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Damdami Taksal Historical Background


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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

This article provides some historical background and information related to the Damdami Taksal. The purpose of this article to not to put one taksal ahead of other, but to set the record straight and provide some historical persepctive to topic being dicussed.

The word Sikh means a student (of the Guru). Ever since the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Sikhs have been learning from the Gurus and the Bani of the Gurus. Long before Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa Panth, he sent some Sikhs to Kashi, an ancient learning center of the Hindus to study Sanskrit, other religions and languages. Those Nirmalas were the religious scholars who help spread Sikhism to a great extent. They were quite influential in converting Hindus and other people into Sikhism. They were also taught by the the Tenth Guru. They lost their old influence almost 100 years ago. Some of them even today posses deep and immense knowledge of Sikhi which is beyond the reach of many Sikh scholars.

The Tenth Guru personally taught 48 or so students. Many of them started various learning centers (taksals or seminaries). Bhai Mani Singh was one of them. So was Shahid Baba Deep Singh. Bhai Mani Singh was the most promiment of Guru's students and senior to Baba Deep Singh as the latter was his assistant who helped in preparing the paper, ink and "kalams," etc. We all know Bhai Mani Singh was the scribe of Guru Granth Sahib. Baba Deep Singh made four copies of the same Guru Granth Sahib. The orginal is lost. What we see in our homes and Gurdwaras is a copy of the same Guru Granth Sahib was copied by Baba Deep Singh

When Guru Gobind Singh left for South, he directed Baba Deep Singh to stay behind and take care of the Damadam Sahib Gurdwara and preach Sikhi. The fact is Baba Deep Singh NEVER went to South with the Guru. If someone is telling you otherwise, this is a PURE LIE unless someone can produce a genuine historical evidence (not something written by a shardhavan, but illiterate person). I have noticed that an effort is being made to twist the Sikh history by some vested interests.

Bhai Mani Singh is said to have accompanied the Tenth Guru to the South, but even he was sent back by the Guru from Baghaur to take care of Sri Harimander Sahib and other Panthic matters.

The Taksal, as we know it, was actually started by the Sikhs of the Guru. No doubt the Guru had blessed Damdama Sahib and had made a prophecy that some day many Sikhs will study at this place and become Gyanis and learned. This has proved to be true.

Baba Deep Singh was a very learned man and he taught Sikhi to many people. He fought battles with the Mughols alongside with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and he was the founder of the Misl Shahidan. He achieved martordom at Sri Amritsar while fighting the mughol forces. The Singhs of Shahidi Misl were famous for fighitng in the forefront and achieving martyrdom. It was due to their bravery that they established Misl Shahidan.

After Baba Deep Singh's martyrdom, some of his relatives took possesion of the Gurdwara and eventually became corrupt Mahants like Mahant Narainu of Nanakana Sahib. Their purpose was not to preach Sikhi, but to collect offerings from the Sangat and offer nothing in return. After few generations all sort of evil things started to happen right at the holy site. So much so that the Damdama Sahib Gurdwara was given as part of the dowry to one of the daughters of the Sardars who "owned" it. It was situated in the state of Patiala. Many Sikhs had complained by the wrong deeds committed by the custodians of this sacred place. Keeping in mind the religious significance of this place, the Akalis were trying since 1930s to bring this under the control of the SGPC, but the Maharaja of Patiala did not let it happen because he was anti-Akali and did not want their influence in his area It was only in the 1960s (after the influence of the Maharaja was gone after his state was also annexed to India) that it was recognized as the 5th Takhat after the SGPC approved a life-time pension for the custodian of the Talwandi Sabo Gurdwara. It was at that time it came under the control of SGPC. Sant Harchand Singh Longowal was its first Jathedar.

Almost all the branches of Damdami Taksal are actully the branches of the same Taksal that was started by Bhai Mani Singh. Baba Deep Singh was certainly a link in the same "Sampaerdayee Prampra," but that link ended shortly after his martyrdom, but Bhai Mani Singh's "Sampaerdayee Prampra" continues to this date.

Bhai Mani Singh had 29 members of his family who achieved martyrdom for the Panth. Here is the list family member of Bhai Mani Singh who achieved martyrdom:

1. His grandfather Bhai Ballo Ji, during the time of Guru Hargobind Sahib

2. Eleven brothers

3. Seven sons

4. Ten grandsons

5. Bhai Mani Singh Shahid himself

According to Jathedar Kirpal Singh (former student of Taksal and former Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib), the Bhindranwali Taksal is one of main branches of the same Taskal that was started by Bhai Mani Singh. Of course, it was a "Sampaerdayee Prampra" or school of interpreration of Guru Granth Sahib that was started by the Tenth Guru. The Taksal at Sato Ki Gali (Amritsar run by Sant Makhan Singh) traces its origin to Bhai Mani Singh who was taught by Guru Gobind Singh himself. Bhai Vir Singh, a great Sikh scholar was also the product of this Taksal. So were Sant Amir Singh and Sant Kirpal Singh.

Baba Bishan Singh Muralewale was a student of Bhai Mani Singh's Taksal. His dera is now in Begowal (which was moved from Pakistan, now run by Bibi Jagir Kaur, former presidnet of SGPC). His student was Sant Sunder Singh who started the Bhindran Taksal. His student was Sant Gurbachan Singh Khalsa, and his student was Sant Kartar Singh and his student was Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. This Taksal is known as "Bhindranwale Gianian Di Taksal." Sant Sunder Singh preached Sikhi far and wide in Punjab. There seems to be no trace of Bhindran Taksal before Sant Sunder Singh. There are several branches of Damdami Taksal at this time:

1. Satowali Gali Taksal, Amritsar

2. Damdami Taksal Bhindran, Bhinder Kala

3. Damdami Taksal Mehta, Gurdaspur

4. Taksal at Talwandi Sabo (Damdam Sahib) that has Gurmat college and a technical college

I think there are probably few other branches in Gurdaspur and some other places.

There are some other Taksals as well:

1. Jawaddi Kalan Taksal (started by late Baba Sucha Singh Jawaddi)

2. Nanaksar Taksal near Ludhiana

Bhai Mani Singh's family is one of the greatest shahid family in the Sikh history. The fact is the current Taksal owes more to Bhai Mani Singh than to Baba Deep Singh because his line of succession ended pretty after him.

In conclusion, the Taksal has several branches. The main Taksal where most of the scholarly work is done at Satowali Gali in Amritsar. It has also produced Teekas of Guru Granth Sahib by Sant Kirpal Singh and Bhai Vir Singh. Bhai Vir Singh did not complete the Teeka. He died before he could complete it. However, he has done real solid work in teaching Gurmat and writing about Gurmat. Even Giani Kirpal Singh (former Jathedar of Sri Akal Takhat who was killed by some misguided Singhs was a well-respected scholar and had produced some books of great significance. He was a student of Sant Gurbachan Singh Khalsa. The Sato Ki Gali Taksal has produced a significant amount of relgious literature.

Gur Fateh

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