Gurmat Rehat Maryada

The Points of Contention
Bhai Manmohan Singh Jee



In the early eighties when I had just moved to the United States, I happened to see a Report submitted by an American Sikh belonging to the 3H0, regarding his sojourn of about one year in India. He claimed to have taken Amrit in a samagam arranged by the Akhand Kirtani Jatha (AKJ) and had developed close relations with some of the Jatha members there.

The contents of the report stunned me as he had strongly criticized certain practices and beliefs of the AKJ which he sarcastically referred to as Bhai Randhir Jatha and to its members as Bhai Randhir Sikhs. After complementing that "Bhai Randhir Jatha, like good Gursikhs the world over, are not eaters of filth (meat, fish, eggs) nor do they pollute their consciousness with any intoxicants", the rest of his report strongly condemned the other practices and beliefs of the Jatha. Referring to their use of Keski as a Rahit, he accused them of changing the accepted Sikh Kakaars and called it heretic, schismatic and "an attempt to sabotage the Unity of the Khalsa". He went so far as to bracket the Jatha with "harmless" or so called "minor reforms" such as Nirankari and Namdhari movements. The Gurmat tradition of preparing Gur-Ka-Langar by Amritdharis only, "reeked of Hinduism, elitism, new communalism and totally un-Sikh like". By not reading Raag Mala, "the Bhai Randhir's have attacked the purity and unity of Sri Guru Granth Sahib".

On going through these comments, I felt that all these misunderstandings and misconceptions must be clarified. Hence, I prepared a somewhat detailed rejoinder to the Report and sent it to the 3H0 for their information and record. I also felt that these same views persisted in a sizable section of the Indian Sikh Community and, therefore, considered it worthwhile to try to publish it in some important English Sikh Journals. The Editor of the monthly Sikh Review of Calcutta refused to publish it. While appreciating that the Note was nicely prepared, he did not agree with its contents. On the contrary, he was in total agreement with S. Kapur Singh's views expressed in his article published in the Sikh' Review of July 1978, and he was good enough to send me a copy of the same. He further suggested, rather sarcastically, that the Note was a good one and better circulated in the Kirtan Samagams of the AKJ.

S. Kapur Singh's article was a further shock to me. I could never imagine that such a highly intellectual and practicing Amritdhari Gursikh would deal with such delicate matters in such a casual way without making a thorough study of the various points of contention. Obviously, he had neither read the works of Bhai Sahib nor had he cared to dispassionately look into the rationale of Bhai Sahib's beliefs and practices. Otherwise he could not have said that according to Bhai Sahib, Keski replaces Kanga as Kakaar!

I also came to know that mainly based upon S. Kapur Singh's article, another Pseudo Sikh scholar, Dr. Jeet Singh, wrote a special paper on Gursikh Rahit Maryada on the special request of Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha to be presented in their special conference of Singh Sabhas held at New Delhi in April 1980. The same was then published in their official publication Singh Sabha Patrika of July 1980. This paper was full of misleading statements. It tried to twist and confuse the various injunctions in the Gursikh Rahit Maryada with the apparent objective of creating doubts and misconceptions on the bonafides and motives of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh and AKJ. The whole Sikh world knows fully well their contribution in respect of propagating and practicing the various injunctions of the true Sikhi Code of Conduct in its entirety. However Dr. Jeet Singh (who himself is known to be absolutely far away from following the Gursikh Rahit Maryada in his practical life in anyway), went as far as to bracket Bhai Sahib and AKJ with Namdharis, Radhaswamies, Nirankaris and Gahar Gambhirias who have all been declared as non­ Sikhs. He, as well as S. Kapur Singh, accused Bhai Sahib of heresy, "committing the unpardonable crime of vandalism which ultimately eviscerated (the Gursikh Rahit Maryada) of its tremendous and literally unlimited potency" etc.

Recently, the same article was re-printed in the weekly Indo-Canadian Times - a so-called Sikh Punjabi weekly published in Canada in its Sept.-Oct. 1992 issues, in a serialized form.

All these slanderous accusations against Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh and AKJ cannot damage the personality of Bhai Sahib or harm the AKJ in anyway:

So Daray Je Paap Kamaawdaa Dhamii Vigset. (Ang. 84)

Only those involved in sin' are in terror, the righteous are ever in bloom of joy.

However it is considered necessary to make the whole position clear for the information of the innocent and undoubting Gursikhs who may be led astray because of this criticism from a few so-called highly educated and intellectual Sikh scholars and well known Panthic Organizations. A very humble effort has, therefore, been made to clear all these misconceptions and mis-statements. I am fully conscious of my limitations as I am not a scholar nor have I the divine capacity to visualize the greatness of a Brahmgyani of Bhai Sahib's stature. However, I have tried to make all efforts to the best of my capacity to look at the whole picture in a dispassionate and rational way. The problem with the modern day scholars who criticize Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh, is that they have failed to comprehend the quintessence of the Gurmat Rahit Maryada which is the foundation stone on which the whole divinity of Sikhism is based.

I express my gratefulness to a number of friends who have helped me in preparing this document. My special thanks are due to Bhai Sahib Joginder Singh ji Talwara who examined various points very critically and made very useful suggestions, most of which have been incorporated in the final text.

Humble Servant of the Khalsa Panth,
Manmohan Singh
April 1993.

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