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This website has been designed to provide a comprehensive overview of Sanatan (Traditional) Sikhism, its origins, philosophy, and heritage. This is the original form of Sikhism that existed prior to the arrival of the British Raj in Punjab in 1849, and is true to the eternal philosophy expounded by Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first living Sikh Guru.

Modern Sikh historians trace the origins of Sikhism back to Akali Guru Nanak (1469-1539). However, Sanatan (Traditional) Sikh orders - the Udasis, Nirmalas, Seva Panthis and Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa, think otherwise. These Guru-ordained groups, drawing upon the internal evidence from the three sacred Sikh scriptures - Adi Guru Durbar, Dasam Guru Durbar and Sarbloh Guru Durbar, trace the origins of Sikhism to before the beginning of time.

In the words of the first Sikh Guru, Akali Guru Nanak, Sikhism is that ineffable spiritual truth:

‘Truth before time began,
Truth when time began,
Is truth now, and,
Oh Nanak, will be the truth in the future.’
(‘Adi Guru Durbar’, Japji, Pa.1)

Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji
A Pahari painting depicting an imaginary meeting between Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Akali Nihang
Guru Gobind Singh Ji (bottom right and left), flanked by Ganesh (bottom left), Brahma and Saraswati (top left),
Vishnu and Lakhsmi (top centre), Shiva and Parvati (top right), and Durga (bottom right), Pahari late 19th century

Hence, Sanatan Sikhs term their Dharma (spiritual path) as ‘Sanatan’, meaning the 'most ancient'.

The Scriptures
A photograph taken at Batinda, Punjab, of Adi Guru Durbar and Dasam Guru Durbar.
Sarbloh Guru Durbar is traditionally kept as a secret text amongst the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa

That Dharma, which proceeds all things, the highest being, 'Nirankar' (Formless) God, Himself and no other. The 10 Sikh Gurus, the Sanatan traditions and Sanatan orders, all see Nirankar God and 'Sarbloh' (martial designation of God), as One and the same:

‘Traditions that are Sanatan are the ancient Dharma whose virtues the Vedas sing.
That [Sanatan] Brahm [all pervasive God] highest God,
, is known as king of all demigods.’
(‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.549)

A further, more concrete definition of 'Sanatan' is given in Sarbloh Guru Durbar thus:

‘...Siri Sarbloh consider as Sanatan.’
(‘Sarbloh Guru Durbar’, Vol. 2. Chapter Five, Pa.196)

Bhagat Kabir (a Muslim Indian saint whose works are found within the foremost Sikh scripture Adi Guru Durbar) speaks of how his mind, on seeing the one primordial Nirankar God, had become Sanatan:

‘From seeing angels of death [fearing death] now I see but Ram [Ramachandar/Nirankar God].
My suffering has fled and comfort taken abode [in my heart].
Those denying God [the five senses], have become noble [having acknowledged Nirankar God].
Now I have attained complete bliss.
I have been cooled [mind settled] when I appreciated Gobind [God].
In the body are found innumerable troubles.
Now, spontaneously in comfort, I am absorbed in God.
I have recognized my true self.
Now no ailment of the three fevers affects me.
Now my mind has changed and become Sanatan.
Now I appreciate [Truth] having died whilst alive [meaning being unaffected by temptations of the world].
Says Kabir, in comfort spontaneously be absorbed in God.
I fear no one, nor am I intimidated by anyone.’
(‘Adi Guru Durbar’, Raag Gauri, Pa.326-327)

Now, this Sanatan Sikh Dharma is not a ‘religion’ in the modern sense, but it is the ineffable truth of which Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru writes:

‘According to one's intellect one expresses it [the truth] in a myriad of ways.’
(‘Dasam Guru Durbar’, Treh Charittar 104)


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