Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Establishment of Akal Takht July 2 1606

Discussion in 'Sikh Gurdwaras' started by spnadmin, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Establishment of Akal Takht

    The article is originally by Kapur Singh and reflects the thinking of the 20th Century, before the subsequent splintering of the quom. A somewhat different slant on the origins and role of the Jathedar of Akal Takht appears later in the thread, and is written by Harjinder Singh Dilgeer.

    http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/events/akaltakht.html

    AKAL TAKHT is the primary seat of Sikh religious authority and central altar for Sikh political assembly. Through hukamnamas edicts or writs, it may issue decretals providing guidance or clarification on any point of Sikh doctrine or practice referred to it, may lay under penance personages charged with violation of religious discipline or with activity prejudicial to Sikh interests or solidarity and may place on record its appreciation of outstanding services rendered or acrifices made by individuals espousing the cause of Sikhism or of the Sikhs. The edifice stands in the Darbar sahib precincts in Amritsar facing Harimandar, now famous as the Golden Temple. The word Akal, a negative of kal(time), is the equivalent of timeless, beyond time, everlasting, and takht, in Persian, that of royal throne or chair of state. Akal Takht would thus mean "timeless or everlasting throne" or throne of the Timeless One, i.e. God." In the Sikh system, God is postulated as Formless (Nirankar), yet to proclaim His sovereignty over His creation, He is sometimes referred to as sultan, patshah, sacha Patshah, or the True King; His seat is referred to as sachcha Takht. the True Throne, sitting on which he dispenses sachcha niao, true justice (cc 84, 1087). it also became common for Sikhs, at least by the time of Guru Arjan (1563-1606), to refer to the Guru as sachcha patshah and to his gaddi or spiritual seat as Takht and the congregation he led as darbar or court. Panegyrizing the Gurus, The bards, Nalya and Mathura, in their verses included in the Guru Granth Sahib, use the word takht in this very sense. Formally, to proclaim Sikh faith's common concern for the spiritual and the worldly, synthesis of miri and piri, Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), son and successor of Guru Arjan adopted royal style. For the ceremonies of succession, he had a platform constructed opposite the Harimandar, naming it Akal Takht. According to Gurbilas Chhevan Patshah, a detailed versified and, going by the year of composition recorded in the text/colophon, the oldest account of Guru Hargobind's life, the structure was raised on 5, 1663 sk/I5 June 1606. The Guru laid the cornerstone and Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas completed the construction, no third person being allowed to lend a helping hand. Guru Hargobind used the takht for the accession ceremonies which, according to the source quoted, took place on 26 Har suds 10, 1663 sk/24 June 1606. From here, he conducted the secular affairs of the community. From here he is said to have issued the first hukamnama (q.v.) to far flung sangats or Sikh centers announcing the creation of Akal Takht and asking them to include in their offerings thenceforth gifts of weapons and horses. Bhai Gurdas was named of officiant in charge of the Akal Takht. A building subsequently raised over the Takht was called Akal Bunga (house) so that the Takht is now officially known as Takht Sri Akal Bunga although its popular name Akal Takht is more in common use.

    The Sikhs recognize four other holy places as takhts, namely Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur; Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib, Patna; Takht Sachkhand Hazur Sahib, Abchalnagar, Nanded; and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo. All four are connected with the life of Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708). All five Takhts are equally venerated, but the Akal Takht at Amritsar enjoys a special status. Historically, this is the oldest of the takhts and along with Harimandar, across the yard, constitutes the capital of Sikhism. Meetings of the Sarbatt Khalsa or general assembly represent native of the entire Panth are traditionally summoned at Akal Takht and it is only there that cases connected with serious religious offenses committed by prominent Sikhs are heard and decided. Hukamnamas or decrees issued by the Akal Takht are universally applicable to all Sikhs and all institutions.

    After Guru Hargobind's migration to Kiratpur early in 1635, the shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht fell in the hands of the descendants of Prithi Chand, elder brother of Guru Arjan, his grandson, Hariji (d. 1696), remaining in charge for over fifty-five years. Soon after the creation of the Khalsa in March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh sent Bhai Mani Singh to Amritsar to assume control of the Harimandar and the Akal Takht. Later, After Guru Gobind Singh's death, his wife Mata Sundari ji, sent Bhai Mani Singh again to Amritsar on behalf of the Khalsa panth During the troublous period following the martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur. The sacred samovars or holy tank, at Amritsar, the Harimandar and the Akal Takht continued a source of inspiration and Spirit and veneration for the Sikhs when circumstances permitted, and usually on Baisakhi and Divali, their scattered bands defying all hazards converged upon Akal Takht to hold sarbatt khalsa assemblies and discuss matters of policy and strategy, For instance, through a gurmata, sarbatt Khalsa at the Akal Takht resolved on 14 October 1745 to reorganize their scattered fighting force into 25 jathas or bands of about 100 warriors each. By another gurmata on Baisakhi, 29 March 1748 the sarbatt khalsa meeting, again, at Akal Takht, formed the Dal Khalsa or the army of the Khalsa consisting of 11 mists or divisions. On Divali, 7 November 1760, the sarbatt khalsa resolved to attack and occupy Lahore (till then Sikhs had not occupied any territory, their only possession being the small fortress of Ram Rauni or Ramgarh they had built at Amritsar in 1746). Akal Takht was again the venue of the sarbatt khalsa on Baisakhi day, 10 April 1763, when through gurmata it was decided to go out to the help of a Brahman who had brought the complaint that his wife had been forcibly abducted by the Afghan chief of Kasur.

    Even after the Punjab had been parceled into Several Sikh independencies or kingdoms. Amritsar remained the common capital where all sardars or chiefs had built their bungas and stationed their vamps or agents. But as the need for a common strategy and action decreased and rivalries among the mist chiefs raised their head, sarbatt khalsa and correspondingly the Akal Takht lost their political pre-eminence. Maharaja Ranjit Singh felt little need for sarbatt khalsa assemblies after 1805 when it was summoned to consider the question whether or not the fugitive Maratha prince Jasvant Rao Holkar be assisted against the British. The religious authority of the Akal Takht, however, remained intact and the State never challenged it in any manner.

    There are in fact instances of the State showing subservience as in the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself responding to the summons from the Akal Takht and accepting for a moral misdemeanor penalty imposed by its custodian, Akal Phula Singh, who had fought as a loyal soldier in several of the Maharaja's military campaigns. In spite of its supremacy in the matter of enforcing religious discipline, Akal Takht discharges no divine dispensation. It remits no sins, nor does it invoke God's wrath upon anyone.

    On several occasions during the eighteenth century, Akal Takht shared with the Harimandar desecration and destruction at the hands of Mughal satraps and Afghan invaders. Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had razed the Harimandar in 1762, again attacked Amritsar in December 1764. On this occasion a small band of 30 Sikhs under their leader, Nihang Gurbakhsh Singh stationed there to serve and protect the Akal Takht, came out to dare the invading horde and fell fighting to the last man. Ahmad Shah had the Akal Bunga completely demolished. Sikhs, however, continued to hold the sarbatt khalsa in front of the ruins and decided at one such gathering on Baisakhi, 10 April 1765, to rebuild the Akal Bunga as well as the Harimandar. Funds for this purpose had already been set apart from the pillage of Sirhind in January 1764. The work was entrusted to Bhai Des Raj, who was also furnished with Guru ki Mohar or the Guru's seal to enable him to raise more funds. The construction of the ground floor of the Akal Bunga was completed by 1774. The rest of the five - storeyed domed edifice was completed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The gilded dome atop the building was built by Hari Singh Nalva at his own expense. The facade of the first four storeys including the basement (originally ground floor but rendered partly below ground level because of the raising of the level of the circumambulatory terrace in front) had a semi-circular orientation. The ground door was a large hall With an attached pillared marble portico. The facades of the next two floors had projected eaves supported on decorative brackets. The facade of the third floor, a large hall with galleries on the sides, had cupped arched openings, nine in number. The exterior of the fourth floor, covering the central hall of the lower floor, was decorated with projected ornamental eaves and a domed kiosk at each corner. The Guru Granth Sahib was seated on the first floor, where the jathedar of the Akal Takht also took his seat. The second floor was used for important meetings and also for amrit prachar, administration of the initiation of the Khalsa. The hall on the third floor was used especially for the meetings of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee until a separate office block, called Teja Singh Samundari Hall, was constructed for the purpose during the 1930's.

    The beautiful and sacred edifice was destroyed in the army action, called Operation Blue Star, in early June 1984. The Government of India got the building reconstructed in order to assuage the injured feelings of the Sikhs, but this was not acceptable to them. The reconstructed building was demolished in early 1986 to be replaced by one raised through kar-seva, voluntary free service of the Panth and by money accruing from voluntary donations.

    After the death of Guru Gobind Singh with whom ceased the line of living Gurus, hukamnamas were issued in the name of the Khalsa Panth from the different takhts, especially Akal Takht at Amritsar. Any Sikh transgressing the religious code could be summoned, asked to explain his conduct and punished. Disobedience amounted to social ostracism of an individual or the group concerned. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 19th century ruler of the Punjab, was summoned by Akali Phula Singh, the then jathedar of Akal Takht, for violating established norms of Sikh behavior. Among instances from recent history a striking one is that of Teja Singh of Bhasaur who was censured for the liberties, he was taking with the Sikh canon. A hukamnama issued from the Akal Takht on 26 Savan 1985 sk/9 August 1928 read: "The Panch Khalsa Diwan (Panch Khand. ), Bhasaur, has published books called Gurmukhi courses in which the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been garbled and its order changed, changes have been made in gurmantra, the ardas and the ceremonies for administering amrit. These are anti-Sikh proceedings. Hence Babu Teja Singh and Bibi Niranjan Kaur [his wife] are hereby excommunicated from the Panth. Other members of the panth Khalsa Diwan are debarred from having ardas offered on their behalf at Sri Akal Takht Sahib or at any other Gurdwara. No Sikh should purchase Gurmukhi courses published by the Panch Khalsa Diwan, nor keep them in his possession. The Panch khalsa Diwan or whoever else has copies of these should send them to Sri Akal Takht Sahib."

    An example of an individual penalized for disobeying the Akal Takht edict was that of Bhai Santa Singh, the Nihang, who for the charge brought against him was excommunicated from the Panth (Hukamnama, 8 Savan 515 Nanak Shahl/22 July 1984). Hukamnamas have also been issued to settle points of religious and political disputation; also for commending the services to the Panth of individuals and for adding passages to Sikh ardas, the daily prayer of supplication, as a particular historical situation might demand. On 26 Jeth 1984 sk/8June 1927, the Akal Takht eulogized in a hukamnama Bhai Sahib Sardar Kharak Singh for his qualities of determination and steadfastness and for his sacrifices in the cause of the Panth; likewise, on 30 Bhadon 1988 sk/15 September 1931, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was honoured for his outstanding services to the Panth. On 20 Asuj 1970 sk/4 October 1913, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib promulgated a hukamnama fixing the length of kirpan or sword a Sikh will carry slung from across his shoulder at a minimum of one foot. On 12 Magh 483 Nanak Shahi/25 January 1952, Akal Takht enjoined upon the entire Khalsa and all Gurdwara ministers" to add these lines to the ardas: " O Timeless Lord, the Benevolent One, ever the succourer of Thy Panth, we pray grant the Khalsa ji the privilege of unhindered access to and control and maintenance of Sri Nankana Sahib and other holy shrines and sites from which the Panth has been parted " [after the partition of the Punjab in 1947]."

    Such writs promulgated under the seal of a Takht carry sanction for the entire Sikh people.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Copyright © Kapur Singh "Akal Takht"
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
    #1 spnadmin, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    Events Establishment of Akal Takht History of Sikhism Nov 21, 2009
    Controversial The Disestablishment of Marriage Hard Talk Jun 23, 2013
    SALDEF Utah Establishment Apologizes to Sikh American Denied Entry Sikh Organisations May 4, 2009
    Sikhism Hukamnama Of Akal Takht Sahib (History And Concept) Sikh Sikhi Sikhism Jun 20, 2016
    Controversial DDT Challenged Sikh Rehet Maryada. And Hukamnama Response From Akal Takht Hard Talk Jun 19, 2016

  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Bhai Gurdas was the first custodian of Akal Takht

    Bhai Gurdas is considered the first interpreter of Gurbani. His writings are considered key to understanding the Sikh holy scriptures. He wrote 40 vars (ballads) and 556 kabits (both forms of Punjabi poetry). These writings are considered the best specimens of Sikh literature and philosophy. He also had the opportunity to be the scribe of Guru Granth Sahib or Adi Granth, the holiest Sikh scripture that was compiled by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru, in 1604.

    The exact date of birth of Bhai Gurdas is not known but it is somewhere between 1543-1553 A.D.

    Bhai Gurdas became a Sikh under the kind influence of Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru in 1579 AD. Bhai Gurdas was the cousin brother of Mata Bhani, the mother of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Bhai Gurdas received his early education under the guidance of Guru Amar Das. Bhai Gurdas travelled to far away places like Agra, Lucknow, Burhanpur, and Rajasthan to spread Guru's word under the direction of Guru Amar Das.

    Bhai Gurdas came back to Punjab after Guru Ram Das left for heavenly abode. He had the opportunity to study and observe Sikhism closely in the company of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Bhai Gurdas also played a key role in the construction of the Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple Amritsar).

    This was a very difficult time for the fifth Guru as his own brother Pirthi Chand was very jealous of him. At the same time the Muslim ruler Jahangir had become jealous of growing popularity of Sikhism and Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He wanted to put an end to it. This was a period of great challenges and difficulties for the Sikhs. Bhai Gurdas was the first custodian of the Akal Bunga (Akal Takhat Sahib). Baba Buddha Ji was the first Granthi of the Harimandir Sahib. During the time of Guru Har Gobind Sahib, Bhai Gurdas went to many far away places like Kabul, Kanshi, Banaras, to spread the message of the Guru. The Sikh congregation was so impressed by Bhai Gurdas they that erected a Gurdwara in his memory in Kabul.

    Bhai Gurdas passed away some time between 1629 and 1637 AD at Goindwal. Guru Har Gobind Sahib personally cremated his body. Bhai Gurdas had the good fortune to have had the the company of four Gurus.

    Bhai Gurdas's Contribution to Sikh Literature Scribe of Guru Granth Sahib

    The compilation of Guru Granth Sahib was completed in 1601. It took almost 11 years to complete this task. Bhai Gurdas not only wrote the Adi Granth as dictated by Guru Arjan Dev, he also supervised the writings of four other scribes, namely Bhai Haria, Bhai Sant Das, Bhai Sukha and Bhai Manasa Ram who were writing various Sikh scriptures.

    Bhai Gurdas was not only an interpreter of Sikh scriptures and preacher of Sikhism, he was a walking encyclopaedia of Sikhism.

    Bhai Gurdas was a great scholar of Persian and Sankrit and of comparative religion. He was a poet of superb beauty. His most famous compositions are Vars, (Punjabi ballads, 40 in number).

    Bhai Gurdas as a Sikh Historian

    Bhai Gurdas has documented the Sikh history in his writings and has solved some of the historical riddles about Guru Nanak Dev's visit to Mecca, Medina, and other parts of the world:

    Fir Baba gaya Baghdad no bahar jae kiya asthana |
    Ek Baba Akal roop, dooja rababi Mardana |

    Then Baba (Guru Nanak Dev Ji) went to Baghdad and camped outside the city. In addition to Baba Nanak, who was a Divine personality, Mardana, the musician also went along.

    Bhai Gurdas's Account of Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

    Guru Arjan Dev was martyred as per orders of emperor Jahangir on May 30, 1606. Jahangir wrote in his Tuzak-i-Jahangiri only 20 days after the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev that he ordered his execution.

    Bhai Gurdas had documented the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev as follows:

    Rehnde Gur dariayo vich, meen kuleen het nirbani |
    Darsan dekh patang jio(n) joti andar jot samani |
    Sabad surat(i) liv mirg jio, bhirh payee chit avar na jani |
    Gur Arjan vith(u) kurbani | (Bhai Gurdas, Var 24)

    To achieve martyrdom, Guru Arjan Dev ji immersed in the God-like ocean like a fish. The Guru merged into the heavenly light like the moth that immolates itself after seeing the light.
    .. I sacrifice my life to Guru Arjan.

    http://www.searchgurbani.com/bhai_gurdas_vaaran/introduction
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    • Like Like x 1
    #3 spnadmin, Jun 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    SRI AKAL TAKHT SAHIB JI
    by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer
    Director Guru Nanak Institute of Sikh Studies, DENMARK

    http://www.chandigarhclub.net/akal.html

    The Akal Takht Sahib (The Throne of the Almighty, The Immortal Throne) is the hub of the Sikh polity. The Akal Takht Sahib was revealed by Guru Hargobind Sahib on June 15, 1606. In 1606, the building of the Akal Takht Sahib was a one-storied structure. The foundation stone was laid down by Guru Hargobind Sahib himself and the whole of the structure was constructed by Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. It is significant that the foundation stone of the Darbar Sahib was laid down by Guru Arjan Sahib (later the mischievous Muslim writer, Bute Shah, propagated that the foundation stone was laid by Sufi missionary Sain Mian Mir) and all the Sikhs participated in the construction activity; but in the case of the construction of the Akal Takht Sahib only the highest respectable and enlightened Sikhs were allowed.

    Ordinary personnel or the masons were not allowed to participate in the process of the building of the Takht Sahib. The Akal Takht Sahib was a royal seat. The envoys and the ambassadors of the royal states were received in the darbar here; it was a judicial court where the cases of the public were decided; it was the highest office deciding military stratagem; it was the supreme seat of Sikh polity; and it was the major centre of philosophical and educational activities etc. It was here that the Guru revealed the Sikh philosophy of Miri and Piri (the Oneness of Temporal and Transcendental). The two flags representing temporal and transcendental were installed at the Akal Takht Sahib. The JATHEDAR of the Akal Takht Sahib was supervised by Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. After 1708, for some period, it was supervised by Ajit Singh who represented the wife of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. Later, she disowned him due to his un-Sikh like style of life.

    Bhai Mani Singh was the chief priest of the Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht Sahib in early part of the eighteenth century. Bhai Rattan Singh Bhangoo (in his book Prachin Panth Parkash) calls him "pujaran sion vado pujari" (chief priest among the priests). Akali Phula Singh was the chief of the Sikh Misl Shaheedan. This Shaheedan Misl had the duty to look after the Sikh shrine including Darbar Sahib and the Akal Takht Sahib. Hence Akali Phula Singh was the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. In the famous "story" of Akali Phula Singh punishing (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh for issuing a coin (according to some writers for having married Moran) in the name of Moran, a Muslim concubine, Akali Phula Singh had never been presented as a so-called Jathedar. He was the chief priest/Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. His name as Jathedar has been mentioned in the books written after 1920. The Origin of the term "Jathedar" On October 12, 1920, a group of so-called low-caste Sikhs, who had been initiated as Amritdhari Sikhs at the Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar, came in a procession to Darbar Sahib. Till then the entry of the so-called low-caste people was not allowed in the shrine before 11 A.M. and their offerings were not accepted by the staff appointed by the British authorities. When this group (after dramatic victory at the Darbar Sahib) reached the Akal Takht Sahib, the priests of the Takht abandoned the Takht and slipped away.

    Now, the Takht was unattended. The gathering, which included the dauntless leaders like Bhai Kartar Singh Jhabbar and Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar, resolved that the Takht should not remain unattended. The gathering selected a committee of 25 Sikhs to perform the services at the Takht. Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar was appointed the Jathedar of this Jatha of 25 Sikhs. Since then the term Jathedar had become associated with the Akal Takht Sahib. (Sikh politicians and writers began using this term without understanding its meaning and implications.

    This writer, too, accepted this term and used it in his book “The Akal Takht" published in 1980; but, rectified his mistake in the Punjabi edition, published from Oslo, Norway in 1986).

    Up to October 12, 1920, Arur Singh was the Sarbrah (Manager) of the Akal Takht Sahib. He had been appointed by the British authorities. There is no concept of the Jathedar of the Akal Takht Sahib. Etymologically speaking, Jathedar means "the chief of a Jatha (band)". The Akal Takht Sahib is not a Jatha (a band). Hence the term Jathedar has nothing to do with the Akal Takht Sahib. Is there any other Officer of the Akal Takht Sahib ? The Akal Takht Sahib is the supreme seat of the Sikhs. It is the hub of Sikh polity. It is the central seat of the "Sikh Commonwealth". The decisions with regard to the issues concerning the Sikh Panth as a whole have always been taken by the Sikhs at the Akal Takht Sahib. During the eighteenth century, all the decisions of the Sikh Panth were resolved by the Sarbat Khalsa at the Akal Takht Sahib. In 1805, (Maharaja) Ranjit Singh stopped the gatherings of the Sarbat Khalsa at the Akal Takht Sahib. According to some writers Ranjit Singh did not want interference of the Sikh Commonwealth in the "secular" affairs of the state. This is wrong , as the decisions of the Akal Takht Sahib were applicable to the Sikhs only. In fact Ranjit Singh wanted to establish a personal empire; which he did.) The Akal Takht Sahib was again free on October 12, 1920. Still the term Jathedar was unknown to the Sikh history and Sikh philosophy.

    During the eighteenth century the meetings of the Sarbat Khalsa were called by the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. At that time, the Buddha Dal (the elderly Sikh Misl groups) was the caretaker of all the Sikh shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht Sahib. Being the Custodians they used to call the gatherings of the Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh Commonwealth).

    It is interesting to note that the meeting of the Sarbat Khalsa gathering of November 15-16, 1920, which selected the first Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), was called by Dr. Gurbax Singh, the Secretary of the Akal Takht Sahib. Towards the end of September the Secretary was the spokesman of the Akal Takht Sahib. Bhai Teja Singh Bhuchar, the Jathedar of the caretaker band of 25 Sikhs, was not the one who had called the Sarbat Khalsa gathering of November 15-16, 1920. So, the newfound term Jathedar is not older than 1920. There is no concept of the Jathedar-ship of the Akal Takht Sahib. However, there is the office of the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib. Sirdar Kapur Singh, National Professor of Sikhism, appointed by the Akal Takht Sahib, too told the same to the Sikh leaders but it fell flat on the simple minds (The Indian Express, Chandigarh, January 13, 1980). He used the term Sarbrah (Manager).

    In my opinion, the term nigran Custodian is a proper locution. Other terms like Safir (ambassador), Bulara (spokesman), Sarbrah (manager), mukh sewadar (chief attendant) can also be some of the appropriate expressions; or else the Sikhs may appoint a Jathedar of the Sarbat Khalsa and not the Akal Takht Sahib. The Sikh Panth, nevertheless, must bring an end to this confusion. The Duties and the Rights of the Custodian The Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib (or the Jathedar of the Sarbat Khalsa) is not a monarch, nor he/she is like the President of the United States, nor like Pontiff (the catholic Pope). He is just a speaker, a spokesman. He calls the gatherings of the Sikh Commonwealth; records the gurmatta (consensus) of the Sarbat Khalsa and releases it in the form of a Hukamnama (the Sikh Royal Order). In the case of Sikh national issues the Custodian cannot issue Hukamnama of his own. But, in the cases of the individual Sikhs, the Custodian selects a Committee of the Sikh Holy men (Five Sikhs) to decide about the issues/petitions/punishments etc. (in the cases of "crimes against Sikh religion", to quote the recent cases of Dr. Piar Singh and Pashaura Sinh). In such cases the gathering of the Sarbat Khalsa is not needed. What is Sarbat Khalsa? The term Sarbat Khalsa means the meeting of the representatives of the Sikh Panth. It is not a big congregation.

    Some Sikh organisations/groups held such gatherings between 1984 and 1987. These were mass rallies/congregations and not the Sarbat Khalsa meetings. Sarbat Khalsa means meeting of the representatives of all those organisations, which owe their allegiance to, and accept, the supremacy of the Akal Takht Sahib. John Malcolm (The Sketch of the Sikhs, 1812) refers to such a gathering. He says it was the meeting of the chiefs/representatives ofthe Sikh Misls and the other groups. The Gurmattas (consensus) of such meetings were announced from the Akal Takht Sahib as Hukamnamas. This practice was revived in 1978, in the case of the issuance of a Hukamnama against the Nirankaris. This Hukamnama was, in fact, the gurmata (consensus) reached at the meeting of the Sikh representatives from all shades. Who Can Appoint the Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib?

    The Custodian of the Akal Takht Sahib can be appointed by the Sarbat Khlasa (the representatives of all the Sikh organisations accepting the supremacy of the Akal Takht Sahib). In the present situation it is not feasible to hold such a gathering. In such a situation the SGPC has the authority to make this appointment. The elections to the SGPC were held in 1979 and since then the Sikh situation has undergone major changes, but, until arrangement for the elections to the SGPC are made or a Sarbat Khalsa gathering is possible, the authority of the SGPC shall have to be accepted. The Rehatmaryada (Code of Conduct) for the Sikh shrines was finalised by the representatives of all the Sikh organisations in 1934 and it was released from the Akal Takht Sahib. In 1986, it was arbitrarily changed, at some shrines, by one group of the Sikhs. The process for changes to the Rehatmaryada is the same, as it was adopted for its passing, in 1934.

    I myself feel that there should be some clarifications and corrections in the Rehatmaryada, but there is a process that has to be followed. This process is the convening of a Sarbat Khalsa. As mentioned above the Sarbat Khalsa is not a gathering of thousands or hundreds of thousands of the Sikhs (which is not even feasible). It is a gathering of the representatives of all the sections of the Sikh Commonwealth, preferably the experts of the Sikh philosophy appointed by the Sarbat Khalsa.
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page