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Sects Akhand Kirtani Jatha

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Randip Singh, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Randip Singh

    Randip Singh
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    Hi All,

    I want to start a series of threads about various Sikh sect/groups/cults and I wanted to gather information here from Intellectual sources (those with proper references).

    I also wanted people to analyse these groups critically. i.e. what is good and bad about them.

    I thought I would kick off with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha.

    1) What are their origins?
    2) Leaders?
    3) Beliefs?
    4) Positive and Negative impacts of Sikhism?
    5) Numbers?

    Please reference your sources.

    As a note I read a lot of rubbish on websites so I do not want that regurgitated. I will just delete it.

    The following added by ---- Aman Singh Jun 3, 2009 ---

    They believe in the efficacy of kirtan (devotional singing) and regularly hold overnight sessions (rain sabai). This group also attaches particular importance to the meditation and repetition of the Sikh mantra 'Vahiguru' ('wonderful guru'). The group observes strict vegetarianism and will only cook with, and eat out of, iron utensils. All references to caste distinctions are strictly forbidden. They reject the list of musical modes at the end of the Adi Granth (rag-mala) and do not repeat it when there is a complete reading of the scripture. However, believing that the words of the Guru Granth are literally the words of the Guru, they can be called fundamentalists. Furthermore there is no interpretative explanation (katha) given of scriptural passages, since the meaning is assumed to be clear and transparent. The group replaces the original uncut hair (kesh) with a small under-turban (keshki), which both women and men wear.

    In such beliefs the group reject the general code of conduct known as the Sikh Rahit Marayada of the S.G.P.C., and produced their own called rahit-bibek (bibek means discrimination, discernment, insight).

    They also believe in a different Khalsa initiation ceremony, wherein the five beloved ones, or five Gursikhs place their right hand on the neophyte's head and meditatively repeat the mantra "Vahiguru", revolving around the initiate for five or so minutes.

    Bhai Randhir Singh (1878-1961), initiated the movement from his long periods in prison - since he vehemently opposed British rule. He caused considerable consternation with his vehement demands that he abide by his Khalsa's rahit (code of conduct) whilst in prison. His rigorous interpretation did not allow him to eat out of anything not made in an all-iron vessel (Sarob Loh, echoing Guru Gobind Singh's term for God). He was associated with Teja Singh of Bhasaur and his Panch Khalsa Divan. However, he cut all ties with him when Teja Singh was excommunicated.

    His followers are known as the Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha, which is used interchangeably with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. There was an extremist off-shoot of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha in the form of the Babbar Khalsa who claimed responsibility for killing many Sant Nirankaris in the 1980s.

    The women are expected to wear the turban (Keski) as well as the usual kesh (uncut hair). The importance of the keski is justified by the fact that all the other five K's are external and additional to the natural human form, except for the uncut hair (kesh). Therefore it requires special external treatment.
     

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  3. spnadmin

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    randip ji

    I have tried to find some intellectual sources and was not successful ... Let's see what you come up with. The thread will be very successful and informative.
     
  4. Randip Singh

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    I have read Bhai Randhir's book, but so much of it is based on conjecture I really am looking for some impartial sources.

    I also want to start discussion of Guru Nanak Niskam Sewak Jatha, Raronwaley, Radhaswami, Namdhari's, Nanaksar etc.
     
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  5. Archived_member7

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    The AKJ should be Akhand Brahmani Jatha..is what i belive it should be ABJ....they are more ritualistic . More than brahmins.
     
  6. spnadmin

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    I found something really interesting. :ice:
     
  7. singhisking101

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    Are these people really Sikhs though, Guru Gobind Singh Je said, "Sab Sikhan ko hukam haa guru manyo granth" and Guru Ram Das Ji said, n sbdu bUJY n jwxY bwxI ] mnmuiK AMDy duiK ivhwxI ]
    And their beliefs directly contradict Sikh beliefs.

    Just wondering
     
  8. Randip Singh

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis


    In some respects yes where personalities take precedence over Bani.
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    randip ji

    I think your response is more intuitive than you realize. In fact, in any number of controversies it is a good idea to ask the question: Is what I believe coming from the mouth and mind of a "personality" whose dynamic ways are swaying me, or is what I believe coming from the bani of the Guru?

    A reasonable exercise in critical thinking that can only deepen our knowledge of Gurbani, and lessen our dependence on individual egotism and false spirituality.

    Great thread.
     
  10. Tejwant Singh

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    The only Sikh who follows SGGS in the AKJ sect is Bhai Jeewan Singh ji, who had a stroke some years ago and now lives very close to Harmandir Sahib and his Sevadaars take him there daily on a wheelchair. When he was healthy, he used to travel all around the world, eat with anyone, used to go to all and any kind of keertan gatheriings even the ones arranged by the Dodra people.

    He is the only one cut diifferently in AKJ, I think.

    Tejwant Singh
     
  11. Admin Singh

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    [​IMG]
    Bhai Sahib Bhai Jeevan Singh ji sheds a tear for his dear friend at Pooran ji's funeral...
     
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  12. Tejwant Singh

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    Aman ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thank you for posting Bhai Sahib's picture.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  13. Singhstah

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    I do hope that akj hasn't been listed as a sect or cult! Jatha of course yes.

    I will humbly attempt to answer some of your questions.

    What are their origins?
    2) Leaders?
    3) Beliefs?

    The jatha evolved from what was originally an informal 'jatha', in the sense of just a group of sangat from an area (Narangwal) who loved Guru Sahib very much. They would be completely immersed in singing and listening to keertan, and would travel around the country doing it at various samgams. You can read about the keertan style of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji here:http://www.tapoban.org/stories/Bhai Sahib keertan style.pdf , yes this is a site affiliated with the jatha, but it is simply an eye-wittness account of Bhai Sahib's way of doing keertan.
    I can say one thing, what is known about the samagams Bhai Sahib was at, was that when it was his turn to do keertan, he could do it for more than 48 hours, really so much that no matter what your views are about AKJ today, no ordinary human being can do this. Its actually where the name 'akhand keertani jatha' came from, i.e. continuous keertani jatha.
    Bhai Sahib believed fully in the concept of miri and piri as did his companions, thats why he did stand up against many injustices, such as when a tankhya ragi jatha was doing keertan at a gurpurb smagam. Especially when the british demolished a wall of Gurdwara Sis ganj sahib ji, and he became a freedom fighter. He was sent to jail for this for over 15 years, in this time he did IMMENSE amounts of bhagti and with the grace of Guru Ji encouraged others to do the same. He also wrote many books on Gurmat philosophy during this time which are absolute jewels, and truly explain the meaning of Gurbani.
    It is interpretation of Gurbani based on those given in the books which can be seen to form the base of how AKJ interpretation of Guru Ji. This is not in any way simply because "bhai randhir singh said so so it must be true" type thinking, but simply the reasoning behind it makes sense to people.


    4) Positive impact

    Keertan
    books on gurbani
    encourage mass amounts of youths to love guru ji and come to gursikhi
    contributed many gursikhs to the turbulent times of the 80s
    what else to say :)


    lol, please do support your ridiculous assertation with at least one example

    Please do elaborate, and btw sect and jatha or two different things, also can you please clarify what you mean here, "eat with anyone"
     
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  14. Randip Singh

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    Thanks for your input but I am looking for impartial sites. Not tapoban or any other AKJ affiliate. They are not reliable.
     
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  15. Tejwant Singh

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    Singhstah ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    You write:

    Well, it means Bhai Jeewan Singh ji ate at anyone's house where Langar was being prepared. In some houses where I went with him, the householders were clean shaven and had prepared the Langar for the keertan. AKJ people refuse to do that. I know this because I have seen it myself. Some AKJ people that used to accompany Bhai Sahib to the keertans at these places refused to partake in Langar whereas Bhai Sahib never refused it.

    This is the reason I call AKJ a sect or a cult because they have their own meaning of how to prepare Langar and by whom, which defies the concept of Langar when it was started by Guru Nanak. So in that way Raj Khalsa's comment has some weight. Only Brahmins have these kind of restrictions. A Sikh does not.

    AKJ also claims that SGGS prohibits Sikhs from eating meat which is a totally bogus claim which has been discussed here quite a few times. In case you are curious, you can check the threads yourself in this forum.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  16. Singhstah

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    Brahmin's restrictions is that they will or will not eat food based on that person's ancestory, something which a person cannot choose and which also has no impact whatsoever on that person, for this reason we reject this brahminism. Bibek on the other hand (what you are referring to the AKJ following), is wholly different. For starters, it is not based on person's ancestory, social class or jaat paat, but it is based on that persons SPIRITUALITY, something which clearly has a huge bearing on a person. You tell me what was was the reason that Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj did not eat from Malik bhago? Secondly, there is much evidence to suggest that Langar was in fact prepared by Gursikhs only historically, the equality aspect of Langar is that everyone can EAT and SIT in it, in what way does it make langar less equal if only gursikhs prepare it?
    It is pratan and not by akj, read the following article filled with HISTORICAL sources Tapoban.org (Titled 'Guru Ka Langar and bebek')

    Therefore, for you I have defined how bibek is not in any way brahministic, and neither is it an akj invention, but infact a pratan rehit of the Khalsa.

    Oh and in regards to Bhai Sahib Bhai Jeevan Singh Ji, perhaps bhai sahib had not bibek by then, but I can say with confidence that Bhai Sahib was and is a FIRM supporter of bibek rehit.
    Read: http://tapoban.org/stories/Bhai Jeevan Singh jee.pdf This records when bhai sahib bhai jeevan singh ji stood firm in support of bibek.


    It is quite ridiculous to single out the AKJ on the meat issue. Out of the side of the panth which is against meat eating, akj make up about 1%. It is hardly as if AKJ is unique in its stance towards meat eating, and many other jathas and non-jatha sikhs believe in being vegetarian. And furthermore a few forum conversations are not the be all and end all to the meat debate :roll: It is still a matter of debate within the panth and it would wrong to single out one jatha for its views when it is joined by so many others.
     
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  17. Singhstah

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    It would not be good research to completely dismiss sources regarding and organisation from the organisation itself. There are certainly some problems with using such evidence but on the other hand these sources do have their own unique insite not to be found anywhere else, so they are worth a look. There are some things you just can't make up.
     
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  18. Inder singh

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    Re: History of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha - A Critical Analysis

    Radhasoamis and namdharis are not sikhs. You should know what you are talking about before you write such nonsense.
     
  19. Inder singh

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    Give us example here by citing from those sites.
     
  20. Inder singh

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    Bhut Bhai sahib follows the same type of Gurmat what others follow in AKJ. If he is good ( of course he is) others are also good sikhs.
     
  21. spnadmin

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    Singhstah ji

    First please welcome back to the conversations. You stay away too long between visits. Personally, I have always learned and appreciated your comments, however few the times that you stay long enough to comment. :thumbup:

    But at the risk of regretting my own entry into the dialog (for what it is worth) -- there is a reason why the thread starter began with the premise that perhaps AKJ is or has become a 'sect.' No need to review its history at this point in my remarks. At the present time there is evidence from AKJ participation in media including internet media that the group has strayed some distance from its origins and has taken an "extreme" posture in a number of ways. These include uniquely AKJ practices ralted to purity similar in fact to practices of the most extreme of orthodox Jews, hinting in a way to rituals of practice that are accepted in Judaism but alien to the rehit of Sikhi. Another example, would be the pounding that is given by AKJ dominated media (e.g, panthic.org and Panthic Weekly) when a point of view on almost any issue is raised that deviates from an (AKJ) inflexible and often incorrect reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The net effect is to enforce an unyielding and narrow interpretation of gurmat that is informed only by their collective opinions and not by true panthic exploration of issues (e.g., a recent pounding of the Sikh Research Institute's new gurmat curriculum - which was relentless and full of open and outright ad hominem arguments and completely without any foundation in facts). Callling yourself and/or your organization "panthic" does not make you "panthic." This is another extremist tendency that is used by fanatical wings of other religions to silence, not only differences of view, but also to silence any discussion whatsoever. I will limit myself to one more example. There is a pattern among AKJ to tolerate aggressive expressions of anger among the young. This happens in one of several ways -- encouraging written justifications for anti-social behavior when a panthic issue has been questioned; failing to sanction constant accusations of nindya against people who are merely asking questions or pointing out an interpretation that differs from the AKJ norm; smearing the reputations of individuals through the use of misinformation and disinformation on blogs and internet forums (eg. recent controversy over Niddar Singh); and last but not least, stirring up gurdwara politics in some sangats to the point of advocating violence. I could say more about AKJ machinations in sangats but will leave it at these remarks.

    As for AKJ publications -- Yes, these should not be tossed off as if they have no value. There are good resources at many of the AKJ friendly or affiliated sites that I myself have made use of. But a person has to have read widely to know whether some of these resources reflect a broader understanding of Sikhism or a narrow interpretation by AKJ -- and that takes a while.

    It is because of these kinds of patterns that AKJ seems to be evolving into a sect. Whereas at one time it was speaking historically for the survival of Sikhi and liberty in India, now it appears to be defining Sikhism on an extreme that is intolerant and unwilling to open itself up to dialog with other sectors of the Sikh experience. It stands on the edge on the fringe believing in its own right and duty to impose sanctions and deciding in a very pubic way what is right and what is wrong according to its unique AKJ understanding.

    Forgive me for speaking directly on these matters. I bow my head to and wait for any deserved punishment for my views.
     
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