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Sanatan Sikhi (Sampradhyas) Discussion 101


Guest Sardar Moderator Singh
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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Gur Fateh Parvaan Hove!

The Sikh Awareness Team invite all to contribute to this discussion which is very much in the limelight at present given the recent set of talks across London and the events online and in the public with respect to what is termed ‘Sanatan Sikhi’.

The purpose of this 101 Discussion is for more academic purposes (as will be apparent from the initial questions raised below) and is not in anyway mentioned here to prove or disprove the existence, qualifications, authority or validity of the Sanantan Sikh Sampradhyas and lifestyle.

It is therefore mentioned here at the outset that in order for this to be a productive discussion, we urge all to bring forth objective observations, critique, analysis, questions or thoughts on the topic at hand and not any personal issues with individuals.

Please ensure that you have read previous posts in order for the discussion to develop and for those unfamiliar with Sanatan Sikhs, publicly available information can be found on their own websites:-

www.sarbloh.com

www.buddhadal.org

www.shastarvidiya.org

www.sewapanthi.org

www.udasi.org (this site is not one managed by the UK Nihangs, although is a Sanatan Sikh site)

Cursory posts will be deleted and insults hurled towards individuals not tolerated.

We hope this provides a central point for academic cross-referencing and discussion on all that is Sanatan Sikhi (which by its very nature is huge!). Where possible, references to all texts quoted shall be appreciated (in the case of Shabds, please use any of the Sikhitothemax, Sikhnet and other websites to give you the necessary panna numbers etc).

Initial questions to follow shortly...

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

We begin our discussion with the Sevapanthis in a bid to further understand their origins and reconcile some areas of ambiguity arising from textual references. The extracts taken from the aforementioned sites are numbered below in order to make our questions more easily referenced.

It is clear that the majority of accounts used by the Sewapanthi website and Sarbloh are naturally inclined to those written by Sewapanthis themselves or by Udasis given the close links between the two (as elucidated on the website). Outside of this the accounts given are taken from 20th century sources like Prof Puran Singh.

The main question which we would like to pose to the forum concerns the origins of this sampradhya which comes from the sakhi of Bhai Khanaiya Ji. Likewise the Udasi sampradhya with Baba Sri Chand and the passing of the gurgaddi to Baba Gurditta (son of Guru Hargobind Sahib) and recieving blessings from Guru Gobind Singh. The Nirmala account of Guru Sahib sending 5 Sikhs to Kansi is cited as the origins of this sampradhya.

The query then arises, that contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh such as Kavi Sainapati and Kesar Singh Chibbar (one of the Guru Ghar’s prohits) in their respective texts Sri Guru Sohba and Banasilvalanama do not mention anywhere accounts of Guru Sahib providing such blessings to any sampradhya other than the Khalsa Panth.

Sri Guru Sohba does have the sakhi of Bhia Khanaiya Ji however it does not mention any establishment of an order or following blessed by Guru Gobind Singh termed the Sevapanthis. In fact, this text was completed in 1711 (3 years after Guru Gobind Singh’s physical passing), given both Bhai Khanaiya Ji and Bhai Addan Shahi were contemporaries of this time, it surprising that neither Sevapanthis nor Addan Shahis are mentioned here as Sampradhyas.

Similarly, no mention is made of any establishment of the Nirmalas or Udasis in the manner suggested on the Sanatan sites, which rely on later texts written by Nirmalas and Sevapanthis to trace back their lineage and creation.

In addition, the Sakhi indicates Bhai Khanaiya Ji to have been Gristhi (married) with children, so why the insistence on Sevapanthis to be celibate? Tsingh has on this elsewhere on this forum indicated that this celibacy does to the extent of misogynism, how do we reconcile such practices with the supposed founder of this order when his own lifestyle indicates to the contrary?

A historical event such as that of the Khalsa Initiation (for the establishment of the Singh Khalsas and the Nihang Khalsa) is clearly captured by all contemporary sources, be they Sikh or otherwise, however there appears to be a striking void when it comes to mention the origins of the other 3 sampradhyas, not even an indication of Guru Sahib ‘blessing’ these orders.

More questions will follow, let us begin with understanding this matter and how we can reconcile later texts (as employed by the Sanatanist websites) and the present existence of these orders with this glaring gap in our textual sources.

[Please note, to argue that not everything is captured (or as Narsinga once put, this would mean recording one ‘crapping in their diapers’) is not a sufficient argument to justify this lack reference and certainly doesn’t academically verify this absence of facts.]

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Sevapanthi:

According to the Sewapanthi website:

1) At the time of Bhai Adhan Shah and after, Sewapanthis were also known as Adhanshahis (those of Adhan Shah). The two terms have been used interchangeably to identify this order.

2) Bhai Kanhayya Ji’s account is also given indicating his birth in 1648 and association with the 8th, 9th and 10th Sikh Gurus. Guru Tegh Bahadur is said to have rewarded him with a “topi” for his seva and sent him to propagate dharam in the west.

3) He (Bhai Kanhayaa Ji) passed on leadership of the Sewapanthi samparda to his first disciple Baba Seva Ram ji.

4) Bhai Adhan Ji was born in 1668 in Laou of Jhang district (and) spent his early life in his village with his first spiritual mentor, Sant Baba Gurdas Dakkhani ji an Udasi Baba and famous Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Upon meeting Baba Sewa Ram, the second Sewapanthi Sri Mahant, in 1713 Bhai Adhan ji became a chela of Baba Sewa Ram. (source cited: Sri Sant Rattan Mala).

5) To become a Sewapanthi, the individual must be accepted as a chela on the condition of leading a virakat lifestyle. For more information on other aspects of the Sewapanthi lifestyle see the Santan di rehit. A Sewapanthi sadhu therefore cannot be grishti (householder or married).

www.sarbloh.info narrates the following areas:

6) Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh...Sikhs to wear weapons and learn the arts of war...(but)...exempted Khanaiya and his followers from military duty and told him to carry on performing the duty allotted him by his reverend father Akali Guru Tegh Bahadur of serving all living beings.

7) Guru (Gobind Singh)...order(ed) Khanaiya to continue (his work and) gave him a medicine chest as a gift. He then blessed him saying after him shall be a Sikh order who will serve all mankind indiscriminately.

8) After Bhai Khanaiya his Sikh order came to be known as ‘Seva Panthis’ (The path of servers). This name came through Bhai Khanaiya’s disciple Seva Ram. Seva Panthis are also known as 'Addan Shahia'. This name is derived from another of Bhai Khanaiya’s disciples Addan Shah.

This process will be repeated over the course of the coming weeks for Nirmalas and Udasis and the accounts given for their origins (in the interim, please refer to the above mentioned sites).

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again very good questions,

lets look at a couple of things first,

much of what is out there is not ever readily or fully discussed. In india, even now, in villages people will still bow to maree's of old pirs, I saw a shahgird of a sufi saint named baba jawala das, and his actions were like those of sevapanthi's but he was not sikh at all. Yet, they have akhand paats at his main center in the villages "soosa, district hoshiarpur..

Now, 40 years ago, he was living, he had somewhat of a following. If tommorow, people start following his path and a disruption is caused or come commotion is caused...people will cite it, otherwise, no one cares. That is probably the same thing with many of these groups. We must remember that those accounts of history we all focus on have been projected and marketed in a way that we tend to follow the sequence it is given to us in.

pandit ganesha singh's text "bharat mat darpan" discusses these and other sects. There was a time where everyone was becoming sant nirankari or radhasoami...well what happened to the niranjanias or the brahm betay's or other groups? like many groups, these groups all have their time, then money or marketing keeps them alive.

Look at many modern day sants...it is almost a standard that guru gobind singh ji has given them darshan. It won't be too far fetched to see in the future that they were given direct blessing by guru sahib either. I am not saying this with any disrespect as I have drawn alot of inspiration from sants, but I am speaking in general

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Gur Fateh!

CORRECTION:- I would like to point out that and correct my earlier error in reference concerning the Sevapanthis. The text in question is in fact Gurbilas P10 by Koer Singh and not Sri Gur Sohba as indicated above.

The question nonetheless still stands...

Interestingly, this (Gurbilas p10) is a text used frequently by the Sanatan Sikh websites and in fact Veer Narsingha himself has made many references to this text on this forum as well. In any event, hopefully this thread will allow for some further discussion of Sanatan and Puratan Sikhi...

Enjoy!

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according to swami gangashweranand,the udasi samparda started from brahma’s four sons: sanak, snandan, snatan, snath kumar… Since sant kumar is the eldest he has been attributed with being the starter (aad).

The main belief with this theory is that in kalyug, guru nanak has taken this responsibility and he has instructed his son baba sri chand to propogate and spread dharam…(udasi mat darpan..pages 483-486). Swami gangashweranand has traced the lineage back directly to snath kumar… the following lines from baba sri chand are indicative of this:

“brahma di pothi pustak sankar sanjam bhaari.

Oh (oankar that is khula )sabad guru nanak deena, snakadhik ke brahmchaari.â€

Sant ren, the person who guru nanak met during sacha sauda, according to max macauliffe has stated in his granth, (sri mat nanak dhig vijya) that guru nanak started the udasi sampardaya . All the old texts state that guru nanak was the guru and sri chand was a baba, with guru nanak being the guru of his son.

This being said, I believe snatan is a misappropriated word as it is a mat in itself, as sikhs we believe in SIKH-mat, Gur-mat....and yes it can be puratan...dharam, in its completeness as a word (and understood by the layman as a being universal truths) encompasses the word "snatan".

calling dharam or sikhi, or any mat "snatan" is like calling a vacuum cleaner a "hoover".

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according to swami gangashweranand,the udasi samparda started from brahma’s four sons: sanak, snandan, snatan, snath kumar… Since sant kumar is the eldest he has been attributed with being the starter (aad).

The main belief with this theory is that in kalyug, guru nanak has taken this responsibility and he has instructed his son baba sri chand to propogate and spread dharam…(udasi mat darpan..pages 483-486). Swami gangashweranand has traced the lineage back directly to snath kumar… the following lines from baba sri chand are indicative of this:

“brahma di pothi pustak sankar sanjam bhaari.

Oh (oankar that is khula )sabad guru nanak deena, snakadhik ke brahmchaari.”

Sant ren, the person who guru nanak met during sacha sauda, according to max macauliffe has stated in his granth, (sri mat nanak dhig vijya) that guru nanak started the udasi sampardaya . All the old texts state that guru nanak was the guru and sri chand was a baba, with guru nanak being the guru of his son.

This being said, I believe snatan is a misappropriated word as it is a mat in itself, as sikhs we believe in SIKH-mat, Gur-mat....and yes it can be puratan...dharam, in its completeness as a word (and understood by the layman as a being universal truths) encompasses the word "snatan".

calling dharam or sikhi, or any mat "snatan" is like calling a vacuum cleaner a "hoover".

To add on drawof beautiful post. :D

I was reading Akaal Ustat english translations by Surinder Singh Kohli. page- 39 in his book.

Came across to this verse.

Kaie Dev Ad Kumar, Kaie Kirsan Bisan Avtar ||

Created many gods, and Adi Kumars, sons of brahma (Sanak, Sanndan, Sanatan and Sanat Kumar), many Krishnas and incarations of Vishnu.

This shows Sanatan word is misused by Nihangs. In reality, the whole sanatan mat starts from brahma son "Sanatan" which is different than Gurmat.

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Guest Javanmard

I prefer Din Illahi. The word Sanatan was only commonly used in the 19th century to be honest and this whole Udasi story about the four sons of Brahma also appeared in the 19th century. If you look into the matran of Baba Gurditta it is very clear that it is Guru Nanak who founded the Udasis. This whole story of the Sanatkumaras is used in Indian courts to protect Udasi property from SGPC greed. Sad that it has to come to that point!

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Gyani Thakur Singh (DDT) during his lengthy katha on Jap Ji Sahib, mentions "Sanatan Mat" many times when discussing the Mool Mantr and its all inclusiveness (and beyond) of various "mats" from Sanatan Mat to "Siddh(a)" mat, through to Gurmat.

Gurmat, is the path that we follow -the "path" of "light", hence it is automatically Sanatan and forward-backwards Veer's comment stand true.

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This shows Sanatan word is misused by Nihangs. In reality, the whole sanatan mat starts from brahma son "Sanatan" which is different than Gurmat.

*sigh*

Rite, back to basics...for the benefit of individuals such as N30Singh who seem to have serious issues with "UK Nihangs" ever since Dam Dami Taksal was not listed as one of the Sanatan Sampardas.

These quotes from the HOME PAGE of www.sarbloh.info:

‘Traditions that are Sanatan are the ancient Dharma whose virtues the Vedas sing.

That [sanatan] Brahm [all pervasive God] highest God,

Sarbloh, is known as king of all demigods.’

‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.549

‘...Siri Sarbloh consider as Sanatan.’

‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.196

‘From seeing angels of death [fearing death] now I see but Ram [Ramachandar/Nirankar God].

My suffering has fled and comfort taken abode [in my heart].

Those denying God [the five senses], have become noble [having acknowledged Nirankar God].

Now I have attained complete bliss.

I have been cooled [mind settled] when I appreciated Gobind [God].

In the body are found innumerable troubles.

Now, spontaneously in comfort, I am absorbed in God.

I have recognized my true self.

Now no ailment of the three fevers affects me.

Now my mind has changed and become Sanatan.

Now I appreciate [Truth] having died whilst alive [meaning being unaffected by temptations of the world].

Says Kabir, in comfort spontaneously be absorbed in God.

I fear no one, nor am I intimidated by anyone.’

‘Adi Guru Durbar’, Raag Gauri, Pa.326-327

Well, according to N30Singh, Guru Gobind Singh ji was also "misuing" the term when he refers to "SARBLOH" as being "Sanatan". Does this mean that SARBLOH is "HINDU"? Does this also mean that SARBLOH (ie, that is mentioned in Akaal Ustat) is referring to the SON of Brahma, and is therefore "anti-Gurmat". Should we now relegate Akaal Ustat as being "anti-Panthic" too, as it refers to SARBLOH. Or perhaps Sarbloh Guru Durbar was not written by Guru Maharaj?

In addition, if we utilise N30Singh's flawless logic, then Bhagat Kabir was also way off the mark when he speaks of his mind becoming "SANATAN". Was he refering to his mind becoming at one with the son of Brahma? Or perhaps he is admitting that his mind has become "HINDU"?

Perhaps now that N30Singh has proved that UK Nihangs are "misusing" the term "Sanatan", we should also repremand Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Bhagat Kabir also for "misusing" the term "Sanatan" (....and in the case of Guru Maharaj, he refers to SARBLOH directly as being "Sanatan")

Perhaps Guru Maharaj hit the nail on the head when he stated:

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

‘Dasam Guru Durbar’, Treh Charittar 104

PS, if you want to "discuss" at least ensure you have READ the source material and made SENSE of it, rather than allowing emotion to dictate your reactions. Sometimes one does wonder whether its even worth updating the Sanatan Sikh websites when certain individuals cannot even grasp what is on the FIRST PAGE. Then again, it keeps me off the streets :LOL:

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Traditions that are Sanatan are the ancient Dharma whose virtues the Vedas sing.

That [sanatan] Brahm [all pervasive God] highest God,

Sarbloh, is known as king of all demigods.’

‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.549

I just read this, very interesting passage, the annotations at the bottom of the page (#19, say

Jis dey guna nu ved, snatan reet vala, athay puraatan dharma vala, kahe ke sadhay han,); (#20, oh ey bram-vyapak (aatam)- man tho door pooya athay maalik).

#19, So, how I would understand that is….the one who’s virtues are of snatan traditions and old/ancient/traditional dharma, is how it (god/he/she) is addressed.

#20, that (brahm) is all pervading (aatam) – is away from the mind, worshipped, and the maalik (master).

This section is mentioned in the discussion of starting with Tva bal…har ki gath kauooo na jaan sakay, hari bhagat adheenee bhaavat haiâ€â€¦ I translate that as (based on annotation 10)

No one can understand hari (the creators) rank/status, hari likes the bhagat’s adheengi…

The rest of this stanza goes onto discuss the mahabharat. Then the next stanza starts with

Reet snatan… (and I believe this is in reference to the stanza mentioned above)…what is interesting is that in annotation #9, it is said that sarabloh has become old, and sarabloh shows some attachment too). That being said, I see sarabloh’s qualities in war being discussed…the whole passage is metaphoric.

‘...Siri Sarbloh consider as Sanatan.’

‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.196

I read this, and concur with this as all the instruments are mentioned, the sounds they make, the odes to god are mentioned, by the devtay (and many other elements of creation) and they have seen god (sri sarbloh as snatan…..) ….sri sarbloh jaanyo… in essence, they see god as “puraana paramatmaâ€â€¦ at this point, I am not going to look into this too much only because I am not doing any justice by reading one passage alone.. this is beautiful and touching.

‘From seeing angels of death [fearing death] now I see but Ram [Ramachandar/Nirankar God].

My suffering has fled and comfort taken abode [in my heart].

Those denying God [the five senses], have become noble [having acknowledged Nirankar God].

Now I have attained complete bliss.

I have been cooled [mind settled] when I appreciated Gobind [God].

In the body are found innumerable troubles.

Now, spontaneously in comfort, I am absorbed in God.

I have recognized my true self.

Now no ailment of the three fevers affects me.

Now my mind has changed and become Sanatan.

Now I appreciate [Truth] having died whilst alive [meaning being unaffected by temptations of the world].

Says Kabir, in comfort spontaneously be absorbed in God.

I fear no one, nor am I intimidated by anyone.’

‘Adi Guru Durbar’, Raag Gauri, Pa.326-327

Another very beautiful and touching shabad. I looked at the 3rd part of the sampardai teeka by sant kirpal singh ji, of amir bhandaar). On page 826-827, this above shabad is translated as…

Intro: this shabad perpetuates the divine qualities of naam…(naam di vadaiyaee)

Line 1: those who praise (do bhajan) of vaheguru, have diverted from having to face jamdoots, and instead come under the protection of (raam gan)..angels (lets just say heavenly beings..to avoid semantic issues.).

Line 2: It is for this reason that their bodily pains and jam marag (deathward/ghostly path in life)’s pain is eradicated and they live in peace.

Line 3: The illumination of naam (naam de prataap) has changed my enemies into my friends.

(this is going to take me a while, I’ll post this up later, with a less choppy and more thorough explanation)

I would like to key in on the word “snatanâ€= it is described as “aad roop, bhaav brahm saroop ho gyaâ€â€¦. Meaning that snatan is used as an analogy for the primal form, or a form of brahm…(brahma’s son is a form of brahma ;)….<although I do agree fully, that this is not referring to his son>).

As far as the rest of the argument goes.

1) I don’t care to even argue about the term being “hinduâ€. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I am neither upset nor happy, challenged or reinforced by this term.

2) In these examples, I have discovered clearly, that the term snatan has been used as “old†and as “primal formâ€â€¦hence, I see its applicability. Its usage isn’t the issue, nor was it when I first posted. It was the “Context†in which it was used.

3) the above being said, I did not read the first quote as being “Traditions that are Sanatan are the ancient Dharma whose virtues the Vedas singâ€. But rather, the one of snatan traditions and the one of ancient dharam as being similar but separate qualities describing the same entity. Meaning old dharam and snatan reet are used in the same sentence and in conjunction, but they are not the same thing.

Keep the posts coming.

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

I think you missed the point I was trying to make. Nevermind. I guess people who consider the Gita as "anti-Sikh" can argue with Bhagat Naamdev:

‘The person who contemplates upon Bharo (demonic incarnationof Shiva] is but a demon.

The person who contemplates Sitla (Hindu goddess of small pox who is portrayed as riding a ass], he is as if a man riding a ass throwing dust (ie. a fool shaming himself].

I will have but the beautiful Raam (God).

I will swap all your Hindu gods for the name of one God.

He who contemplates "Shiva Shiva" (Who rode a bull).

His worth is of a man but riding a bull whilst beating a drum (ie. a fool).

He who worships the great mother Parbati (wife of Shiva).

From a man he will be born a woman.

You say primal goddess is Bhavani.

Where is she in the time of giving salvation (ie. she has no power to grant salvation - only God has this power).Grasp the teachings of the Guru (Highest God) Oh friend (ie, referring to the Brahmin Pundit).

Pleads Namdev, that this the teaching of Bhagvad Gita.

Adi Guru Durbar, Raag Gaund, Pa.874

Narsingha Veer,

Thank you for bringing this shabd into the discussion on Gita and Krishna under the other religious traditions section. I would be interested to understand this from the perspective of Sanatan Sikhi with regard to the lines regarding “Maha Mahi” which in the translation you have provided are regarded as being the incarnations of the Devi in her form as Parbati and lesser form as Sitala and also in her primal form as Bhavani.

There are a number of questions which arise from this shabd and the practices prevalent amongst the Sanatan Sikhs be they within the Sampradhyas or indeed the masses and condoned by the Sanatan Singh Sabha.

Under your sites clear reference has been provided with regard to the worship of the great goddess, Chandi (also known as Durga, Bhavani, Mata, Devi). How do the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa reconcile their admiration for the Devi in line with the above mentioned shabd?

This is asked with respect to:

1.The insistence of the Nihangs that the practice of martial arts constitutes true Chandi-Puja

2.Their belief in the Naina Devi Myth that Guru Gobind actually sought the assistance of Chandi prior to the creation of the Khalsa Panth in 1699 (or 1695, if we follow the Nihang Bible “Panth Parkash” of Rattan Singh Bhangoo).

3.Recitation of Chandi Bani from the Dasam Granth and other sources (Uggardanti, Bhaugautee Astother), which they view as the Ustat of the Devi (as confirmed by their practices of Chatka, Tilak etc, all prevalent amongst Durga worshippers and supporting quotations to support these taken from Chandi Bani too).

4.Belief in the Goddess as part of their lineage (as evidenced by their use of Brahm Kavich and also in Nihang Niddar Singh’s recent appearance in Martial Arts Illustrated)

More generically for the Sanatan Sikhs on this forum, it is well know that during the period of the Sanatan Singh Sabha, the worship of Sitala Devi with wide range of superstitious rituals was prevalent across Punjab amongst Hindus, Muslims and SIKHS –all of which are considered acceptable by the Sanatan Singh Sabha.

During the recent Sanatan Sikhs talks, Nihang Niddar Singh issued a disclaimer that “whilst the Sanatan Singh Sabha leaders may not have practised some of the beliefs and rituals prevalent amongst the Sikhs of that time, they were more than happy to condone them in others”.

The question now arises, in view of this shabd from Sri Guru Granth Sahib, under which the guidance is quite clear for all to see, given its triple mention of the Devi cult practices and their fallacies, is the stance of the Sanatan Singh Sabha not akin to what in today’s corporate culture would be termed ‘professional negligence’.

So, just as you have asked those here who consider the Gita as "anti-Sikh" to argue with Bhagat Naamdev, the moderation team would be grateful if you and the Sanatan Sikhs could also perhaps consider Bhagat Namdev’s instructions with respect to the practices prevalent amongst your Sampradhyas and those who consider themselves as Sanatan Sikhs.

Thanks,

SMS on behalf of the moderation team.

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