Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Guru Gobind Singh Gurpurab Article

Gurpurb) of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji Maharaj - The Lord of Radiance.  A story that really touched my heart about the Guru is about the poet laureate of the Tenth Master, Bhai Nand Lal ji. He was a scholar of Persian and Arabic in the Court of the Mughal Emperor, but hearing about the glory of Guru Gobind Singh, and due to the increasing narrowmindedness of the Emperor, he left for the Court or 
They ask me to say something about Guru Gobind Singh;
they ask what is he to me?
I tremble when they ask me, what is he to me?
Unable to say anything in reply,
I burst forth into childlike cries of both joy and pain,
and I faint away,
knowing not what is He to me!
Only I say Guru Glorious! Guru Glorious and I am consoled,
I slumber in His Lap,
soothed by the lullabies of my own sound,
knowing not what is He to me!
Do not ask me to define Him,
Do not ask me to praise Him,
Do not ask me name Him,
Do not ask me to preach Him,
And ask me not to conceal Him,
One who has freed me,-
Me, the self-poisoned,
the down trodden slave in the fragrance of Himself.
Whatever He may be to anyone else,
To me, He is the Creator . . .


Monday, 25 January 2016

The Guru’s warrior scripture by Kamalroop Singh and Gurinder Singh Mann

he scripture known as the Dasam Granth Sahib or the ‘Scripture of the Tenth King,’ has traditionally been attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. It was composed in a volatile period to inspire the Sikh warriors in the battle against the Moghuls, and many of the compositions were written for the rituals related to the preparation for war (Shastra puja) and for the battlefield. The verses generally consist of battle scenes and equate weapons with God, where the sword symbolises the victory of good over evil. War, according to the Tenth Guru, should only be a righteous war or dharam yudh, and it is true that the Sikhs throughout their history have been noted for their exemplary ethics in warfare. Guru Gobind Singh writes in his epic letter known as the Zafarnama that it is only justified to ‘raise the sword once all means have been exhausted.’ The compositions were written in mostly Braj Bhasha, and some smaller compositions are composed in Persian and Punjabi. In contrast to the primary Sikh scripture, the Adi Guru Granth Sahib, which is written in Shanti ras or verses that inspire peace, the Dasam Granth has a heroic strain of expression or Vir ras.

dasam granth 1
A portrait of the Tenth Guru hunting from the ‘Anandpuri’ recension of Dasam Granth from 1696 AD by Joginder Singh Ahluwalia. Used with permission.
In recent times, the Dasam Granth has been of much interest and volatile debate. This debate has its roots during colonialism in the Sikh reformist movement, known as the Singh Sabha. The most controversial and volatile discussion is that of the authorship, which is the most polemic and opinionated argu­ment that one could ever experience. Rather than being concerned with this issue of authorship, it is better that discussions are based on primary sources, like manuscripts and relics.
There is an intrinsic relationship of the scripture to the maryada (traditions), which includes the shastras (weapons), the Takhts (thrones of polity), and the warriors known as the Akali Nihangs. It is important to consider the historical context that the scripture was written in, and its link with battlefield sciences of the period. Whilst the primary scripture is now predominantly seen in Gurdwaras or Sikh temples across the world, during colonialism the Dasam Granth was removed from its ceremonial role, and it actual contents have been overshadowed by the rhetoric of reformist movements.

dasam granth 2
Illuminated frontispiece of the Dasam Granth, a scripture of Sikhism containing many of the texts attributed to tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666­1708). (Image credit: “Dasam Granth” from Or. 6298. © The British Library Board, used with permission.)
- See more at: http://blog.oup.com/2016/01/gurus-warrior-scripture/#sthash.eSGXVZPh.dpuf

Monday, 18 January 2016

Nasīhatanāmā by Guru Nanak, or 'Letter of Advice

Translation of the Nasīhatanāmā by Guru Nanak, or 'Letter of Advice' to a cruel King killing his subjects for money. Guru Ji quotes to him a story from the Holy Bible and Holy Qur'an of Karun or Korah, usually known as King Croesus. Who was famed for his fabulous wealth in forty storehouses.
The hagiographies of Guru Nanak Dev Ji such as the Srī Gur Nānak Parkāsh Graṅth, and other older Janamsākhiā, narrate that the Nasīhatanāmā was said in a conversation between the King of Misar or Rum (regions around Egypt and Turkey), who was a cruel tyrant, and Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is a letter of advice from Guru Nanak to the Emperor or the King named as Hamid Karun. He is advised by the Guru to do good deeds and be kind as God has bestowed wealth on him. Money should be spent on good causes, and that money belongs to him who spends it. The world is transient, only the True God is eternal, therefore no one should feel proud of his possessions as we are all bound to perish, and one should remember the name of God (nām). You can listen to this bani here: https://soundcloud.com/kam…/nasihatnama-by-guru-nanak-dev-ji
Epistle of Advice
Tilang composed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
One Universal Creator realised by the grace of the True Guru.
One gets a high status if it is given by Khudāi.
Whatever you see on the earth will all vanish.
Always this wealth will not last, even though it may be countless.
Millions will not remain, nor will thousands remain.
Wealth is one's who spends and uses it.
If one shares and distributes it, then it will please God.
The full translation, transliteration and original Gurmukhi is here:

Paiṅtīs Akharī - Translation

The Paiṅtīs Akharī is an acrostic bani about the Gurmukhi alphabet said to be by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is apocryphal as it is not in the Adi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Guru describes the experience or attributes of Ik Oaṅkār with each letter, or the non-divisible advait Vahiguru, which is the ecstatic experience of non-duality. The state of enlightenment or Nirvana is described, where the term turia is employed by Guru, he states that in actual fact there is no difference between the soul and the Super-soul, like water that merges back into water.
The cover shows the Thirty-Five letters of the Gurmukhi Alphabet written by Guru Arjan Dev Ji, and the Muhārnī, which is a special way to learn all the sounds in Gurbani. By the Guru writing the letters at the top and alongside his Gurbani we can safely conclude that Gurmukhi script itself is considered holy and is a spiritual language. G. B. Singh (1950) concluded that it was more ancient than even Sanskrit (which has Fifty-Two letters), and provided detailed impressions of ancient rock carvings of glyphs to prove it (See the table below). According to Prof Anurag Singh and the late Giani Sant Singh Maskeen some of them are also found in Turkmenistan. G. B. Singh has proved that development of all languages began with Runes and Hieroglyphics, which is a fascinating angle on the history of Gurmukhi. In the tradition it is said each sound resonates from a certain chakra, and is said to purify them (see the diagram by Sant Sher Singh on the next page). Each letter and word must be perfected via special methods in order to perfect the banis, this is known as santhiā.
According to the poet Kankan, who was in the Court of the Tenth Master, it was Guru Nanak Dev Ji who first wrote ‘his bani in a language easier than the Vedas’. Previous to the Singh Sabha, Punjabi was written in Persian characters otherwise called Shahmukhi. In the tradition, to use Gurmukhi for everyday purposes was considered a tankha (not within maryada), and to throw away Gurmukhi characters was considered a gross violation of rahit, due to the prāṇa or life force they carry. Therefore, any Gurbani no matter what language it is written in should never be placed on the floor or touched with unwashed hands, and the head should always be covered. In the tradition we see Gurbani as a mirror of the Universe, so the more we elevate Gurbani the more we are actually elevated in our lives. Sri Singh Sahib, Harbhajan Singh Yogi, in his Nitnem Namaa states that the ‘The Paintees Akharee gives the understanding of Yoga.’ He also stated that it gives secret knowledge.
You can read more about it here with the translation: https://www.scribd.com/…/Paintis-Akhari-by-Dr-Kamalroop-Sin…

"The fortunate ones admire Guru Gobind Singh; he knows everything in our hearts."

"The fortunate ones admire Guru Gobind Singh; he knows everything in our hearts."http://www.sikhnet.com/news/happy-birthday-guru-gobind-singh-ji
Posted by SikhNet on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Some ad hoc comments about the recent events surrounding Sikh Marriages

The message of Guru Nanak is to accept all religions and that the Divine is one and the same for all. The Gurdwara is open for all to come and visit, and partake in the Guru's free kitchen and meditation/prayer. The Sikh scripture is not prescriptive, and to find information about marriage rites you have to look at the Rahit-name, i.e. codes of conduct. The primary scripture of the Sikh canon is the Guru Granth Sahib which is devotional, it does not describe in detail how a Sikh should conduct oneself in social life. Therefore, secondary scripture, the Rahit-name were composed in the times of Guru Gobind Singh to fulfil the needs for the emerging community, some three hundred years after Guru Nanak. We need to consider why these injunctions were not bound with the Guru Granth Sahib? I would argue that any code of conduct, like any law, is open to interpretation based on the circumstances. Therefore, these laws related to the Sikhs temporal life, were not fit to be bound with the spiritual content found in the Guru Granth Sahib. The Rahit-name  are mostly referred to by Khalsa Sikhs, most Sehajdhari Sikhs will know very little about them, and generally will only accept what is written in Guru Granth Sahib.

The practices of prima noctas by the Moghuls and foeticide by some sections of Indian Society, as well as no widow remarriage, and Sati, led to the chivalrous codes, one of which was to protect women. The community was small and thus had to ensure its survival. The  Rahit-name  clearly state a Sikh should marry a Sikh, and if someone wishes to marry a Sikh they should embrace Sikhism. A Sikh is defined as someone who believes and practices the teachings of all Ten Gurus, and the Guru Granth Sahib. Some would argue that as Sikhism is against empty ritualism, for a non-Sikh to be married before Guru Granth Sahib when she/he has no intent to follow it, is an empty ritual. The Prem Sumarag Granth circa 1700 clearly states a Sikh should marry his son or daughter within the Sikh community, after taking amrit. So, in actual fact the Sikh marriage rite of Anand Karaj was only prescribed for Khalsa Sikhs (which is still the practice at Takht Hazur Sahib, Nanded), while Sehajdhari Sikhs would have had some sort of marriage blessing in the Gurdwara. We must also bare in mind that to mingle with killers of daughters (female infanticide) and of wives is a serious kurehat, or major break from the Khalsa code,  but those who marry their daughters to a non Sikh is  a minor transgression or tankha.
Nowadays, we can see young Sikh males dressing up as a Singh and keeping their beard for the day and carrying a sword, and then later on shave their beard. It was probably for this reason that this injunction of being amritdhari for marriage was made. Some Khalsa Sikhs argue that Sehajdhari Sikhs should not be allowed to have an Anand Karaj. This change in tradition occurred the time of British with the introduction of the Anand Marriage Act in 1909, which was adopted by the Singh Sabha. It states:

3. Exemption of certain marriages from Act: Nothing in this Act shall apply to -- (a) any marriage between persons not professing the Sikh religion, or’

Since then the position of women has changed worldwide and in the West women are economically independent and have much more freedom. In our secular societies, religion plays a very little role in most peoples lives, and in the West there have been increasing numbers of mixed marriages. Which led to the Akal Takht Sahib issuing a ‘Sandesh’ or advice, which some may argue is different from a ‘Hukam’ or encyclic edict. This ‘Sandesh’ states that to be a Sikh the person must have Singh or Kaur in their name. Sikhs do this at birth, but in reality this title is only officially given to Amritdhari Sikhs. The Sikh Rahit Maryada (1955) states:
Article XVIII - Anand Sanskar (Lit. Joyful Ceremony)
a. A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the prospective spouse’s caste and descent.
b. A Sikh’s daughter must be married to a Sikh.
c. A Sikh’s marriage should be solemnized by Anand marriage rites.
k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony.

Point A is not adhered to as many Sikhs marry within their caste. Point B is that it is to interesting to note that it is about a daughter rather than a son. Point C is also interesting as this deviates away from traditional Rahitname.
The issue behind the protests is that those individuals, who are predominantly male, see these marriages as the loss of a member of the Sikh community, to another. It would be interesting to find out if they have protested at the weddings of Sikh males, with non-Sikh females. This group has employed the Rahitname to support their protests, and seem to have coaching on tactics to employ against the police also. One of the Committee members discussed the issues with the group who said ‘ We are only following the maryada (injunctions) of Guru Gobind Singh, to which the committee member replied you know your Pita ji, but not your Baba, Guru Nanak then.’.

An interesting debate was between the Hundal brothers, Jagraj Hundal and Sunny Hundal. Jagraj Singh is a Khalsa Sikh and runs ‘Basics Of Sikhi,’ and Sunny is a Sehajdhari Sikh and is a journalist. Sunny labelled this emerging group protesting at mixed marriages as the Khaliban, or the Sikh Taliban, which Jagraj Singh considers unfair, as they haven’t committed any act on level with the Taliban to date. However, Sunny’s argument is that if left unchecked, this type of ideology could one day lead to more dangerous forms of extremism.
Perhaps, a good way of reaching common ground is perhaps to introduce a Sikh Marriage Blessing or prayer for any couple. 

Kamalroop Singh
Sikh Marriage Act 1909
Prem Sumarag Granth (Circa 1700), see JPS 15 for the dating of this manuscript.
Sikh Rehit Marayada SGPC.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Shiv in Sarbloh Granth Sahib is about Parmesvar not the demi-God Shiva.

An interesting Interview with Baba Santa Singh on the issue of 'Siv sarup'. Where Baba ji makes it clear that Khalsa is not the sarup of Shiva. Here is a transcript of a recording where Baba Santa Singh clarifies the passage from the Sarbloh Granth Sahib where the term 'Siv Sarup' is used. Please listen to the whole recording (not just the first 20 seconds), with the transcript of it below. https://soundcloud.com/kamalroop-singh/baba-santa-singh-shiv-sarup-part-1mp3

0:00-0:04 - Rajinder Singh: 'hon apane jirrey 'shiv saroop' ji baba ji ih da ki'
ਰਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ: 'ਆਪਣੇ ਹੁਣ ਜਿਹੜੇ 'ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ' ਜੀ ਬਾਬਾ ਜੀ ਇਹੁ ਦਾ ਕੀ'
Baba Ji now that term 'form of Shiv' what does it [mean]?

0:05 - Uday Singh: 'ih khalsa kende a ke shiv saroop ve khalse nu ve kende dende'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ: ਇਹੁ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਕਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਵੀ ਖਾਲਸੇ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਕਹਿੰਦੇ ਦਹਿੰਦੇ.
This Khalsa [Rajinder Singh] is saying that 'the form of Shiv' is also given to the Khalsa.

0:08 - Rajinder Singh: 'khalsa nu shiv saroop vi kenda'
ਰਜਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ: ਖਾਲਸਾ ਨੂੰ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਵੀ ਕਹਿੰਦੇ
The Khalsa is also called 'Shiv Sarup'

0:11-0:19 Baba Santa Singh: 'shiv saroop hai farla....... kesha'
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ 'ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਹੈ ਫਰਲਾ.... ਕੇਸ਼ਾ'
The form of Shiv is the farla....the kesh.

0:20 - 0:45 Uday Singh: 'ik mint sanu gal baba nu nu bolan devoh ik mint sanu gal mai baitha sanu gal' ih neela kende shiv saroop ih viakhia chaundey jadda ih shiv sarup jimme, bharat na sambat hai ga ji'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ: ਏਕ ਮਿੰਟ ਸਾਨੂ ਗਲ ਬਾਬਾ ਨੂ ਬੋਲਣ ਦੇਵੋ ਏਕ ਮਿੰਟ ਸਾਨੂ ਮੈਂ ਬੇਠਾ ਸਾਨੂ ਗਲ ' ਇਹ ਨੀਲਾ ਕੇਂਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਇਹ ਵਿਆਖਿਆ ਚਾਉਂਦੇ ਜਾਦਾ ਇਹ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਜਿਮ੍ਮੇ ਭਾਰਤ ਨੇ ਸੰਬਤ ਹੈ ਜੀ
One minute, listen to what Baba ji says and let him speak, I am sitting here, please listen. This blue bana of the form of Shiv, they want a greater explantion of it, about this form of Shiv, does it have a relationship with Indian [mythology]?

0:46 - Baba Santa Singh: 'Nahi'.
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ: ਨਹੀ

0:49 - Uday Singh: 'Shiv Sarup khalse nu kaley 'shiv sarup' kehya gaya ih dey barey'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ: ' ਸਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਨੂ ਕਲੇ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਕਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ ਇਹ ਦੇ ਬਾਰੇ
Why is the Khalsa called 'Shiv Sarup' they are asking about this?

0:52 - Baba Santa Singh: Khalsa pardhan hai pardhan Khalsa
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ: ਖਾਲਸਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਹੈ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਹੈ
The Khalsa is the highest, the highest is the Khalsa.

0:54 - Uday Singh: 'Shiv matlab Akal Purakh da naam hai?'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ : ਸ਼ਿਵ ਮਤਲਬ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਹੈ ?
Is the name Shiv the name of Akal Purakh (God)?

0:57 - Baba santa singh: hai 'yes'
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ : ਹਾਂ "ਯੇਸ"

0:58 - Uday Singh: akali apa man dey akal purakh akali akal purakh ki fauj hai
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ: ਅਕਾਲੀ ਆਪਾ ਮਾਣਦੇ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੀ ਫੋਜ ਹੈ
The Akalis we believe that the Akalis are of Akal Purakh and [his] army.

1:01 - 1:08 - Baba Santa Singh: hanji 'Shiv sarup' Khalsa pardhan'
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ ; ਹਾਂਜੀ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਹੈ "
Yes, the form of Siv the Khalsa is the chief.

1:11 - Other Nihang Singh: 'Shiv da arth kenda a'
ਬਾਕੀ ਨਿਹੰਗ ਸਿੰਘ: ਸ਼ਿਵ ਦਾ ਅਰਥ ਕੇਂਦਾ
They are asking the meaning of the word Shiv.

1:13 - Baba Santa Singh: 'Shiv parmesvar'
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ : ਸ਼ਿਵ ਪ੍ਰਮੇਸ਼ਵਰ"
Shiv Parmesvar [God]

1:15 - Uday Singh: 'Shiv Parmesvar da Shiv ji to nahi sambodanhana,'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ ; ਸ਼ਿਵ ਪ੍ਰਮੇਸ਼ਵਰ ਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਜੀ ਤੋ ਨਹੀ ਸਮ੍ਬੋਧਨ
That Shiv is God and not joined to the god Shiva.

1:17 - Baba Santa Singh': na
ਬਾਬਾ ਸੰਤਾ ਸਿੰਘ : ਨਾ

1:22 - 1:33 - Uday Singh: 'Shiv sarup jana matlab Shiv, Shiv ji da sambandat nahi - Akal Purakh da hai Akali vi hai Akal Purakh da sarop ve kenda a ta Shiv sarup ve kenda a Shiv Akal na da nam hai Akal da sambodak hai'
ਉਦਯ ਸਿੰਘ : ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਜਾਣਾ ਮਤਲਬ ਸ਼ਿਵ, ਸ਼ਿਵ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਸਾਮ੍ਬੰਦਿਤ ਨਹੀ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦਾ ਹੈ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਵੀ ਹੈ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦਾ ਸਰੂਪ ਵੀ ਕੇਂਦਾ ਤਾ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸਰੂਪ ਵੀ ਕੇਂਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਅਕਾਲ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਹੈ ਅਕਾਲ ਦਾ ਸਮ੍ਬੋਧਕ ਹੈ.
The meaning of the word Shiv Sarup, has no relationship to Shiv ji, it is a name of God, the form of an Akali is the form of Akal Purakh, which is called the Shiv Sarup, Shiv is the name of Akal, and addressed to [Akal Purakh].

We can only conclude that the individuals propagating this ideology are making fools out of people who do not understand Punjabi, and those that have a limited understanding of their own Mother tongue! They are also ruining the memory of one of the greatest scholars the Panth has known Akali Nihang 96 krori Jathedar Baba Santa Singh ji.

In the words of Guru Gobind Singh from the Sri Dasam Granth Sahib in the Chaupai Sahib, it is clear:

Mahadev kau kehat sada Shiv. Nirankar ka chenat nahi bhiv.
ਮਹਾਂਦੇਵ ਕੌ ਕਹਤ ਸਦਾ ਸ਼ਿਵ ॥ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਕਾ ਚੀਨਤ ਨਹਿ ਭਿਵ ॥੩੯੨॥
महांदेव कौ कहत सदा शिव ॥ निरंकार का चीनत नहि भिव ॥३९२॥
He calls Shiva "The Eternal Lord, "but he does not know the secret of the Formless Lord.392.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Journals of Reverend Joseph Wolff 1832 - Akalis - 1832

In the land of Runjeet Singh (Maharaja Ranjit Singh) are a kind of military, spiritual Dervishes, highly respected, and revered by the nation, and even considered to be sacred. They are called Akalee, immortal. This sect was originally founded by Gooroo Govind Singh, the tenth Gooroo of the Seiks. The Seiks were formerly a spiritual people, and did not aspire to temporal power, they were however in the habit of disturbing the peace of the country, and resisting the authority of the Mahomedan government, from the religious animosity which naturally existed between them. This led to the persecution of the sect, and in the time of Aurunghzeeb, Emperor of Delhi, the Mahomedans succeeded in seizing the Gooroo Dekht Bahadar,(Tegh Bahadur) the 9th priest of the Seiks, who was put to death at Delhi. Gooroo Govind Singh, on his accession to the primacy, invoked the vengeance of God, to revenge this insult, and determined to prosecute a war against the Moghul. After various successes, he was defeated, and obliged to abandon his country. Those of his followers, who remained firm to him in the contest with the Moghuls, he honoured by the nomination of Akalee, or the immortal; and from that time they became a mendicant race. The Seiks became independent during the reign of Furokhseer, the Emperor of Delhi. The Akalee increased in number, and they are noted for their predatory and fanatical habits and impertinence. Seventy years ago, the Seiks established their authority in the Punjab. The Akalee wear a distinctive dress, of dark-blue, and a high cap, in which they generally wear iron rings, resembling a quoit, which the Seiks formerly used as an implement of war. Journals of Reverend Joseph Wolff 1832. 

Akalis - ’ -’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’ (Vol IX) called ‘Civil and Religious Institutions of the Sikhs’. 1848

Akalis: a class of fanatics calling themselves Immortals, and who are also known as Govind-sinhis. These are still distinguished by the blue colour of their garments and by carrying steel in the form of the chakar or discus always about their persons. Goroo Govende Singh added to Baba Nanak’s book a millitary code, in which he laid down rules for carrying on war; and he formed a complete military knighthood…’ -’Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’ (Vol IX) called ‘Civil and Religious Institutions of the Sikhs’. 1848

Akalis - by Cunningham 1849

''Besides the regular confederacies, with their moderate degree of subordination, there was a body of men who threw off all subjection to earthly governors, and who peculiarly represented the religious element of Sikhism. These were the " Akalees," the immortals, or rather the soldiers of God, who, with their blue dress and bracelets of steel, claimed for themselves a direct institution by Govind Singh. The Gooroo had called upon men to sacrifice every thing for their faith, to leave their homes and to follow the profession of arms; but he and all his predecessors had likewise denounced the inert asceticism of the Hindoo sects, and thus the fanatical feeling of a Sikh took a destructive turn. The Akalees formed themselves in their struggle to reconcile warlike activity with the relinquishment of the world. The meek and humble were satisfied with the assiduous performance of menial offices in temples, but the fierce enthusiasm of others prompted them to act from time to time as the armed guardians of Amritsir, or suddenly to go where blind impulse might lead them, and to win their daily bread, even single-handed, at the point of the sword.* They also took upon themselves something of the authority of censors, and, although no leader appears to have fallen by their hands for defection to the Khalsa, they inspired awe as well as respect, and would sometimes plunder those who had offended them or had injured the commonwealth. The passions of the Akalees had full play until Runjeet Singh became supreme, and it cost that able and resolute chief much time and trouble, at once to suppress them, and to preserve his own reputation with the people''. - J. D. Cunningham, 1849.