Many people seems that they need Other Masters/Gurus who can help us to reach liberation/mukti. These people have experienced God and by following them, one may experience God, too. These people may be Sikhs (sants) or from other religions. Is this true? If so, are we as Sikhs allowed to follow these people?
(i) The key part of the question is : “Are we, as Sikhs, allowed to follow these people?” The answer is a firm “NO”. A Sikh is a person who believes in the Guruship of the Guru Granth and Guru Panth. He/she is admitted to the Panth only by Panj Pyaras and they alone are entitled to administer Nam Amrit to the Sikhs. A Sikh is not to get Nam from any individual who claims to be a guru, a Sant or a Brahmgiani (He who has experienced God), not even from any one Amritdhari Sikh. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh founded Guru Khalsa Panth and handed over the Guruship to the Panj Pyaras those first five Sikhs who offered their heads in love of their faith. It is then that Guru Gobind Rai, after partaking of Amrit to the disciples (admit people to the Sikh Panth) and give them religious instructions. This historical event is well known to all the world. Today, if anyone, a child of a Sikh or a nonSikh, wants to become a Sikh, he/she must appear before the Panj Pyaras (not before any individual, not even before a person who claims to be God incarnate), accept Amrit and agree to live according to the Sikh Reht Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct). According to it, a Sikh can listen to no spiritual guidance other that given by the five Amritdhari Sikhs, the Pyaras deputed for the job. (ii) To answer the other aspect of the question, let us first be clear that a person isn’t a member of the Khalsa Panth, a Sikh, unless he partakes of Amrit. Even the children of a Sikh Panth. Just by keeping long hair and tying turbans, as many followers of the Dera Jaimal Singh at Beas, Punjab do, one does not become a Sikh. Anyway the followers o the Dera claim themselves to be Radha Swamis and not Sikhs. A Sikh is not permitted to be a follower of that dera or get any guidance or advice from there. A faithful will go only to a place of his/her faith and not to that of any other faith. For example, a Muslim will go to a mosque and a Christian to a church. They won’t go to a temple or read Vedas for spiritual guidance. They may do so for their information and not as an act of faith. Similarly, a Sikh is permitted to go only to a Gurdwara and refer to Gurbani for spiritual guidance. A Sikh may, however, visit a place of any faith but is not allowed to believe in or follow the guidance there to the members of that faith. One cannot practice and believe in two faiths at the same time. It is possible that one may pick up something from one faith and the other things from another faith which are acceptable to him. In that case one is not a believer or a follower of either of the two faiths. It is practicing according to one’s convenience and not following any faith.
(iii) During the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a holy man preached the Sikh faith and he often said: “Dhan Nirankar, Hor Sabha Khuar”. It means “Glory to the formless God; except His followers, others are all lost.” They were later called Nirankaris. A splinter group of that organization gave up the teaching of the Sikh faith and started their own sect but continued to claim themselves to be Nirankaris. They, after the popular with the support of the Congress Government. They even dared to fire at the Sikhs and kill 13 of them on the Vaisakhi Day of 1978 in Amritsar. They are labeled as nakli (false) Nirankaris. Their “guru” keeps long hair and wears a turban like Sikhs, but he is not a Sikh. He has been successful in fooling the innocent Sikhs by his dress and by his singing of Gurbani hymns. No Sikh is permitted to have any dealings with him or with any member of their sect. Everyday, new sants in Sikh appearance (usually white turban, robes and long hair) are increasing the number of such fake guides. Some claim to be something more than a Brahmgiani, adding 101, 108, 1001, 1008, titles to their name without knowing their meaning. When you are close to them, you will find most of them are suffering from greed. Their mission is to collect money from people for building their own personal empire and their ego. Gurbani says: Do not believe greedy persons. (Because all their tall claims are false.) Of course, there are good sants and holy Sikhs who are doing great service in teaching Gurmat and Gurbani to the people. A true Sikh does not make false claims (as we often hear from money-hungry sants). He will endorse everything mentioned in Gurbani and will not start any group of his followers or have any name identifying his own with one or another thing doing differently than what is practiced by the Sikh Panth.
(iv) Recently, some self-proclaimed preachers, to develop their own sect, have started saying (and even actually practicing) that not just the six prescribed pauries, but all of the Anand should be read at the end of the Sikh Diwan. (Yogi Harbhajan Singh, who lead this thought, regretted it in 1995, and requested the Panth, in writing, to excuse him for this.) Some have started worshiping Sri Guru Granth Sahib and pictures of the Gurus (the pictures are all false anyway) just as the Brahmans worship their idols. This is prohibited by the Sikh Panth. Such new “inventions” in the field o faith are fraught with danger. They are laying a foundation to split the Sikhs. All these people are supported by the opponents of Sikhs because it serves their purpose of weakening the Sikh community by dividing the Sikhs. Such impostors harm the Sikhs and corrupt the Sikh faith. With a very loud voice, they claim themselves to be Brahmgyanis and liberated sants. A Sikh has to ignore them. They identify their followers by new names (not as Sikhs) assigned by them. If any person whether a Giani or sant makes Sikhs become his own disciples or identifies them as a distinct group, he is not a true Sikh. Such persons do not guide but misguide Sikhs to convert them into their own followers rather than letting them behave as members of the Panth. Some of such sants or gurus evidently receive the support of the authorities to weaken the Sikh strength in India and elsewhere. They come up with a new nonSikh or antiSikh thought, present it as a Sikh principle and introduce it amongst the sikhs to divide them. Their intention is to take over a section of the Sikh community by making them their followers. This is done to satisfy their ego of claiming to be “Master” of “Guru” and weaken the unity of the Sikh Panth. Groups like Kukas (Namdharis), Radhaswamis, and false nirankaris all started as Sikh preachers but later turned openly against the Panth. They are cheating Sikhs by appearing like Sikhs with uncut hair, turbans, and by quoting Gurbani in their speeches. Similarly, there are many new saints who claim to be Sikhs but make their own disciples; they tell Sikhs their own Rent rather than advising them to follow the Panthic Reht. Recently, some sants have altered the structure of Rehras and modified Gurdwara protocol. Sikhs have to watch them, reject them and disassociate from them. Some naive Sikhs, particularly women, fall prey to them because of their fake and false promises of “saving” them here and in the next world.
It is well known that some impostors claimed themselves to be “gurus” and tried to establish their own sects, groups or religion even during the period of the Gurus. They all were excommunicated by the Gurus, even if they were their own sons or relatives. Khalsa Panth has to continue to adopt the same procedure to deal with such false gurus, sants, and preachers.
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