of view, a diet that contains 'tamas' (eg alcohol or meat) would be ill-advised if the individual is not physically or dynamic. As such, I find it hard to accept that Nirmalas, Udasis, and Sewa panthis would advocate eating tamsic foods considering their comparatively (cf Nihangs) non-physical nature and sattvick lifestyles.

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An udasi who is grishthi being a contradiction in terms - maybe so, but I have come across one in the flesh, and read references to more historically (ref. sulakhan singh). It is worth noting that maryada is diverse among samprdaya, although sharing certain fixed principles. This is the nature of the gurdev-shish institution. For example there are a number of historical rehitnamay for Nirmalay, all share commonalities and differences, furthermmore individual parampras also have differences. This is in keeping with the diversification in maryada that exists from the time of the Guru (i.e. the different samprdaya). A system that is dynamic exists through flexibility. Too much flexibility and it falls apart, too little it cannot adapt.

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That is agreed, what I am talking about here is the general trend among Nirmalay. There are occasional exceptions to the rule. ALL nirmalas are not veggies, but such individuals who are not veggie both now and historically remain in the minority as the assumption is that they are to lead a virakat lifestyle, not rajoguni.

It is also historically unfounded to state that Baba Sahib Singh Bedi was alone a Nirmala! He is also regarded as an initiated Nihang, whose family heritage obviously lent close links to the Udasis (still testified in Ajuni magazine from Bedis at Una). He was also followed by the Sewapanthis. In otherwords he was representative of all samprdas. He is also acredited with introducing khanda da amrit to the Sewapanthis.

Nirmalay who are both Nihang and Nirmala are few and far between. From what I have learned, of all samprdaya these two have the poorest relations both now and historically. The belief has been among certain Nihangs that Nirmalay were a creation of the British. The origin of this is in the behaviour of the patiala Nirmalay, and supposedly the actions of Giani Gian Singh, although I feel there maybe more long term historical reasons to do with administration of khanda da amrit.

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This is the area that is most interesting, the early history of the Nirmalay. There are contradictory interpretations of the status of the early Nirmalay. From one source I have heard that even among the original five nirmalay sent to kashi, some were not keshdhari. From others that they were amritdhari and hence shasterdhari after their return. This is what I was getting at on the hint at a long-term cause for the animosity.

The thing I'm interested in is the tradition of giving khanda da amrit among the Nirmalay. According to Buddha Dal khanda da amrit was given by buddha dal alone at the dal's centres. However, history records the Nirmalay also giving khanda da amrit. Baba Bhag Singh ji, Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, both from the Baba Bir Singh Naurangabad parampra gave khanda da amrit sanchars (I got hold of the huge and wonderful Sri Bir Mrigesh Granth). So there is a question here.

If we are to take the Nirmalay as the intellectual end of the Nihangs then that would explain it but I have not come across this in conversations, paintings or written texts yet. I feel a visit to Gyani Balwant Singh Kotha Guru coming on!

Another point to consider is that grishti Sikhs would take khanda da amrit without becoming a fully fledged Nihang. So the qestion arises if the Nirmalay in question were neccessarily Nihangs in their lifestyle.

However, the issue here is, did those who were initiated into both maintain a Nihang maryada or a Nirmala maryada in terms of dietary habits? Looking to modern day shasterdhari Nirmalay sadhus like Baba Jagjit Singh Herkhowal and Baba Gurbachan Singh Bhindranwala, the answer is definately vaishnu. However, I shall have to look into what is recorded about the past. Interesting stuff!

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A clarification;

Having met with and spoken to Sri Mahant Pandit Inderjit Singh ji Shastri of Sri Chetan Math, the institution that marks the spot where the first five Nirmalay sent by Guru Gobind Singh ji resided in Kashi, tradition there confirms that the first five Nirmalay were amritdhari. This claim has more credibilty that the other source I mentioned (Bhooriwalay Sant). Furthermore, Baba Karam Singh was the first Mahant of this institution, which again negates claims that Nirmalay began in the late 18th century.

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  • 2 months later...

What has to be realisesd is that there is an overlap between all the sampardas...

There are Sevapanthis who used bhang - namely Sant Baba Vazeer Singh Ji Maharaaj (Mitha Tiwana Wale). Baba ji used bhang to prolong the time they could do tabla seva with Baba Shaam Singh Ji Mahraaj at Siri Darbar Sahib.

There are examples of sevapanthis who merged into other sampardas.

Bhai Kanhaiya Ji Sahai

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Bhung is strictly banned. It is one of bajjar kurehit. As for meat, only halal is banned. Saying Jhatka is banned is Brahmanvad.

www.Sikhknowledge.tk

"Guru Granth Sahib says that God has never come on this planet in a human form and never will".............

from SikhKnowledge

What was Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh Ji then?........................... :?

"There is a Shabad in Guru Granth Sahib that can make a dead person alive"

another qoute from Sikhknowledge

isn't that kind of contradictory to the fact we should accept birth and death as Waheguru's hukam and also isn't this the same reason Baba Atal Rai (Guru Hargobind ji's son) had passed on after doing the same thing with his childhood friend............ :?

from sikh-history

another "fact" from sikhknowledge

"Guru Gobind Singh Ji did not compile Dasam Granth"...............then why it named Dasam Granth?

I'm confused now................. :?

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  • 6 months later...
Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

This point is well raised and one that has been repeated without conclusive proof in various threads, so we ask that we return to initial discussion begun by Narsingha and keep the bhang matter for another thread.

The key points that over the course of the past year that have been reiterated time and again on this forum without conclusive support can be summarized as:

1. It is acceptable for Nirmalas to be non-vegetarian.

2. Nirmalas have always been predominantly Amritdhari (and hence adorn the full 5 Kakkars at all times).

3. Nirmalas are a branch of the Nihangs, which has then lead to the belief that Baba Deep Singh was a Nirmala and a Nihang.

We note that these our resident and learned Nirmala Scholar TSingh has aired opinions contrary to the above and so too does the www.sarabloh.info website in its sections covering the Nirmalas. Beyond this, the majority of textual evidence relating to Nirmalas would appear to conclude to the following:

1. They have traditionally been strictly vegetarian and usually/predominantly celibate. Since tradition is what we are concerned with, this is what we should look at rather than the odd exceptions to the rule that may exist today.

2. The practice of taking Khande di Pahul is not a requisite nor common amongst them, as a result many do not wear the 5Ks, in fact as correctly pointed out by Nihang Niddar Singh on the www.sarabloh.info many actually wear the “Dhotiâ€.

3. Nihang hostility towards Nirmalas is evident even today if one looks at the views of Baba Santa Singh, the post above by TSingh (himself a learned Nirmala Scholar) and posts elsewhere on this forum by Narsingha and his discussions with Hazoori Singhs and Nihangs in India, who hold the Patiala Nirmalas wholly responsible for collusion with the British and for the ‘sterilisation’ of the Panth.

With due note of the “fluidity†of identities and practices, particularly amongst the Udasi Sampradha, perhaps we could look to address the following specific points concerning Nirmalas which have been aired without question for sometime:

1. What reference do we have for Baba Deep Singh being linked to the Nirmala Sampradha and if linked, does that necessarily make you a Nirmala?

2. Similar to (1) above, what reference do we have for the Taksal being a part of the Nirmala sampradha?

3. If Nirmalas were in fact Amritdhari and “Khalsa†and if we cast aside the possibly biased views of the Nihangs, why would the Hazoori Singhs take issue with Nirmalas to the extent that they not only wrote a letter to the Patiala Maharajas for their removal (taking objection at their wearing of the dhoti and other non-Khalsa practices and terming them “Naa-milasâ€) but also killed many of them for their activities in the region.

Are points 1 and 2 not simply the result of assumption that because these persons displayed academic prowess that they must be Nirmalas?

We hope that the forum will be able to come to some conclusion as to the accuracy of these notions concerning this sampradha and its authentic practices.

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Too much to get through in so little time (I'm not in the UK and can only have a little time).

'Killed many of them' - thats news to me! I have read letters written to and from various individuals and organisations at the time and it sounds like a couple of people were killed, not 'many of them'. You said you had a document you were going to translate no doubt from Bhai Amritpal Singh. Please post it up.

It is very hard to describe and discuss any samprda outside of the 17th and 18th century mindset. It is significantly removed from today's assumptions. By no means is this a 'Nirmala' or 'Udasi' mindset, but pick up any account of the Khalsa, writing by Sikhs, etc after 1700 and before 1900 and you see certain notions and ideas largely ignored today.

Among modern writers it seems to be the norm to assume the Nirmalay fall outside the definition of the Khalsa since (to my mind anyway) they wear peach and read sanskrit!

Now, take for example someone like Pandit Nihal Singh writing in the 19th century. He says of the Khalsa that there were three forms, the yudh types, the householder types and the sattvic sadhu types. Therefore, in concordance with the emphasis of the Guru, all three forms co exist. This is replicated in some latter rehit maryadas which are given for each of the three. Since the early 'second wave' figures of the Nirmala bhekh were largely hazoori singhs, under the guidance of those who had been to and come back from kashi, there exists a direct link. As stated before Pandit Gulab Singh's 'vidyaguru' to whom he dedicates a mangal was a hazoori Singh of Guru Gobind Singh. He also states that the Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh was manifest in two forms, those of the shaster and those of the pen. He himself is focused on sadhana, bhakti, yog, and holds within his writings all the very hallmarks of the Nirmala samprda in the mid 1700s. Thus we have singh roop, being part of the Khalsa, propogating dharm through the pen. On top of this we have parampras which are very much shasterdhari. There are others which are less so. All however are largely united in propogating amrit and having carried out amrit sanchaars historically. The statement that Nirmalay are largely not amritdhari is simply incorrect. I wouldn't say all of them are but for example at a Nirmala Sant Smagam I went to last year, many of the other Nirmalay had visible gatras underneath their cholas. Again many don't wear dhotis. Go visit them! Take a look. A real mixture of dhotis, avdhoots, cholas, kurta and pyjama. All wear kacheray underneath. Others may have taken amrit but don't wear the visible panj kakkar like Baba Nand Singh ji or Baba Attar Singh ji. Others indeed may not at all. I have met very few sehajdhari Nirmalay. It would also be unwise to overly rely on Buddha Dal for such information since Niddar Singh says himself Baba Santa Singh thought the Nirmalay were a british creation until he showed him Lt. Col. John Malcolm's 1805 account of the Nirmalay by name in his Sketch of the Sikhs!

My conclusion is, it is dangerous to talk in broad terms. I always try and leave room for exceptions when I describe the Nirmalay because I know there are. General common aspects; singh roop, guru-shishya tradition, sanskrit emphasised, study of upanishads and vedanta, exegesis, sattvagun maryada largely, big emphasis on sadhana and simran, specific traditional understanding of sikh philosophy. These are the main aspects that immediately come to mind.

As for the Hazoor Sahib issue, this is not valid to make any comment on the Nirmalay since it occured in 1870 if my memory serves me correctly. As I'm sure you're aware the Nirmal Panchayti Akhara was well established by then and was active in the Punjab as well as Uttar Pradesh with the Ramat Akhara (travelling akhara for prachaar). My view is that this was more political than it seemed, largely in response to the Nirmal Panchayti Akhara's acceptance of the help of Maharaj of Patiala, someone the Nihangs felt sold out to the British.

The reason why early individuals who had academic prowess are acredited as Nirmala is because they often themselves directly studied under the first Nirmalas or with the students of those original Nirmalas. In many cases they then taught others.

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You said you had a document you were going to translate no doubt from Bhai Amritpal Singh. Please post it up.

Why do you think only Amrit Pal Singh can provide him such a document? Is there not a single person in all over the UK, who can give such documents? Itni Buri Haalat Hai UK De Sikh Parchaarakaan Di?

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Amrit ji,

I can't remember the details but was it not yourself who originally made some coment about the Godavri holding many secrets implying bodies of Nirmalas having been placed in it?

I have a collection of letters printed by Gyani Balwant Singh Kotha Guru of their explanation of events.

So please, as a self-professed 'hazoori singh', with such a colourful maryada, and close links with nihangs, perhaps you can name the documents or perhaps even post something on those events from the Hazoor Sahib perspective?

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I can't remember the details but was it not yourself who originally made some coment about the Godavri holding many secrets implying bodies of Nirmalas having been placed in it?

No, tsingh Ji. I did not use the word 'Nirmala' in my that post.

So, my question is still there, "Why do you think only Amrit Pal Singh can provide him such a document? Is there not a single person in all over the UK, who can give such documents?" :LOL:

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