This article was written by Professor Kamalroop Singh in 2008 on his blog – http://neo-sikhism.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/snatan-or-puratan-hindu-or-sikhor-you.html
In the latest book by Parmjit Singh Grewal and Nidar Singh Nihang (Surjit Singh Bains), the authors write:
“NIDAR SINGH NIHANG is the ninth gurdev(teacher) of the Baba Darbara Singh Shastar Vidya Akhara”. Published 2008.
While on the other hand on the website, they state:
“Akali Nihang Baba Darbara Singh Sanatan Sikh Shastar Vidiya Ranjit Akhara ” Published 2004.
Please compare with this, published in 2008:
Akali Nihang Baba Darbara Singh Sanatan Suraj Bansia Shastar Vidiya Shiv Akhara.
If we compare on archive.org the former shastarvidiya.org website, and the present website. There is a large difference in content, terminology, and definitions. Why has there been this inconsistency over the years? Or is this a form of incrementalism to vainly attempt to define the Buddha Dal practices as Hindu? Why is there a redefinition? From Sikh to Snatan Sikh in the last website, to Hindu-Sikh, and the Shiva Akhara in the latest websites? The word Puratan, or Pracheen used by Nihang Shahid Akali Rattan Singh Bhangu, would be the correct word for tradition. Not Snatan:
See Sanatan (Traditional) Sikhi.
There are 74 recordings, of probably over 24 hours of the late Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji exegesis of the Pracheen Panth Parkash by Akali Shahid Nihang Rattan Singh Bhangu. In listening to these recordings I have not once come across:
2. Shiva Akhara
The Pracheen Panth Parkash is the history of the Khalsa Panth, and the main historical scripture of the Nihangs, who were without any shadow of a doubt, the original Jathedars, and army of the Khalsa. Surely in such an important scripture, there would be references to the terminology employed by Nidar Singh, Teja Singh, and Parmjit Singh in their websites and books. In my analysis of the unedited and edited versions of Pracheen Panth Parkash, there is no merit to their views, arguments, and opinions, in regards to snatan, Hindu-Sikh, and Shiva Akhara. If these terms are being employed to gain credance and a following in the wider Indian, or Hindu market, it is disingenuous. As these terms themselves represent a post-colonial reinterpretation, of reformed Sikhism. To try and locate, the original “tradition”, and contextualise it. The supposition here is that the tradition was lost and needs reconstruction. This is some ways incriminates Nidar Singh et al, with the same crime they claimed Teji Singh had commited; to mix Kung Fu and Gatka. In India I know of at least ten Nihangs who know Shastarvidiya fairly well. One of these Nihangs is Baba Giana Singh, who learnt the vidiya from Baba Ram Singh. He is 97 years old, and a former pupil of Sant Baba Gurbachan Singh Bhinderawale. In his teaching of the Sikh martial tradition, although some movements are the same as Nidar Singh, the terminology is different. Baba Gian Singh told me and showed me the following:
“Three foot movements were known as the style of Ali. This was the Islamic martial tradition. In India there was the Hanuman Akhara tradition that employed low movements. Guru Hargobind Sahib taught shastarvidiya as a unique creation, and made manifest the Mul Pentra. This separated it from the previous traditions.”
In my experience and research no tradition has been lost. The army of the Khalsa, Buddha Dal, has given great sacrifices for the last three hundred years, to ensure this never happens. Therefore the methodology of Nidar Singh, Parmjit Singh Grewal, and Jagdeep Singh Notay (Teja Singh), is based on the hypothesis of doubt, rather than belief. The maryada they represent, is not supplemented from the maryada followed by Buddha Dal, as well as the belief of Nihangs Singhs in the Dal. It is constructed from travel narratives, British accounts, Persian accounts, which naturally carry a bias. The controversy they wish to create, is also to promote their publications. As they say, all publicity is good publicity.
On the above pages there is discussion that the Akali Nihang form is of Shiv Ji. In Sarbloh Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Gobind Singh uses the words Shiv Sarup. If we look up Shiv in Mahan Kosh it means, immaculate, pure, unblemished. Baba Santa Singh also says:
“Khalsa is Shiva Sarup, Parmatma Da Rup” In his exegsis of Sri Sarbloh Granth. Also see Deh Shiva shabad. As well as Bhai Sahib Bhai Balbir Singhs explanation of it, Bhai Sahib was brought up in the Buddha Dal from the times of Akali Baba Chet Singh Ji:
Guru Gobind Singh states in the Bhai Prahlad Singh rahitnama, “the Khalsa is the form of Akal Purukh”. Since when has Sri Akal been Shiv Ji? Guru Ji creates names like Mahaloh, Sarbloh, to praise Akal Purukh. None of these names are found in Puranic literature, including the Shiva Puran. The translation found on shastarvidiya.org that Akal is from Shiva Ji, is not recorded in even the Garbganji tika of Sri Jap ji Sahib, by the Nirmala Sikh, Kavi Santokh Singh Ji. The Nirmala Sikhs used Hindu mythological literary characters to teach about Sikhi. There are also injunctions in the rahitnamas, ” do not associate with the Aghoris, or Yogis”.
Furthermore on the ang of Sri Sarbloh Granth Sahib Ji, where it states Khalsa is Shiv Sarup, Guru Ji also states that the Khalsa is the form of Nirankar. Furthermore at the end of the euology of the Khalsa, Guru Ji states:
Khalsa Akal Purukh Ki Fauj
Pargatio Khalsa Paratam Ki Mauj.
What has this go to do with Shiv Ji? Akal Purukh is Vahiguru, Parmatam is the super-soul.
In conclusion, these are vain attempts to redefine traditional Sikhi of the Khalsa army, the Buddha Dal, into the worldview of the Hindu pantheon of demi-Gods. The gurbani of Dasam Granth Sahib Ji and Sarbloh Granth Sahib Ji state clearly:
Mai Na Ganeshe Pritham Manaoo
Kishan Bisan Kaboo Na Dhiaoo.
I will not invoke Ganesh first.
Nor will I meditate of Krishna or Vishnu.
One of the main prayers of any Akali Nihang Singh is Sri Akal Ustat Sahib. It is one of the prayers a true Nihang Singh must memorise. See Akali Baba Daya Singhrahitnama. Guru Gobind Singh Ji told the beloved army of the Guru, the ladlia Fauja, that when you read Sri Akal Ustat Sahib, it is me speaking it through you, the Khalsa. Guru Ji states in the Sri Akal Ustat Sahib, compared to Sri Akal,
Ik Shiv Bhey Ik Gaiy Ik Phir Bhey Ramchander Krishan Ki Avatar bhe Anek Hai……. millions of Shiv come and go in the cycle of reincarnation.
Then Guru ji says Mahakal you are my protector, I meditate on your charan kamal. This is Akal Purukh. Furthermore in Anand Sahib, Guru Amar Das Ji states in Rag Ramkali:
Shiv Sakat Ap Upai Ke.
God creates the play of Shiv and Shakti. Hence Vahiguru is not subject to his own play. He is the creator of Shiv Ji, Vishnu Ji, Brahma Ji, Vahiguru transcends all of the millions of Gods. Guru Gobind Singh’s is clearly talking about Akal Purukh Vahiguru.
In the Sikh worldview, as opposed to the Hindu worldview, the devtas failed in their mission to get humanity to praise Vahiguru. See Bachitra Natak Granth also see Sri Sarbloh Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh is firm that Sri Vishnu inspired people to repeat his own name, as did Shiva Ji et al. This is reiterated in Sarbloh Granth Sahib Ji, that Guru Nanak Ap Parmesvar, had to become manifest to put people back onto the correct path, of praising Vahiguru. These are the holy words of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Please listen to the Katha of Sri Sarboh Granth Sahib Ji by the late Akali Baba Santa Singh Ji, this will clear up any misconception to what the Khalsa army, the Buddha Dal actually believes. In this Katha Baba Ji explaining this shabad of Sri Sarbloh Granth Ji states:
“Khalsa is the form of a Rishi. Muni. Bhagat. Yogi. Raja. Kstriya. In one. It is the complete form. A Sage, Hermit, Saint, Ascetic, King, Warrior in One.”
As the Khalsa is all of these forms, the Khalsa cannot be said to one in particular, the Khalsa transcends all of them, hence the form of the Khalsa is Nirankar, it is the form of the Guru. The Khalsa is the son of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, not the son of Shiv Ji. The sons of Shiv Ji are the ascetic Yogi’s.
In the words of Guru Gobind Singh Ji in the Bhai Prahlad rahitnama:
Guru Khalsa Maniye, Pargat Guru Ki Deh.
Believe in the Guru Khalsa, this is the manifest corporeal body of the Guru.